If you are required by society to be polite — of course it’s a voluntary system policed only by public opinion — you run into having to have equal respect for people who are not as rich and powerful as you. More than that, because of the concept of noblesse oblige, you are required to treat them even better. So etiquette is the greatest friend of the powerless; without it, might makes right.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Polite Company,” interview by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1998-03)

Added on 20-Jun-23 | Last updated 20-Jun-23
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