So, I'm still thinking about The Coddling of the American Mind, which is good for a book to help you do. One of the things they mention are dignity cultures versus honor cultures. The key difference between dignity and honor cultures they highlight is about how you should respond when people badmouth you. In an honor culture, this is a big deal. In a dignity culture, you've got dignity no matter what people say, so it really doesn't matter. If someone says something you don't like, you ignore them.

This is an important point and I'm glad they mentioned it, but I've been thinking about it, and there's an additional benefit to dignity cultures (aside from the obvious locus of control assumptions, as well as the ability to scale up to larger societies where everyone has their say): they implicitly build an etiquette around both concrete problem solving and autonomy.

People will always posture, but if you stop caring about insults, you can spend more time on things that move things forward. You don't only save time you'd otherwise spend on negotiating some strange offense, but you gain the ability to craft a purely positive message. "Haters gonna hate" could be a oppositional message, but in reality is a message of solidarity that avoids building negatively polarized groups. You give everyone permission to write off detractors as irrelevant, which means you can define a group by positive traits, instead of by common enemies. It's healthier.

It also says, hey, no need to get involved in someone else's business. If you don't like it, don't engage. No need to worry about it. The etiquette this encourages leads, somewhat trivially, to autonomy. Of course you can do what you want, so long as it isn't actually harmful. There's no reason for anyone to stop you. Reducing the number of reasons someone should stop another is good. Let's keep it to good reasons, like someone is threatening someone else. That's a good thing to stop. Someone being an unlicensed tour guide... isn't a problem. Most of the regulatory state is ridiculous in a dignity culture.

Think about an organization in your life that suffered from a dysfunction. Perhaps one member is taking advantage of generosity openly but stealing covertly (a problem I've dealt with before). Was there a slowness to correct bad behavior? That seems necessary, for a problem to escalate into dysfunction. And yet, if you are firm in your understanding of the dignity of all humankind, you'd see essentially no problem quickly dealing with a problem. No admonishment will cost them that dignity. Explusion will not cost them dignity. The cost to them is zero, and your reticence to engage honestly has no benefactor.

There are other dysfunctions, more subtle and requiring more thought and change. But this is still the most common, and I think that's because of a slight backslide into honor-based thinking.

Let's strive to use these lessons everywhere, not just at the most massive cultural scales.