And I'm not even going to talk about spelling and grammar.

More and more people are not only expressing their opinions, but doing so in a harsh, threatening, or violent way. People seem to think less and less of threatening a person's life because they are racist, or against gay marriage, or FOR gay marriage, or baptizing proxy for someone's deceased family members, or for participating in a group of people that also includes someone else with any of those qualities, or any number of opinions that are repugnant to them.

You see, anyone can have opinions nowadays, even about things that don't really affect them. Just the other day, I was solicited to sign a petition for something in an entirely other state. Which I refused because it's none of my business what another state decides to do with their law.

But that's just it, people think everything is everyone's business. Not only do we disrespect privacy, we actually castigate people who refuse ideological exhibitionism.

Once upon a time, we might be hard-pressed to find people as violently passionate about our pet ideals as we are. But with the internet, whatever our opinions are, we can find like-minded individuals to validate us. We can talk amongst ourselves, convincing ourselves not only that we are right, but that anyone who opposes us is a threat to decency. And if they're a threat to decency, they threaten us. Since they threaten us, we are justified in the use of ideological, emotional, and often physical force to suppress them and get our points across.

Even if we aren't passionate about our opinions, after participating in the ideological frenzy, we up the ante. We easily overcome our ingrained sense of civilization and move the frenzy from ideological into the physical realm.

Whoever yells the loudest can easily intimidate everyone else into either siding with them, or tacitly standing by while their opponents are beaten up. It's a playground bully dynamic on a grandiose scale. Like sharks, the moment the scent of blood is in the water, the bullies converge.

It is becoming a very frightening thing to believe in something. There used to be a word for that. It was called "mob." For a long time, mobs have been socially unacceptable. But that is changing.

I think that the internet, this great and beautiful tool which has given publishing ability to any Joe Schmoe with connectivity, has perhaps given Joe Schmoe the sense that his opinions are actually worth something. Not only worth something, but worth more than anyone else's. Worth more than civilized behavior.

In short, I think the internet and technology may be contributing to a de-civilization of society. Just as all those SciFi novels warned us would happen.
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