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VP959
23rd Jul 2016, 10:28
Is it just me, or is the Western world becoming nastier, more hate-filled, violent and offensive?

Politics here, in the US, and perhaps elsewhere, seems to have been taken over by people who are openly rude and offensive, with political leaders who appear to have none of the diplomatic attributes needed for the job.

It has seemingly become normal for people to be offensive, rude and disrespectful to complete strangers, via the anonymity of the internet and social media. Once bullying would have been confined to people you knew face-to-face; now you can be bullied on line from anywhere in the world. Until a year or so ago, I'd not experienced bullying since primary school, well over 50 years ago. Now barely a week goes by without some form of rudeness, offensive language, or even open hatred, being aimed at me online or arriving in my email inbox. Goodness only knows what it must be like for those who use social media.

Extremely violent acts, like shootings, the Nice horror and many other incidents, seem to be becoming more frequent, or is it that they are just more often reported now?

It seems that not all of these incidents are driven by followers of Islam, either; The shooting spree by Raoul Moat here, the Norwegian massacre, the mass shootings at schools in the US, the gunman who just wanted to kill police officers in the US and the Munich shootings recently, seem to have been driven by hatred, with no obvious religious connections.

It seems to me is that there are now a lot of people, perhaps more than in the past, who do not like the way they are governed, do not like the laws they have to abide by and have little or no respect for anyone in any position of authority. Some in authority seem to have no respect for others, either, which probably drives the cycle of hatred harder.

Even everyday communications are now often rude and written without regard for any offence that might be caused to the recipient. I recently exchanged a few emails with my local council, and although my enquiry was polite, respectful and non-contentious, most of the replies I had from them ranged from being blunt to outright rude, verging on offensive. I've noticed that this lack of respect for those who pay their salaries seems to be their normal style, particularly within my own local government. Perhaps it's another indicator of the general change for the worse in our society.

racedo
23rd Jul 2016, 10:39
It's called the "me" generation, its what "I" want, personal gratification and adoration is required with Farcebrook, Twatter and every other social media.

Look at me

I SAID LOOK AT ME I AM IMPORTANT.

I don't want to work to be well off, i want to be well off as a right
without needing to do anything.

Community is important provided it is ONLY ME that people admire.

Its a narcistic trend where everybody wants their RIGHTS but nobody cares about their OBLIGATIONS.

I actually see it getting worse rather than better but I also believe we will see communities develop against this but they will be shunned and targeted because they refuse to conform.

VP959
23rd Jul 2016, 11:23
It's called the "me" generation, its what "I" want, personal gratification and adoration is required with Farcebrook, Twatter and every other social media.

Look at me

I SAID LOOK AT ME I AM IMPORTANT.

I don't want to work to be well off, i want to be well off as a right
without needing to do anything.

Community is important provided it is ONLY ME that people admire.

Its a narcistic trend where everybody wants their RIGHTS but nobody cares about their OBLIGATIONS.

I actually see it getting worse rather than better but I also believe we will see communities develop against this but they will be shunned and targeted because they refuse to conform.
I can understand the "me generation" thing; for the first time in the history of mankind, almost anyone can publish stuff about themselves to almost the whole world, in a few seconds. Some are bound to feel this makes them "important".

It doesn't wholly explain the shift towards increased levels of hatred, violence and offensiveness though. Perhaps it could be argued that some of the mass shootings we've witnessed in recent years may have been perverse attempts to give the perpetrator a moment of infamy. However, it seems that most non-Islamic acts of violence are just driven by hatred, not a desire to make the headlines.

Kulverstukas
23rd Jul 2016, 11:26
Last US prez who remember Great War was Bush Sr. Majority of European politics are born in peaceful era. Soviet Union was weak when they come to power, and commonly believed "loose to West" in Cold war. China is still too weak in military sense. Why not throw away all this diplomatic shit like politeness and thorough measurement of words said? With attitude "if we don't like somebody we can bomb him into stone age" politic it's not strange that when they meet some challenge from outside world their first move is not diplomacy but insults and offences.

