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Old 10-02-2012, 09:30 AM   #1
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Cool Honor

Sonny's recent ordeal with a hit and run got me to thinking. I also recall within the past few weeks a young man getting run down on his skateboard in the street on arctic blvd. by a Fiero. Who would do such a thing?

What has gone wrong in our society that would produce individuals such as these to walk away from their wrongdoings? The reasons are many, I figure.

And so, even though it may draw the ire of a few present here in akic, I feel compelled to share a message from a site I frequent. WWW.artofmanliness.com.

The passage is long and thought provoking. Some may need to sit with this for a time and contemplate its full meaning, as well as it's implications. I think we can do better. Living our lives better, being better guides and mentors each in our daily walks through this life. The influence you have may have far reaching consequences. Just a thought.
HONOR

"Across cultures and time, honor and manliness have been inextricably tied together. In many cases, they were synonymous. Honor lost was manhood lost. Because honor was such a central aspect of a man’s masculine identity, men would go to great lengths to win honor and prevent its loss.
If we take even a cursory look at history, honor pops up over and over again as a central theme in literature and life. The epic poems of Homer are primarily about honor and man’s quest to achieve and maintain it. If you read Shakespeare’s plays with a close eye, you’ll find that honor and manhood take center stage as reoccurring themes. During the 17th and all the way into the early 20th century, upperclass men in Europe and the United States regularly engaged in duels on “fields of honor” to defend their manhood. When signing the Declaration of Independence, the American Founding Fathers “mutually pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
But what exactly is honor?
We throw the word around quite a bit in our modern lexicon and give it a lot of lip service, but if you were to ask someone, “What is honor?” you’ll likely be answered with furrowed brows and head scratches. We think we know what it is, but often find it difficult to articulate when pressed. If you’re lucky enough to get an answer out of someone, they’ll likely say that honor means being true to a set of personal ideals, or being a man of integrity.
Honor=integrity is the point to which the definition of honor has evolved and what it generally means in our society today.

That definition of honor, while correct in our modern use of the word, doesn’t really capture the concept of honor that Homer wrote about, that countless duelists died for, and that our Founding Fathers swore upon. Except for a few pockets of society like the military, fire departments, and criminal gangs, honor, as millions of men from the past understood it, barely exists in the modern West. When folks in the mainstream do bring up this type of honor, it’s usually done in jest. (See Man Code or Bro Code).
And while there are certainly some very troubling aspects of honor as it was understood in the past (which we’ll explore), I believe that part of the decline of manhood in America and other Western countries can be traced in part to a lack of a positive notion and healthy appreciation of the kind of classic honor that compelled (and checked) our manly ancestors.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore honor — what it is, its history and decline in the West, and its moral quandaries. We’ll also investigate how we can revive manly honor in a culture that fears, mocks, and suppresses it.
Today, we’ll begin by exploring what honor is. This post will lay the foundation of our discussion over the next few weeks. I’ll be honest with you: once you move beyond surface definitions, honor is not an easy topic to understand and requires you to really get your cognitive gears in motion. Surprisingly little has been written on such an important subject, and the anthropologists, sociologists, and historians who have tackled it have tended to describe various parts and expressions of it, without ever seeming to find its core. For example one of the few books on the subject, Honor: A History by James Bowman, is filled with a ton of fascinating insights into the history of honor, but at the end, one is left with the impression that Bowman himself wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. It is simply extremely difficult to recapture and describe something that was once so intrinsic to people’s lives that they did not feel the need to explain it. I cannot hope to do better than the academics who have come before, but I have tried to synthesize and distill out the most salient and important points to understand about the classic idea of honor and what it means for manliness.

Horizontal vs. Vertical Honor

Anthropologist Frank Henderson Stewart makes the case that honor comes in two types: horizontal and vertical.
Horizontal Honor


Horizontal honor is defined as the “right to respect among an exclusive society of equals.”
Horizontal honor = mutual respect. But don’t let the term “mutual respect” fool you. We’re not talking about the sort of watered-down “respect-me-simply-because-I’m-a-human-being” kind of respect that pervades our modern culture. For horizontal honor to mean anything, it must be contingent upon certain unyielding standards in order to maintain honor within the group.
The existence of horizontal honor is premised on three elements:
A code of honor. A code of honor lays out the standards that must be reached in order for a person to receive respect within a group. These rules outline what it takes to obtain honor (or respect), and how it may be lost. That last stipulation is paramount: honor that cannot be lost is not honor.
Codes of honor often lay out very high standards for the group, but despite their difficulty, codes of honor are always viewed as minimum standards for inclusion. If you can’t meet them, then you’re seen as deficient, even despicable, and are thus shamed.
An honor group. An honor group consists of individuals who understand and have committed to live the code of honor. That everyone in the group has done this is understood by all other members of the group. Because honor depends on respect, an honor group must be a society of equals. Honor is based on the judgments of other members in the group, therefore the opinion of those members must matter to you, and they won’t if you don’t see them as your equals. Respect is a two-way street. While you might respect someone above you in the social pecking order, it’s hard to respect someone you think is beneath you.
Honor groups must also be exclusive. If everyone and anyone can be part of the group, regardless of whether they live by the code or not, then honor becomes meaningless. Egalitarianism and honor cannot coexist.
Finally, the honor group needs to be tight-knit and intimate. A society governed by mutual respect requires everyone in the society to know each other and interact face-to-face. Honor cannot exist in a society where anonymity dominates.
Shame. A person who fails to live up to the group’s code loses his honor — his right to the respect of the other honor group members as equals. A healthy feeling of shame, or the recognition that a person has failed to live up to the honor group’s code is necessary for honor to exist. When individuals stop caring whether they’ve lost their right to respect in the group (i.e. living without shame), honor loses its power to compel and check individuals’ behavior.
Horizontal honor is an all-or-nothing game. You either have the respect of your peers or you don’t. Bringing dishonor upon yourself by failing to meet the minimum standards of the group (or showing disdain or indifference for those standards) means exclusion from the group, as well as shame. Thus, in a tribe/team/group/gang, horizontal honor serves as a dividing line between us and them, between the honorable and the despicable.
I like to think of horizontal honor as your membership card into a club. To get the card, you need to meet a baseline of criteria. When you present the card at the clubhouse door, you have access to all the rights and privileges that come with being a member of that club. To maintain your status and inclusion in the club, you must conform to the club rules. Failure to conform results in your membership card being taken away and exclusion from the club.
This card analogy still resonates today in the few corrupted threads of honor that remain in our culture. Men will talk about taking away each other’s “man cards” — but the violations that invoke this mocking “punishment” are for frivolous things like drinking a fruity cocktail at a bar, and bear only the faintest echoes of the original code of men.
Vertical Honor


