Good manners depended on paying moral attention to others; it required one to treat them with complete moral seriousness, to understand their feelings and their needs.
... How utterly shortsighted we had been to listen to those who thought that manners were a bourgeois affectation, an irrelevance, which need no longer be valued. A moral disaster had ensued, because manners were the basic building block of a civil society. They were the method of transmitting the message of moral consideration.
In this way an entire generation had lost a vital piece of the moral jigsaw and now we saw the results: a society in which nobody would help, nobody would feel for others; a society in which aggressive language and insensitivity were the norm.
Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club