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Enraged by cartoons

I haven't done a lot of reading on the topic of the violence perpetrated "in response" to Danish Cartoons. prester_scott posted something on the topic which lead to a very good exchange with fishsupreme:


I semi-formulated a post of my own on the topic. I never actually got past the mulling it over in my head stage. Had I typed it out, it would have seemed rather harsh and unforgiving to most readers, I think. I'll just keep those thoughts to myself and quote David Brin:
I believe it's good that we have a rambunctious society, filled with individualistic and opinionated people. Serenity is nice -- we all need some -- but to hold it up above all other values has become a cheap cliché. Serenity alone never brought progress. Hermits on hilltops never solved a problem.

The adversarial process -- the tug and push of contrary views -- helps us to improve, both as individuals and as a culture. Criticism is the only known antidote to error -- elites shunned it, and their evasion spread ruin across history. We do each other a great favor (though it's not always appreciated) when we help find each others' mistakes.

And yet...

And yet, it also seems to me that we'd all be a lot happier, and better off, and more capable of dealing with criticism if each of us were to remember, now and then, to say the following phrase:

"I am a member of a civilization."


This is more true now than ever, as we enter an edgy century of transition.

Our society has many flaws, but if you ponder history and cantankerous human nature, it's astonishing how far we've come. (Wouldn't our ancestors have wanted us to be better?)

We don't say IAAMOAC often enough.

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