It is often complained about that civil society just isn’t very civil anymore. And those who argue certainly have a very good point. A cursory glance around the world at the moment would show a smattering of politically based riots and terrorism going on at any given time. Much more prevalent (albeit not as singularly harmful) are the many tiny, venal ways that individuals make other people’s lives worse.
Undoubtedly, you’ve seen these in your daily life: Those in the workforce have to deal with the inane regulations of their bosses (that seemingly exist just to prove you can follow orders) and the absurd demands of customers, students of all ages have to deal with their smarmy classmates, and the worst thing of all is that in many cases (particularly in schools), both parties will get punished equally in some hamhanded attempt to be equal, rather than judging who the more guilty party was.
It’s all so frustrating, which is why, as something of a former juvenile delinquent and public school disciplinary case, I would like to make a suggestion based on what was my favorite method of conflict resolution as a teenager:
The nation would be an infinitely better place, national stress levels would be (purely conjecturing) a tenth of what it is now, and American civility and manners would skyrocket, if individuals had to live with the fear of getting a punch to the head if they rub people the wrong way. No weapons, no excessive beating and violence, just that every law abiding person be allowed one clean punch to the head of an obnoxious, uncivil excuse for a human being per day.
Atavistic? Perhaps, but in the words of the vastly underrated Robert Howard, “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” And as someone who acknowledged the faults of modern America (modern being the 1920s for him) while still ultimately loving his country, I feel Mr. Howard would agree even more with this notion if he saw his beloved country in its present dismal form.
Idly thinking about the many unpleasant personalities and societal traits that run rampant in the United States today, there are very few I can think of who wouldn’t be served with just one good smack to the face:
Would the national embarrassment that is Black Friday be nearly as bad, or even existent at all, if the bellowing biped buffalo had to be afraid of retribution from the poorly paid retail drones that they bully and abuse to get their overpriced gewgaws?
Would bosses be able to outsource at a moment’s notice, force their employees to work far beyond the legally mandated 40 hours a week, and demand for inane regulations that don’t affect productivity or customer service to be followed if you could lawfully punch them for their idiocy?
(Such a thing goes double for the male and female Human Resources schoolmarms that hold far too much power in modern America.)
Would school bullying and the omnipresent school shootings be nearly as big of a problem as they are if the bullied kids were allowed to fight back against their oppressors instead of being punished with inane and counterproductive zero-tolerance policies?
Would the incessant demands and whinings of collegiate children exist at all if they had reason to fear a bit of pain…or any retribution at all?
The answer to all these questions, I think is, “no.” And really, the greater cause of why America sucks as hard as it does nowadays is a lack of connection to consequences–a lack of “skin in the game,” if you will. Having to invest time and effort to NOT get punched in the head will do much to increase investment in the “social contract.”
Sadly, with the USA still being as litigious as it is, the best we can hope for is for articles like this to shift the Overton Window…and hopefully be acknowledged as the semi-satirical works they are.