Vertical honor, on the other hand, isn’t about mutual respect, but is rather about giving praise and esteem to those “who are superior, whether by virtue of their abilities, their rank, their services to the community, their sex, their kinship, their office, or anything else.” (Stewart p. 59). Vertical honor, by its nature, is hierarchical and competitive. Vertical honor goes to the man who not only lives the code of honor, but excels at doing so.
So, vertical honor = praise, esteem, admiration.
In What Is Honor? Alexander Welsh makes the case that for vertical honor to exist, horizontal honor must first be present. Without a baseline of mutual respect among equal peers (horizontal honor), winning praise and esteem (vertical honor) means very little.
To illustrate this point, imagine you write a novel. Your mom and dad say it’s the best thing they’ve ever read. Two published novelists also read it and say it’s the best thing they’ve ever read. Whose praise means more to you?
The praise from the other novelists, of course.
Sure, kudos from your parents is nice, but their opinion doesn’t mean too much to you because you don’t respect them as fellow writers. Getting praise from your fellow writers? That means a lot.
To add on to my club analogy, vertical honor is like the awards and trophies that clubs bestow on members. To even be considered for the award, you need to be a member of the club; you need the membership card (horizontal honor). But being a card carrying member isn’t enough. To win a trophy, you must distinguish yourself from your peers by outperforming them and achieving excellence according to the club’s code.
Honor = Reputation

So “honor” as our forebears understood it consisted of two parts: respect from the honor group (horizontal honor) and praise from the honor group (vertical honor). Implicit in this bipartite notion of honor is that it depends on the opinion of others. You can have a sense of your own honor, but that isn’t enough — others must recognize your honor for it to exist. Or as anthropologist Julian Pitt-Rivers put it:
“Honour is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride.”
Thus, honor is a reputation worthy of respect and admiration.
Manhood and Honor

So we’ve uncovered that honor is a reputation worthy of respect and admiration, and you earn that reputation by allegiance to an honor code. The next questions that naturally arise are: What code of honor must a man abide by to have respect from men, to be thought of as a man, and be included in the group of men (horizontal honor)? And what must he do to win praise and esteem from his fellow men (vertical honor)?
While honor is universal to both men and women, its standards have historically been gendered. While codes of honor have varied across time and cultures, in its most primitive form, honor has meant chastity for women and courage for men. To courage and honor itself, Jack Donovan, author of The Way of Men, convincingly adds strength and mastery to the traits that constitute the most basic code of men.
How did this connection between manhood, bravery, and honor evolve?
During times when the rule of law was weak, and professional military and law enforcement bodies did not exist, honor acted as the moral force that governed the tribe and maintained its survival. Men were expected to act as the tribe’s protectors, a role in which strength and courage were vitally necessary. If they were not strong physically, they were expected to contribute in another way through mastery of a skill (shaman, medicine man, scout, weapons and craft-maker, etc.) that benefited the tribe. Honor is what motivated men to fulfill these expectations. If they showed courage and mastery, they were honored as men (horizontal honor), and with that honor came the privileges of being a full member of the tribe. If they excelled at the honor code, they were granted even more status, and thus more privileges (vertical honor). But, if they showed cowardice and laziness, then they were shamed as unmanly, and lost their access to those privileges.
Defending One’s Honor

This is why defending one’s honor, or reputation, was (in many cases) a matter of success and ruin, life and death, for our manly ancestors. Even as late as 19th century America, maintaining your honor was essential to getting a good job as a lawyer or politician, and moving into good society. Thus in order to continue to enjoy the privileges due the honorable, men were highly motivated and incredibly vigilant about staying on the honor side of the shame/honor line. It was for this reason that in many honor cultures (although not all) any injury or insult to one’s reputation required immediate remedy. If you got hit, you hit back. Saving face was paramount, and retaliation was done to prove you were “game” — you still had the courage that made you worthy of honor and would not be trifled with (think of dueling).
This retaliatory honor, called reflexive honor by anthropologists, was both inspiring and troubling for Western society going all the way back to the ancient Greeks. If taken to extremes, reflexive honor becomes an “irrational pissing contest” that can destroy the community. For this reason, as societies become more civilized, they try to temper man’s base instinct to retaliate when their honor has been impugned by giving reflexive honor a moral and ethical framework, and adding virtues like mercy and magnanimity to the code of honor which had to be kept. This tempering of reflexive honor is what gave us knightly chivalry and Victorian gentlemanliness with its notions of “fair play.”
A Man’s Honor, The Group’s Honor

Concern for one’s honor was both a selfish and selfless pursuit. On the one hand, men wanted to be thought of as men and respected members of the tribe, and desired the privileges that went with that (horizontal honor). Membership in the group also entitled them to the opportunity to gain vertical honor and further status and privilege through their worthy deeds. Their reputation for strength and courage also kept other men within the tribe from messing with them.
At the same time, a man’s honorable reputation benefited the tribe as a whole. Each individual man’s reputation for courage in the group added to the group’s reputation for courage and strength. The more formidable a group’s reputation, the less likely it would have been for other groups to try to mess with it. This is why men who do not care about their honor are shamed by the group — their disloyalty puts the whole group at greater risk. Or as Bowman puts it, “The worst of the sins against honor–culminating in actual cowardice and flight–always elevated the individual above the group.”
Donovan explains this intra/inter group dynamic of honor well:
“Men who want to avoid being rejected by the gang will work hard and compete with each other to gain the respect of the male gang. Men who are stronger, more courageous and more competent by nature will compete with each other for higher status within that group. As long as there is something to be gained by achieving a higher position within the gang—whether it is greater control, greater access to resources or just peer esteem and the comfort of being higher in the hierarchy than the guys at the bottom—men will compete against each other for a higher position. However, because humans are cooperative hunters, the party-gang principle scales down to the individual level. Just as groups of men will compete against each other but unite if they believe more can be gained through cooperation, individual men will compete within a gang when there is no major external threat but then put aside their differences for the good of the group. Men aren’t wired to fight or cooperate; they are wired to fight and cooperate.
Understanding this ability to perceive and prioritize different levels of conflict is essential to understanding The Way of Men and the four tactical virtues. Men will constantly shift gears from in-group competition to competition between groups, or competition against an external threat.
It is good to be stronger than other men within your gang, but it is also important for your gang to be stronger than another gang. Men will challenge their comrades and test each other’s courage, but in many ways this intragroup challenging prepares men to face intergroup competition. Just as it is important for men to show their peers they won’t be pushed around, the survival of a group can depend on whether or not they are willing push back against other groups to protect their own interests. Men love to show off new skills and find ways to best their pals, but mastery of many of the same skills will be crucial in battles with nature and other men. The sports and games men play most demand the kind of strategic thinking and/or physical virtuosity that would be required in a survival struggle. A man’s reputation may keep men in his group from messing with him, and a group’s reputation may make its enemies think twice about creating animosity.”
Conclusion