Tankertrashnav
23rd Jul 2016, 14:24
I think you are right VP959, although I am not sure whether it is a function of ageing to feel that things are going the way you describe, and that perhaps we have a faulty recollection of how things used to be.

That said there is certainly less automatic respect shown now than there was. One small example is the assumption by people that they can address you by your first name. When I challenged one of those cold callers on the telephone who addressed me by my first name, and asked him if he thought it was ok to address a total stranger who was obviously decades his senior in such a way, he was quite genuinely nonplussed, as though it would never occur to him that calling me "Mr TTN" would be more polite.

That's only a small example, but I think it is symptomatic of a general lowering of standards in public discourse.

Dr Jekyll
23rd Jul 2016, 14:46
That said there is certainly less automatic respect shown now than there was. One small example is the assumption by people that they can address you by your first name. When I challenged one of those cold callers on the telephone who addressed me by my first name, and asked him if he thought it was ok to address a total stranger who was obviously decades his senior in such a way, he was quite genuinely nonplussed, as though it would never occur to him that calling me "Mr TTN" would be more polite.


That's just it. It isn't that he though it was OK to be less than respectful, it just didn't occur to him that it might be regarded as disrespectful to use someone's first name. I actively prefer people to sue my first name, but I don't accuse anyone unaware of this preference of being disrespectful.

Mr Oleo Strut
23rd Jul 2016, 15:11
Is the western world getting nastier? Is the world getting nastier? It certainly seems so. And the reasons? The internet, for one! The abilitity to insult with little fear of retribution, aided by technology, cameras and the social media have all encouraged a voyeuristic, need-to-know-all society with no concessions to decency and personal privacy. And then there are the less than commendable role-model examples displayed by many media, sporting, business and public figures to whom any sort of dreadful conduct is permissible in the pursuit of self-publicity. Meanwhile our youth has been brought up to expect fast-track rewards for little effort (reality tv, for example) or encouraged to while away their time with aimless and violent computer games with themes of cruelty, blood-and-guts far worse than those presented even in the worst of the everyday soap-operas. So bah, humbug, to the the lot of it, I say. The good old days were never that good, but I do not envy the young these days. I think we have seen the best of times. Trouble is we didn't know it at the time!

sarbird
23rd Jul 2016, 15:38
Just take a look at the titles of the threads on Jetblast. Currently there are three similar threads that all begin with 'WTF!" Despite the nastiness of the subjects being discussed, to use 'WTF' makes the writer look imbecilic, lacking in moral standards, uneducated etc etc. Or is it designed by the writer to say, 'look at ME, I can use bad language (albeit abbreviated) and get away with it.......

wings folded
23rd Jul 2016, 15:38
I actively prefer people to sue my first name,

Dr J.

I make many keyboard errrors, so I am not being clever, but I like the idea that each time you get sued it is in your first name.

I don't suppose the case gets that far until they append your family name
;)

obgraham
23rd Jul 2016, 16:08
Are we the first generation to claim that the younger ones "have no respect for anything"?
I think it is a natural human tendency.

I agree that the immediacy of media and internet these days allows such behavior with no consequences.

Allan Lupton
23rd Jul 2016, 16:28
One small example is the assumption by people that they can address you by your first name. When I challenged one of those cold callers on the telephone who addressed me by my first name, and asked him if he thought it was ok to address a total stranger who was obviously decades his senior in such a way, he was quite genuinely nonplussed, as though it would never occur to him that calling me "Mr TTN" would be more polite.

Speaking to someone on the phone the other day who asked my name. As one does, I said "Lupton" and thought no more about it until she ended the conversation "Goodbye Lupton."
I seem to recall that the use of the unadorned surname, by men at least, was nomal only when addressing servants or very close friends.
ETA I remember a colleague years of many years ago who always had to announce himself on the phone as "Mr. Norman" as otherwise people assumed he was being informal and using his first name. These days he'd just use both his names, but then he'd be called "Monty" by people fifty years younger whom he didn't know.

