Several years ago, I came to the conclusion that people respect strength. I was wrong.
I recently discovered that strength can also be applied in a way that is perceived extremely unethical despite the best intention, which evokes anger and an almost overwhelming sense of righteousness that would make a religious zealot blush: a completely ridiculous situation.
So it looks like brute strength is not respected, but despised and tolerated when it must be. People respect strength delivered with calmness and wisdom. So the new philosophy is: choose a course, be as clear about your intentions as you can, and don’t compromise ethics no matter how much you may wish to do so – the most stable path forward, one requiring least amount of energy. Besides, life is too short to be an asshole.