DEAR MISS MANNERS: What would perfect manners do for the world?
GENTLE READER: Besides put Miss Manners out of business? The very idea sets her dreaming of happy times, rocking on the porch as she contemplates a peaceful world.
However, this might also create problems for other trades, notably the munitions and entertainment industries.
Still, wouldn't it be worth it? No shoving or shouting in lines, on subways or in the streets. No demands to contribute to other people's honeymoon or children's college funds, but prompt thanks for kindness and generosity. People would look one another in the eye instead of bending over their telephones. There would be substantive conversation because differences would be debated respectfully.
Perfect harmony would reign -- no wars, no murders, no divorces.
Oops, wait. Miss Manners was carried away. Human beings would still be human. Manners restrain impulses that annoy others; they seldom govern the great passions. It would take perfect morals, not just manners, to nullify the greater ills of the world. Over to you, Miss Morals.
Still, wouldn't it be pleasant to get through the day without fear of anyone's offering to tell you what's wrong with you for your own good?