Robert C. L. Moffat, Professor of Law, Levin College of Law University of Florida, Gainesville
“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.” Goethe
If we may judge by the number of current books on the topic by major authors, the decline of civility has come to be viewed as a major issue in our society. Current publications by Deborah Tannen1, Steven Carter2, Dominique Colas3, Mark Caldwell4, and a number of others5 attest to the popularity of the subject. Moreover, the topic has exploded into the popular media6. In addition, governments are adopting civility policies. 7 Other government officials are appealing for civility in governmental meetings8. Our local city attorney pleads passionately for civility in the public meetings of the city9. The Florida Bar urges lawyers to aspire to civility. 10 Some legislatures are passing laws attempting to require school children to be polite. 11 Even university faculty are offered training sessions to help them restore civility to the classroom. 12
Is incivility in fact increasing? Whether or no, we can be certain that there is a widespread perception that it is. Hence, I examine the extent of that perception in a variety of settings. Of necessity, almost all of the evidence is anecdotal in nature. Equally inconclusive is the analysis of that evidence, since it consists almost entirely of interpretations. However, the reader may become persuaded that incivility seems to be an indicator of deleterious social and psychological effects. More specifically, I suggest that Emile Durkheim’s anomie theory provides insight into the relation between apparently superficial incivility and more deep-seated social pathologies, so that it becomes plausible to see incivility as a barometer of underlying societal decay.
How widespread is this apparent growing incivility in our society? Closer examination reveals that it appears to be extensive. We see it in the growing litigiousness of our society. Rudeness is becoming more widespread in business and industry. The flowering of political deceit and dissembling engenders a widespread cynicism in society. That cynicism is nourished, perhaps most of all, by the well-documented journalistic incivility rampant in our society.
The growth of litigiousness in our society has been widely lamented. Despite occasional efforts to contain it, the pursuit of legal vindication of rights continues to grow at a rapid pace. That growth has been aided by an accompanying phenomenon: an explosion of rights. 13 The source is both legislative and judicial, but each forum is responding to demands from a public eager to out shout each other that they are greater victims than any other. Not surprisingly, the possibility of a civilized dialogue or discussion about issues becomes remote under such conditions. The noted philosopher Martin Golding comments, “We have experienced such an inflation of rights that the coinage of moral discourse has become debased.” 14 Harvard Law’s Mary Ann Glendon also worries about a reduction in the civility of civic discourse:
Our rights talk, in its absoluteness, promotes unrealistic expectations, heightens social conflicts, and inhibits dialogue that might lead toward consensus, accommodation, or at least the discovery of common ground. In its silence concerning responsibilities, it seems to condone acceptance of the benefits of living in a democratic social welfare state, without accepting the corresponding personal and civic obligations. 15
Those concerns are not confined to the scholarly arena. Even the columnist Molly Ivins, who would normally be inclined to favor trial lawyers, draws the line, worrying that the “Just win, baby” approach to lawyering may reflect a “societal decline in civility and decency.” 16
Rudeness in Business
But our growing incivility is not restricted to the legal arena. Rudeness in business and industry has been identified as a problem of increasing significance. Dan Rather reports his rather glum observations of the rudeness of clerks (especially younger ones) in New York City commercial establishments. He concluded: “Once, Americans knew how to work and cared about good, hard work. Maybe good times have spoiled us. Most especially, our kids.” 17 Recent studies confirm that this is a widespread problem. One study of the growth of the “ranks of the etiquette-challenged” found that the reactions to incivility can be costly to the organization in which it occurs. What did victims of incivility do? “Twelve percent said they intentionally decreased the quality of their work; 22 percent said they decreased their work effort; 28 percent said they lost work time trying to avoid the person; 52 percent said they lost time worrying about the person and the interaction; and 46 percent contemplated changing jobs. Twelve percent actually changed jobs to escape the bully.” 18
Other research reports that bullied persons complained of “anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, skin problems, panic attacks and low self-esteem.” 19 Indeed, the Gallup Poll reports that half of respondents report they are generally at least a little angry at work. 20 Another study indicates that “painful little incivilities” in the workplace are the most costly to the enterprise.