Lonewolf_50
23rd Jul 2016, 17:21
Are any of your familiar with the expression "thin veneer of civilization" and its context? Maybe that veneer has been getting hit with too much sand paper of late.

VP959
23rd Jul 2016, 17:40
Age may be a part of it; perhaps I'm starting to suffer from grumpy old man disease.

The internet certainly seems to have assisted those who get an ego boost by being rude and offensive with relative anonymity, but given the amount of stuff around that almost seems able to snoop on every keystroke you make, I suspect it's only a matter of time before it becomes easy to find the person hiding behind the keyboard.

The young have probably always been less respectful in general, but being rude and offensive seems to have now become normal amongst older people too. JB is a fairly good example, as I think the demographic here tends towards older people.

None of this really explains why we seem to have a higher frequency of mass killings, driven by hatred, than we used too. If anything, in many countries guns were easier to get hold of years ago than they are now, with all the "liberated" guns brought home as souvenirs after WWII, so this doesn't seem to be related to gun control. I remember being asked if I knew a way to safely get rid of a Sten gun years ago, by a chap who'd "acquired" it somehow at the end of the war and kept it, together with lots of ammo, in his loft.

I've often wondered whether population density is a cause. Maybe, when we get squeezed together tighter than a particular level for our respective societies, our behaviour changes, and we get more aggressive towards each other. There is some evidence here that high density housing built in the late 50's and 60's resulted in increased levels of antisocial behaviour.

I dislike being addressed by my first name by people I don't know, too. In fact it's just happened to me this afternoon. I submitted a "ticket" to my web hosting company asking for an additional service to be added, and someone I didn't know from Adam rang me and addressed me by my first name. Email has a lot to do with this, I think. When we used to write letters, it would have been unheard of to use the salutation "Hi VP". Even when writing to a close friend it would have been "Dear VP", or perhaps just "VP".

obgraham
23rd Jul 2016, 17:52
I think some of you are being a bit touchy over this "first name" issue. There is another side to it. My office manager taught me this years ago.

We deal so much now via telephone or internet with anonymous people. Customer service, banking, etc. That person most likely is in a cubicle somewhere with a headset strapped on all day fielding one irate customer after the next. The simple phrase after the greeting of "Hi John, this is Bill, I'm trying to....." will often get a softer and more responsive answer from the rep. The reality is that we just don't write those letters any more.

Indeed I've found that to be the case.

lomapaseo
23rd Jul 2016, 18:16
Tis simple with me on a phone call

If somebody uses my first name I laugh and hang up,

If you know me well enough to be friendly you will not typically use my first name without asking for it.

If I owe them money, then they will use my full name, and I play with them awhile but await their mail but never give them additional info.

If the call involves my computer, I ask which Mac address ? as I have so many in my shop

meadowrun
23rd Jul 2016, 18:17
I couldn't care less about rude young people or rude people in general (although I must admit, I rarely run into them. When I do I am quite able to shoot them down with some choice words) Neither do I care about being called by my first name sometimes.


Having just joined the official "grumpy old man's" club, I reflect that we are entitled given the amount of experience needed to join.


And that experienced brain is really only concerned about nasty in the sense of the rampant terrorism by ignorant, braindead, blood thirsty gangbangers leaning on a crutch of quasi-religious righteousness, the damage they are doing to civilization and the apparent inability of my side of the world to effectively deal with them in a game ending manner.


Some idiot teenager barges into me on a sidewalk without a care in the world? - I deflect them into traffic.


You have to filter out what gets you upset. Blood pressure, heart attacks, enjoyment of life and all that.

vapilot2004
23rd Jul 2016, 21:32
The debasement of Western Society is fed by a combination of factors, according to sociologists and cultural anthropologists that study civilizations of today.

