“Civility costs nothing and buys everything.” —Mary Wortley Montagu

Incivility has become is a global issue. Research shows that there is growing incivility globally especially in America. It is a cause for concern because societies cannot grow healthy when people don’t care for ethics and etiquette.

Causes of Incivility

Before we discuss the causes of incivility, let us first understand the definition of civility. Here is a simple, straight and apt definition on civility offered by Yale Professor of Law Stephen Carter: “An attitude of respect, even love, for our fellow citizens.”

There are several reasons for growing incivility. Some of them include impatience, intolerance, advanced technology, lack of empathy and compassion, lack of healthy culture, unrealistic expectations and aspirations, cutting the corners, and endeavoring to achieve success at any cost. Although social media is good in connecting people and sharing knowledge, we find people behaving unethically and uncivilized manner. At times they troll eminent thinkers and people like cockroaches. Some of the social media platforms are unable to enforce code of conduct and ensure discipline resulting in increased incivility. Both print and online media highlight negativity rather than positivity. At times they carry forward the news without verifying facts and figures. They sensationalize the unauthenticated information to compete with other media channels.

Tips to Ensure Civility

The growing incivility needs to be checked immediately to ensure ethical standards so that we can excel as successful ancestors by passing moral and ethical standards to our next generation. Here are some tips to ensure civility.

  • Emphasize character, not
    charisma. Emphasize spiritualism, not materialism. Keep people above the
  • Inculcate right culture
    and values in children by parents at home. Parents must clearly
    differentiate between what is right and wrong.
  • Emphasize character
    education, not paper education. Educators must impart moral education
    apart from academic education to enable the students to acquire character
  • Impart soft skills
    training for students in educational institutions to enable them to
    improve their attitude, personality and behavior. It also improves their interpersonal
    skills, emotional intelligence, ethics and etiquette.
  • Politicians must keep
    their political campaigns decent with an emphasis on ethics and etiquette.
    It is essential to differ with opponents but there is a manner in which
    the differences are aired publicly by politicians. They must adopt soft
    leadership rather than hard leadership to maintain the code of conduct and
    ensure that their campaign is conducted with dignity and honor.
  • Encourage volunteerism
    and nonprofits to serve society.

Apart from incivility, gun culture is growing especially in America which is a cause for concern. There is more aggression due to advanced technology. Technology has become a bane rather a boon globally. We must know how to harness technology to build better civil societies.

Pay It Forward

Empathy and compassion are essential to enhance civility among global citizens. If incivility is not checked now, it becomes an integral part of society thus adversely affecting ethics and etiquette in future. Hence, an integrated efforts from all stakeholders including educators, intellectuals, and international bodies is essential to check incivility globally. Remember, no one is born disrespectful, rude, or hateful since it is a learned behavior. Hence, the onus lies with all generations especially the silent generation and baby boomers to inspire millennials to rise the standards of civility globally. To conclude, incivility is not confined to America alone but spread across the world. It has become a way of life globally which must be checked to ensure peaceful and prosperous global societies.

Life is great!

Professor M.S. Rao

Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India

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