Rudeness “can affect the company’s bottom line by reducing productivity and leading to costly worker turnover.” 21 There are even claims that office conflicts have produced such severe results as post-traumatic stress disorder. 22 For example, the rudeness of a false accusation of sexual harassment resulted in illness, disability, and permanent unemployment. 23 Is the rudeness problem widespread? “Three-fourths of workers agree the workplace has become a ruder place in the past decade.” 24
The Rasp of Politics
Such developments in the workplace should not surprise us in light of the trends in our political life. We cannot ignore the fact that our national political debate is becoming increasingly characterized by the so-called culture wars. 25 The religious right attacks the academic left and vice versa.26 Moreover, since so many of the participants view themselves as the unique bearers of universal truth, any means to the sacred end is frequently embraced. What immense irony there is in the fact that Richard Nixon used the national interest as an excuse to engage in dirty tricks in order to ensure that the dangerous McGovern could not possibly unseat him from the presidency! A generation later Bill Clinton used virtually the same “sacred quest” excuse to justify illegalities in fundraising in order to prevent the dangerous Bob Dole from occupying the White House. Regrettably, such moves are no longer isolated events. In the view of the public, political deceit and dissembling has become the expected norm in the public life of the nation. How deeply damaging to our national fabric must it be to embrace that depth of cynicism?
Yet we have continued to plumb those depths. The scandals that have dogged Bill Clinton have disgusted our citizens and, if possible, further eroded their trust in politics in general. Some observers called for serious punishment of him in an attempt to raise our moral standards by defining deviance upward. 27 At the same time, the campaign of the Congressional Republicans to remove Clinton from office was wildly unpopular and that effort was seen by other observers as “political partisanship at its worst.”28 The dour conclusion was that the whole mess enhanced no reputations on either side. 29 The net result has been even greater cynicism regarding political life than we experienced previously.
Is our political cynicism really warranted? To some extent, no doubt. But that costly cynicism is nourished, not just by a factual foundation, but most of all by journalistic preoccupation with scandal in particular and the negative “angle” on things, in general. In her recent book The Argument Culture Deborah Tannen devotes an entire long chapter to the failings of the media. 30 In the process, she documents the single-minded media determination to present all issues as deadly battles between opposing forces. 31 We are now familiar with the slogan: “If it bleeds, it leads.” In their quest for increased ratings, journalists strive to make every issue as bloody as possible. 32 One result of this tack is that the flow of information is actually reduced. 33 Furthermore, the quality of civilized civic discourse is debased. And, of course, the inbuilt media incivility generates widespread public cynicism, while the public respect for the press wanes even further. 34
So, should we concern ourselves with the growing incivility in our society? Our growing litigiousness and rudeness in business carry substantial hidden costs. Political deceit gives birth to cynicism in society. That cynicism is, in turn, nurtured by widespread journalistic incivility. But that is not all. There is now substantial research showing that these “mere” incivilities generate not only harmful stress but more serious social pathologies, even to the point of mental illness and murder.
