Study: Americans Angrier

Technically, the finding is that 84% of people think Americans are angrier than they used to be. VodkaPundit notes that this seems to be an artifact of the media, especially social media: "In real life, people don't seem much different."

Iowahawk was just making the same point, following a long round-the-country trip he's just finished. "You can learn a lot more about this country from a dashboard than from a keyboard.... The USA is an amazing, beautiful place, full of friendly people of all types and all political persuasions, who don't scream invectives at each other all day long in real life."

In general, I think most of America's problems are confined to small places with loud voices. There are some that are not: the opioid crisis is not; rural unemployment is not. Increasingly the immigration crisis is spilling out of the border regions and major cities and into the whole country. These things need to be addressed before they wreck the whole.

Still, for the most part the America I see from the back of the bike is much as they describe it. Anywhere you stop, people are friendly enough. You exchange pleasantries, and then ride on. If you should move and settle somewhere else, your neighbors make you welcome, and then largely leave you be. It's a pretty good place, most of the place and most of the time.

Nor can I easily recall the last time I saw someone, face to face, speak as rudely to another person as seems to be the standard on social media. I take Conan's position on this, as R.E. Howard related in The Tower of the Elephant.

A little more exposure to peril might improve our "civilized" class.


Texan99 said...

I was asked to speak to the local Democratic Club recently. They were angry and amazingly uncivil, and by the time I left, I was fairly angry, too.

I don't remember being overly angry until about 2010, when they confiscated my health insurance. The top of my head blew off. I only very, very slowly got less angry over the next few years, and I'm still pretty close to my trigger point most of the time over routine collectivist balderdash. Luckily, it's apparently not always obvious to people when I'm angry. I was accused last week of more or less cuddling up to a local public figure, whereas I had been worrying that I had been too caustic. Someone who doesn't know me may not realize that the language I was using was nearly as close as I ever get to losing my temper in a public argument. Or maybe my normal method of discourse sounds sort of angry, so it's hard for people to tell.

Anyway, the atmosphere seems angry to me.

Tom said...

I think, though, that you were in an overtly political situation, and that if you get out where and when people are not talking politics, it's friendlier.

Grim said...

I find that I can get angry pretty fast if I spend time on social media, especially Twitter (which my work requires me to look at, or I never would). But if I instead spend time in America, the physical place, I don't encounter anything like the same stuff.

On the other hand, I do have a barbaric demeanor, which may incline people to wonder about the safety of their skulls. So perhaps Conan is right after all.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I work at a psychiatric hospital, so I am pretty familiar with people expressing anger and rudeness in vile ways. That is an exception, certainly.

What I also encounter is anger behind people's backs. I hear a lot of snideness.

Christopher B said...

Being married to a committed liberal Democrat (and worse, Packers fan) I see genuine flashes of anger from that side. The memes they share among themselves deliberately stoke a sense of moral outrage.

I know it's overdone but I sometimes feel like I'm a Yankee overhearing the Fire-eaters exhortations circa 1859.

Joel Leggett said...

Excellent post. You can never go wrong using a Conan quote to make a point. I do think there is something to the observation that people that face strenuous/perilous situations regularly are more considerate on average than those who live more passive/comfortable lives. A more rigorous lifestyle provides an individual the opportunity to blow off steam while overcoming obstacles, which in turn gives the individual more confidence and makes him/her more comfortable in their own skin. A passive, comfort obsessed lifestyle breeds indolence.

Grim said...

You can never go wrong using a Conan quote to make a point.

I am not surprised by your approval of this approach, my friend.

Ymar Sakar said...

Tex, i remember that period and your anger came clean through the empath channel.

Anger comes from fear induced vulnerability. Moder doctor classes are over paid for the amount of care. Much ends up wasted on ineffective programs. Alternatives will and have replaced old care. Quantum vibration tech.

Texan99 said...

Yes, it's funny, Congress had never before managed to enact anything to make me feel personally fearful or vulnerable. I'd always treated their bumbling with distant contempt before. They managed to take something away that was really important to me and that I was unsure I could replace within the new regulatory system they set up. In the end, we lucked out, had no catastrophic health issues we couldn't pay for. But they really got under my skin. Congress was no longer simply incompetent: the Dem members became my outright enemies, and I was not at all patient or understanding with anyone who would continue to vote for them, which was new. Anyone who tries to make me feel guilty for Republicans now gets an extremely cold shutdown. That may never change again.

PS, thanks for noticing. At the time the really bizarre thing was the sense that I couldn't be heard on this issue. It's amazing how much difference it makes just for someone to say "I could tell you were really angry." Even now, after these many years.