questionsis society getting too soft?

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We are just "smarter" than we used to be, it's not that we are getting softer. Not everyone uses hand sanitizer. Sure some people have to, especially if you are consistently working with dirty/germ stuff. Why should you expose yourself to crap when you can easily avoid it?

As for the stress cards, that is false: http://www.snopes.com/military/stresscards.asp

We are at a different point in time than we were several years ago. More information is flowing around.

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Every single generation asks the same question.

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@hackman2007: The military did use stress cards at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I remember they tested it on one of the units there. (The same time I went to basic training). And I read an article about "internet cafe time" on Sundays for basic training soldiers. Utterly ridiculous .

And yes there is a perfectly good reason to expose yourself to germs.. It helps your immune system. I've done a test where my classmates and I washed our hands with different methods (Plain water, Soap & water, Antibacterial Soap & water, Antibacterial Soap, Surgical Scrub) and then did a petri dish test.

The Antibacterials had the WORST results out of all of them. Surgical Scrub was #1, but Plain water was 2nd cleanest. Reason being, the antibacterial kills all the bacteria on your hands (good and bad). So the bad comes back even quicker.

You can't lysol your immune system away and expect that when a germ does get by, that your body remembers how to fight it off.

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@devexityspace: I haven't been in the military, so I'm not positive on the stress cards, all I know is everything I have heard about them is completely false. But again, I haven't been there so no idea. I'll take your word for it that they were used at one point though.

As for the germs. I'm not saying everyone should carry around a bottle of disinfectant/lysol/anything, I'm all for touching things without immediately washing hands and such, but I'm not about to go eat something without washing my hands. Seriously, how many people touched that same door knob that you touch, how many people went to the bathroom but didn't wash their hands, how many people picked their nose or did equally nasty things before they touched something. Do you really want to put that in to your body?

Obviously we grew up in totally different generations, but I still will not expose myself to germs just to expose myself to germs.

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We had wood chips in our playground of death...big vampire-killing wood chips.

Ad yes, I agree. Although many of my friends are pushing back against those norms, without going too far the other direction. Personally, I think it's fine. Those soft, coddled kids will be easy meat for me when I'm older and competing against them for jobs and seats on the bus.

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@hackman2007: I am not bashing washing your hands with regular soap & water (non-antibacterial mind you) before eating. But some people these days take it to an extreme. Again I am not "dirty" by any means. washing hands after bathroom / before eating is what I would consider "normal".

But there is a line that can be crossed where someone can be "too clean"

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@devexityspace: Ok, that clears things up a bit for me.

Kind of difficult to define "normal". Now if only everyone practiced your definition of normal :(

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yes. Parents no longer worry about their kids dying of disease or famine or war or workplace accidents, so now they worry about peanut allergies, evil vaccines, and bullying.

Look at the people on shows like "hoarders", and you quickly realize that people who would in the past naturally just die off are now coddled by the nanny/welfare state.

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simple answer: Hell yes. (In reference to the thread question...)

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I definitely think so. So many people are so accustomed to video games and TV, not real life. Barely anyone camps anymore or goes hiking. When I was doing land navigation during my basic, there was a girl who refused to go through the woods. (Why she joined the Army I will never know.) I think the entertainment technology has more or less removed the drive of people to do anything.

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Yes, and unfortunately for the American kids, I don't know if this is international. So not only will other countries be smarter than those in the US, they'll be tougher too.

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With all of the Viagra and Enzyte going around, I'd say it's quite the opposite

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[sarcasm]
Back in my day we would use swords in battle, we did not have the fancy boom sticks someone 30 feet away just drops dead.
Oh I am so weak I need to pull a lever instead of swing a sword.
[/sarcasm]

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We used to get in fist fights every day after school and play in the mud. Now if a kid gets in a fight at school they go to jail, if a kid gets muddy he isn’t in a fit home. I'm not sure what's going to happen in the next 25 years but this country is going down the tubes. I served in the military and I consider myself to be a dying breed. It really makes me sad to think about what our country is becoming, people in America are to soft.

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@kamikazeken: I just watched a documentary that talked about that - basically that "human evolution had stopped" (no more "survival of the fittest") because of modern medicine etc.
(I'm not saying that's good (or bad), just saying :D)

lol @ "cyber bullying"

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Oh and playground equipment.. I'd say our local equipment was up there with the deadliest :) - we had a huge rickety steel slide that was like 30ft tall, with chipping lead paint haha..
The paint would literally cut you on the way up lol - and the slide was so rickety you'd stop sliding like 5ft down then start skidding. Oh, and the soft "playground" where you'd land was a combo of gravel and concrete.