Incivility and Social Pathology
Just one of the significant costs of all these incivilities is felt in increasing stress and other social pathologies. For example, Judith Martin points out in her “Miss Manners” etiquette column that violence is occurring more frequently in disputes about matters that should be questions only of etiquette or even over issues too insignificant to merit an etiquette ruling, such as the murder that ended an argument over how to put the silverware in the dishwasher. She says: “Highway discourtesy and the perception of being treated disrespectfully are also now commonplace motives for crime. Whether they realize it or not, aggressive drivers and touchy teen-agers care so much about etiquette that they kill to maintain it. This is not the approved method for keeping society polite. Miss Manners cites it only to show that the craving to be treated politely is so fundamental that even outlaws feel it.” Judith Martin, “Miss Manners: Yes, Etiquette Actually can Ward Off Violence,” Gainesville Sun12 May 1997: WorkLife 14 (The Washington Post). [/note]
We may note that “Miss Manners” mentions road rage as an example, and road rage might be dismissed as mere rudeness. However, we read all too often of road rage that culminates in murder. 35 Similarly, reports of “air rage” occur frequently, with worries by airline personnel of more and more violent confrontations. At the same time, airline service continues to deteriorate in a setting in which no one is willing to take responsibility for service delays. 36
If we are inclined to dismiss such “rages” as associated only with the frustrations of travel, we should note that cell phone use has become a bone of increasing contention. What is more, frustrations arising from the use of cell phones by others have led to violent confrontations. 37 Simple rudeness can be deadly. A Florida woman who failed to respond to a younger woman’s “Good afternoon” was then challenged for her lack of manners. She subsequently died from a heart attack brought on by the stress of the incident, and the woman who greeted her now faces murder charges. 38 It has even become commonplace to hear of incidents in which males attempting to act like gentlemen are berated for their “condescending and inappropriate” behavior. Even though such behaviors are interpreted by some as patronizing, Miss Manners laments the treating of “obviously well-meant, conventional, trivial gestures of politeness as if they were insults. That is not only ruder, but . . . causes greater damage to the cause of civility.” 39
The Dangers of Repudiation
Miss Manners’ conviction is felt even more intensely by columnist William Raspberry, who believes that we must reduce our quick recourse to confrontation in every social or political disagreement: “Social activists don’t just disagree with their opposition; they speak and behave as though their opponents are the personification of evil: racist, sexist, market-worshiping pigs or irresponsible psychobabbling idiots. They’d have us believe our world is divided between nonchalant baby-killers and bedroom-invading fetus worshipers.” Does such incivility have deep costs? Raspberry believes so: “Am I suggesting that ordinary incivility is partly to blame for the deaths of school children? In a word, yes. I’m saying that adult irascibility–from political intemperance to road rage–can poison our social and civic atmosphere.” In other words, he sees the rampant incivility of our social and political life as creating an environment in which an occasional middle school child will absorb the spirit of the violent rhetoric that permeates society: “We behave in our civic and political lives as though anything goes, so long as it fits our side of the issues. And we are endlessly surprised when our children show themselves to be heartless teasers, graceless winners, bitter losers, self-centered jerks–and occasionally killers.” 40 Does that connection seem too far-fetched to be believable? We do not seem to have difficulty understanding how children that age are capable of learning violence from their elders in more obviously troubled parts of the world: youthful armies in Africa, Muslim militants in many places, children conscripted by the Tamils in Sri Lanka, and terrorist activities in Northern Ireland, Israel, Algeria, etc. Indeed, the United Nations now claims that “more than 300,000 girls and boys under 18 are involved in fighting in more than 30 countries.” 41 There seems no obvious reason why we should think that our youth would be immune to the culture of violence and hatred.
Egoism and Entitlement
A slightly different, but complementary, theory is offered by columnist Leonard Pitts, who concludes that the violent kids are simply spoiled brats: “Spoiled in the sense that they live lives of entitlement, their every waking thought revolving around themselves–their problems, their needs, their wants, their gratification.” His guess is that the root problem is self- centeredness: “They can’t see or sympathize beyond the borders of their own lives. Can’t begin to respect the needs or feelings of others.” And he sees this phenomenon as societal in nature: “Being spoiled is the all-American affliction. Our culture celebrates acquisition, treats self- interest as the only interest that matters.” 42 Pitts appears on the mark in singling out the social isolation of rampant individualism as the culprit in the growing social pathologies we experience. The FBI’s recent comprehensive study of the patterns of school violence points out that the troubled teens are “left out of peer groups.” Among the personality traits that indicated high risk: “poor coping skills, signs of depression, alienation, narcissism.” 43
But the problem of egoism is not confined to schoolyard killers. It flourishes all the way to the very top of the social pyramid. William Raspberry takes to task both former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight and the tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams for their complete lack of graciousness. 44 To see at play some of the extremes of egoism, there may be no better example than the extracurricular activities of former President Bill Clinton. His response to criticism of his failure to tell the truth is an apology that appeared far more angry than sincere. We will never know whether some appropriate kind of sanction short of removal from office could have been agreed upon, because the egoism of the House Republicans blocked entirely the possibility of any compromise. The whole mess illustrates Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation of “the insidious ways that egoism, individualism, and narcissism destroy the conditions that make shared life possible.” 45 Clinton’s reckless actions were the product of complete self- centeredness. It would be unreasonable to expect that he could suddenly become able to transcend it. The same may be said of the political stance of the House Republicans. It is often said that a society gets the leadership it deserves. Presumably then, Clinton and the Congress have been ideal leaders for a self-centered society: people as rapt in and wrapped up in their own selfish interests as one could imagine. If we all seek to drop the social bonds that would constrain our self-indulgence, we must accept the consequence: a decaying social fabric.