Hopefully, unless your brain tuckered out halfway through, you’ve now gained a working framework for understanding what honor is, and how it used to operate in the West (and still does in places like the Middle East).
Two weeks from now, we’ll explore the reasons for the decline of honor in the West. Then in my final post about honor, I’ll propose a solution to the modern male honor gap by providing a framework for a positive notion of manly honor that avoids the senseless violence of primitive codes of honor and the farce and inanity of modern Man and Bro Codes, and lays out a framework for a code of honor that motivates men to become the best they can be."


I do not propose that I have always walked an honorable path. Far from it. However, walking those dark alleys and dead end paths, where poor behavior is concerned, has always had dire consequences for me in the long run. Some would think that a curse but I see it as a divine gift. Walking the straight and narrow has far reaching benefits and carries much weight, if not immense personal satisfaction. I am learning as I go too. Things that used to be common when families lived in each other's presence for their entire lives are now rarities in these times. Much wisdom from elders is never shared….due to distance, separation and disdain. I will share my lessons as I go forth to living better and hope that you will do the same. We can do better by holding each other accountable, by doing the right thing, the honorable thing, every time.

I realize this is a lot of words, but if it reaches even one other person and makes a difference, then the bandwidth was worth it. Live well, until next time!

Last edited by Nomadgene; 10-02-2012 at 09:51 AM. Reason: bolded some headings
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
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It comes down to the fact people are cowards and don't accept responsibility for their actions.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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It's my experience that this is the case, in a nutshell Rusty. I truely believe the small circle of friends I have are all that keeps me from becoming a bitter misanthrope. More than that I'm lucky to have a Woman in my life that keeps my faith in humanity intact and reminds me to look for and see the good in others.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by aleutdude View Post
It's my experience that this is the case, in a nutshell Rusty. I truely believe the small circle of friends I have are all that keeps me from becoming a bitter misanthrope. More than that I'm lucky to have a Woman in my life that keeps my faith in humanity intact and reminds me to look for and see the good in others.
I am lacking that these days. I have noticed myself becoming a bitter pessimist lately. I don't WANT to be, it's just the effect of the last few things I've dealt with in my life.
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by QwikEVO View Post
It comes down to the fact people are cowards and don't accept responsibility for their actions.
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Originally Posted by aleutdude View Post
It's my experience that this is the case, in a nutshell Rusty.
I'll agree, a large portion is that people just dont accept responsibility. I think it goes a bit deeper though. We as a society have become lax on instilling both pride and humility in the younger generations. "back in the day", if one did something improper, you were forced to apologize AND receive a whip/spank/swat, or sit in the corner of class. While maybe harsh, this helped instill a sense of respect and responsibility. You knew if you scratched dads car or broke moms favorite pot you'd be hurting. Likewise when you excelled, or manned up and "did the right thing" you were rewarded. Now-a-days we have become shells of our former selves. Call it "soft", "pussies" or what you want, but we no longer hold children accountable, and likewise they grow into adults that feel they are not responsible. With our current law system, we have found it more difficult to discipline a youth, and easier to place the blame elsewhere. To tie it together, without a proper upbringing that helps instill morals, values and respect, there would be no honor, as you would first need to know and understand respect in all its form before beginning to earn it. And one can not have honor without respect.

IMHO at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aleutdude View Post
I truely believe the small circle of friends I have are all that keeps me from becoming a bitter misanthrope. More than that I'm lucky to have a Woman in my life that keeps my faith in humanity intact and reminds me to look for and see the good in others.
Ditto my man. I learned a few weeks ago just how many people I have in my little circle that I myself consider lucky to have. And I also have a wonderful woman that has helped me keep faith and to continuously seek the good in everyone.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:38 AM   #6
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Well said. I was raised to respect other people and their property. If I wronged someone I was made to apologize and still had to endure some kind of punishment besides. If there is any silver lining in what I'm going through with my car its that USAA decided my claim fell under the uninsured motorist/hit-and-run category so I'll only pay half of my $500 deductible. Still stings, just not as bad. It will all balance out I'm sure. I know it won't stop me from trying to "put good out". My honor might be bruised but its still intact.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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Round #2.

Again, let those with the ears to hear the message and minds to conceive it, enjoy this passage. Those who feel the need to denigrate it…let them do so and the message be lost to them. However imperceptible….whether it be in this life, or the next…it has made some imprint on their being…a tiny crack in the armor/shell for knowledge and truth to begin to seep through and do its good work on the soul.

There is a purpose to my 'walls of text'….a method to my madness. Yes, I read, voraciously. Yes, while even in med school, with family duties, a race schedule, an active social and professional life, I make time for such endeavors. I'm quite certain that you can too.


Whether you realize it or not, these concepts play out in your daily lives, your comings and goings, world events, the upcoming election and yes, even here in AKIC.

My posting this here in AKIC is but one of my small attempts at being a beacon of light, or even a small flickering match in a gale force wind of status quo, anything goes, mediocrity which seems to be so prevalent with our modern society. A place where good people have their cars demolished in a parking place, yet aren't left a simple note claiming responsibility or leaving contact information. A place where human beings are run down and left for dead in the street while the perpetrator was texting and driving. A place where there is a call for even more than 38% tax on the wealthy, as opposed to NO tax on a huge population is deemed "NOT a FAIR ENOUGH SHARE" in the favor of those who pay nothing, yet feel entitled to expensive services (healthcare, education,food ,housing, etc).

Read on, if you dare.


