Deflation of the demos

“It would seem that in an egalitarian society social etiquette would vanish, not, as is generally supposed, from want of breeding, but because on the one side would disappear the deference due to a prestige which must be imaginary to be effective, and on the other, more completely still, the affability that is gracefully and generously dispensed when it is felt to be of infinite price to the recipient, a price which, in a world based on equality, would at once fall to nothing like everything which has only a fiduciary value.” – Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way (trans. Moncrieff and Kilmartin)

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