One of the major mistakes people make is that they think manners are only the expression of happy ideas. There’s a whole range of behavior that can be expressed in a mannerly way. That’s what civilization is all about – doing it in a mannerly and not an antagonistic way. One of the places we went wrong was the naturalistic Rousseauean movement of the Sixties in which people said, “Why can’t you just say what’s on your mind?” In civilization there have to be some restraints. If we followed every impulse, we’d be killing one another.
-Miss Manners (Judith Martin)
Man, it occurs to me, is a joyful, buying-and-selling piece of work. I have been wrong, dead wrong, when I’ve decried consumerism. Consumerism is what we are. It is in a sense, a holy impulse. A human being is someone who joyfully goes in pursuit of things, brings them home, then immediately starts planning how to get more.
A human being is someone who wishes to improve his lot.
-George Saunders, ‘The New Mecca’