Monday, 5 October 2020

On manners ...

“A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.”
          ~ Robert A. Heinlein



  1. Good manners, which guide us to treat everyone with respect, have been replaced with PC under which some are due more respect than others.

  2. Someone (I forget who) said manners are the midpoint between totalitarianism and anarchy.

  3. Some people ARE due more respect than others, and rightly so. The idea that one should respect everyone is nonsense. Manners, on the other hand, cost nothing and are the bedrock of a civil society in my opinion.

    1. Manners and respect are different. Manners are a default setting--when you encounter a random human, you behave in certain ways and they are expected to behave in certain ways. This reduces friction. I don't need to wonder who should exit an elevator first if I'm in an elevator with a woman--we both know she goes first.

      When it's NOT a random person--when you have a relationship with them--that relationship trumps manners. Sometimes the relationship requires more formality (your boss), sometimes less (a close friend). In some cases you can deliberately violate the rules of manners to demonstrate how strong your relationship is (it's called counter-signaling). And obviously if the person is odious or vile you can treat them worse than manners would require, though often I default to the default because let's be honest, keeping track of the number of reprehensible people is exhausting.

    2. That’s a good way of putting it, thanks. Manners are essentially the default you should pay someone by virtue of them being a human being. Once you know more about them you should adjust accordingly, and pay them either more or less.


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