Solidarity Amidst Adversity
Throughout human history, people have for the most part lived by surviving the immense challenges of war, famine, pestilence, and similar calamities. Also for the most part, those tragedies have helped people discover a deep sense of community because of their need for mutual help. We have small ideas of this sense of community in the face of disaster from scattered experiences, such as the devastating flood that destroyed so much of Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1997, or the terrible dangers from the voracious wildfires in Florida during the summer of 1998.
But in the United States and the other industrialized nations, we no longer face such challenges on a society-wide basis. Despite temporal fluctuations in the levels of public assistance, the welfare state has insulated the bulk of the populations in these countries from the serious challenges to economic and physical survival faced by most of the world’s population. Moreover, governmental provision of welfare has substantially reduced the role of private charity in our communities. Consequently, private citizens have far less occasion for solidarity- building interaction with the less fortunate members of society46. Community-building charitable activity has been replaced by impersonal, professionalized government isolation of the less well- off from the remainder of society. Such social distance makes it easier to rail against government welfare programs. But even corporate giving programs have become the regular targets of shareholder resolutions. 47 And some businesses even feel the need to pressure their employees to donate their Christmas gift certificates to charity. 48 With the advent of the Internet, charitable giving has become even more remote from the object of charity, because one may now donate without personal cost to charities online, since the retailer from whom you purchase will pick up the tab. 49
We should not ignore the possibility that the loss on the other side of the exchange may be equally significant. Persons who receive charity typically give thanks. Those who receive government benefits easily come to view them as an entitlement. But such “benefits” come from many sources other than government. Hence, the entitlement attitude extends even into family relations. Indeed, in Miss Manners’ view, that anti-social mindset has become so widespread that in some cases ungrateful progeny have become “defiant, ignorant, mean, selfish and greedy.”50 As egoism triumphs, both benefactors and beneficiaries are released from the strong social bonds of charity and gratitude.
Now those who once sought fulfillment for their lives in charitable activity are free to pursue the gratification of their merest whim. In place of adversity, we face the multiple challenges of prosperity. The catch is that the evidence supports the proposition that adversity tends to encourage the building of community, while prosperity seems to break down into the pursuit of ego gratification by individuals isolated from one another by their selfishness. Our growing wealth combined with the absence of real challenge has generated a social phenomenon that future historical analysis may reveal as alarmingly similar to social conditions in previous highly successful empires, during the beginning of their declines but prior to their awareness that they were on the downward slope.
Anomie Amidst Affluence
The century which is now closing has been characterized (in the industrialized nations) by an unprecedented broad prosperity and the flowering of the individualism which it nourishes. At the beginning of this century, that prospect worried Emile Durkheim, who forecast the breakdown of a society into anomie if the solidarity that generated social cohesion were to be lost. 51 He perceived that societal cohesion is founded on participation in the conscience collective, the morality of society that binds it together. Translated into the terms of our present discussion, adherence to the bonds of society is reflected in the civility of a society.
At the same time, incivility is an indication of anomie. Rampant individuals who have lost the moral limits which society imposes in order to maintain its strength feel no hesitation in displaying incivility to others. Digby Anderson sees the threat to civility arising from “the assorted barbarians, relativizers, self-esteemers, narcissists and egalitarians who are now burning the city.” 52 In fact, a recent study indicates that excessively self-centered people are the most aggressive when they are criticized. The study concluded that “narcissists mainly want to punish or defeat someone who has threatened their highly favorable views of themselves.” 53 Why should such egotists care about others at all? Their only reason would be that others can be used to help them achieve their own selfish goals. Hence, civility is an important indicator of the health of a society. Incivility, by the same token, indicates societal decline. Taken far enough, it means nothing less than the destruction of society.
