by Alex M. Gow
There was a time when how to use finger bowls and napkin rings was part of education. In dispensing with archaic manners, we seem to have also dispensed with the common sense sensitivity that among other advantages made possible political discourse without viciousness. Decorum has been jettisoned, often with the excuse that the times are different. The end result has been stress instead of kindness, the evaporation of care and consideration, and gross inefficiency in solving problems rather than any alleged streamlined savings. The quality of our political life has deteriorated and the upshot has been a stalemate in dealing with contemporary social problems. The Westphalia Press Civility Series offers classic texts about behavior, which if taken to heart might have practical consequences.