Mass Media - No longer is the focus getting the story correct and providing intelligent background and analysis - now, everyone has an agenda/axe to grind, and the focus is on getting there first, supporting the chosen slant, and profit.

Social Media - Expands the audience for misinformation and contrived outrage. Ignorance and emotionally fed missives thrive here. Touted as instruments of social change and awareness, social media has become a fountain of disinformation. Short, trite statements ala Twitter cannot possibly encompass all of the nuance of an issue or situation.

Numbing Populace - Constant bombardment with bad news and 'dire circumstances' around the globe, media consumers are becoming more jaded and less caring about their fellow humans and the health of the environment. Exposure to people at their worst has the effect of eroding moral fiber and shutting down human compassion.

Erosion of Population's "Human Intelligence" - Continuous assault by mass media, politics, and dumbed-down popular culture sources including music, television, and film combine to numb common sense, common courtesy, and empathy. It's all a big game and things happen to others, not "me". Those sources, while the intention may be to broaden knowledge and awareness, tend to instead insulate their consumers from the world around them in a way that takes the real out of reality.

Toadstool
24th Jul 2016, 03:39
sarbird

Despite the nastiness of the subjects being discussed, to use 'WTF' makes the writer look imbecilic, lacking in moral standards, uneducated etc etc.

You must have had an effect. It looks like all the threads starting with "WTF" have been changed :D

FullOppositeRudder
24th Jul 2016, 05:09
It looks like all the threads starting with "WTF" have been changed :D Strongly agree ...

It seems to me that there is a lot of incipient anger in western society today. I see it in how easily people 'explode' when they see something in an internet forum which they don't agree with. To react with outrage and insults (or worse - threats of injury or death) at what they even think the original contributor could have meant seems commonplace.

One other thing I notice is how much 'conflict' has become the thread in so much of our TV drama series. There's always a cat-fight either brewing, or in full action in many/most of the soapies. I don't watch them, but some of them get some exposure in the household. (I can't stay out in the shed all day long - the coffee is in the kitchen, and the beer is in the fridge). If this thread of almost constant human emotional conflict is a genuine reflection of what happens in real life, then we are in big trouble. I could also conclude that many younger people whose biggest influence in life is what they see on TV, or the games they play on the computer / phone, get to think that this is the normal mode of behaviour out there in the real world, and model their social interaction on that basis.

I find myself nodding thoughtfully at much of what I've read in this thread. Happily, I also discover in everyday life that there is still a lot of goodwill evident in the way people react with each other (especially happy that it is also evident in much of PPRuNe :)). That is indeed encouraging :ok:.

FOR

VP959
24th Jul 2016, 12:50
The debasement of Western Society is fed by a combination of factors, according to sociologists and cultural anthropologists that study civilizations of today.

Mass Media - No longer is the focus getting the story correct and providing intelligent background and analysis - now, everyone has an agenda/axe to grind, and the focus is on getting there first, supporting the chosen slant, and profit.

Social Media - Expands the audience for misinformation and contrived outrage. Ignorance and emotionally fed missives thrive here. Touted as instruments of social change and awareness, social media has become a fountain of disinformation. Short, trite statements ala Twitter cannot possibly encompass all of the nuance of an issue or situation.

Numbing Populace - Constant bombardment with bad news and 'dire circumstances' around the globe, media consumers are becoming more jaded and less caring about their fellow humans and the health of the environment. Exposure to people at their worst has the effect of eroding moral fiber and shutting down human compassion.

Erosion of Population's "Human Intelligence" - Continuous assault by mass media, politics, and dumbed-down popular culture sources including music, television, and film combine to numb common sense, common courtesy, and empathy. It's all a big game and things happen to others, not "me". Those sources, while the intention may be to broaden knowledge and awareness, tend to instead insulate their consumers from the world around them in a way that takes the real out of reality.
That seems to sum up a number of very plausible causes, so I suppose the next question is, how do we get out of what looks like a self-destructive cycle?

