Manners are often criticised as social conventions, tools of class distinction, hypocritical and morally irrelevant. Yet in a world dominated by the violence of misunderstanding any social lubricant should be welcomed. Manners are simple kindnesses. If they exist from the ground up then better relationships should be reflected on the global stage.
It is important to distinguish manners from etiquette. It is etiquette which is irrelevant and so dominated by anachronistic class convention that it is surprising it is still practiced as much as it is. Or perhaps not . Its survival is representative of the longevity of class distinction and our tendency to be both fooled and intimidated by it.
Knowing which spoon to drink soup with is a code to fit in with a certain elite group. It is nothing more than that. It offers no kindness and no compassion. Manners on the other hand have no blueprint and can be practised by anyone. They do not have to be learnt and they only ever improve situations. There is nothing hypocritical about that.