I have lived on this Earth for many decades. Close to 200,000 hours of that time so far has gone into observing myself and many people. Particularly in the first world. What have I learned in all that time and many hours regarding basic behavior?
True respect is something you believe in and on that basis, people can be divided into two groups.
At a basic level, you have those who outwardly express a range of respectful behaviors in order to gain promotion. Respect for them is a means to an end. You have others who actually believe in respect and are naturally predisposed to noble behavior in a very consistent way. Sometimes they get it wrong, but this second group strives far more than the first to get things right in the right way.
You can tell the difference between the two groups of people. Those who are truly respectful at their core reflect the highest class of professionalism and noble behavior in their words, actions, and intentions. Even their subtle gestures show the highest regard for the dignity and worth of others. They have chivalry, they have class and they truly mean it.
Those who do not believe in respect, despite their education, position, or social standing will surrender nobility to lesser causes. Whether in an overt or subtle way extending to diminishing others through subtle social humiliation. Some of the causes may be the pursuit of petty revenge. Basic envy. Perhaps complex issues of the psyche involving a sense of inadequacy or other unresolved issues of the past. Pursuit of gains at the expense of others. Silence of voices of reasonable dissent. You can sense this nature in them. Whatever it is, this group of people will undermine the efforts of the first group in the pursuit of lesser goals. The pattern of behavior always surfaces. Consistently.
Outcomes of such behavior is the erosion of true order, social standing, and healthy relationships. The worse can involve unnecessary damage to the progress of others. Both scenarios are inefficient, an unworthy use of time, and an unproductive distraction with ill effects.
Religion, policy, and civil standards are the primary elements that reign in the worse effects of those who truly align with the second group. It is a continuing challenge for the noble at heart to coexist with those more comfortable with chaos or otherwise disinterested in high standards of conduct and existence. After decades of observation, this is the recognized true division of people in society regardless of background or economic status.
People who have made mistakes or have made bad choices can be in either group. Again, it is not about social position, education, or background. It is all about motivation. Intent determines everything.
You either believe in a higher way of being, not confused with money or material success or popularity, or you do not. Among people, the true lack of inward, genuine interest in being a better person is a road block to a better world. It has nothing to do with leaders. Instead, across leaders, followers, and bystanders, a lack of true civility and introspection that produce a complete noble nature remains uncultivated. In other words, it cuts across society and is the basic problem. People are often reminded of these things, usually under penalty for noncompliance. Largely, irrelevant if you do not believe in the virtue of a true and honestly expressed noble nature.
That is the observation from 10s of thousands of hours observing people. I suspect for 10s of thousands of hours further into the future it will shift very little. An even greater truth is you cannot really change people nor should you. I believe in free will. Change only occurs when it is something a person genuinely seeks. If that is what you want. I do not expect change nor seek it in others. That would be wrong but it is wise to advocate for a better way. A person must make their own choice. Even if it is the worse choice imaginable. People will be who they truly are whether noble in nature or not.
Somewhere deep within I knew the basics of this after 50,000 hours of my life had passed but held out the instinctive hope that the worse expressions of youth would dissipate in the adult environment. At some point, the magnitude of time reveals that some things are a fixed dimension of life. The value placed on basic nobility is one of those things. As a result, these observations are likely to hold for a very long time. Nobility is not about the good things people say about you but who you truly are within.