I like Miradus' answer best!
You, sir, have been awarded 3 Miradus Points (MP). Save them up for fabulous prizes.
I almost feel like questions such as these get spawned when someone didn't bow, or refused to bow, to a noble who was out of their place of power and the p_noble gets OOC upset about it.
There's people IN ALLANAK who wouldn't bow to an Allanak noble. Find out IC (Ha!). The only thing that gets them to bow is the threat of being ripped to pieces by half giants or dry-humped by a braxat in the arena. If you go to Red Storm and strut your stuff, do you think the Red Stormers care? Some might, if their backstory has them wanting to get back into the good graces of Allanak. Some might, if they want the sid they think you'll spread around. Some might just want to take you to their apartment for some sex and murder (in their own order of preference).
If I'm in Luir's with a northern character and a southern noble is strutting their stuff and demands something of me, then it depends on whether I ever intend to return to the south and how much I think Kurac will let me get away with. With a northern lowlife? In general, I'm far nicer to a halfbreed dun-cloak newbie who has the power to throw me in jail or murder me with a snap of his fingers than I would be to a southern noble who is so far out of their place of power. It absolutely all depends on the character I'm playing at the time and what has happened thus far and what I hope to happen in the future.
There is no canned response which you can paint over the entire playerbase for every situation. That's what makes the game !FUN!.
So, I agree that we can play exceptions and also that the clarion call of 'every Zalanthan for themselves' is a legitimate position -- but!
I think it's also useful to know what the average X would be or do.
1. I find a lot of fun in the tension between documentation (what the average whatever would do) and survival of my character -- it allows for depth of psychology and a lot of fun to be had in exploring and roleplaying a person with beliefs and habits and customs quite foreign to our own.
2. I also think that some of the beliefs that average people have (say, a Soh's fear of witches) is not drive by a kind of rational calculation or a mere custom that can be tossed aside, but it is a deeply entrenched psychological trait. Sure, you can still toss it aside, but that would be an interesting struggle to play out, and again, it is fun to get into a headspace that is not your own.
So, on nobles in Allanak, for instance, the average Allanaki human citizen would believe -deeply- that this person just is better than they are, not merely because they are more powerful, or could lock them up, but because this is just how the world is. Sure you'd have exceptions -- breeds, elves, and dwarves, for instance, and maybe rinther humans, for sure, and maybe now and then a human who bucks the trend -- but it's helpful to see the rule in order to be the exception to the rule.
All that to say, totally agree, but I also think these sorts of threads are helpful in bringing us together in understanding how the world is.