Just Be Nice

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Micheal E. Talley

English 112 /32

Professor Yelena Mason

March 1, 2011

“Just Be Nice” is an article written by Stephen L. Carter. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at the Yale Law School. This article was written in May 1998, and was a response to former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s remarks that the citizenry should give up their rude ways. Carter first touched on the fact that, in the Nineteen Sixties and seventies, some of his classroom time was spent in the study of manners and politeness, and no one objected to it. He believes that if these types of things were taught in school today, that there would be a public outcry. Furthermore, he believes that society today is different than what it was fifty years ago, and we as a people must work together to better understand, and to get along with each other. There are many people that can learn from this article, but mainly the article written for fellow scholars; law students are we abusing the rights that we have as a people in this country.

The author feels that we are not living out the true meaning of the word freedom. He believes that the bitterness in people comes from the fact that they feel that they have the right to be mean to each other. When something does not go their way, they can scream that their rights have been violated. Carter believes that no one wants to follow the rules anymore. When people are punished for doing something wrong, they scream that their rights allow them to act that way. That was not a part of the history of rights that was set up for us.

Carter feels that the respect for the basic rights that we have as Americans are being abused by people. “The elevation of self-expression over self control.”(672) Carter also supports the fact that there is no trust in our basic society anymore. “We have let cynicism replace civility.”(672) Carter further believes that when we feel that we can work in the public and present...
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