Friday, March 11, 2022

The World of Manners

The success of every culture, observed Lord Moulton, a respected British judge and cabinet minister in the early twentieth century, hinges not on big points of morality - there will always be issues like abortion or school prayer over which people differ - but on smaller values, like being considerate of others and pulling your weight. These values, he observed, are neither legally enforceable nor purely private, but constitute the connective tissue of people interacting in a healthy society. He called this "the world of manners":

Between "can do" and "may do" ought to exist the whole realm which recognizes the sway of duty, fairness, sympathy, taste and all the other things that make life beautiful and society possible.

- From The Lost Art of Drawing the Line: How Fairness Went Too Far by Philip K. Howard

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