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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Manners Matter: Updating George Washington’s Etiquette Book for the Culture Wars

Understanding that the term is probably an essentially contested concept, I nevertheless count myself as a “conservative.” One aspect of at least my brand of conservatism is respect for manners. By “manners,” I mean all of those artificial rules of self-restraint that keep people from saying and doing whatever they happen to have a mind to say or do out of deference to the likely reaction of onlookers. “Manners” include basics like the prohibition against picking your nose or flossing your teeth in public as well as conversational niceties like beginning any new conversation with a question to your interlocutor rather than a statement about yourself. Use of cutlery, tact about religion, waiting for others’ food to arrive before eating — all are part of that vast network of unwritten restraints drilled into well-mannered people in childhood.

What’s so “conservative” about manners? Behind this elaborate network of artificial restraint is a Hobbesian assumption about human nature peculiar to a certain brand of conservativism, viz: Humans are aggressive, self-loving primates, prone both to promoting their own comfort and self-esteem at others’ expense and to taking offense at such slights from others. Such creatures can live together safely only with artificial rules that keep each person wary about the dignity and disgust of others.

For American conservatives, one urtext of manners is teenage George Washington’s little notes on etiquette, entitled “Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation.” The 110 rules copied out by young George in 1748 epitomize a basic aspect of Washington’s conservatism — his rigidly adhering to a complex code of Virginian deference and dignity designed to avoid duels and demagoguery. In a democracy, this code allowed him to rule without threatening others’ amour-propre by cultivating elaborate obeisances to social constraints that show self-control, self-respect, and respect for others. Washington’s notebook contains some now-quaint rules against (for instance) putting one’s hands in one’s pockets while in the presence of others. But the master principle that all such limits on fidgeting reflected is stated by Rule #1: “Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.”

If Washington were alive today and updating his notebook, I feel confident that he would include another rule of self-restraint: Do not talk about one’s own students’ 1L grades in a casually disparaging manner on a radio broadcast.

There are few topics touchier to dignity than 1L grades. Putting aside the practical material consequences, law students naturally invest a lot of their self-esteem in how they are academically evaluated. Any public discussion of one’s own students’ grades, therefore, must be conducted with the elaborate protocol of a professional diplomat at an embassy dinner.

There are, of course, formal rules like FERPA that protect students’ privacy against the indignities of having one’s academic record publicized. But manners goes beyond formal rules: The tactful professor should treat his or her students as if they are from Lake Woebegone: All above average. The notion that one would announce publicly that any group of students, however identified, has achieved scores in one or another percentile of the class is a vulgarity that would astound Washington. One might as well brag about one’s lineage at a Mount Vernon reception to humiliate the poorer or worse-connected guests. A better recipe for dueling pistols in Tidewater society can hardly be imagined.

It is all the worse to make statements about one’s own students linked to their ethnocultural background. To a conservatives like myself, heterogeneous societies from India to America are fragile things, because (recall the Hobbesian assumption above) each ethnocultural group naturally lives in mutual suspicion that one group will elevate their own dignity at the other groups’ expense. Make comparative statements about ethnocultural groups, then, at one’s own peril and the peril of social peace.

Do conservative manners mean one can never discuss matters sensitive to the dignity of one’s fellow citizens? No: Manners, as the noun implies, are about “how,” not “whether.” There is a time, place, and manner for every discussion necessary for every social decision. It is actually pretty important, for instance, to keep track of how different ethnocultural groups perform on tests, as a way to inform topics ranging from test bias to law school preparation. But the conservative discussant pursues these topics with lots of tact and aggregated, anonymized data, not offhand remarks about their own classrooms in broadcasts audible to those selfsame students. As George would say, “Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present” — even if they are present on the receiving end of a radio. (I’d also commend Rule 71 (“What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend de­liver not before others”) and Rule 79 (“Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof”)).

I can imagine my critical reader is now asking: “Why must we adhere to the Augustan mores of Washington, when we live in a much more raucous democracy?” My reply: You needn't. I write from a grim Hobbesian assumption about the fragility of social relationships that you might not share.

But please do not tell me that the Left suppresses free speech on campus by ostracizing a professor who casually opines about their own students’ grades In a radio broadcast. There is nothing especially left-wing about the idea that those who offend against good manners should be ostracized. The idea that society is held together by decorum enforced by public opinion and cold shoulders is a conservative policy, not a left-wing cause.