"Welcome back to our series on manly honor. In my last post, I explained the classic definition of honor: having a reputation worthy of respect and admiration in a group of equal peers. This reputation consists of both horizontal honor (your acceptance as a full member of the group), and vertical honor (the praise you receive from excelling more than other members within the group). This type of traditional, manly honor is a very public and external thing. It requires a man to belong to an honor group and suffer social consequences for not living up to the group’s code. When primitive tribesmen, knights, and the Founding Fathers spoke of honor, this is the type of honor they meant.
Over the centuries, for a variety of reasons we’ll explore today and next time, this traditional conception of external honor evolved into our modern idea of private, inner honor – a type of honor often used synonymously with “character” and “integrity.” Today, a man’s honor isn’t determined by a group of his peers, rather, it’s a very personal thing judged only by himself. Nineteenth century German statesman Otto von Bismarck captured this idea of private honor perfectly when he said in a speech:
“Gentlemen; my honor lies in no-one’s hand but my own, and it is not something that others can lavish on me; my own honor, which I carry in my heart, suffices me entirely, and no one is judge of it and able to decide whether I have it. My honor before God and men is my property, I give myself as much I believe that I have deserved, and I renounce any extra.”
In today’s post, I’m going to begin an exploration of why this change from public to private honor occurred. The transformation was a long and complicated process, involving several political, philosophical, and sociological changes in the West. While I initially hoped to explain this history in a single post, the amount of dense, important information to cover really requires two. In part one, I’ll cover how the seeds of honor’s dissolution began to be sown all the way back in Ancient Greece and continued through the Romantic Period. Then in part two next week, we’ll see how those seeds came to full fruition during the modern era — beginning with the Victorian Era and leading up to today.
A Brief Road Map on Where These Avenues Are Leading

Before we set out on this romp through the history of honor, I think it might be beneficial to give a short primer on how all of the factors that will be discussed tie together.
There are two main factors that weakened the traditional idea of honor. First, over time honor became based not on courage and strength, but on moral virtues. Honor could have continued in this state – your public reputation could have been based on your honor group’s judgment of whether you were living a moral life (this state of honor was last seen during the time of the Victorian gentleman, which we’ll discuss next time.) But in the evolution of honor, it did not just become premised on moral virtues, it also became completely private – every man could create his own, personal honor code, and only he himself could judge whether or not he was living up to it. This dissolved any sense of a shared honor code (“to each their own!”), which meant shame also disappeared – there were no longer any consequences for flaunting the code of honor.
As just mentioned, in this post and the next, we will get into the political, sociological, and philosophical changes that fueled these two factors. While it may be tempting to read these posts as saying that these cultural forces are bad, and that personal honor is bad, my goal is rather to simply delineate as objectively as possible why the traditional ideal of honor disappeared and was supplanted entirely with private honor, and then, to argue that private and public honor need not be mutually exclusive, and can, and should coexist.
From Public to Private Honor: Ancient Greece to the Renaissance

Ancient Greece


While it’s easy to assume that the decline of public honor and the rise of private honor is only a recent phenomenon, the seeds of honor’s transformation from a public to private concept were actually sewn at the beginning of Western civilization.
In societies without formal legal systems, honor serves as a rough enforcer of justice. Thus, democracy and the rule of law, two important developments to come out of ancient Greece, are in some ways contrary to traditional honor and made it less vital to the functioning of a community.
This early conflict between traditional honor and democratic ideals was actually the principle theme in a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus. The Orestia recounts the curse that befalls the family of King Agamemnon after he returns home from the Trojan War. A series of inter-familial murders, all in the name of avenging and defending the honor of one slain family member after another, comes to an end when the goddess Athena establishes a jury trial to try Orestes for the murder of his mother. Personal and familial honor is replaced by obedience to democratic law as the governing force in Greek society. This isn’t to say that honor and revenge killings stopped occurring after the establishment of democratic juries, but they did begin to be more frowned upon.
Playwrights weren’t the only ones questioning traditional, public honor. The philosophers Socrates and Aristotle raised concerns about the ideal in some of their teachings. For Socrates, it was better for the collective that he subject himself to the rule of unjust state laws than to maintain his honor, or reputation, among his friends by escaping his execution. According to Socrates, concern for reputation was something only for thoughtless men. What mattered to the great philosopher wasn’t the opinion of others (the basis of traditional honor), but rather knowing he lived according to what he thought was just. Put another way, Socrates chose integrity to his personal ideal over the public honor of his followers.
Aristotle showed a similar disinterest in the opinion of others. While he spoke of honor as an external good in his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle was uncomfortable with the idea that it be based solely on the opinion of others. Rather, Aristotle made a tentative argument that honor be based on attaining personal virtue. Excellence meant fulfilling your potential. Instead of being loyal to a group’s code of honor, it was more virtuous to be loyal to virtue itself.
Early Christianity


Three aspects of the rise and spread of Christian philosophy would have a huge impact in weakening honor as a cultural force in the West: 1) its inclusiveness and universality; 2) its emphasis on inner intent rather than outward appearances; and 3) its pacifism.
Inclusiveness and universality. Traditional honor is exclusive. Not everyone is welcome to the club and the code of honor doesn’t apply to everybody – just members. Christ and his disciples taught a doctrine that was just the opposite: inclusive and universal. Open to any who believed. This idea of inclusiveness and universality was summed up nicely in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians when he said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Inner intent over outward appearances. Traditional honor is based on your public reputation. Christianity teaches that what the world thinks of you is not as important as what God thinks of you. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of private intent and faith. For example, it’s not enough that you don’t have actual, physical sex with another man’s wife, you can’t even think about it. Because the chamber of a man’s mind and heart can only be seen by him, only the individual (and his God) can judge whether his intent and faith are adequate.
Pacifism. While countless wars have been fought “with the cross of Jesus going on before,” Christianity has also inspired many of its believers to devoted pacifism. Christ’s radical teaching to “turn the other cheek” and to “bless those that curse you” turned honor on its head; a Christian could find ample support in his scriptures that it was more honorable not to retaliate when insulted or attacked than to strike back. The example of Christ submitting willfully on the cross would inspire countless Christian martyrs to lay down their lives rather than fight back physically.
Medieval Europe


As Christianity spread and became the state religion for kingdoms and empires, the competing demands of traditional honor culture and faith created a moral and philosophical quandary. Traditional honor still had a primal hold on men, but elements of their new religion seemed to run completely counter to it. To bridge this seemingly insurmountable divide, Christian rulers during the Middle Ages “Christianized” traditional honor by developing the aristocratic Code of Chivalry. Chivalry wedded together primitive honor’s emphasis on public reputation, but added new moral virtues to the code that had to be kept to maintain that reputation, and thus keep the honor of one’s peers.
Traditional honor found a place among a pacifist Christian religion by marshaling honor’s historic emphasis on the qualities of strength and courage towards the defense of the “least of these” in Christ’s kingdom. Knights swore oaths to protect the weak and defenseless, particularly women. Honesty, purity, generosity, and mercifulness — virtues taught by the Gospels — were part of the knightly code. In keeping with Christ’s admonition to lay up your treasure in heaven and not in the world, some groups, like the Templars, even required their members to take a vow of poverty.