As a very young man, who rode a motorcycle and thought himself to be indestructible, as many young people do, I remember being profoundly affected by some road safety films we were made to watch. This was at RAF Northolt, in the early 70's, and the aim was to use shock tactics to show young men that they were vulnerable.

The films were made in the US, I think by California Highway Patrol, and consisted of actors playing the part of the victims in the prelude to the accident, setting the scene, then the film switched to footage shot by the Highway Patrol of real accidents.

They were exceptionally powerful films, even if there were a few amongst our number who passed out or were sick when they watched them. I've never, ever forgotten that hour or so spent in the station cinema, and some of the horrific things a vehicle or motorcycle crash can do to a human body has had a very lasting effect on the way I ride and drive.

I've seen similar profound changes in outlook from those who've been in combat, on the ground, and seen what HE, shrapnel and bullets do to bodies.

Perhaps it's because violence has been dumbed down, in TV shows, computer games etc, so that it no longer seems as if it is of consequence, that has changed the way some feel. It's rare for any of those who go on violent rampages, killing people out of hatred, to survive. I wonder if they do realise that real violence, against real people, is nothing like the emotionless killing they've seen on TV and when playing computer games?

SASless
24th Jul 2016, 13:42
It seems to me that there is a lot of incipient anger in western society today.

As opposed perhaps to actual anger, murder, mayhem, and riot in eastern societies I suppose?

VP959
24th Jul 2016, 13:55
As opposed perhaps to actual anger, murder, mayhem, and riot in eastern societies I suppose?
My limited experience tells me that some parts of the world have been pretty violent over the past 50 years or so, and some of the most violent have been in the East. It is for this reason that the thread title very deliberately says "Western", because my concern is that in the last decade or two, Western societies seem to have a greater incidence of violent acts perpetrated by individuals obsessed with hatred and anger than was the case in the past.

The change has been gradual. I suspect many of us over a certain age, from the UK and similar societies, will remember a time when we could walk or cycle to school, from an early age, with the only concern of our parents and teachers being that we we sufficiently road-safety aware.

Now very few parents seem to think that it is safe, even in the UK, to allow their children to travel to school alone and under there own steam. The long queues of cars around every local school shows that it is now normal to drive children a mile or two to school, and when asked, parents invariably give a reason for doing this as being that the country is not safe enough to allow children to travel alone. Personally I don't think their worries are justified, and that the threat of harm is massively exaggerated, but nevertheless how people feel is the important thing.

MG23
24th Jul 2016, 22:50
Is it just me, or is the Western world becoming nastier, more hate-filled, violent and offensive?

This is what happens when Empires come to an end. And the US Empire is collapsing as we speak. No matter who wins the election, it's done.

Cazalet33
24th Jul 2016, 23:01
This is what happens when Empires come to an end. And the US Empire is collapsing as we speak.

Yes. Quite predictably so. The reasons are only slightly complex, but quite understandable for those who will look and listen and learn.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU

Lonewolf_50
25th Jul 2016, 00:03
The OP asks: Is the Western world getting nastier?

The last few posts try to provide examples to affirm the question.

vapilot2004
25th Jul 2016, 00:57
how do we get out of what looks like a self-destructive cycle?

Dear Mr. VP959,

Well, we know the only way out of a downward spiral is to change direction - to the side - not unlike escaping the pull of a rip tide.

Escaping the current spiraling trend of de-humanization is possible if a tipping point is reached, requiring the entities that got us here in the first place to begin thinking more in terms of the 'greater good' rather than profits, easy gain, or fear-based behaviours.

Outside of that, I would imagine the reversal of current trends may only be possible through some kind of calamitous event, one that properly harnessed, could lead the way towards becoming universally civilized once again.

MG23
25th Jul 2016, 02:15
Well, we know the only way out of a downward spiral is to change direction - to the side - not unlike escaping the pull of a rip tide.

Yes. The left-wing takeover of Western institutions has to be reversed before anything can be fixed. In many cases, the only way to do that will be to shut down the institution completely.