Bad Manners

At Rhymes with Right, Greg has written a moving post about the way in which he and his wife, both of whom deviate from politically correct norms, are often on the receiving end of rude and brutish behavior.  He ends by asking:

And they have lead me to wonder — where are the manners? Where is the respect? Heck, forget social graces– where is the basic human decency? Why do people think that they can abuse or mistreat people based upon their weight or their disabilities? And why are such things apparently still socially acceptable in a way that such abuse towards minority groups are not?

My instinctive answer to his questions is a simple one:  Political correctness has substituted for manners.  The difference is that manners governed how the actor behaved, controlling the actor in all circumstances.  Political correctness, however, focuses on the recipient, not on the actor.  It therefore establishes a class of people who are accorded special deference, freeing the actor to reveal his baser self to anyone outside of the sacred politically correct classes.

Orwell, of course, got there first:  “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

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  • Ymarsakar

    The LEft worships violence. Verbal violence. They have so specialized in such a field, their ability at physical violence has decreased to almost non-existent levels. Almost that is, but not quite. They just aren’t very good at it compared to the norm.

  • Charles Martel

    Ymar, they’re not even that good at verbal violence. A lot of slurs about being queer or racist hardly amounts to a show of intelligence.

  • Ymarsakar

    It’s not so much the loss of respect. It’s the loss of fear. When people knew that any insult could be returned with a challenge to a duel to the death, people were more aware of the risks they took. Still they often went out and did it anyways, either because they believed they were invulnerable, that the other person didn’t have the guts to kill them, or that they could beat anyone in a pistol duel. Still, that kept the verbal and physical cowards at bay by putting upon them a restriction. You have to be very good at Both verbal and physical violence to get out of that one alive. Now a days, you just have to be good at one and you won’t have to fear retaliation against the other kind that you aren’t good at. You are “protected”.

    Essentially, they believe they have paid for the right, with their taxes. While they have no idea where their taxes actually go, they feel entitled to a superiority they have never earned. And they lack the fear required to recognize their real situation.

    In the modern environment, the only thing people fear is someone’s ability to fight back. In public perception, those in wheelchairs may have the legal priority, but socially they are inferior due to their inability to fight back. The same is true of women in the Leftist sphere. True strength is the only thing people will respect or fear. Anything else they will simply give lip service to: Global Warming or PC, none of the labels matter. The more weak a person is, the more motivated they are to pick on someone they feel won’t be enough to put up a fight.

    One of the things I absorbed while learning about how people train in martial arts or H2H is that telling them stuff accomplishes little. Often all it does is start up an argument about whose style is best, whose master can kick whose other master’s arse, and so forth. No, people start listening when you knock them into the far corner of the room. They start hearing when their brains are rattling around their heads and they’re too dizzy to stand up. That is when they hear and understand. That is when their body comprehends the truth of reality far exceeding whatever verbal monkey tic dance they have going on in their emotional centers.

    This is called body learning. Learning through the sense of touch, feel, pain, and discomfort. Of balance, blood flow, heart beats, and breathing. To learn to feel the universe through the five senses, rather than process verbal noise and emit verbal arguments in return. It is, in fact, what I consider humanity’s primary learning system, with verbal/oral language of secondary primacy, and reading/writing of tertiary primacy.

    Much of the traditional martial arts learning process was designed to weed out certain people. The greedy, the ambitious, the power mad, the impatient, the unethical, or the assassin in disguise. Masters in Japan and China put their students through years of basic training, without any fundamental principle absorption or technique applications, solely in order to test the character of their students. To see if they were ready to learn the real deal. In the United States of America, private contractors have turned this tradition on its head, preferring to teach the real deal and only the real deal, while relying upon reputation and word of mouth to attract the right customers. The law is the body which they rely upon to weed out bad actors. Back in the past of China and Japan, the only law they had was whatever weapons they had on hand, however many in their posse they could gather, how many knights errant they happened to find, and certainly last, but not least, the number of mercenaries they could hire from some recently arrived caravan. Certainly in this sense, we are different. We are different from the Wild West where the law was in the hands of the locals and they could expect no help from anyone else. We are certainly different from the Chinese and Japanese of several centuries past. This is post-modern, 21st, forget the 20th, century now.