In the Durkheimian perspective, it is now possible to see that the effects of incivility recounted in the first section pale in comparison to the real cost of incivility: the loss of social cohesion that is also the root social cause of our burgeoning incivility. Civility is Durkheimian morality: adherence to the bonds of society. Incivility is its opposite: anomie, the loss of the limits of those social bonds. That loss means that society loses its cohesion. Since cohesion is the cement that holds society together, the presence of anomie in itself becomes a barometer of societal decay.
Anderson, Digby. Ed. Gentility Recalled: “Mere” Manners and the Making of Social Order. London: Social Affairs Unit, 1998.
—. “Civility Under Siege,” Wall Street Journal2 Oct. 1998: W14.
Barber, Benjamin R. “Constitutional Rights–Democratic Instrument or Democratic Obstacle?” Robert A. Licht, ed., The Framers and Fundamental Rights. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1991. 23-24.
Bushman, Brad and Roy F. Baumeister. “Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75 (1998): 219-229.
Caldwell, Mark. A Short History of Rudeness: Manners, Morals, and Misbehavior in Modern America.New York: Picador, 1999.
Cantor, David. The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance & Pluralism in America. New York: The Anti-Defamation League, 1994.
Carpenter, Dave. “Etiquette Lost as Cell Phone Use Grows,” Gainesville Sun2 Aug. 2000: 1A, 8A.
Carter, Stephen L. Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy. New York: Basic Books, 1998.
Colas, Dominique. Civil Society and Fanaticism: Conjoined Histories. Tr. Amy Jacobs Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.
“Dear Abby,” Gainesville Sun27 Jan. 2000: 2D.
Durkheim, Emile. Suicide. Ed. George Simpson. Trans. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1951.
Farney, Dennis and Gerald Seib. “The Stature Debate: Monicagate Left Few Reputations Enhanced,” Wall Street Journal16 Feb. 1999: 1A.
“FBI Releases Model of School Shooters,” Gainesville Sun7 Sept. 2000: 3A. Glendon, Mary Ann. Rights Talk. New York: Free Press, 1991.
Golding, Martin. “The Significance of Rights Language,” Philosophical Topics18 (1990): 53- 64.
Gurstein, Rochelle. “The Tender Democrat,” New Republic5 Oct. 1998: 40-41.
Guynn, Jessica. “Make Yourself Bullyproof at Work,” Gainesville Sun18 Jan. 1999.
Hanrahan, Pegeen. “Civility Please — In Public and In Private,” Gainesville Sun22 May 1999: 9A.
“High Cost of Rudeness,” Gainesville Sun27 July 1998: WorkLife 13.
“How Rude! How Crude! How Socially Unacceptable!” USA Today5 June 2000: 5D.
Hughes, Robert. Culture of Complaint: The Graying of America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
“Incivility in the Workplace Costs Companies Time, Money,” Gainesville Sun30 May 1998: 7B.
Ivins, Molly. “The Rambo Approach to Law,” Gainesville Sun29 Apr. 1999: 11A.
Jayamaha, Dilshika. “Rebels Sell Belief that Pain Brings Liberation,” Gainesville Sun10 Sept. 2000: 6A.
Kanner, Bernice. “Politeness is Endangered,” Gainesville Sun20 Apr. 2000: 11A.
Kramer, Hilton. “The Second Cold War: This One Is Internal. Culture Is the Battleground,” Wall Street Journal2 Apr. 1999: W13.
Licht, Robert A., Ed. The Framers and Fundamental Rights. Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1991.
Magrin, Jud. “Different Focuses: Newly Sworn-in Commissioners Speak Out,” Gainesville Sun7 May 1999: 1B.
“Man Shot, Killed During Apparent Road Rage Case,” Gainesville Sun5 Aug. 2000: 3B.
Martin, Judith. “Miss Manners: Yes, Etiquette Actually Can Ward Off Violence,” Gainesville Sun12 May 1997: WorkLife 14.
