New: Society is Coarser But Better


In a recent interview with New York magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia fretted over the "coarsness" of contempoary society, a concern echoed by former Eurythmics front woman Annie Lennox, who recently assailed music videos as a form of pornography, and the 72 percent of Americans (according to Gallup) who think the nation's morals are sliding.

Yet however crude etiquette might be these days, writes Nick Gillespie, all the data show declines in bad behavior, especially among youth, whom we would assume are most impressionable.

We may well be an increasingly ill-mannered society, one that's soaking in violent video games, instantly available online porn, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo like our mothers used to soak in Palmolive liquid. But we're also one in which youth violence, sex, and drug use are all trending down. If that means putting up with, you know, ladies cursing and other examples of unambiguously crass behavior, it seems a terrifically small price to pay.