    There are certain signals people pick up concerning who to target. Depending on their temperament and resources, they react differently to stressors. Rhymes with Right said that “he could have cussed the other guy out”. That tells me he was thinking about reacting in a verbally aggressive format utilizing anger or what he thinks is the expression of anger: cussing. I, in times past when people have implied insults they may or may not have known they were implying, due to the lack of education they got in public schools on matters of etiquette, I simply and calmly asked them to confirm their implication. They stuttered and couldn’t do it. Their voice became frayed, unstable, and stressed. While mine was solely curious, light, but as unyielding as steel. I asked their confirmation many times. More than once. More than twice. More than twice. They weedled and danced around, trying not to confirm it or deny it. Until they finally broke and backed down, took back what they said. This was audio only, lacking even body/gesture encoding. Probably why it took them so long. They weren’t sure I meant what I said just by my voice tone.

    People will test you. They will say things to anger you and see if you get angry. They will say things to make you afraid and see if you get afraid then angry. They will do things to you and see how you react, whether you overreact or underreact, either one spells “victim” or “weakness” to the predator. They believe, and often rightly so, that if you don’t react, you let them off scott free. And that if you do react, you play into their little victim trap and will lose social standing.

    People want to be tough, so they pick on people they perceive as weaker. But never do they intentinally pick on people stronger, harder, and more ruthless than they. They go out of their way to avoid such people. They will bow down in hands and knee to such, when they have mistakenly targeted such a being. It’s basic human behavior. The strong destroys the weak. Big fish eats little fish.

  • Ymarsakar

    Verbal violence is not a show about social status symbols such as intelligence or wealth or anything like that. In its essence, verbal violence and physical violence is still violence. And violence is at its base, destroying or taking what belongs to others solely because it benefits the violence user. People use violence because they think they can get something with it.

    Thus when the Left uses verbal violence, it is their form of assault and of theft. To steal and destroy other people’s economic livelihoods. To steal their money and future. To destroy their character, as they sought to destroy Sarah Palin’s character and life. That is verbal violence. Being good at it solely means getting what they wanted. Whether that’s power or wealth, the Left has obtained this and much more using their form of violence. They are allied to the Islamic Jihad and the formerly alive Saddam precisely because the Left understands the use and value of violence. The Islamic jihad and Saddam also understood the use and value of violence, they just preferred the physical format.

    Verbal violence and physical violence, to those of us who are good at either one, are morally and ethically the same. There is no difference, really in terms of how good or evil either is compared to the other. They are equal. Their consequences aren’t equal, but that’s about it in terms of variety. 

    Humans are taught to use verbal violence to confront verbal violence and physical violence to confront physical violence. I say “taught” but it’s more like a gut instinct than anything one could call good training or an educational system. But humans simply don’t understand how to translate from a verbal arena to a physical arena, other than using physical violence to trump verbal violence. Because realistically, physical violence can always shut up users of verbal violence. It’s just how it goes. It’s the spade. The trump. The trick.

    Criminals are relatively effective at using physical violence to get what they want. They could be said, of the professional criminals at least, that they know how to use violence “well”. Technically, of course, their skill and training isn’t much to write home about on an objective standard, but they don’t need to be objectively good or the best at using violence. They just need to get it done. They can’t shoot as accurately as the US Marine Corps, but in their line of business, they don’t need to. That is what makes it work. And in the realm of violence, what “works” trumps “skill and excellence”.

    Same applies in the verbal sphere. The Left has some old tricks, yes ,but so long as it works, and it still does work, they’ll keep using it and they’ll keep being “good” at using violence. Cause it works.

    It’s not training, it’s not skill, it’s not talent, and it is certainly not intelligence that matters in violence: verbal or physical. It is what works.

  • 11B40


    You’re welcome to pass along that bit of my father’s wisdom that went, “Next time you see your parents, tell then that I said they still have some work to do.”

