So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, September 18, 2015
A polite Society
“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon
Old Robert had a point. Sometimes I think we have the worse of all possible worlds: a well armed impolite society.
It's a darn shame that so many foolish people make the mistake of equating manners with weakness. Manners is one of those things that keeps a civilized society functioning with a minimum of mayhem. Good manners keep misunderstandings from escalating into violence. That polite pause gives logic and reason a chance to kick in. Otherwise we act upon emotion -often not our best response.
One does not have to be disagreeable to disagree. There are those who've mistaken my mild mannered ways for weakness. Then they are surprised when they discover I will stand firm and will not be moved.
In some cultures it's normal to make a lot of threats with no intention of following through. Threats, yelling, screaming and fist waving are all part of normal communication. They are genuinely surprised when a westerner reacts by punching them in the nose.
I was raised to never threaten anyone. However, if they truly need a punch in the nose, punch them in the nose. Threats only broadcast your intentions and that puts them on their guard.
Fortunately for most people, even those who truly need a punch in the nose, I'm a polite person. My status is not threatened by someone's foul worlds. On the flip side, just because someone else has more status than me doesn't stop me from disagreeing with them -as always, politely, but firmly.
Heinlein's theory was that if everyone was armed and prepared to defend themselves rudeness would be a very bad idea indeed. Maybe we should treat everyone as if they were well armed and prepared to defend themselves. Politeness couldn't hurt, right?
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.