Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior"

Ours is not at era of civility and decent behavior and so it was something between a chuckle and a tear that erupted when a friend passed along the rules that George Washington was said to have carried with him and studied daily in times gone by. Imagine -- a man of stature who was willing to consider and modify his own behavior.

Too much civility and class and the humanity is lost.
Too much humanity and the social contract is shredded.

Guys and gals with enormous fingernails stand cheek by jowl with guys and gals with dirty fingernails.

Of course everyone has an answer and discipline to bind up the rifts, but the rifts have a way of outfoxing the nostrums.


  1. I always thought check lists were for those who didn't know what they were doing, or were forgetful.

  2. Thanks for this.

    Washington’s list is quite comprehensive and straightforward.

    From reading Ben Franklin’s “Autobiography” in high school I was aware of Franklin’s 13 Virtues (see ) approach to self improvement, but I have never came across George Washington’s 110 Points of Propriety.

    So now we have a little better idea why Washington was accepted as a guest in so many places. :-)

    It is a shame that over the last 250 odd years cynicism and moral weakness has overshadowed sincere efforts at self improvement within the general populace.

  3. Here is a link to a PDF file containing the book, “Maxims of Washington: Political, Social, Moral, and Religious” by George Washington. Originally published by D. Appleton and Company, 1855

    It is in the Internet Archive. It is downloadable in various forms including PDF, Kindle (MOBI) and iBooks (ePUB).

    Going back to the late 1700’s made me think not only of an era of great (at least public) propriety and prudence but also of the likelihood of private debauchery that surrounded and was likelihood available to Washington and Franklin and the price those who engaged in such behavior paid in terms of health, reputation, and fortune.

    Also made me wonder in passing if Trump’s mind has suffered from his debauchery. Probably not, he was born that way.