The Earl of Shaftesbury states that civility and politeness is a consequence of liberty by which “we polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides” (1709)
Central to Shaftesbury’s idea of liberty is the notion of the free interchange of ideas, even if some of those ideas grate against those of others (p. 42, last paragraph of Section I):
Odds & Ends
And thus in other respects Wit will mend upon our hands, and Humour will refine it-self; if we take care not to tamper with it, and bring it under Constraint, by severe Usage and rigorous Prescriptions. All Politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision. To restrain this, is inevitably to bring a Rust upon Mens Understandings. ‘Tis a destroying of Civility, Good Breeding, and even Charity it-self, under pretence of maintaining it.