I concede that there is always a tension between the artifice of good manners and democratic bluntness. The latter tends to erode the former. Those who want to radiate democratic authenticity cultivate strategic offenses against good manners to win over the crowd with their apparent down-home sincerity. Just ask our current Chief Magistrate.

But I suggest that we could today use a little correction in the direction of George Washington’s idea of decorum. Social media has unleashed demons of crude vulgarity — a great belching, farting id of unfiltered self-expression. I myself believe that these demons drown out or intimidate democratically useful discussion on blogs, Twitter, or the radio airwaves with their swaggeringly insecure bloviation.

As I say, I concede that I am a conservative kind of guy. You might not be. If you think that society needs more brawling and less civility, then go ahead and throw that stink bomb. Just do not be surprised when your colleagues hold their noses in disgust and give you a frosty reception. That’s just what Washington would have done. (Well, maybe not the nose-holding: See Rules 4 and 5).

Posted by Rick Hills on July 25, 2019 at 03:06 PM | Permalink


There are two recent books relevant to this topic, the first, more historically oriented, the second, in a philosophical vein. Incidentally, a discussion of manners and civil conduct should, I believe, be examined alongside the broader concept of social norms (indeed, manners fall within the larger class of social norms), and bears strong and intriguing family resemblance to the subject of ritual(s). I will refrain from further comment about manners, social norms (I have a short essay on this as it relates to law) and ritual, although I used to enjoy discussing this material with my students when we studied The Analects of Confucius. Please see Keith Thomas, In Pursuit of Civility: Manners and Civilization in Early Modern England (Yale University Press, 2018), and Amy Olberding, The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2019). Speaking of Chinese philosophy, the Confucian philosopher Xunzi (ca. 310-210 BCE) was, in several respects, Hobbesian before Hobbes: see Paul Rakita Goldin’s Rituals of the Way: The Philosophy of Xunxi (Open Court, 1999).

Re: the “Hobbesian assumption that “Humans are aggressive, self-loving primates, prone both to promoting their own comfort and self-esteem at others’ expense and to taking offense at such slights from others. Such creatures can live together safely only with artificial rules that keep each person wary about the dignity and disgust of others.”

The first sentence is historically and descriptively true (the Hobbesian state of nature was a thought experiment, albeit one believed informed by the wars and politics of his time and place), but the second embodies what I believe to be an inaccurate characterization of Hobbes’s proposal for getting people to live in peace and stability rather than in the prevailing state of civil disorder motivated by “transcendent interests” (which are considerably more than an interest in self-preservation; as S.A. Lloyd notes, ‘Hobbes’s concern in establishing the naturalness of a strong impulse toward self-preservation is ... only to ground his claim that actions sincerely meant in defense of one’s life are not to be judged blameworthy’).

Hobbes sought to enunciate a principle of political obligation (i.e., ‘a statement of the conditions under which subjects or citizens are to obey the commands of the government of the commonwealth of which they are members’) that his readers could find sufficient hence compelling reason to affirm and subscribe to so as to attain the ends of perpetual domestic peace and order. The foremost price to be paid for peace and commodious living in such a commonwealth is agreeing to constraints on our unfettered liberty, including curtailment of our capacity to dominate others. And here Hobbes does appeal to our basic prudential interests, that is, “the interest in self-preservation and thus in the security of our persons, and the interest in ‘commodious living’ [which ‘requires the possession of personal property and the enjoyment of a certain minimal degree of liberty’].” And this appeal is minimally rational insofar as it depends on a principle of reciprocity, for if “each person who has an interest in securing his own preservation and commodious living has a reason from narrow prudence to want others to adhere to the principle [of political obligation], then each has a natural duty not to reserve to themselves any right that they would not be content to have others reserve as well, in this case a right to violate the principle they want others to observe.”

While the Hobbesian principle of political obligation is, to put it mildly, stringent, obedience being owed to a sovereign “in all things wherein their obedience is not repugnant to the laws of God,” it is clear that a key assumption or condition of such obedience is the ability of the sovereign (or the state) to protect its citizens, to provide them with the security that satisfies the aforementioned interest in self-preservation and commodious living. A state unable or incapable of providing for the “protection and security of its citizens” in effect “extinguishes” obligatory obedience and citizenship, for “if an association can’t protect, then either it is not a commonwealth or you are not a member of it, but in neither case are you obligated to obey its political authority.”

