I'll admit, I'm been thinking about this on and off and then well, on again obviously for I'm writing about it. Again this is one of those subjects that can be broken down somewhat nicely for better discussion too - but for the sake of argument, going to stick to the society I'm from - American/Western. (I've read up on a few other societies, true, but I don't think I'm anywhere near competent to discuss them.)
A lot of this, could be summed up in the "Cult of the Individual" - which in an ideal society, everyone is treated as royalty and it's all about them basically. Granted, it was a noble idea from the Silent Generation (if I remember my popular culture history worth squat), but kind of full of holes.
For in this mindset is the presumption that everyone is responsible, respectful, and intelligent. Unfortunately, in today's world, better luck finding wings spouting off pigs before everyone will be accountable for their own actions and the like. But don't take my word for it - it's all in the news and if you are sick of hearing the latest drama like I am - browse Mary's Why Men Hate Women, Weasel's Why Women Hate Men, and Fugly Horse of the Day. They have taken it into an art form to show you that there are a lot of irresponsible idiotic twits out there.
While the mindset of society would say it's not polite to point out their flaws - someone must - for how will they 'learn' what's socially acceptable? For if you think TV and movies do it, hoo, we as an society are in a dire need of a reality check or society's standards are getting lower. With thoughts of the last candidates of Weasel's and Mary's blogs that's scary!
Back when it was the parent's responsibility to teach their children what's acceptable behavior - something that feels like a disappearing tradition today - people acted more responsible it seems. Granted back then there was ugliness too - racism, sexism, and more but unfortunately they're learned behaviors that still plague society today.
Today, seems there's a lot of demand for respect but forget it's earned - it's not automatic. It's also hard to respect someone who has no respect for themselves as well, I mean, how respectable is it to call oneself "Slutbucket"? *sigh* Or demanding respect, but not giving it to others...again, may I direct you to either Weasel's or Mary's respective blogs for ample examples...? Hope you have brain bleach for some of them...
Well, if it became popular to have integrity, intelligence, and compassion more then to have the most toys or the flashiest bling maybe "Cult of Individual" type of mentality would work better then becoming a symptom of a dysfunctional society.
Got to chase down my thoughts and corral 'em for the next topic.