Rachel Alexander: the Rise of Rudeness

It’s not considered politically correct to wish for a return to the 1950s, because you’ll be accused of wanting to return to the era of Jim Crow laws. But there were some aspects of 1950s that were more ideal. People were generally more civil to each other. The saying “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all” was popular.

This began to change in the 1960s, when loud, in-your-face hippie protests emerged, and so began the spiralling down of manners. The emergence of email as a common method of communication in the 1990s led to people hiding behind their computers, acting as armchair warriors. They felt comfortable saying things to others that they would never dare to say in person. Research shows that lack of eye contact emboldens people to say things they normally wouldn’t. People now had time to think about what they’re saying before they say it, so came up with clever little slams and insults. Compounding the problem, they didn’t realize how rude something might sound over email. But this kind of discourse became normal.

The left increasingly started calling the right vile names in the 1990s. You were racist if you opposed affirmative action and illegal immigration. You were heartless if you supported welfare reform. You were greedy if you supported tax cuts.

In the 2000s, social media expanded the opportunities for insulting others. Now people can hide behind their computers and insult people all day long on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. They can set up fake accounts and comment anonymously online. Anyone who posts anything on social media or websites opens themselves up for these attacks. Post a photo of yourself? Expect criticism. A study by the cosmetics firm Dove found that in 2014 over five million negative tweets were posted on Twitter about beauty and body image. Venturing out onto social media can be demoralizing. You could make 10 posts a day and risk being insulted multiple times on each post. As a writer at the BBC put it, “people are only a few clicks away from being able to annoy, frustrate or upset a whole range of people.”

People routinely defriend and block others after vicious arguments. Two in five users have ended contact after a virtual argument. A survey by Insights West found that people blame technology as the No. 2 reason why people are becoming less civil to each other (the No. 1 reason is parents not teaching their kids manners). The result has been a small exodus from social media and smartphones, as people decide to tune out the barrage of negativity.

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Source: Christian Post