Why have people become so disrespectful?

Why has it become so difficult for people to separate themselves psychologically from routine business deals or incidents in which they have no real personal involvement? I’m not talking about the big injustices; just the social interactions we all manage daily.

Too many times, I see individuals demonstrate an inability to see posture as a tactic as opposed to a personal attack. That people from time-to-time disagree is normal. It should not always be the reason for a feud or vendetta. In recent days I have observed people become so invested in differing opinions that ugly and unpleasant situations have occurred simply because one or more of the parties cannot recognize the old saw “it’s not personal it just business.”

There is a progression in the situation that defies common sense, let alone common decency. It begins with the arrogance that all parties agree with the demands of one individual. That individual then refuses to accept that others also have opinions even as those others likely demand the same submission to their respective positions. The resulting clash causes petulant, quarrelsome, and sometimes violent behaviors that fly in the face of common decency. The parties see every issue only as a disputed point not as a discussion point. There is a perception of disrespect that is immediately interpreted as a personal slight. The explosion of egos becomes an unpleasant battlefield enveloping all without respect for the rights of those not involved.

I do not understand how our society has allowed this disturbing behavior to overtake our common discourse. There was a time we respected one another’s opinions. We realized that while we differed there was the chance of learning in the disagreement. We understood that compromise brought progress and resolution. Today that demand for subjugation has replaced the need for compromise. It is no longer enough to win the balance of the debate. Now the victor must totally smash the “loser” and vanquish any and all reference to a dissenting opinion.

We create our enemies so in any exchange I believe it is important to “leave meat on the bone for all.” Everyone must come away with something even if that something is purely an understanding of why a position was errant. The philosophy recognizes that we all learn from one another. Every opinion has some merit and destroying an enemy today may also destroy an ally in the future. This is a loss because allies can disagree but enemies must fight.

When people disagree on socially acceptable issues the disagreement should not become so passionate that the value of the resolution is lost in the minutiae of the personalities. No one should become so obsessed with a perspective that he or she will commit questionable acts or become abusive simply to win the argument. Neither should anyone become so insecure that a differing opinion would cause him or her to focus on turning the disagreement into a personal battle. These behaviors represent an immaturity that damage our relationships as well as the fabric of our social structure.

We each need to step back and evaluate our “selves” to be sure we understand that risk is a part of any interaction. If we cannot accept that risk on a given issue, we should move aside and not become involved. It is time that reasonable heads once again take charge of the dialogue and put an end to the outrageous behavior. Social bullying is steadily becoming the norm in our lives and our culture is suffering for it.


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