Beyond these small adaptations, medieval Christian chivalry was still primarily a traditional code of honor. Knights vowed to defend their own honor and the honor of their fellow knights. If his honor, or reputation, was besmirched by an equal, a knight had a duty to retaliate. For the medieval knight, might still made right. A knight could indeed be lacking in virtue, but as long as he could defeat the man who brought to light his moral defect in “single combat,” he remained a man of honor. The story of Sir Lancelot’s adulterous relationship with King Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, illustrates this; when the other knights discovered his sin, Lancelot insisted that his indiscretion didn’t exist because he was able to fight and best his accusers.
The Renaissance


Beginning in the 14th century in Italy, the Renaissance was a period of huge advances in art, science, and philosophy. Alongside these cultural evolutions, there was a transformation in the Western psyche that would eventually greatly weaken the classic concept of honor: the development of the idea of sincerity.
Sincerity demands that a person speak and act in accordance with his inner thoughts, feelings, and desires. It’s such a commonly lauded trait today (and has now morphed into an emphasis on “authenticity”), that it’s easy to think the concept has been around forever. But prior to the 17th century, people didn’t focus on having an inner life as we understand it today – in which you atomize and analyze all your feelings, emotions, and motivations. So as Renaissance men began to plumb the contents of their minds and hearts, they ran into a new contradiction between this inner life and traditional honor — which often requires an individual to place loyalty to the group first, and to speak and act in a way that contradicts his personal thoughts, feelings, and desires. Because traditional honor depends on the opinion of others, it doesn’t care if you feel like a hypocrite when following the code. So long as your outward appearances conform to the honor group’s code of honor, you maintain your honor.
For this reason, Renaissance writers and thinkers began to question this aspect of honor and advocate for sincerity as the true ideal. Shakespeare was a harsh critic of traditional honor and a strong proponent for sincerity in his plays. In many of his works, the characters choose being true to oneself rather than submitting to their tribe’s code of honor. See Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet.
The new societal demands for sincerity during the Renaissance began a rapid shift in how societies perceived honor. An honor based solely on public reputation didn’t seem all that desirable. It wasn’t enough that you acted truthful and others thought of you as honest, to be honorable, you actually had to be truthful to the core of your being.
The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment’s focus on tolerance and egalitarianism further diminished traditional honor – which at its core is inherently intolerant and anti-egalitarian. If you live up to the group’s honor code, you’re given rights and privileges; if you don’t, you’re shamed and seen as inferior. You don’t gain respect and praise simply by existing – your honor must be earned by your keeping, and excelling, of the group’s code. But Enlightenment thinkers began to forward the idea that all people had certain inalienable rights that they were born with and which could not be taken away. They also revitalized the ancient Greek ideal of democracy as a superior form of justice to the rewards and punishments meted out by the eye-for-an-eye concept of honor.
The Romantic Period


While Enlightenment philosophy eroded the concept of traditional, public honor, another group of 18th and 19th century thinkers, the Romantics, took up the baton of sincerity passed from the Renaissance and advocated for a new type of honor that was based on personal integrity. The Romantics, led by French writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, believed that the individual and his desires should come before the group’s needs. Rousseau argued that honor based on the opinion of others (amour propre) was inferior to an honor based on what the individual thought of himself (amour de soi). For Rousseau and the Romantics, honor should be individual, internal, and private; not social, external, and public.
To justify this new definition of honor, Rousseau and his fellow Romantics fashioned a theory of human development that sentimentalized solitude. Before man formed tribes and groups, he lived independently in a state of nature, concerned only for his own happiness and well-being. It wasn’t until the Fall of Adam and Eve that man gathered in tribes and began to be concerned about what other fellows thought of him. This theory, of course, has been proven false by anthropologists. Mankind, like their primate cousins, have always been social animals and have always been concerned about their place in the group.
Despite being wrong about the history of human development, Rousseau and the Romantics created a legacy that lionized the importance of the individual, a drumbeat which intensified many times over in the 20th century, and would ultimately be one of the biggest nails in the coffin of traditional honor.
Despite the challenges created by the Enlightenment and Romanticism, traditional honor still had a strong hold on Western society in the 18th and 19th centuries. Aristocratic gentleman continued to challenge each other to duels when they felt their honor, or reputation, had been impugned, even though the practice was illegal in most Western countries by then. Young soldiers, who had grown up reading epic poems and tales of battlefield glory, went to war hoping to capture that sense of honor that Homer and others wrote of. It would take the trenches of WWI to cool these deep reserves of martial fervor.
Conclusion, or Is Honor Making You Feel Kinda Uncomfortable Right Now?

As we can see, the transformation of honor from a public to private concept isn’t a recent phenomenon. The groundwork was actually laid at the beginnings of Western civilization. Ideals such as the rule of law, democracy, personal sincerity, egalitarianism and individualism fostered an environment antithetical to traditional honor. However, it wouldn’t be until the 20th century that honor would complete its transformation from meaning “having a public reputation worthy of respect and admiration” to simply meaning “being true to one’s personal ideals.”
As I said in the first post in this series, many people give a lot of lip service to honor, but don’t really know what it means, at least historically. Once they do learn more about it, they may begin to feel like it’s not such a good thing after all. Certainly, many of the seeds of the dissolution of honor, talked about here and next time, have become unquestioned Truths in our modern culture, and probably resonated more with you as you read than the idea of honor itself! But if you’ll stick with me, after this history, I’ll come back to explain that while personal, individual honor is a laudatory value, classic honor can also be a powerful and positive moral force as well."

