I suspect there have always been unwritten laws in society. Do this, don’t do that, that’s not the way to greet someone. In every society really.
But I think we’re living in a time of unique lack of codification. Which isn’t of course. There are rules, but they change suddenly and no one tells you.
No, I’m serious. As great (eh. Good at least) apes, we have and develop social scripts, and signals. This is normal.
But the great flowering of the crazy of the romantics — back to the natural man, leaving under an oak which furnishes all our necessities and such rot — exploding into the sixties with theories like “no frustration raising” in which it was believed if you didn’t discipline a child at all, they’d have no frustrations or repressions, and would therefore be a perfect angel has turned, as it moderated in expression (mostly because no-frustration children are destructive savages no one wants around) into “there are rules but we won’t tell you what they are.
Yes, this is very bad for neuro atypical people out there. Honestly, I think our plague of autistic spectrum disorders is mostly because our society is faux-unstructured. I suspect only about half the people can actually intuit the rules from things never said. The other half stumble around desperately looking for the rules, or give up on socializing in disgust.
But beyond that, it’s bad because it removes the definition of what it is to be “good” in a society.
If you read older books, there were very well defined ideas of goodness. Attending church, being cleanly, having a good, respectful marriage, working hard, practicing charity. It wasn’t exactly easy, but it was a clear and defined path.
The problem is most people want to be good. They want to fit whatever the society admires. But our society particularly since the sixties, but really since sometime in the nineteenth century (only with increasing vigor) has waged a war on hypocrisy, which means acting good when “you’re not really good” and as proof of not being really good anything that falls short of perfection is adjudicated: say a man who is married and faithful but looks at pictures of naked women.
From this, it turned into an ongoing, frontal assault on traditional definitions of good and the bourgeois virtues that built western civilization. If the people being thrifty and hard workers were “hypocrites” it followed you should live lives of slovenly laziness. If monogamy couldn’t be adhered to perfectly, it meant you should screw everything that moved, or even waved in the wind.
But the “Goodness” of this inversion of values can’t be maintained. For one, because it often leads to self-destruction, or the destruction of social groups. So most people preach this nonsense, while living lives of bourgeois conventionality.
This just results in confusing the roughly fifty percent who have to KNOW the rules.
And it often causes young people to go astray for years, before they realize you really can’t live anti-civilization values while in civilization.
It might also destroy those people more adept at abstract thinking, and less adept at social thinking, because they discover the one thing that will get them viewed as “good”: the constant mouthing of leftist platitudes. Or the screaming of them, to atone for their sin of being born to solid middle class.
The increasingly unhinged rants of leftist intellectuals are the equivalent of the Cathedrals of Europe only far less useful or aesthetically pleasing: they’re a way to claim goodness, even if you can’t live it in your daily life; to buy your way to heaven despite the common sins of humanity.
But while the cathedrals were expensive, and overblown, and consumed the substance of a not-as-wealthy-as we are society, they were beautiful and more importantly, they didn’t gnaw at the basic values that built society. They didn’t make it impossible for people to live productive lives, or to create the most objective good of all: a way for more people to live wealthy and dignified lives.
They did provide a refuge for the weary and aesthetic refreshment for the hopeless.
The lefty rants are vast cathedrals built of intellectual poo. They stink up the air, and collapse in on themselves, leaving nothing but excrement in their wake.
It is time to rebuild. It is time to reorient. Given that all humans are flawed, and that society is built of flawed human beings, the only thing we can do is support the systems and the modes of living that have made the west wealthier than any other region and any other time.
People not living in abject poverty or being considered objects is an objective good.
Eschew the idiots calling hypocrite. Do the best you can, and continue doing it, while the monkeys screech and fling poo.
Build under, build over, build around.
Be not afraid.
In the end we win, they lose.