The Decline of Respectful Discourse

The freedom of expression is sacrosanct to any open and free society. The rise of social media could enhance this freedom, providing more people with the opportunity of expression and thought.  What is dismaying is the predominance of crude, obnoxious language generously laced with toxic invectives. Facebook, as an example, is filled with the vernacular of the rude and crude, particularly around politics and religion.

These kinds of coarse commentaries or opinions may be protected, but reduces the level of collective intelligence and critical thought to alarming levels. I shudder in the mere thought that children and teens are reading this vapidness. Do people truly believe that obnoxious insults will convince others of the veracity of their point of view?  Or is this an extension of narcissistic/ insecure people craving attention?

In politics, these invective filled posts originate from the right and the left side of the political spectrum. Debate isn’t about who can scream the loudest, but who offers up insight and the ability to articulate a belief. Grossly insulting the opposition only exposes the vacuousness of the writer.

The dissipation of the art of debate has spread to major cable news outlets where pundits sometimes interrupt arrogantly before the other has completed their thoughts. I even heard one pundit actually say “I won’t allow you to say what you are about to say”, really!! That’s an astonishing debate tactic.

It has always been a truth that with freedom comes responsibility. Vileness, and personal insults are anathema to the great leaders of all disciplines or ideology. The decline of this ethos only portends further disintegration of the fabric of a vibrant society for our children and grandchildren.

One thought on “The Decline of Respectful Discourse

  1. Jeff, I could not have expressed it so eloquently, and I agree with your every word. Self-Expression has deteriorated into a competitive, crude vulgarity that is not worth the time to read or observe.

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