If political authority hopes to secure general compliance from its subjects, it cannot simply rely on the threat of force, claimed Hobbes,

“for the simple reason that in order for obedience to be reliably attainable by means of threat of force, it must be true that fear of death, wounds, or imprisonment (fear of the means of coercion available to political authority) must be the strongest motivating passion. But the existence of transcendent interests shows we cannot count on this passion (or, we might say, this interest in avoiding personal harm) to override all other passions and interests. More generally, the fear of personal harm (either ‘artificially inflicted,’ as in the case of punishment by the sovereign power, or ‘naturally’ consequent to the dissolution of any protective power, which disobedience might bring about) may not be sufficient to motivate people to obey their extant political authority, because that obedience may frustrate their realization of others of their interests (in, for instance, fulfilling their duties to God and to each other, securing the good of their loved ones, and so on), interests for the satisfaction of which they are willing to risk personal harm.”

Hobbes therefore proceeds to proffer two new sorts of reason for fealty to sovereign political authority that speak to specifically religious types of transcendent interest; one from religious duty, and the other from an interest in salvation; here we’ll speak only to the first of these transcendent (religious) interests. And because for Hobbes “the laws of morality—the laws of nature—are identical to the laws of God discernible by unaided natural reason,” “a demonstration that his principle of political obligation is compatible with the realization of one’s interest in fulfilling one’s duty to God, will automatically show that the principle is compatible with one’s interest in fulfilling one’s moral duties.” While we can’t here wholly recapitulate Hobbes’s methodical redescription of religious duty as a transcendent interest, a critical component of this process involves recognizing that, in the end, so to speak, “what we believe must be a function of whom we believe,” if only because, for example, “the Scriptures do not obviously yield a single, determinate body of doctrine,” and religious truth is in no way contingent upon the idiosyncracies of motley private judgment. At least this is the case for any specific religious beliefs outside of, or more specific than that which we can come to know of our natural duties from the laws of nature:

“The laws of God discoverable by unaided natural reason are just the laws of nature, considered as commands from a deity who exists, who has given laws and rules of conduct, and who offers rewards and punishments. In his natural kingdom, God governs those who acknowledge his providence by the dictates of ‘right reason,’ these laws of God, which concern the natural duties of one man to another. These duties...may be ‘contracted into one easie sum, intelligible even to the meanest capacity, and that is, “Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thy selfe.”’ This is all that natural reason tells us about our duties to God in the treatment of one another, and everyone who has use of natural reason will agree about this.”

Again, bereft here of details, Hobbes argues that differences involving our duties to God with respect to specific modes of worship and other forms of religious praxis cannot by their very nature (that is, properly understood by the means of natural reason), conflict with the commands of political authority, for on close examination we discover that “... God demands no particular sort of worship such that if the political authority prohibited it, we would be duty-bound to disobey him. There are no grounds in natural reason for preferring some other religious practices to any which the political authority may command us to observe.”

What is most important in these matters is the indubitable fact that

“We can know that we have a duty to endeavor to obey the laws of God (which command justice, mercy, humility, in sum not doing to others as we wouldn’t be done to), and we can know something about ‘the honour naturally due to our divine sovereign,’ namely, that we should offer prayers, thanks, public worship, considerate speech, and obedience to God’s laws. This is all our natural reason tells us about our duties to God.”

Hobbes displays a Calvinist-like theology (after all, whatever behavior we exhibit to the outside world, only God has knowledge of what is in our hearts and minds, that is, of our true intentions and motivations) toward the myriad modes of (‘external’) religious praxis in an attempt to negate the denominational expression of what Freud termed the “narcissism of little differences.” Furthermore, “although natural reason cannot give us the whole truth about our duties to God, Hobbes insists that what it does tell us is true, and nothing further that revelation or prophecy [both being outside the province of unaided natural reason] might tell us about our duties to God can contradict what we have learned by natural reason.” One can only admire the audacious and consistent quality of Hobbes’s argument, even if we suspect not a few of his readers would have found it scandalous, or at least far from persuasive.