And there you have it. More ground work laid. Over the next two weeks, please learn to recognize "honor" in your daily travels. In that fellow who is a veteran champion racer who has won big and is now turning to a new sport, listening to that important inner voice... In the industrious young entrepreneur, who works a full time job and yet makes time to build a car engineering business into a force to be reckoned with…. In the person pursuing a second career at a time when most are settling in to a fat cat, maximum earning years' lifestyle…. In the young, family man giving service and sacrificing for their country. In countless other local examples, in yourself…learn to recognize honor as the 3rd part of this series is forthcoming.

more to come.

p.s. quoted text from the website www.artofmanliness.com
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:11 AM   #8
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I miss u, Nomad!!!
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:07 PM   #9
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I miss u, Nomad!!!
Thanks Hope.

on another note I was so glad to see this in the headline today.

http://www.adn.com/2012/10/19/266574...-in-fatal.html
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nomadgene

Thanks Hope.

on another note I was so glad to see this in the headline today.

http://www.adn.com/2012/10/19/266574...-in-fatal.html
Good job judge.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:15 AM   #11
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Yes. I saw that and definitely awesome. 1 year for taking a life is justice??!
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:34 AM   #12
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http://www.adn.com/2012/10/26/267310...september.html

Justice prevails. You can run but you cannot hide. Karma is a bitch and she will be paid.

Make an example of this douche, print it on the front page, all week long, for all the entitled brats to get a good look. Then do it again at his sentencing.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:37 AM   #13
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Stupid Fieros...
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
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Glad to hear it. There's nowhere to hide in Alaska. If you're smart enough to survive in the backwoods to potentially evade authorities then you're probably smart enough to not hit-and-run in a Fiero without insurance and become wanted by the authorities in the first place. Just sayin'. haha

Thanks for that update.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:52 PM   #15
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Stupid Fieros...
I disagree.

It's more like stupid ass driver.
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:13 AM   #16
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http://www.adn.com/2012/10/27/267386...ss-driver.html
Man struck by uninsured driver faces long recovery as amputee
Published: October 27, 2012 Updated 4 hours ago

By CASEY GROVE — casey.grove@adn.com

More than a month after a sports car hit him and drove away on Arctic Boulevard, Zachary Mohs remains bedridden and hospitalized in Anchorage, struggling to even speak, his mother said Saturday.

Police announced Friday they had charged a man -- 20-year-old Luke Jerde -- in the hit-and-run. Mohs' family isn't thinking about the arrest, said his mother, Cheryl Young, instead keeping their focus on the 26-year-old Mohs' slow recovery. The night his life changed, Sept. 20, Mohs had only left home to buy a pack of cigarettes, his mother said.

He was crossing Arctic at 45th Avenue, just south of Tudor Road, about 8:15 p.m. when a red Pontiac Fiero slammed into him, according to police. Officers identified the car based on auto parts left at the scene. They found the Pontiac two days later, abandoned about two miles away.

Surgeons amputated Mohs' left leg above the knee. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractured vertebrae in his back, and other broken bones, Young said. The family was only recently able to explain to Mohs, once an avid skateboarder, what they knew about the collision and broke the news to him that he'd lost his leg, his mother said.

"It's the hardest thing I've done in my 48 years. But you know what? We can buy a new leg. We'll get him a new leg, and life goes on," Young said. "He was very sad when I told him about the accident, but he's a fighter and I know that God will heal my son, I just feel it in my heart."

"I told him, 'You can be sad for a while, but just for a while, because we're going to keep on fighting. That's kind of where he's at right now," she said.

Young said a detective called her Friday to say Jerde had been charged with felony assault, failing to render aid, reckless driving, evidence tampering and driving with no insurance.

"My reaction was just sadness," Young said. "It was just so avoidable. It's just another young, irresponsible driver."

Police have not said how they tracked down Jerde, but Young said she'd heard from a detective that Jerde was in the process of purchasing the red Fiero.

Due to the lateness of Jerde's arrest Friday, charging documents were not publicly available Friday or over the weekend. Court records show Jerde posted $3,000 bail late Friday and was released from jail.

Since turning 16, Jerde has been cited for 10 minor traffic offenses, including speeding and failing to stop at a stop sign. He was charged with minor consuming in 2009, misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in 2010, and trespassing and interfering with police in 2011.

On Sept. 12, eight days before he allegedly hit Mohs, Jerde was cited for failing to exercise due caution to avoid a collision.

Young said Mohs' family will be seeking some sort of civil action against Jerde, who was allegedly driving without insurance, to pay for Mohs' enormous medical bills. Meantime, a fundraiser and silent auction will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Mohs' former place of employment, The Great Alaskan Bush Company. Mohs' family has said he worked at the strip club as a bartender's assistant.

"Zachary has the absolute best friends. They have supported us. We had to come from out of state and they've helped us with everything," said Young, who lives in Minnesota. "I'm not going to define Anchorage by this one criminal who did this to my son. I'm going to define it by the wonderful people."



Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

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Old 11-11-2012, 11:20 AM   #17
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What a week.

A national election. Perpetuation of an ideology by one group and a trip back to the drawing board to suffer through another 4 years until another opportunity to topple presents itself for another group. Heated tempers and closed threads. Champions crowned.

Now perhaps, more than any other time, it is time to look inward for contemplation. Do you stand by your principles and be the rock upon which the wave of popular opinion breaks or do you fold from time honored principles you lived? Do you cirle the wagons and weather the storm or high tail it for safe ground? Do you stand your ground or do you join the fray? These are the days that test men!

