ATG’s Thinker Thoughts: “Civil Discourse”

Welcome to ATG’s “Thinker Thoughts”, an initiative intended to help us THINK more deeply and deliberately amid the hurried pace of life’s existence.
Every Friday, we’re posting our “Thinker Thoughts”, a short quote to reflect on from a recent commentary. Give it a think and let us know your thinker thoughts!
This week’s Thinker Thoughts comes from the piece in the Wall Street Journal (May 30, 2017): “Civil Discourse in Decline: Where Does It End?” (available online with subscription only) by Gerald F. Seib:

Politeness, decorum, respect–all seem to be endangered ideas. Anybody who isn’t troubled isn’t really paying attention. The consequences of this trend are real, and visible everyday in Washington and in state capitals…

More than that, though, the trend has spread more widely in society. Athletes ostentatiously celebrate their achievements–even the most routine ones–by mocking their opponents. It used to be called bad sportsmanship. It’s now normal. One is left to wonder: What kind of behavior is society modeling for its youngest members?…

The bigger question may be: What can be done about it?…’The first thing is to recognize that it’s a problem,’ [says Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame]. ‘My worry is that conversation has deteriorated to a point where we’ve just become accustomed to it.'”

Keep thinking with our previous Thinker Thoughts on:
homo prospectus
names and identities in the internet age
lifelong learners
star sanctuaries
artificial intelligence
the intellectual life
learning from early humans
and the importance of generosity of spirit

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