Catholic Match Post on a World without Manners

My latest post is up on Catholic Match, discussing the pitfalls and solutions of dating in a world without set manners:

For an example; just the other day I read a woman claiming that it is inappropriate behavior for a man to compliment a woman on her looks if they are not dating. Not long after, on a different site, I read a man recounting how he did just that in a (successful) bid to cheer up an evidently unhappy stranger.

Now, suppose a man who thinks it is an act of kindness compliments a woman who believes that such behavior is inappropriate. We immediately have a conflict in which one thinks she is being mistreated and the other thinks he is being rebuked for an act of kindness.

The immediate point isn’t which one is right; the point is that neither can justly claim the other did anything wrong, as far as this little scenario goes, because they were each following what they believed to be appropriate. Only there is, at present, no objective and exterior standard which both may be expected to know and to which both can appeal.

To make matters worse, the same man may receive a completely different response from a different woman, meaning that even his own experience cannot serve him as a guide.

Thus, the answer often given when this problem is brought up—“Just don’t act inappropriately”—misses the point entirely. The problem isn’t so much that people behave inappropriately, it’s that the word ‘inappropriate’ in this circumstance has no content.

To say ‘act appropriately’ is meaningless unless there is an agreed upon, objective standard for ‘appropriate’ that both parties can be expected to be aware of and to which both sides can appeal. We simply do not have that in modern Western society (we are not discussing here obviously aggressive behavior such as physical grabbing or open solicitation).

Now, the obvious solution is “then we need to establish new standards!” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. No one sits down and says, “our society shall have these manners and these norms for this reason.” These things develop over time, born of ethics, custom, common beliefs, and so on. All that’s mostly been torn up and thrown out of our culture, and restoring it is beyond the scope of any one of us.

No, my point is much less ambitious; it is simply to encourage charity. Being aware that the other person is operating under such uncertainty ought to make us more patient and less quick to judge when he does something we consider inappropriate. This alone would smooth out many if not most of the friction that occurs in such cases.

Read the rest here.

UPDATE: I realized that I put in the wrong link in both cases. It’s been fixed.

Everyone On My Side: DON’T DO THIS

I knew this was going to happen.

Some background: Vice-President Elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton in New York, where he was roundly booed. After the performance, one of the actors offered a patronizing plea to the Vice-President that “we are a diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that this new administration will not protect us.”

Conservatives were understandably angered by the  disrespect shown Mr. Pence (though the VP himself responded with perfect class), and now some have retaliated in the worst possible way.

The audience member, who was sitting in the balcony, reportedly shouted, “We won! You Lost! Get over it! F*ck you!” during the number “Dear Theodosia.”

One Twitter user, BroadwayWorld notes, claims that the disrupter ended up in a conflict with security prior to being removed from the theater

Go here to read the rest.

Crassness aside (not to mention the fact that this wasn’t even the same group of actors who insulted Mr. Pence), this makes me angry. I hate this kind of thing, no matter who does it. When you go into a theater, you’re there to enjoy the show. That’s something that goes across all lines of ideology (unless you just hate the show, of course, in which case what are you doing there?). Anyone can enjoy good music and a good story, and a ton of people on all sides of the political spectrum love Hamilton (I haven’t seen the show, but the music is awesome). You have no right to disrupt a performance that a lot of people have taken the time and spent the money to attend in order to make a crass political statement.

Probably a lot of people in the audience are on your side, but whether there is a single person in the theater who voted for Trump or not, you do not burst in on their hours of entertainment trying to disrupt the show they paid to see in order to insult and attack them. You are injuring them, embarrassing your own cause, and showing yourself to be a gross, uncivilized, and selfish human being.

For pete’s sakes, this is the kind of crap the Black Lives Matter morons pull: barging in on people who are minding their own business and trying to shove your political message down their throats. It is unacceptable in a civilized society. We’ve just spent two weeks cringing and laughing at the other side’s undignified breakdown: let’s not join in now. I hope and pray that no other Trump supporters do crap like this, and that my fellow conservatives will join me in condemning them as loudly as we can.