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/11/06...EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

"Welcome back to our series on manly honor. Now, I originally planned for the history of honor to be one post, and then decided I could cover it in two, and now I’m thinking it’s going to take five posts, counting the one two weeks ago and today’s. Who was I kidding? The topic of manly honor is both far more complicated and much more fascinating than I had anticipated.
Now brace yourself – today’s post is a doozy. The topic of honor in the Victorian period is the most complex part of a complex evolution, as it involves a myriad of influences and factors. The workload on this one, and the remaining historical installments, necessitated my enlisting of Kate’s historical research and writing chops, and together we pored through over 1500 pages of research, and took dozens of pages of notes. After two weeks of banging our heads on our desk, throwing things, several near mental breakdowns, and one all-nighter, we have completed this article. All of which is to say, while I pledge my honor that we have done our very best to make everything as accurate as possible, if there are any errors in our historical facts or terminology, we welcome your very kind and gentle corrections in the comments. Also welcome are any encouraging comments. Twil be like manna for the soul.
Okay, let’s get started.
Understanding the Class System in England

At the start of the Victorian era (1830s-1900), English society was highly stratified and hierarchical, and the population fell into three main classes. The idea of classes is hard for us to fully grasp from our modern viewpoint. We often think of them as having to do entirely with income level, and while that was certainly a factor, it also depended on values, education, occupation, family connections and history, birth, as well as your manners, speech, and clothing.
At the top of the heap was the landed aristocracy (meaning land ownership was part of their noble privilege). This “peerage” held titles of nobility and largely descended from the warrior nobility of the Middle Ages who had successfully battled for fiefdoms and then defended those territories from would-be usurpers. They owned land, but rented it to others to work. Right below the peerage was the gentry. Because of the system of primogeniture, only the first born sons inherited a title. Younger sons belonged to the gentry, and though they lacked a title, they were still considered nobility, and true “gentlemen.” Whether titled or not, one of the defining qualities of the upper class was that they did not have to work, nor taint themselves with the commonness of trade to earn a living; their income came wholly from owning and renting out land.
The middle class consisted of those who performed “clean,” salaried work. The most distinguished of the middle class were clergymen, military officers, lawyers, doctors, and the professors and headmasters of prestigious schools. Farmers who rented a large piece of land but had others do most of the physical work for them were considered middle class too. Clerical workers were included but considered lower on the middle class totem pole. Manufacturers, merchants, and bankers were some of the newer members of the middle class (more on this below), and as white-collar work expanded, the new journalists, police officers, and insurance agents joined the ranks as well.
The working class consisted of those who did any of the “dirty,” physical work that remained.
For centuries, people had generally accepted the class system and their place in the hierarchy. Each class had its own rules, standards, culture, and even terminology. It was considered unthinkable to ape the class above or below you – you had to follow the rules of your own class.
The middle class had only recently emerged. Prior, there had generally been two classes: those who owned land were the noble – everybody else, ignoble. As we’ll discuss more in the next post, there are different types of honor in every class, but the landed aristocracy laid exclusive right to the term. Commoners were decidedly outside their honor group, and contrary to the system of honor that had existed in primitive times, they could not earn their way into it through adherence to the group’s honor code. Instead, honor had now become inheritable – passed down to the aristocracy’s sons. An aristocrat who displayed bad manners or behavior with members of his own class could theoretically lose the title of gentleman, but the distinction was largely the product of birth.
The rise of the middle class during the Victorian period created a social fluidity that would challenge this system, and necessitate the creation of a new honor culture that transcended all classes.
The Rise of the Middle Class and the Expansion of Honor


At the beginning of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. The rise of industry powered sweeping changes in the technological, sociological, and economic landscape of the West.
When 18-year-old Queen Victoria ascended to the British throne in 1837, very few of her subjects had traveled more than 10 miles from the rural spot in which they were born, goods and messages could only travel as fast as a horse could carry them, and only half of English citizens could read and write.
When Victoria died in 1901, the pace and texture of life had dramatically transformed. 80% of English citizens now lived in towns and cities, and some of their homes were outfitted with electric lights, had cabinets stocked with canned foods, and sat on gaslight-dotted streets. Telegraphs carried messages in a blink, railroad tracks criss-crossed the land, and luxurious steamships fairly whisked passengers from England to America in only nine days. A man could now write a letter on his typewriter, get his portrait taken by the local photographer, have an x-ray, vaccination, or chloroform administered by his doctor, and shave with a safety razor at home instead of visiting the barber to have his whiskers trimmed. Education for the young had become compulsory, and literacy soared to nearly 100%.
The most important change of the 19th century, however, was the rise of the middle class. The Industrial Revolution not only created manufacturing work, but a booming expansion in trade and banking, along with a whole new stratum of white-collar jobs.
While England’s economic center of gravity was shifting away from agricultural and towards industrial capitalism, and while many of the nascent middle-class were earning incomes greater than those who owned acreage, the status and political power of the new rich in manufacturing, business, and finance did not keep pace with their rising contribution to the nation’s wealth. The aristocracy, a centuries-old honor group that had ever been hostile to incursions from outsiders, vehemently fought against the relinquishing of their position. But the middle-class would force them to give way, not simply by attaining wealth and fighting for a voice in government, but by creating a new honor code – one that was open to all, regardless of class — a code based on ethics and virtues that would come to supplant the one based on birth.
What Were the Tenets of the Stoic-Christian Code of Honor?

The code of honor that developed from the middle-class of the Victorian age was truly an amalgam of several influences:
Rebellion against the values of the aristocracy. Many felt that during England’s Regency era (roughly 1795 to 1837), the upper classes had grown decadent, reveling in flamboyance and dandyism, and focusing too much attention on appearance and clothes. It seemed, to some Victorians, to have been a period in which materialism had sapped society’s spirituality – the rich walked around in fine attire, but were rotten to the core. Victorians reacted against this with a movement towards sobriety and rectitude.
The middle-class also had disdain for the way the aristocracy held up idleness as a virtue, and looked down upon those who worked for a living. The rising business class turned that idea on its head — arguing that idleness was a vice, while work was a nearly sacred virtue.
Revival in evangelical Christianity. Evangelical Christianity moved away from traditional Calvinist beliefs in total depravity (humans are essentially rotten sinners) and predestination, and instead emphasized a person’s free will, and that salvation was open to any who chose to believe and cultivated an inner faith. At the same time, evangelical Protestants preached that a continued relationship with God was predicated on living righteously, and that believers should strive for an individual moral perfection, while also working to purify society, reform corrupt practices, and uplift the downtrodden.
Nostalgia. The Victorians, like the folks of the Renaissance, were at the same time progressive and forward-looking, and nostalgic – they looked to past societies for inspiration on how to improve their own. From the medieval period, they drew from the ideals of chivalry (or at least the folklore of chivalry that had been passed down). From Ancient Greece, they adopted parts of Stoic philosophy.
Expanding Democracy. For centuries, the landed nobility had constituted a near iron-clad oligarchy — controlling Parliament, and the culture as well. But during the Victorian Era, those in the middle class pushed back against the idea that the right to vote and to hold government office were reserved for the owners of major acreage. Reform bills during this period expanded the franchise to millions more men, creating a greater sense of egalitarianism and fostering the idea that gentility, and the title of “gentleman,” could transcend class.
The Rise of the Self-Made Man. As previously mentioned, for centuries people largely accepted being a member of the class they were born into, and there was almost no chance of moving up into a higher class – a commoner couldn’t work his way into the aristocracy no matter how hard he tried. The shift from agriculture to industry opened the possibility (no matter how long the odds were in reality) of social mobility, or what the English called “removable inequality.” High status in society could be earned, but only if a man cultivated the skills and character traits necessary to rise in an industrial economy.
If you put all these influences in a pot, and mix them together, what you come up with is the tenets of the Victorian honor code or what Bertram Wyatt-Brown terms “Stoic-Christian honor,” and what Victorians often used interchangeably with “respectability.” The expanding democratic spirit had inspired a code based on merit over birth, and each of the other influences imparted several qualities to the standards that comprised this new honor code.
The reaction against the perceived excess of the aristocracy resulted in a push for the “reformation of manners,” and new rules for proper behavior and decorum as it concerned things like dress and conversation. Sincerity and earnestness were prized; vanity, frivolity, and foppishness spurned. The evangelical movement stressed the importance of morality, particularly chastity, piety, and charity for others. Nostalgia for the idealized chivalry of medieval knights inspired respect for women, while adherence to ancient Stoic philosophy put a premium on self-sufficiency, self-control, and unflappable reserve – the famous British “stiff upper lip.” Most of all, the Victorian code of honor emphasized the virtues connected with economic success – those that could help working and middle class men rise in the world: initiative, pluck, ingenuity, independence and personal responsibility (going into debt was shameful), ambition, thrift, punctuality, orderliness, cleanliness, patience, dependability, and most of all hard work.
What Were the Practical Functions of the Stoic-Christian Honor Code?