Oh! And then there was our teeter totters. Those things were MASSIVE - they were made out of like old un-cut railroad ties and telephone poles - probably weighed a good couple hundred pounds each.. you literally went up like 10ft in the air heh..

I think the guy who designed our playgrounds must have not liked kids very much.

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We launched our friends on the teeter totters when I was a kid and did not break any bones. Flash forward my son breaks his bone 'misusing the teeter totter'. There you have it I was in a tougher generation. : )

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I think the playground material depended on region. Where I grew up the playgrounds were generally in grassy areas with no special preparation of any kind. They'd just plop down a swingset and merrygoround or two and call it a day. On the other hand, around the same time, where one of my cousins grew up it was blacktop and where other relatives of mine were it was wood chips...

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@caffeine_dude: I think it has to do with the immunizations lol kids nowadays are just weaker! I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with television

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I was military, and yes, they did have "stress cards" in bootcamp... Although, they were very new at the time and they told us "You feel you need to use this, go ahead, you'll get some time to de-stress... But when that period of time is over, stand-the-f*-by!" ... I didnt see a single person use that card.

The world is getting soft, too soft.

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This is a fundamentally flawed question, as it presupposes some imaginary line of societal "strength" that has been passed at some undefined point, before which things were hard, and afterward things were easy. The middle point is invariably when the questioner came of age. This line is redrawn every single generation to the lamentations and frustrations of everyone.

Here's a better question for people who think that society has gotten too soft: Are you a stronger man than your father(woman:mother)? Are you a better person than them? Is there significant difference in how you evaluate the answer to each of these questions?

You can ask whether our culture is in decline, or whether our society discourages behavior that will better prepare us for things to come(Which is all your question is asking anyway, in a pointlessly roundabout way). This is often the purpose of science fiction. In fact, I think the question was answered rather well by no less than a children's movie: WALL-E

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@stark: Very well said. This is rational and logical.

The society is not "softer", it's your perception based on preconception. The society is, however, rather unkind. And as a population we have devolved into a society that lacks compassion, that values excessive consumption and recklessness, and ignores what truly are important: people around us.

And as always, we are far too testosterone driven, as evident in the original question. As if "hard" is "good". It's just an illusion of strength. Until people, especially men, realize this, we will continue to behave like naked monkeys.

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Society has been getting softer since the concept was invented. That's kinda the point.

Living in the wilderness as a hunter-gatherer is still an option if you'd prefer that to progress.

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@okham: "Those soft, coddled kids will be easy meat for me when I'm older and competing against them for jobs and seats on the bus." Thanks for starting my day off with a good laugh!

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The combination of baby boomers who were highly self centered, which then had kids who were parented by the same may just be the end of the West as we knew it. I watched the pilot of the HBO series "Girls". I must be missing something, because I wanted to punch out ever character in it, female and male. Was that the point? A bunch of whiny twenty somethings who feel that it is their right to have their parents support them whilst they screw around in NYC. Hot tip: it has been hard on every generation. Very few people anywere, ever just finished a four year degree in something useless (used to be Philosophy, then Sociology, now it is [fill in the blank ethnic/gender/sexual orientation] Studies) and were handed a great full time job in the publishing/music/whatever industry in NYC.

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@wilfbrim: I think you may have missed an entire generation in your meme counting. Boomers for the most part are around age 65 now; most of us got out of school and went to work at whatever jobs we could find. The Boomers' kids are not in their 20's and weren't the self-centered crowd to which you're referring. The current 20-somethings are the folks with the too-precious childhoods and the helicopter parents.

On the other hand, all such descriptions are pretty lame, since people vary across every spectrum of behavior and upbringing, and I've seen damn few people of color who fit your "self-centered" model. Unless, of course, you think the characters on television programs truly represent how most real people live and think.

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@magic cave: The baby boom officially ended in 1964. Many delayed childbearing until they were in their 30s. A child born in 1990 would be 22 now: a woman born in 1960 would have been 30 then. Most of these kids were children of the baby boom.

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I'm certainly a bit softer now than I was when I was a kid. (pats belly)