Decivilized America

“Be nice.” What mother hasn’t said that, at one time or another, when her frustration with an unruly child was just beginning to peak.

It’s a lesson that needs to be reinforced, according to the latest Civility in America national survey.

“For the first time since the survey began in 2010, the Internet/social media has risen into the top ranks of perceived causes of incivility,” according to the survey.

The Internet certainly is an effective pipeline for bad behavior, with users able to vent with relative anonymity and wildly disparate levels of accuracy and honesty.

According to the survey, more than a third of all Americans have personally experienced incivility at work, 26 percent of them to the point that they quit their job.

Another 33 percent believe the tone of their workplace is uncivil, 81 percent believe incivility is leading to more violence, and 95 percent believe we have a civility problem in this country.

And it’s not just the Internet, of course. Just tune into talk radio or cable news talk shows with a critical ear. Compare, for example, the delivery of current talk-show bullies with the late gentleman conservative, William F. Buckley.

Perhaps today’s bad behavior could be traced to the reaction of today’s mother, restrained by modern social norms, and mothers of the past, who were more likely to deliver a quick swat on the bottom.

Then again, the advent of concealed carry laws, where one never knows who is packing, will create a new level of civility in society.

(This is a guest editorial from the McCook Daily Gazette in Nebraska.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.