  • Cheesestick

    I think this explanation might only suffice for this particular man who singled them out over the black & hispanic couples that were also there eating at McDonald’s, but I don’t think it is true in all circumstances.  There is plenty of rudeness to go around and I have witnessed, on occasion, minorities being disparaged to their faces.  I have also had minorities be quite rude to me as well.  Some of this might be racially motivated, but the reality is, some of it is just general rudeness, which these rude people probably direct at anyone regardless of race.  To me it seems to come from feelings of inadequacy that cause some people to seek out easy targets to dominate.  I haven’t been around any disabled or wheelchair-bound people enough to have witnessed such behavior toward them. What that blogger reported really does surprise me, but I guess it shouldn’t.  I work a customer service job and as you can imagine, plenty of people see us as prime targets for their hostility simply because they know we are bound by work rules that prevent us from challenging them as they act out their hostilities.  Whenever I finish an encounter w/ one of these types, I always marvel at how this could possibly make them feel good about themselves.  They just got finished attacking & berating someone who would be fired for fighting back; constrained by rules/laws that the attacker is not.  So it makes sense that these same people would feel no shame or fear in attacking someone who was physically restrained in some way.
    So that said, I don’t think political correctness has a big part in this.  While I do agree that some people will limit their aggression to those targets that are not in political favor, the real problem is un-channeled aggression to begin with.  You could blame that on any number of things that plague our society, but the main problem is, people are choosing to use their aggressive tendencies for ill and destruction of other people rather than for good & noble purposes.

  • Ymarsakar

    They are using it for good and noble purposes. They think their views have merit.

  • Kirk Strong

    Amy Alkon, who blogs over at, has written a book titled “I See Rude People.”  I confess that I haven’t read it — yet — but I’d guess she has a lot of the answers.
    No doubt there are many reasons why more people are becoming more rude.  I think Bookworm’s comment is very perceptive.  Political correctness has created a class of people — particularly male WASP’s  — whom it is ok to abuse.  It has the added bonus of giving the putative “victims” in our society a righteous sense of empowerment.

  • Ymarsakar

    PC is a thought experiment, not simply a set of political goals. It isn’t that PC is about moderating people’s behaviors and making people sensitive to women’s issues or institutional slavery. That’s just the superficial surface illusion. Their real nature is of a thought experiment: one designed to control human modes of thinking and make humans believe and think a certain way.

    Political Correctness seeks to fundamentally transform a human being’s value system so that the highest value a person can have is post-modern moral relativism and race/victim consciousness. It does this by supplanting America’s cultural view, which was designed to motivate people in focusing on individual character and actions. It overrides cultural view by teaching people to think only of skin color and labels. People are what they are labeled. Blacks are superior to whites because they are victims of whites. Women are superior to men because women are “victims” of men. The disabled are a drain upon society and victims of nature’s cruelty, to which the obvious solution is to put them out of their misery, for the good of us all (financially and emotionally, i.e. Terry Schiavo)

    To a Leftist, you are not a person. You are simply a tool they will use until you are used up. You don’t get a say because you are not an individual. You’re what you are labeled as. And the Left is the one that makes the labels.

    The requirement for being a Leftist isn’t ideological or political. It’s methods and goals. You don’t have to believe in institutional racism to belong to the Left. All you have to do is to have a goal that is compatible with institutional racism or have a method that helps institutional racism excel in modern political life. The Islamic Jihad’s goals are anathema to Feminist Leftists, yet Feminist Leftists love Islamic Jihadists compared to Bush and the “theologians of America”. Ever wonder why? The Leftist goal may be in contradiction with the Islamic Jiihad, but the methods of the latter bolster the goals of the former. Coincidentally, eh. Thus they are allies in reality, not enemies.

    In the end, slaves don’t need to talk back and they don’t need free will to disobey orders. The Left will create a world in which slaves populate it in abundance, solely to serve the Leftists in charge.

    And you know what’s funny? Many Americans call themselves independents because they think not buying into the whole Leftist agenda makes them free to form their own opinions and views. Well, if that was true, how come they bought into the Obama con? Because those “independents” aren’t as independent as they think. They don’t need to agree 100% with Leftist platforms to be a Leftist cannon fodder. IN fact, most Leftists don’t agree 100% with their entire alliance’s platform either. To be a Leftist simply requires methods or goals to be in common. The Independents of America are more in their thrall than they realize. People without any political affiliation or interest whatsoever, nonetheless act the way Leftists want them to act. Why? Because cannonfodder do what they are told. They don’t get a choice about it. They weren’t born to have free will.