—. “Miss Manners: Children Never Learned to Express Gratitude,” Gainesville Sun3 Jan. 2000: WorkLife 12.
—. “Miss Manners: Don’t Mistake Kindness for Insult,” Gainesville Sun17 July 2000: WorkLife 14.
Marx, Gary T. “Manners in the Age of New Communications Technologies.” The Communitarian Update29, 2 Aug. 2000. Online. Communitarian Update Archives. Available at http://www.gwu.edu/~ccps/comup29.html
McCullough, Donald. Say Please, Say Thank You. New York: Putnam, 1998.
McMorris, Frances A. “Can Post-Traumatic Stress Arise From Office Battles?” Wall Street Journal 5 Feb. 1996: B1.
Moffat, Robert. “Mustering the Moxie to Master the Media Mess: Some Introductory Comments in the Quest for Media Responsibility.” University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy 9: (1998) 137-49.
Murray, Charles. In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government. Simon & Schuster, 1988.
“One in Six Employees Cite Anger at Work,” Gainesville Sun6 Sept. 1999: 9B.
“Online Shoppers are Helping Charities with Purchases,” Gainesville Sun4 Jan. 2000: 5A.
Pitts, Leonard. “What is it that Drives Kids Today to Commit Such Violent Acts?” GainesvilleSun16 July 1998: 11A.
“Police: Greeting Turned Deadly,” Gainesville Sun29 May 1999: 6B.
Radson, Marion. “Participate in ‘Civility Month’ by Treating Others with Respect,” Gainesville Sun 15 May 2000: 6A.
Raspberry, William. “How to Handle These Toxins in America’s Social Atmosphere?” Gainesville Sun26 May 1998: 7A.
—. “Political Partisanship at its Worst,” Gainesville Sun22 Dec. 1998: 15A.
—. “Graciousness is a Quality Some of Us Surely Could Use,” Gainesville Sun15 Sept. 2000: 11A.
Rather, Dan. “It’s Service in America with a Smirk,” Gainesville Sun7 June 1998: 1G.
Rosenthal, A.M. “Define Deviancy Up, Senate,” Gainesville Sun31 Jan. 1999: 3G.
Rosner, Bob. “A False Accusation of Sexual Harassment,” Gainesville Sun2 Oct. 2000: Worklife 15.
“Seminole County OKs Civility Policy,” Gainesville Sun15 Apr. 1999: 1B.
Shue, Henry. “Subsistence Rights: Shall We Secure TheseRights?” How Does the Constitution Secure Rights?Eds. Robert Goldwin and William A. Schambra. Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1985: 74-100.
Stephenson, Paula. “Aspirational Civility,” The Professional. Sept. 1999: 3.
Stumpf, Bill. The Ice Palace that Melted Away. New York: Pantheon, 1998.
Tannen, Deborah. The Argument Culture: Moving From Debate to Dialogue. New York: Random House, 1998.
Tanner, Robert. “‘Yes, Ma’am,’ ‘No Ma’am’ Enters into Political Debate,” Gainesville Sun29 May 2000: 9B.
Zuckerman, Laurence. “Rising Tide of Passengers Fumes Over Delays at Nation’s Airports: Weather and Labor Tensions Worsen Troubles,” New York Times16 July 2000: 1.
- Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture: Moving From Debate to Dialogue(New York: Random House, 1998).
- Stephen L. Carter, Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy(New York: Basic Books, 1998).
- Dominique Colas, Civil Society and Fanaticism: Conjoined Histories, trans. Amy Jacobs (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).
- Mark Caldwell, A Short History of Rudeness: Manners, Morals, and Misbehavior in Modern America(New York: Picador, 1999).
- Bill Stumpf, The Ice Palace that Melted Away(New York: Pantheon, 1998); Donald McCullough, Say Please, Say Thank You(New York: Putnam, 1998); Digby Anderson, ed., Gentility Recalled: “Mere” Manners and the Making of Social Order(London: Social Affairs Unit, 1998); Robert Hughes, Culture of Complaint: The Graying of America(New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
- For example, “How Rude! How Crude! How Socially Unacceptable!” USA Today, 5 June 2000: 5D.
