Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not Dying Quite Yet

Not Dying Quite Yet

From Van der Leun's sidebar:
Small Signs of Decline by Robert Heinlein:
I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms: Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course - but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking away at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial - but those things are obvious; all the histories list them.

I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all. This one I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms as you have named... But a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. Study it. It is too late to save this culture - this worldwide culture, not just the freak show here in California. Therefore we must now prepare the monasteries for the coming Dark Age. Electronic records are too fragile; we must again have books, of stable inks and resistant paper. -- Friday
From a comment left here just a little while ago:
The thing that really stood out to me at the Phoenix gathering was how polite the crowd was. No pushing, no stepping on toes, lots of "Excuse me" and "Please go ahead." Heinlein was correct.
But . . .

And I'm sure you can come up with myriad similar examples.

Not to keep bashing (formerly) Great Britain, but I can't help it:
Politeness 'missing from society'

Britain needs to do more to promote good manners, Tony Blair's "respect czar" Louise Casey has said.

The government adviser said politeness was now missing "right across society" and schools, companies and the media all had a role to play.

Ms Casey said London buses could remind passengers to give up seats to pregnant women and suggested TV soap operas may portray a less gloomy side of life.

"We need a greater sense it's OK to be decent," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"It's important to help old ladies across the road. The greatest pleasure you can give yourself is to help somebody else."

"You're not the nerd if you don't throw your rubbish on the floor - you're the person who's making Britain the country we all want to live in."

'Such anger'

Ms Casey said a rise in single-parent families and less church-going and neighbourliness were all possible factors in falling levels of politeness.
There's more, but I wouldn't bother. This shows that she recognizes that there is a problem, but not what the problem is:
Make Britain Polite - Respect Czar

Tony Blair's "Respect Czar" has called for a campaign to bring politeness back to British life.

Louise Casey said that society should be more ready to spend money to encourage good behaviour.
Spend other people's money. It's always the answer!

Rachel Lucas, though, has another take on it that's worth your time. Excerpt:
The culture is different. There are a lot of ways to describe it, none of which really nail it for me, but it is different. And until you get to the moment where they’re not doing anything to help during an attack, it’s pretty damn AWESOMELY different. I hesitate to even say that because I know some of my fellow Americans will take offense or take it the wrong way, but the thing is, like I keep saying, the people are are exceedingly polite and I like it a whole lot.

They don’t mow you down in crowds, they are considerate of your space, they are concerned about your wellbeing in general; frankly, I would rather - a MILLION TIMES OVER - be stuck in a crowded shopping center here than in the States. Would give one or two of my fingers, and I’m not joking about that, if Americans behaved as civilly on the roads and highways as the Brits do. This has nothing to do with me being enraptured by a new place; trust me, this is factual factiness. They drive better, they behave better in small spaces. Facts.

And I’m starting to think, as much as I like this aspect of society over here and as much as it pains me, that this "politeness" might just be their trouble.
Personally, I think the American perspective is best expressed by that quip that got Breda so much comment traffic:
Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone in the room.
Trefor Thomas, again:
To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.

To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized,
merely the domesticated.
The difference between Rachel's experience and that bemoaned by Louise Casey? The populations they're exposed to. Same as here.

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