Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In defence of civility

I had a column in yesterday's Canberra Times, 'Practical, proud paths of civility'.

I'm making the case for a little public courtesy.  A sample:
The more selfishly we behave, the more likely others are to withdraw from us: because we are threatening, rude or just stinky. Selfishness often encourages selfishness. When a good proportion of society are all retreating into themselves, the filaments of mutual aid fray.

The point is not that Western civilisation must become a single cult, united in flower-chains and patchouli. It is that public life will only grow more crowded in years to come, and will be increasingly draining without a little civility. The energy we save with privative individualism will often be lost in a petty struggle with strangers as indifferent as ourselves. In short, more parts of life cafés – buses, lifts, escalators, cafés – will be like peak hour traffic.
(Photo: Kalan)

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