    If the LEftist rot was only political in nature, it would not be such a dire cliff fall for America. If it was only a political difference of view, it wouldn’t be so anti-American. But it is precisely because the Leftist alliance exists as it is, that people, regardless of political persuasion, become corrupted and eventually their pawns. GOP included. Just look at how the GOP reacted to Sarah Palin.

  • Libby

    I think you’re onto something with the Political Correctness, and I’d add with it the effect of seeing people as members of a group instead of individuals. As in, he’s white, so I can assume that he a racist, and therefore, feel no remorse in mistreating him (and make up for all of the bad stuff other white men have done in the past to members of my group).
    There’s also the overall coarsening of our culture, where it’s become OK and even entertaining to see people mistreating others on TV, in movies, in political debates, etc. Just watch any of the tween shows on Nick or Disney to see what passes as funny – put-downs, bullying, dirty tricks – and it goes almost entirely unpunished.
    Lastly, I think that the as we’ve strayed from religion as a culture we’ve lost sight of personal humility. As a Christian, I am constantly reminded to be humble. If I believed there was no God, and the world revolved around me, why the heck should I care about others?

  • Indigo Red

    Ymar makes a grand argument about aggression and violence, it’s causes and various responses. However, I don’t see in Greg’s story any reference to the predator being politically left wing or Leftist. What is evident is that the predator of unspecified race was an “older man on an electric scooter,” apparently himself disabled who, for whatever reason, at that moment chose to attack another disabled person in a somewhat awkward form of cannibalism. And this incident, Greg points out, is not the only time he and his wife have received poor treatment. Having been physically crippled, though self-ambulatory, my entire life I, too, have experienced a decline of simple decency over the last 50 years. 

    Book’s observation about political correctness run amok may be a simplification of the incident, but as Libby points out, as I did on Greg’s post, there is an “overall coarsening of our culture” from entertainment to politics to sports to personal relationships. Once upon a time, it meant ‘hell to pay’ to call a girl a slut. Now it’s writ large on the seat of her pants and marches are held to glorify that ‘slutness.’ People once acted on the basis of the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have done unto you. But, fewer people know that rule; today’s golden rule is, ‘He who has the gold, makes the rules.’ When once we were exhorted to treat everyone the same, assuming that treatment to be respectfully, far too many have simply chosen to treat everyone with the same ill-tempered disrespect so that, somewhat sadomasochistically, people seem to want the poor treatment and disrespect perhaps as a justification for their own behavior Emily Post would find lacking.

    Manners were once real and counted as more than social grease and glue that held the wild dogs at bay and the barbarians on their side of the gate. Manners are now considered too hard to remember, too trivial to practice, too impractical for advancement, too much of a bother. Crude, rude, and lewd is behavior so much easier to live by as it’s more in line with ‘keeping it real.’ After all, what could be more real than our baser instincts as opposed to knowing which fork to use? Certainly not manners. Manners are a social construct that delineate and segregate the mannered from the ill-mannered, the haves from the have-nots, the bourgeois from the proletariat lending itself well to the idea that we are all equal even if that requires we all become the barbarians at the gates. And that by itself would lend credence to Ymar’s supposition that Leftism plays a role here, a very big role.  But, it’s too great a leap to make in this specific case to say the predator was a Leftist overwhelmed by a perverted PC  agenda.

  • Ymarsakar

    Houston is said to be packed full of Texas but not Texas people. It’s due to the concentration of power. It draws in people of a likeness, even if it wasn’t a major metropolitan center.

  • Ymarsakar

    I think it was Austin that was worse off, but I don’t discount any other major city as a factor.

    As I mentioned before, it’s not a deciding case of ideology or politics, but of methods and cultural values.

  • Ymarsakar

    I’m not making a judgment of what the person in the scooter is or isn’t. His behavioral patterns fit someone who was testing the waters, as he went by once with a drive by and then came back when he realized he could get away with it. Ignoring people is considered best in polite society. They forgot what happens when you ignore people in a society controlled by the corrupt and the evil. That was never considered as part of the scenario processing, but it should have been. Other than that, there is no relevant data available to make a judgment on in the first place. But like I said to Neo in her post-topic concerning Sarah Palin hate, it doesn’t matter so much what the cannon fodder thinks or believes. They are the cannon fodder and they’ll do as they are told. What is of more concern is the centralized mass production that controls the cannonfodder. A judgment can be clearly and accurately made on that. And it’ll trickle down to the people at the bottom of the ladder one way or another. Whoever they may be, whatsoever they may be.

