Why Are We So Uncivil?

People have long complained of the lack of civility in society today. It is not only because people are no longer taught manners. Rather, it is largely because people are not communicating face-to-face. They may be engaged in social media but the real human contact so essential to civility is missing.

Robert Putnam, author of the landmark study Bowling Alone, claims there is a notable decline in personal contacts:

Subscription1.1The last several decades have witnessed a striking diminution of regular contacts with our friends and neighbors. We spend less time in conversation over meals, we exchange visits less often, we engage less often in leisure activities that encourage casual social interaction, we spend more time watching (admittedly some of it in the presence of others) and less time doing. We know our neighbors less well, and we see old friends less often. In short, it is not merely “do good” civic activities that engage us less, but also informal connecting.” (Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000, p. 115.)