I see this thing popping up, frequently, about respect.
- …the basic respect everyone should offer each other…
- You should give everyone a basic level of respect, by default.
- etc., etc., ad nauseum.
I get what these people are saying, but I think most of them are either confusing respect with something else, or really are a bunch of entitled prats with terrible judgment.
Because not every single person you will ever encounter deserves your respect. In fact, I’d say the vast majority of the people you encounter definitively don’t.
Should they be given basic courtesy? Sure. Basic consideration? Absolutely. Appropriate etiquette? Usually. No one, though, is entitled to your respect. Not one single solitary soul.
Respect– n.– esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.
That has nothing whatsoever to do with how a person should be treated upon meeting, or in a conversation, or in an online forum. It has to do with a specific kind of regard that they earn, by doing something, or showing themselves to be something, that is inherently worthy of that regard, to you.
Personally, I will generally show the people I meet a very high level of courtesy,upon first meeting. I will generally treat them in a very mannerly fashion, until and unless they give me reason not to do so.
My respect, though? That doesn’t come so easily. Nor should yours. I respect people who have shown me something that is worthy of respect. I respect people who have integrity, for instance. People whose actions line up with their words. People who are generous and helpful to others. There are tons of reasons why I might respect someone. The sheer virtue of them having been born isn’t one of them.
So don’t jump into a conversation, demanding that I give you my respect, because that simply isn’t how it works.