  • suek

    >>Manners are now considered too hard to remember, too trivial to practice, too impractical for advancement, too much of a bother.>>
    I disagree slightly…I think the idea is that manners are fake…a form of lying, and saying and doing whatever the heck you feel whenever you feel like it is “honest”.  And of course, we _must_ be honest.  If you have your feelings hurt, it’s _your_ problem – it’s the _truth_ that counts.  Of course, that assumes the insulter is the possessor of truth instead of just his or her opinion.

  • Ymarsakar

    I don’t get where they are coming from. They don’t hate “fakeness”. The only people that hate fakeness are the ones that hate two faced people, including themselves. What they (the line of thinking that suek is speaking of) seem to hate is being of a low social status.

    They don’t want honesty. Being too honest would destroy them, as they would have no where to hide… from themselves.

    What they are doing is casting a shadow unto others, to hide their inner darkness. By being rude, they set up a feeling of self-righteousness and arrogance. By not placing constraints on themselves, they don’t need to challenge or beat themselves at anything. They can let their demons ride free. They can ignore what they have done, the evils they have seen or the evils they have helped to do.

    While I wish human misunderstands couldn’t happen so that people could say whatever they want, that’s not the reality I must deal with. The reality I must deal with is one inhabited by a bunch of lying, self-deceiving, humans. Who if they don’t misunderstand something on purpose, will do so accidentally anyways. Countermeasures must be taken against such humans, regardless of what anyone thinks of their own self.

    I became fully cognizant of the importance of formality and ritual communication (manners or etiquette) after I learned a couple of things pertaining to human body language (more than 50% of the total message being communicated, with the actual words constituting only 10% of the total meaning) and after I learned the fragility of human life in H2H training.

    Politeness seems on the surface nothing but being afraid to say a few things. But when coupled with the concept of people having the capability and willingness to slaughter each other, politeness starts looking a bit different.

  • suek

    It’s the difference between “I want to say (something clever or just plain insulting)” vs “I shouldn’t hurt xxx’s feelings”.  In other words, once again, it’s all about “ME”…

  • Charles Martel

    I believe it’s considered good manners, even among leftists, to relieve oneself in private. Wouldn’t it be more “honest” to just do it in the open? After all, going behind a wall and pretending to “powder my nose” is a lie, isn’t it?

  • Libby

    There are few good articles and blog posts about manners via Ed, but I think Carol Platt Liebau says it best, that good manners aren’t about being fake or dishonest: “I was brought up to believe that good manners were nothing more than a matter of kindness: When in doubt, do the gracious thing, and chances are that it would be the “proper” thing. Manners are, in short, a set of rules by which civilized people can live together in harmony.” (
    Liebau also links to an article by Dr. Theodore Dalrymple that “…skewers the dumbing down of etiquette in this country (and his own native Britain), associating it as something akin to a liberal disease.” Specifically, that informal manners of those at the bottom of the social scale is an attempt to prove your egalitarian credentials (, which could be seen to be just as fake as some seem to believe good manners to be.

  • Ymarsakar

    Wouldn’t it be more “honest” to just do it in the open? After all, going behind a wall and pretending to “powder my nose” is a lie, isn’t it?

    Isn’t that why France has public urinals out on the streets in open view of people?

  • Indigo Red

    @suek – “I disagree slightly…I think the idea is that manners are fake…a form of lying, and saying and doing whatever the heck you feel whenever you feel like it is “honest”.

    I disagreed slightly, too. You came closer to what I meant to write. My mother is one of those who insist upon “telling it like it is” and yet fails to understand why she has no friends to share her final years.

    The “formality and ritual communication” of which Ymar speaks is also called diplomacy; when that breaks down, there is aggression, violence, and war which has been called diplomacy by other means. I prefer the “formality and ritual communication.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Politics by other means I have heard it called, but not yet diplomacy by other means.