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Is Modern Culture Really That Bad?
by richard

Ask anyone over the age of 50, and they will say that today’s culture is the worst in history. They will talk about the good old days when things were better. The problem with doing this is people see the past through rose-coloured glasses. They see a world that was better than it maybe was in the past.

Sure, maybe manners have fallen a bit, and we all stare at our phones a bit too much, but is it really that bad? People used to stare into their newspapers the same way people stare at phones. It is just a progression.

So, is modern culture really that bad or are we living in the best time in human history?

First, let’s define modern culture. Modern culture is the way of life, along with our behavioural patterns, our skills and our institutions for the modern world. Modern culture is often defined as the modern, more civilized, way of doing things.

Modern culture often goes up against traditional culture, which is the culture of the past, the culture of traditions. Traditional culture is sometimes seen as archaic, but many feel it was better.

Let’s look at the claims.

1. People were nicer to each other in the past: Is this really the case? If we look back just half a century, we have the civil rights movement, with African Americans struggling to be recognized as equals among the population. Homosexual people were viewed as deviants, and women were not in the workplace, and if they were, they were seen as inferior. Today’s culture is completely different. Today, we have an African American president, along with many leaders who are African American both in politics and elsewhere.

Women are also leading, with many serving as governors of their states, as well as leaders of countries elsewhere in the world. Homosexuals are also allowed to marry now in many states, and many are also leaders, including the former mayor of Portland. So, it could be argued that modern culture is better than traditional culture because people treat each other better these days.

2. Kids today are way worse than in the past: Every generation says this about the generation before them, but is it true? Kids today do seem entitled by some, but that is only because they want to take their own life in their own hands. They don’t want to work a factory job for 40 years, only to lose their pension or be fired for no reason.

They have seen it happen to their grandparents and parents, and they don’t trust companies as a result. They are being wise, not foolish. In addition, youth crime has continually fallen in past years, and there are many, many examples of kids today making the world a better place.

3. Crime is worse in modern culture: This is completely wrong. In fact, violent crime reached its highest point in modern society around the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the 1970s. Today though, crime has fallen to all-time lows and most cities in the United States now have crime levels on par with the 1960s, except modern cities have much higher populations, which makes today even safer than the 1960s.

Looking at wars, apart from the Iraq War, the number of conflicts around the world have fallen as well. Studies have been done and have found that today is actually the safest time to be alive in all of human history.

4. People are fixated on technology in modern culture: Yes, we are, but so has every other generation. Before the Internet, it was television ruining the minds of the youth. Before that, it was radio, and before that it was movies. People tend to attack new technologies as something bad because it is something new.

In fact, today’s technology has allowed us to come together more than ever before, and it has connected the world in a way that has never been seen in all of human history. Today, you can learn about a culture somewhere else, simply by talking to someone from that culture, through the Internet. It helps unite us all.

While many will decry modern culture, modern culture is actually quite good. We treat each other, and the natural world better. We don’t hunt whales anymore, don’t sexual harass women in the workplace, don’t practice racism and we are working to make the world a better place.

Is modern culture really that bad? The short answer is that no, it is not.


June 4th