"However, the reason that these little, petty annoyances worry me is that they seem to have been formulated, by accident or deliberately, to undermine a great deal of the progress that has been made here in the last few centuries. Progress in cooperation, that is." The Deliambren's expression was a brooding one. "Each little action seems designed to strike in such a way that the group that is acted against is quite certain that the actions against them are far more important than the petty annoyances of other groups."
Mercedes Lackey in The Robin and the Kestrel