Can we have civility without repression?
I got into a discussion recently about lack of manners in today’s society (in the United States). I mentioned that a lot of countries whose citizens are considered very polite (in this case, the Japanese) also have a very repressed society. This could also be said for the United States prior to the 1960’s.
It seems to me that ever since our society has had a more lax and accepting attitude about self-expression and sexuality, common courtesy and modesty have become increasingly rare. I know too many people who have the “I’m gonna say what I want and I don’t care what you think” attitude, which totally disregards any respect for others. I see too many people wearing disgustingly revealing outfits, talking loudly on cell-phones in the middle of a restaurant or classroom, and just being generally rude.
So, do you guys think it’s possible for a society to maintain common courtesy and propriety without severe repression of sexuality and individualism? Or must we choose one over the other?