No Longer To The Manners Born
On Thursday I joined my old editor at The Australian, Tom Switzer, on his radio show Between The Lines. It was a wide-ranging conversation, from free speech to Donald Trump, the Middle East to the Supreme Court. Along the way, I quoted a favorite expression from Lord Moulton:
85 years ago English judge Lord Moulton, said that human action can be divided into three domains. At one end is the law at the other is free choice and between them is the realm of manners. In this realm Lord Moulton said, “lies a domain in which our actions are not determined by law but in which we are not free to behave in any way we choose. In this domain we act with greater or lesser freedom from constraint, on a continuum that extends from a consciousness of duty through a sense of what is required by public spirit, to good form appropriate in a given situation”.
The “realm of manners” is in severe retreat around the west: Everything now is increasingly mandatory or forbidden, and ever more regulated and policed by the state.
As we should have learned [and never have forgotten] in the centuries after the fall of The Roman Empire, Civilization is a fragile thing that can be swept away quickly when the people of a nation or region cease to work constantly and consistently to uphold it and, more importantly, believe in it’s inherent Goodness and Righteousness.
Avoiding descending into a Dark Age is usually a near-run thing.
It is also our main Duty if we dare claim we are Civilized.