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 (4.4.7.1) 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 (4.4.2.1).

·     Each society has a conception of human rights (4.4.2.2).

·     People need to show each other respect, despite their differences (4.4.2.3).

·     Different societies develop conventions of courtesy, which need to be observed (4.4.2.4).

·     Last but not least, people should obey the law and show integrity; they shouldn’t just do whatever they can get away with (4.4.2.5).

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014