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Thread: Has society changed for the better?

  1. #1

    Default Has society changed for the better?

    I started thinking about this after a lot of the discussion about the comments from the guy on Duck Dynasty. Yes, his thinking is still backwards and ignorant, but has society overall been making a change for the better with the way they treat people?

    I'm looking to solicit opinions and observations from others of what they have seen in changes over the years. I'm 43, so I can remember back to the mid-70's and I am of the opinion that, while we haven't gotten all the way where we need to be as of yet, huge strides have been made.

    One thing I notice is that the big changes always seem to start in the large metropolitan areas and then slowly work their way out to the rest of the country. Places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York always seem to be the cities where tolerance is highest.

    I'm talking about all sorts of strides in terms of gender equality, child protections, rights and equality for people based on race, sexual orientation, whatever.

    I know it wasn't until I was well into elementary school that it became a requirement that educators and doctors inform police of suspected child abuse. Even then, the abuse had to be physical in nature--welts, bruises, cuts, etc. were all that were viewed as abuse. What is now considered abuse in terms of emotional and mental well-being was considered a valid way to raise a child. One thing I remember is that humiliation of a child was often considered a 'good' thing, helping build character. I know my mother and stepfather believed firmly in it.

    Another thing is how those who may have some mental difference are treated. People (including children) who had mental disabilities were often institutionalized. Developmental delays were often seen as an indicator of mental issues and given as reason for segregating children. My personal experience with that was a result of my bladder issues: after being transferred to a new school for the second time in six months (at the age of eight) I was having control problems and was back in diapers during the day. The principal at the new school wanted me to be moved over to the special education class because I obviously was mentally deficient. I was fortunate that the teacher fought him on it, seeing my medical issue as no indicator of other problems.

    In the last several decades, our society has made great strides in equalizing how people are treated. While I don't think it is time to stop improving, I definitely think that we are moving the right direction.

    What do you think?

  2. #2


    Two things are always true. The world is always getting better, and the populace always thinks the world is getting worse.
    I'm not sure I want hundred percent agree with it, but it has it's merits and being a good quote.

  3. #3


    no matter how much we as the hman race grow and learn. we will alwas be makeing mistakes but its the ability to learn from mistakes and the tolerance that we learn to have for things that may be diffirent from the social norm, bt the society at large is able to accept the diabilitys of people and not judge the on it.

    whether somone has mental problems or not dos not affect how people should treat them, they are still people after all and should be treated as such.

    my thoughts on it are pretty simple. i think we will alwas have new ishues and dificult social abnormalities, but in time everything that was once considered weird or sik or weird. wil be more accepted but nessacarly acepted as being the norm but people ill nderstand these things better.

    i think the problem for us as human is whenn somonething we dont understand comes along that is not the same as everything else that is normal, so what do we do about it , we shun it and try to get it outlawed or got rid of.

    i think we need to be able to understnd things before we judge people based on those parameters.

    and there is my piece on it.


  4. #4


    I think our society is a work in progress but I have lived to witness monumental changes and shifts here in Canada.

    In our country, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of legalized same sex marriages after a battle that lasted for decades. We turn our attention now to promoting a better understanding and tolerance in the schools, churches and public institutions. It must also be acknowledged that although we have legal rights and protection, it does not eradicate homophobia and ignorance.

    It has been twenty five years since our abortion laws were struck down as unconstitutional, meaning every woman has right to make her own choice without interference from the state.

    Thirdly, I am proud of the fact that I live in a country that does not have a prevalent gun culture, yet the crime rate in our country has continued to decline in the past decade

    In the Duck Dynasty thread, I somewhat surprisingly acknowledged the refreshing change of tone with the current pope, who appears to be genuine in his efforts to turn down the rhetoric on how the church regards gays and lesbians. As an atheist I don't expect to see major changes in the church's position,however his call to put aside the hostility and confrontation is refreshing. As much as it begrudges me to admit it, the church still carries tremendous influence around the world. In that respect, I hope he will continue to challenge the status quo about how we address poverty, since it is the conservative governments which follow the church that have done little to alleviate it.

    Also, I believe the diplomatic negotiations with Iran and Syria are a step forward, rather than continuing with the threat of war which has led to nowhere. Like all of us, I have concerns about the sincerity of the promises of cooperation from those countries, and there needs to be ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance , I do, however, have cautious optimism and a belief that diplomatic measures should be completely exhausted before resorting to war (and determining of it's a war we should be involved in).

  5. #5


    I think society itself is getting better -- more educated, better understanding of psychology, reducing crime rate, etc.

    But our governments are getting more sinister -- especially the US government which has engaged in torture, enticed other countries to be complicit in torture, spied on individuals and accumulated huge amounts of data with absolutely no restraint, imprisoned people for over a decade without trial and then released them as innocent people with not even an apology, sought to extradite foreign nationals for crimes committed on their home soil, upset the stability in the Middle East, etc.

    So, I think society has changed for the better... but we really need to keep an eye on our governments and ensure that we develop a culture in which "whistleblowers" exposing illegal or corrupt activity are protected and the operations of governments are more honest, ethical and transparent.