As part of the struggle to counter the insidious and socially disruptive effects that invariably follow widespread and recalcitrant misconceptions of what our true moral and religious interests are, Hobbes believed we could shape socialization and educational processes so as to cultivate a correct conception of the rational kernel of these interests, thereby contributing to their proper satisfaction and directly facilitating a stable, enduring, and peaceful social order. Such a moral education enables us to learn the correct exercise of reason and thus attain an awareness of the due scope, hence limits, of private judgment, including an ability to harness our passions toward the end of social harmony and peace. The uninhibited exercise of passions in conjunction with uncircumscribed private judgment is responsible for the sorts of social strife and collective violence we have every reason to avoid, and so we are motivated to find sufficient reason(s) to agree to surrender our right of “absolute” self-governance and locate “absolute” political authority in a sovereign body.

Hobbes has provided his readers with a plethora of reasons for political obedience (owing to the variety of transcendental and other interests): from prudence, from natural moral duties, and from Christian duty. The sovereign authority for its part acts in keeping with the proper fulfillment of its subjects’ interests, and thus on behalf of their individual and collective welfare and well-being or common good in a manner consonant as well with their natural moral duties. Hobbes rightly concluded that as long as our private appetites and aversions serve as the standard of good and evil, as the criteria for right and wrong, we will be consigned to a miserable state of nature in which peace is but a distant hope or dream, indeed, “Government by individual appetite—private judgment of good and evil—is the defining character of the state of nature.”

Contrary to what most have assumed or asserted, S.A. Lloyd enables us to see that Hobbes was not driven by an overweening hostility to or “rational” distaste for religion as such, for he “believed in the truth of the basic doctrines of the Judeo-Christian tradition,” as well as in the natural law moral philosophy bequeathed in part by that tradition. Not unlike its fundamental significance in natural theology, Hobbes was convinced of the indispensable role of the God-given faculty of reason on behalf of true religious faith, belief and praxis, all of which should exemplify the core moral principles attained by natural reason (i.e., the (moral) laws of nature) the foremost being expressed in the reciprocity theorem and the Golden Rule. Given the presuppositions and premises of Hobbes’s argument, it is hard not to sympathize if not identify with his view that religion is not “inherently, or necessarily, subversive of order,” but it is patently and dangerously no less disruptive of civil order and peace when “not authoritatively regulated by the state....” Some of his presuppositions and assumptions were quickened in the crucible of experience: “From where Hobbes stood, experience, both the personal experience of Hobbes’s contemporaries on the Continent, and the historical experience of Christians, particularly of the wars of religion—taught quite clearly that Christians had difficulty maintaining peace in the face of religious differences, and so any expectation of toleration without contention, would be unwarrantedly optimistic.”

Lloyd has meticulously described the many facets of Hobbes’s ingenious and methodical rationalization of religious belief and praxis, as well as his redescription of prudential and transcendental interests generally, thereby precluding the possible grounds individuals might otherwise have had for refusing to renounce their (heretofore ‘absolute’) right to private judgment or, as citizens, justifiably disobeying sovereign authority. It goes without saying that the values and principles that make for Liberal sensibility clash with predominant features of Hobbes’s absolutism, which we rightly judge repugnant and unacceptable. Nevertheless, and with Professor Lloyd, we might readily concede that Hobbes’s “absolutism follows by a valid argument from premises that are by no means obviously false, absurd, unreasonable, or implausible.”

Minimally speaking, all formulations of the Golden Rule capture a basic moral principle of reciprocity, what Gerald Gaus would term “prescriptive social morality” (all such reasoning being ‘broadly’ deontological or ‘deontic’). In fact, that principle is rational in the manner understood by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and explained here by Lloyd:

“… Hobbes argues that we won’t count a person as rational unless he can formulate and is willing to offer, at least post hoc, what he regarded as justifying reasons for his conduct (and beliefs). But to offer some considerations as justifying one’s action commits one to accepting that same consideration as justifying the like actions of others, ceteris paribus. (Nothing counts as a reason for doing a particular action unless it counts as a reason for doing actions of the same general type all else equal.) So one acts against reason when one does what one would judge another unjustified in doing.”

