Do you agree with Gottfried’s claim that the “new America we see on the road now has the mentality of a hoodlum and the backbone of a coward”?
No, I do not agree with Mr. Gottfried’s claim pertaining to America’s cowardly mobile hoodlums.
Martin Gottfried’s essay uses three incidents that he personally observed to present the case that Americans are a lawless bunch that exist in a moral relativism universe – “what is good for me is the law I follow”. Granted, there seems to be an infinite supply of these “cowardly hoodlums”, but in reality, they make up a small percentage of the American population. The author paints this type of Road Rambo (Gottfried, 20??) with a very large brush.
An example of this broad stroke: “there has recently been an epidemic of auto macho” (Gottfried, 20??). If road rage were rampant, we would be up to our sunroofs in parking space wars, line jumpers, and a forest of obscene hand gestures.
Gottfried is right about the declining level of civility in America. Those of us who have been around for a while have a historical perspective as well as personal context about how rude some people can be. My disagreement with the author is that a substantial number of Americans behavior themselves.
Where else have you encountered macho behavior? At athletic events? At activities that generate long lines? At political demonstrations?
This type of comportment is found in a number of different environments – in a crowded line, an arena, and stadium or in relative isolation inside a motor vehicle. The potential for machismo, or for that matter, machisma (sic) behavior can be fueled by a diverse range of stimuli: chemical substances, level of emotional maturity, stress and a possible medical condition, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, where the person expressions uncontrollable anger no matter what the situation at hand.
What conclusions can you draw about those who engage in such behavior?
Humans are social animals and over the eons, a...