Why rude is bad
Why rude is bad
The John Wayne style of management has become popular again since President Trump was elected. It was there before, of course. Bullying has always been a technique for getting short-term results. Fear is one of our big motivators. It can be fear of physical violence, fear of being made to look stupid, fear of loss of love, fear of almost any loss. When I threaten you with loss I am coercing you with fear. There is an entire industry built on how to overcome fearful situations.
Rude is one sort of coercion, a particularly nasty one. Like confusion, another coercive technique, it is based on the coerced person having standards of behaviour that put them at a disadvantage. If you will not lie as a matter of principle but I will, you are disadvantaged. What is your retaliation? If you are what we call a strong character you will stick to you standards. If you are not so strong you will lie, too. Rudyard Kipling put it pretty well:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
So how do we deal with Trumpian politics? Do we stick to our standards even if they fail us?
Will our short-term inclinations drive us into their standards or will we persevere with our own, even to death? Well, democracy is about each voter being equal so the answer is ‘ask the mass of people’. But the truth is that we are not all equal in intellect, vision, understanding, ability to weather short-term deprivations, views about legacy and so on. It is easy for someone to say stick to our standards when the consequences won’t affect them much. Not so easy if you may be on the street for doing so. I have known a few people who stuck to their standards and were ruined.
If we allow the present trend to harsh language, whimsical far-reaching decisions, rough treatment of others, we will precipitate the time when we return to the jungle. It won’t be a jungle of trees and grasses but of surveillance and mistrust. Every thoughtless statement, every lie, every coercion, brings us closer to a time when we live in total isolation connected to the world only by wireless.
You and I cannot control the herd but we can influence it. We are the example of whatever we do, not only to the young but to our peers, to old people, to our helpers, to our bosses. To the extent that we can stick to our standards and not be corrupted by the John Wayne approach to life we should do so. If that gives us no pain we are not being rigorous enough. Asserting our principles is a duty and we should expect that it will make stressful demands on us.
The reward is in the mirror. It may come in terms of jobs, relationships, feeling of happiness too but it will still be who we see in the mirror that is the truth.
Better a good personal self-image than a bloody battlefield.
Rude is bad.