"Respect for the individual." First heard about this one about 40 years ago. One of the three guiding principles of a great company. Still around, but they dumped that idea a while back, though I'm still working on it.
Back when the company had that principle, there was a strong consensus that it was the best company in the world, at least some of the time. By the time I started working there, they were already on the down side, and one of the biggest problems was that they had forgotten what the principles were about. The other two principles were easier to understand and follow but "respect for the individual" was already on the ropes, though it somehow became something of a fetish object for me.
Seems like a simple idea, but it isn't. To really understand the meaning, you have to apply it to everyone. It's really easy to respect some folks. Many of my coworkers and customers were elite engineers and programmers with PhDs from hoity toity universities. One of them even rose above normal rankings and did me the peculiar honor of asking for a bit of minor help on a TED talk. Went well, too. Easy to respect such individuals, but you can't draw the line there, or you're disrespecting other folks and it has to be universal.
I've often suspected that my difficulty with the concept was related to my time in the service, where the rules of respect were completely codified and ritualized. Up? Respect. Down? Phuck 'em. Convenient, but mindless, and ultimately fake. Real respect for the individual has to go every which way.
Maybe my problem with the concept had more to do with self-respect? It has to go inwards, too, or maybe it's better to say that respect for other individuals has to be based on a foundation of self-respect, too. If you have perfectionist or idealistic tendencies, then it's kind of hard to practice that respect in reverse for exactly the same reason that the high-level respect doesn't easily go to lower levels.
For a while I tried specialization. I thought the trick of "respect for the individual" might involve finding the unique strength, even if it was a negative one, and then you can respect that. Can you respect someone for being the biggest liar in the room? How about respecting the greatest rudeness or stupidity, even if you have to limit the scope of the "greatness" to a slashdot journal? Actually takes me back to the military days again... Perverted version of the 23rd psalm "because I'm the baddest motherphucker in the valley [of the shadow of death]."
So how can you respect a subhuman and mindless troll? I failed again.
Oh well. Guess I need to keep studying it.
By the way I'm leaving this one open for comments just in case some trolls are stupid enough to want to prove my point. Unlikely that any of them will say anything interesting enough to merit a reply, but it might be amusing to watch them try. Of course the sad part is that they really don't have any better use of their precious time on earth.