- For example, “Seminole County OKs Civility Policy,” Gainesville Sun15 Apr. 1999:1B.
- For example, Pegeen Hanrahan (Gainesville City Commissioner), “Civility Please — In Public and In Private,” Gainesville Sun22 May 1999: 9A. See also Jud Magrin, “Different Focuses: Newly Sworn-in Commissioners Speak Out,” Gainesville Sun7 May 1999:1B.
- Marion Radson, “Participate in ‘Civility Month’ by Treating Others with Respect,” Gainesville Sun15 May 2000: 6A.
- Paula Stephenson, “Aspirational Civility,” The Professional3 Sept. 1999: 3 (A publication of the Center for Professionalism of The Florida Bar).
- Robert Tanner, “‘Yes, Ma’am,’ ‘No Ma’am’ Enters into Political Debate,” Gainesville Sun29 May 2000: 9B. (An Associated Press follow-up story on the legislation adopted in Louisiana in 1999.)
- The University Center for Excellence in Teaching, “Faculty on the Front Lines: Reclaiming Civility in the Classroom,” PBS Adults Learning Service, 8 Apr.1999.
- See, e.g., Robert A. Licht, introduction, The Framers and Fundamental Rightsby Robert A. Licht ed. (Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1991) 1; Benjamin R. Barber, “Constitutional Rights–Democratic Instrument or Democratic Obstacle?” in Ibid. 23, 24; Henry Shue, “Subsistence Rights: Shall we Secure TheseRights?” Robert Goldwin and William Schambra, eds., How Does the Constitution Secure Rights?(Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute Press, 1985) 74, 77.
- Martin Golding, “The Significance of Rights Language,” Philosophical Topics18 (1990): 63. (This is a review article of A.I. Melden’s Rights in Human Lives: An Historical-Philosophical Essay.)
- Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk (New York: Free Press, 1991) 14.
- Molly Ivins, “The Rambo Approach to Law,” Gainesville Sun29 Apr. 1999: 11A (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
- Dan Rather, “It’s Service in America with a Smirk,” Gainesville Sun7 June 1998: 1G, 4G (King Features).
- “Incivility in the Workplace Costs Companies Time, Money,” Gainesville Sun30 May 1998: 7B (Associated Press).
- Jessica Guynn, “Make Yourself Bullyproof at Work,” Gainesville Sun18 Jan. 1999: Worklife 3 (Knight Ridder Newspapers).
- “One in Six Employees Cite Anger at Work,” Gainesville Sun6 Sept. 1999: 9B (Associated Press).
- “High Cost of Rudeness,” Gainesville Sun27 July 1998: WorkLife 13.
- Frances A. McMorris, “Can Post-Traumatic Stress Arise From Office Battles?” Wall Street Journal5 Feb. 1996: B1.
- Bob Rosner, “A False Accusation of Sexual Harassment,” Gainesville Sun2 Oct. 2000: Worklife 15 (Working Woundedsyndicated column).
- Bernice Kanner, “Politeness is Endangered,” Gainesville Sun20 Apr. 2000: 11A (Knight Ridder Newspapers).
- For one side of the debate, see, e.g., David Cantor, The Religious Right: The Assault on Tolerance & Pluralism in America(New York: The Anti-Defamation League, 1994).
- Hilton Kramer, “The Second Cold War: This One is Internal. Culture is the Battleground,” Wall Street Journal2 Apr. 1999: W13.
- A.M. Rosenthal, “Define Deviancy Up, Senate,” Gainesville Sun 31 Jan. 1999: 3G (New York Times). Rosenthal is referring to Senator Moynihan’s 1993 adaptation of Durkheim’s notion of the social definition of deviance.
- William Raspberry, “Political Partisanship at its Worst,” Gainesville Sun22 Dec. 1998: 15A (The Washington Post).
- Dennis Farney & Gerald Seib, “The Stature Debate: Monicagate Left Few Reputations Enhanced,” Wall Street Journal16 Feb.1999: 1A. The article is subtitled: “Is It a Sign of These Times, Or of the Saga Itself, That No Heroes Emerge?”