In other words, the Golden Rule at the very least incarnates this rational “reciprocity theorem” as a presupposition or assumption, a formal rational constraint that clarifies our meaning of moral reciprocity. The Laws of Nature, which are fundamental to Hobbes’s political philosophy, are at once dictates of our natural reason and moral laws that take the form of precepts discovered by proper reasoning directed toward those of our actions which affect others. The Golden Rule is a moral precept formulated within the formal constraint provided by Hobbes’s rational reciprocity theorem. Not just the Golden Rule demonstrates respect for this principle, for Hobbes noted that the Jewish injunction (or commandment) to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is likewise a “natural law” in the sense that it too begins “with rational nature itself.” In Lloyd’s words, this is a reciprocity constraint “because it requires that the considerations one offers to others justifying one’s own actions be considerations one is willing to accept reciprocally from them as justifying their actions.” The Laws of Nature discovered by Hobbes’s reliance on correct reasoning are in fact summed up in the form of the Golden Rule: “Do not that to another which thou wouldest not have done to thyself,” which Hobbes states is “approved by all the world.”

Thus, according to Hobbes, what enables us to “live together safely” are not “artificial rules” but the Laws of Nature or the laws of God, discoverable by unaided natural reason, and to which the Sovereign himself should abide.

For the details of the above argument, please see S.A. (Sharon) Lloyd’s 1992, Ideals as Interests in Hobbes’s ‘Leviathan’: the Power of Mind over Matter (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes: Cases in the Law of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Aug 1, 2019 9:12:43 AM

"casually opining?"

Whether or not black students perform, as a group, on par with white students is a matter of fact, not opinion. A first year law professor has within her reach a significant body of first hand evidence to answer that question of fact. She was not opining. Maybe her facts are wrong, maybe they are not. Maybe it is poor manners to mention that fact, maybe it is not.

But shouldn't a professor writing a long winded post attacking another professor for a lack of decorum at least be sure to get his facts correct?

Posted by: Biff | Jul 29, 2019 3:13:19 PM

I'm a little confused by this post, solely in that it reads as if you had it in draft for over a year, because it talks about something that Wax did almost two years ago and the response to it 16 months ago (by the way, Wax didn't make these remarks "on a radio broadcast," but on a podcast/video chat with the eminent economist Glenn Loury), while missing the latest Wax controversy. That would be her saying at the so-called National Conservatism Conference that "our country will be better off with more whites and fewer non-whites. Well, that is the result anyway [of her preferred immigration policy, which she calls "cultural distance nationalism," the flavor of nationalism that says some immigrants are too "culturally distant" from "us" to come here and that it's important to maintain "dominating demography for the original peoples in a democratic society"]." Maybe that doesn't go to your chosen subject of manners -- or maybe it does, but either way it makes this post seem rather dated.**

** You can find the full transcript of her remarks, which have been a little acontextually quoted by some outlets, here: https://thefederalist.com/2019/07/26/heres-amy-wax-really-said-immigration/

As far as what you say, it does seem difficult to me to talk about racial preferences in admissions without talking about race and grades, or to coherently maintain the pretense that all students in a given class are above average while litigating the position that they're not in the aggregate with lots of "tact and aggregated, anonymized data." That is to say, I take you to be saying that if Wax somehow could get her hands on a data set of how Penn Law students do in all courses, she could talk about racial differentials in that data set, but must be silent on whether those differentials play out in the classes she herself teaches. I'm not quite sure that that would really make any difference for anyone, and it's a difficult stance to maintain. Also, Wax doesn't, of course, have access to Penn Law grades outside her classes and thus can only speak to how she sees racial preferences in admissions working out in the classes she teaches; those that do have access to that data support the existing policies and aren't interested in discussing what they show. What you say really, then, seems like a recipe for silencing discussion of racial disparities in law school performance, which, as obnoxious as her comments were to her students, doesn't on balance seem like a good idea.

Posted by: Asher | Jul 26, 2019 8:02:13 PM

*palpably inconsistent.

Posted by: KeepCalmandToryOn | Jul 26, 2019 4:42:34 PM

'Note he said this in the late 1700s, not last week'.

Burke would thus be horrified by the mass influx of (unskilled, illiterate) labourers, over and above the millions of people of different backgrounds with starkly different manners, being imported en masse (legally or otherwise) year after year into the United States. He would, correctly, see this as the murder of local manners - the real underpinning of American politics, which are a product of the country's particular history(ies), traditions, and developments, and NOT universally ('metaphysically realist') norms supposedly recognisable by all (e.g., 'natural rights', or at least those whose content and extensions are concrete and determinable).

In other words, it is a form of cultural, social, and political (if not also economic) suicide.

This, coupled with newfound, cultish worship of diversity and each 'little platoons'' struggle to sit atop of the victimhood mountain. Hell bent on this ridiculous path as you are, your divided house will not stand.

