4.4.2  Socially-Acceptable Behaviour

(This is a copy of archived version 2a of this pattern.  The latest version is at https://www.patternsofpower.org/patterns/moral/pluralism/acceptable/.) 

Peaceful pluralism is only possible if people observe reasonable standards of politeness, which are summarised in this book by the term 'Socially-Acceptable Behaviour'.  It complies with the Golden Rule: such behaviour is what one hopes for from other people.  It is not an onerous requirement.  It is widely practised on a daily basis in peaceful societies It is, though, hard to define precisely what it is – so it is not appropriate to apply the coercion of the law to enforce it.  The requirements are rarely articulated and are taken for granted by most well-meaning people, so it might be argued that they are self-evident and not worth enunciating – but socially-acceptable behaviour is so important to society that it needs to be consistently taught ( and people should put moral pressure upon anyone who doesn’t comply, as discussed below (4.4.3).

 Societies will vary enormously, so it isn’t possible to define what socially-acceptable behaviour might look like on a generalised basis.  It is worth considering, though, what sort of characteristics would need to be taken into account; the following list is a suggestion:

·     People need to identify what they have in common, despite the variations in their individual views (

·     Each society has a conception of human rights (

·     People need to show each other respect, despite their differences (

·     Different societies develop conventions of courtesy, which need to be observed (

·     Last but not least, people should obey the law and show integrity; they shouldn’t just do whatever they can get away with (

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014