Or so wrote Robert Heinlein in Beyond the Horizon. The general idea was that, in a country where there were serious (and officially sanctioned) consequences to misbehavior from quarters other than the police, you'd wind up with a place where people really thought hard about whether it was worth pissing someone off just for the fun of it.
Whenever I'm reading about PvP, that quote always springs to mind. People who have played MMORPG's with more "hardcore" PvP systems have mentioned that the amount of random ganking you see in WoW just doesn't seem to occur on the same scale elsewhere. WoW's PvP is pretty consequence-free. Corpse runs are annoying, sure, and being camped is nobody's idea of fun. But you don't take durability or experience loss after a PvP death, and you don't lose money or items to the attacker. Nor does the attacker gain anything from killing you (unless it's honor if you weren't a gray target).