Have you noticed people are really crabby these days? Living in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I am used to drivers cutting me off on the freeway. And it is not too remarkable to find myself standing in line behind a real grumbler at the post office or grocery store. We all let our irritable natures get the better of us some days. What is alarming, however, is the degree of anger and outrage that seems to be bubbling up in every corner of society.
The vitriol that passes for national discourse in this era of divisive politics, angry social media, and 24/7 news cycles seems to have stripped us of a sense of civility. The constructive sharing of opposing ideas has been preempted not simply by anger, as one might surmise watching cable news or observing Sunday dinner with the relatives. Healthy debate has been usurped by what social scientist Arthur Brooks calls a “culture of contempt.” Continue reading