Gord, You Saved Me a Couple Fights with Korean Mothers
Gord Sellar has written something I wish I had written myself. Here are the most interesting bits:
The average degree of constraint that is removed by going anonymous is almost certainly higher for most Koreans than it would be for their Western peers.
Isn’t a high-trust society only possible when the majority of its members are observed to internalize a certain kind of ethics that govern not behaviour in a specific context, but rather generalized, non-context-dependent ethics that can be extrapolated into guidelines for behaviour in contexts both familiar and unfamiliar alike?
(In other words, societies where people are likely to use the ethics that govern social interaction face-to-face as a guidelines for how to conduct discussions online do so because they sense that the ethics governing face-to-face interaction are not context-specific, but rather derived from more basic, generalizable ethical principles. In low-trust societies, the ethics seem to be more contextual, so that the Internet is, ethically, a no-man’s-land.)
That’s the part I could have written myself. Here’s where Gord intellectually leapfrogs me:
In other words, I kind of distrust the idea of “kinds” of societies. I kind of think that low-trust is something every society has had to work its way out of, and that finding workarounds that allow it to remain low-trust simply prolong things in the low-trust stage unnecessarily.
Then it would suggest that the common Korean reflex — to look to the USA and Japan for models and solutions for various problems — is less useful than looking to other low-trust societies to see how they have gone about bringing their traffic fatality, cyberstalking, and other social problems down to manageable levels.
God, it would have taken me at least three or four more arguments about Korean parenting styles to figure that out.