...a city whose residents have long been scorned for their churlish behavior is now being praised for adopting rules and laws that govern personal conduct.
Using legal means as a behavior change tool received more coverage in the NY Times over the weekend.
With its precipitous drops in crime, New York has increasingly been able to turn its attention to policing offensive behavior, from the mere faux pas to outright misconduct that puts others at risk. And that has put it on the front line of a national crackdown on incivility.
Some of the targeted behaviors include interfering with a sports event, using cellphones in theaters and putting your feet up on the seat in subways. While some of these behaviors are certainly obnoxious, it looks like evidence for a 'That's Cheating!' claim.
The Director of the Emily Post Institute calls for a public relations campaign in lieu of forcing good behavior down unwilling throats. Many years ago the question was asked: 'Why can't we sell brotherhood like soap?' Especially when it comes to behaviors like these, ones that are likely quite sensitive to social norms and pressures, why not test a social marketing approach (NOT another public relations program) before reaching for the legal tool?