- She titles chapter three: “From Lapdog to Attack Dog: the Aggression Culture and the Press.” Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture: Moving From Debate to Dialogue(1998) 54-94.
- Tannen states: “Because of the belief that fights–and only fights–are interesting, any news or information item that is not adversarial is less likely to be reported.” Tannen 30.
- Tannen is scornful of the media practice that “the best way to cover news is to find spokespeople who express the most extreme, polarized views and present them as ‘both sides’ . . .” Tannen 3.
- But, as Tannen observes, the overly critical posture of the media dries up the flow of information by discouraging potential sources from being more forthcoming. Tannen 68.
- See Robert Moffat, “Mustering the Moxie to Master the Media Mess: Some Introductory Comments in the Quest for Media Responsibility,” University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy 9 (1998): 137-49.
- “Man Shot, Killed During Apparent Road Rage Case,” Gainesville Sun5 Aug. 2000: 3B (The Associated Press); “Man Charged in Apparent Road Rage-Led Shooting,” Gainesville Sun7 Aug. 2000: 3B (The Associated Press).
- Laurence Zuckerman, “Rising Tide of Passengers Fumes Over Delays at Nation’s Airports: Weather and Labor Tensions Worsen Troubles,” New York Times16 July 2000: 1.
- Dave Carpenter, “Etiquette Lost as Cell Phone Use Grows,” Gainesville Sun2 Aug. 2000: 1A (Associated Press Business Writer); as the subhead indicates, “Aggravation leads to scuffles,” 8A; report includes “black eyes and even a cracked rib after eruptions of ‘cell phone rage’,” 8A. See also Gary T. Marx, “Manners in the Age of New Communications Technologies,” The Communitarian Update29 online, Communitarian Update Archives, 2 Aug. 2000: “Suddenly there are dozens of new ways to be rude. Do respect for privacy and other social norms stand a chance in the face of cell phones, beepers, and caller ID?”
- “Police: Greeting Turned Deadly,” Gainesville Sun 29 May 1999: 6B (The Associated Press).
- Judith Martin, “Miss Manners: Don’t Mistake Kindness for Insult,” Gainesville Sun17 July 2000: WorkLife 14 (The Washington Post).
- William Raspberry, “How to Handle These Toxins in America’s Social Atmosphere?” Gainesville Sun26 May 1998: 7A (The Washington Post).
- Dilshika Jayamaha, “Rebels Sell Belief that Pain Brings Liberation,” Gainesville Sun10 Sept. 2000: 6A (The Associated Press; the report is “Close-up: Child soldiers”)
- Leonard Pitts, “What Is It That Drives Kids Today to Commit Such Violent Acts?” Gainesville Sun16 July 1998: 11A (The Miami Herald).
- “FBI Releases Model of School Shooters,” Gainesville Sun7 Sept. 2000: 3A (The Associated Press).
- William Raspberry, “Graciousness Is a Quality Some of Us Surely Could Use,” Gainesville Sun 15 Sept. 2000: 11A (The Washington Post).
- See Rochelle Gurstein, “The Tender Democrat,” New Republic, 5 Oct. 1998: 41 (reviewing Stephen Carter, n. 2).
- See, e.g., the dramatic statistics presented in Charles Murray, In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government(Simon & Schuster, 1988) 276.
- E.g., The Pfizer Corporation 1999 Annual Meeting Shareholder Proxy Solicitation StatementsV-15-16: “Item 5 — Shareholder Proposal Relating to Charitable Contributions.”
- “Dear Abby,” Gainesville Sun27 Jan. 2000: 2D.
- “Online Shoppers are Helping Charities with Purchases,” Gainesville Sun4 Jan. 2000: 5A (The Associated Press).
- Judith Martin, “Miss Manners: Children Never Learned to Express Gratitude,” Gainesville Sun 3 Jan. 2000: WorkLife 12 (The Washington Post).
- Emile Durkheim, Suicide, ed. George Simpson, tr. John A. Spaulding and George Simpson (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1951) 241-76.
- Digby Anderson, “Civility Under Siege,” Wall Street Journal2 Oct. 1998: W14.
- Brad Bushman and Roy Baumeister, “Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology75 (1998): 227