    We also need to ensure that large corporations do not have unethical relationships with government. The government should represent the people, not the vested interests of capitalist profiteers.

  6. #6


    Unlike some of my close friends who believe in the doom and gloom spouted by conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones, Jesse Ventura, David Ike and et al; I believe society will get better. Look at the diplomatic moves rather than just going to war. I was pleased as punch this summer that we were not going to get involved in Syria and I was ecstatic when Obama came on TV and said there was a deal with Iran. I'm tired of war and the US being involved in shit it should not be involved in. THAT'S a good step forward.

    Another good step forward is that more and more people I know are finding jobs, going back to work and we are recovering from the collapse a few years back. Unfortunately; several friends say it is all a farce and that something worse is coming. I hate doomsday naysayers; they live in fear too much. In fact, one of my best friends keeps praying for World War III and for America to collapse, I am tired of people like that who live in fear too much. I admit I used to years ago but I outgrew that crap

    I have a lot of hope for society to change as a whole and learn to work better as a civilization because if we fail to do so; I shudder to think what can happen. I'd love to see the world set back, think before rushing into engagements that are worthless and foolish as well as COSTLY; IE Iraq and Afghanistan. I think not getting involved in Libya too much, Syria and Iran was a good step forward. War should be an absolute last resort.

    I have seen more acceptance of people with disabilities as more people have accepted me as a person over the years and consider me a friend more than what they did when I was a kid in the 1980s and what have you. Times have really changed. I really think that society will get better if we focus on the good and not dwell too much on the negatives as some of my friends always do. I keep telling one of them, the rage will eventually eat you alive.

    The world will get better... society will get better.


  7. #7


    As some of you may already very well know I like to use correlative data and to check the credibility of that data whenever possible and to question the credibility of that data in every conceivable way my imagination can come up with before posting here. I believe things are getting better from a societal standpoint. The biggest argument against this is the fact that we are seeing so much more violence and other controversial issues these days on any given form of media. What most people don't realize is the fact that the reporting of such things is just getting more accurate not the level or even the severity of such issues. Chances are good that the level of societal problems is simply being understood better and are being dealt with better. There is some correlative data if somewhat vague supporting this.

    We as a society are learning to question things that are not pleasant to question more often and because of that societal abuse because of better understanding of these issues. Because of this Society has improved if even poorly it has gotten better. What I believe we need the most of right now is to teach each other (myself included) is how not to focus on the negative and just stop being afraid to try to just fix problems in a more responsible way. Be advised this is just an opinion I happen to have so keep in mind that in the end I am as human as the rest of us.
    Last edited by giantguy99; 04-Jan-2014 at 20:32.

  8. #8


    "If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." – Abraham Lincoln

  9. #9


    In 66 years of life, I've seen a lot of change, especially if you go back to the 1950's. During that period, the McCarthy trials were ruining innocent lives, people accused of being affiliated with the communist party. The "N" word was bandied around almost as much as the word "the". Homosexuals were seldom discussed, but if they were, it was done with a wide variety of derogatory words, accompanied by laughter. One could be put in a mental facility against their will if discovered to be gay. It was not unusual for the police to storm a gay bar and brutally beat the customers.

    In the 60's, those who demonstrated for civil rights were not only beaten, but in some cases, murdered. In 1970, the Ohio National Guard turned and fired on student demonstrators, not only killing several demonstrators, but hitting students coming out of the Kent State Library, students working on their May end of the semester term papers. Police opened fire indiscriminately on a student dormitory at (if memory serves me), Southern Miss.

    There will always be an ignorant part of any population, but even the masses are changing in the ways they view human rights. I like the new Pope, and I think he will also help shape people's opinions on how we should treat one another. In our news paper today, Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, was quoted as saying, "Every man should marry a 15 year old girl". Who knew the religious right would embrace pedophilia. See how things are changing....haha.

  10. #10


    From a South African perspective, the ideals of society have gotten better but our challenges remain as hard fought with equal effect as it did in the past


    Social media seems to have such incredible power that those who share popular beliefs are immediately accepted and those who feel different dare not contest that or go against the grain for example being ABDL.

    Ok so in ages past homosexuality could have had somebody hurt or worse, so thankfully that's far less risky today depending where you live of course.

    When my parents were young they could sleep with the back door open, no burglar bars or high fences.

    Not anymore, we are becoming increasingly more violent as a society, and it could be because jobs are more scarce due to an increasing population and machines replacing humans in the industrial sector as well as increased urbanization.

    In the past society was far more social, neighbors were neighborly and there seemed a far better sense of community, whereas now im noticing far more anti social behavior like family members playing with phones , instead of talking to people who are right next to you at Christmas or social gatherings.

    It appears society evolves and the laws and morals/culture of the various societies dictate what is or isn't acceptable.

    If its a gray area its shunned because its unknown until it increases in numbers or gains favor with powerful people.

    Society has become shallow.

    We had slavery, the attempted supremacy of the Nazi's, apartheid and centuries of genocide.

    The circle continues and the biggest battles are also kept secret from the masses along with starvation ,HIV, terrorism etc.

    Society has to learn preservation/conservation/tolerance/non-violence and value equality or it will run out of resources and/or destroy itself.

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