Would Burke say, moreover, that those with the most egregious, and palpably obviously, mores ought to return to their ancestral shitholes? Not in those terms, for that would be far too rude; but he would certainly deem the topic to be of such existential importance that he would be the first to say the failure to broach it publicly, and candidly, would lead to ruination.

'Of course most people who object to the professor's statement also should disagree with this. At the very least it stands in rather serious tension with the love of diversity a lot of people profess'.

Yes, but is their professed love sincere and consistent? Do the same folk condemn the American flyover state, pro-life, Jesus people as ignoramouses and hindrances to 'progress', or do they constantly come to their defence, chastising all criticisms of said folks as being 'ignorant', 'xenophobic', etc.? Do they actually hold Red State culture and mores to be equal? Do the identity worshipers tolerate different cultures' norms regarding women and homosexuals, or does the diversity blather wash away in the name of damning their putative 'misogyny' and 'homophobia', and implicitly or explictly insist upon the universal truth of their own values over that The Other in such regards?

Further, whatever one may think about American 'conservatism', Burke's view is not predicated upon a Hobbesian one. Indeed, that would be to entirely miss the point, e.g., why state of nature heuristics are unhelpful distortions. Cf. Hume.

You are certainly correct that calls for ostracism are not simply a function of left-wing politics (though they frequently have been over the last 230 years, as any student of the European Left knows). Instead, it is the mark of authoritarians who mandate that only orthodox views be publicly tolerated and discussed, whilst the heterodox be punished and kept out of view - in the least. What did that Neocon chap say about the closing of the American mind?

Posted by: KeepCalmandToryOn | Jul 26, 2019 4:37:02 PM


When it comes to publicly drawing attention and criticism to another's (in grand scheme of things, rather minor) misdeeds, where does that fit into our thoughts on manners? I'm not sure what Young George would have to say about it, but I think I know Jane Austen's thoughts.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Jul 26, 2019 4:12:17 PM

"To a conservatives like myself, heterogeneous societies from India to America are fragile things, because (recall the Hobbesian assumption above) each ethnocultural group naturally lives in mutual suspicion that one group will elevate their own dignity at the other groups’ expense."

Of course most people who object to the professor's statement also should disagree with this. At the very least it stands in rather serious tension with the love of diversity a lot of people profess.

Posted by: Jr | Jul 25, 2019 6:13:55 PM

The English conservative Edmund Burke said of manners: "Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them in a great measure, the Laws depend. The Law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and color to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them."

Note he said this in the late 1700s, not last week.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jul 25, 2019 4:47:31 PM

Interesting. Yet, left unanswered it seems ( the connection between conservatism and manners ). We couldn't understand, what is it that is inherent in conservatism, warranting manners. Bit complicated, but, correct, although partly, not exclusively ( can be attributed also to the left or progressive or progression also, yet, less. Rather to the right ....).

Clear distinction between left v. right or alike terminology, is:

The left perceives the human being as the end. As the goal. The ultimate purpose of all ( the modern, or ultra modern left ). While the right, perceives rather the human being, as mean, for greater/broader / vague / theological purposes or ends ( like : religion, god, land, sacredness, greatness, history, state symbols, like : flag, national anthem and so forth....). As clear illustration, we can observe the issue of abortion:

The left, supports total free choice of one woman to commit abortion, it is strictly up to her. While the right, would oppose it, since, greater and broader than the choice of one individual, are at stake. Here I quote from the:

House bill no.126 of Missouri:

188.010. In recognition that Almighty God is the author of life, that all men and women are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life", and that article I, section 2 of the Constitution of Missouri provides that all persons have a natural right to life.....

End of quotation:

So, it is rather god and his commandments as the author of life, over free choice of the individual.

So, what all this has to do with manners ? Just some few:

First, the author of the post, insist on restraint. One person, needs to restrain his natural instincts, and, just,for the greater good. That is to say, that he needs, to put sometimes, society and norms or manners indeed, before himself. Indeed, one person, is rather, the mean, over the end.

Manners are typically, not invented or improvised. But, as demonstrated by the author of the post, suggest continuity. The individual, is continuing or adhering to tradition. Rather,not evolving individually and capriciously, but rather sticking to greater than him tradition. History, over human beings,living and breathing, here and now, over vague glorious past.


Posted by: El roam | Jul 25, 2019 4:18:52 PM

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