In a minute we’ll get to the overarching purpose behind the creation of the Stoic-Christian honor code, but let’s talk first about a few of its more practical functions:
The Victorian honor code helped create structure in a rapidly changing society.
With the rise of industry, the population shifted from rural areas to cities. Cities bred anonymity – gone were the face-to-face interactions between kin that were essential to the enforcement of public, primal honor. How should strangers interact, and how would people’s behavior be checked and public reputations be maintained in a society full of impersonal relationships?
The Victorian honor code addressed these concerns by making adherence to the rules of manners and etiquette part of the standard of respectability. Manners were designed to foster decorum, but they also eased the interactions between strangers. Each party knew how to behave and what was expected of them in various situations. And adherence to the code of conduct was a way to build your public reputation for honor; good manners were easily observable markers by which others could judge you, and were seen as outward manifestations of the inner virtues of self-control, courtesy, and respect.
You couldn’t remain entirely anonymous even in large cities. A reputation for bad manners, immorality or lax character, or a poor work ethic at your employer would slam shut the doors of both society and business; when meeting a new social or business contact, you had to present letters of recommendation and introduction from others who could vouch for your character. The reputation you earned in one place could follow you wherever you went.
The Victorian honor code created new standards for emerging professions.
Part of the reasoning behind what had been the landed aristocracy’s exclusive control of politics and culture, was the idea that because they didn’t work for a living, they would be able to serve society with a value highly prized during this period: disinterest. Since they didn’t care about money, the thinking went, the landed aristocracy could be morally and intellectually independent, and would do the right thing regardless of circumstances – always putting community needs over self-interest.
But as brand new professions emerged, traditional professions greatly expanded, and the middle-class gained in political power and cultural influence, the question arose of how to ensure that professionals acted with that same disinterested ideal. In response, professional codes of ethics were developed, shaped by the principles of the Victorian honor code; that is, the members of the professions should place virtues like honesty, accountability, and respect above self-interest. While it may be hard to believe, in the absence of many legal restraints, the standard of business morality was quite high, and despite the inevitable swindles of a few scoundrels and cheats, the honor system kept corruption largely in check.
The Victorian honor code created a more universal code that helped unify the classes.
Before the 19th century, travel and communication was greatly limited, as was trade, and communities were largely self-contained and self-sufficient. The coming of the railroads collapsed distances and made travel cheaper, and national newspapers and popular entertainments eroded distinct regional customs. But while physical and cultural boundaries were eroding, class distinctions remained. Thus a broader code of honor helped unite the country and create national cohesion. As Richard D. Altick argues, “In a nation riven by economic and social disparities, the widely accepted principles of moral Evangelicalism had a reconciling effect, bringing classes together in what might be called an ethical democracy. Their often abrasive relations were eased by their possession of a common morality.”
The Victorian honor code fostered the use of oaths and the creation of smaller male honor groups.
While the Victorian honor code provided a universal set of standards that could cross geographic boundaries and class lines, and also help men navigate impersonal relationships, the growth of rootless crowds and lonely anonymity spurred men to create smaller honor groups that could replicate the camaraderie and brotherhood of the past. The giving and taking of oaths grew in popularity as a chance to put the Stoic-Christian ideal of making one’s word one’s bond to the test, and to create promises of loyalty between men who were not kin, but had purposely decided to become “brothers.” The perfect example of the way in which these trends combined are the many college fraternities that were created during this time. Initiates had (and still do) swear an oath, which typically contains pledges of loyalty to one’s fraternity brothers and a promise to conduct oneself as a gentleman.

continued.
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What Was the Overarching Sociological and Philosophical Purpose Behind the Stoic-Christian Honor Code?

All honor codes are created to motivate society’s members towards behavior that the group believes will fulfill its needs and ensure its health, happiness, and security. It accomplishes this by shaming individuals who don’t meet the code’s standards, and rewarding those who do, giving special amounts of praise and privileges to those who don’t just keep the code, but excel it.
In Victorian society, unlike in the primitive honor cultures we have discussed previously, raw survival was no longer the most pressing need. And justice – carried out in primitive times in a reflexive, eye-for-an-eye fashion — was increasingly administered by professional law enforcement and legal systems.
Thus, with those very basic needs taken care of, Victorian society turned to a higher aspiration for their honor code: progress – both moral and material. For the Victorians, the two types of progress went hand in hand. They believed that just as they had used human intelligence to channel the powers of steam and electricity, and had engineered ways to master their physical environment, so too could each individual harness his latent powers in order to master himself. Each man could morally progress as far as he determined to go.
Personal progress and material progress fed each other in a loop. As Altick puts it, “The well-being of society was derived from the spiritual health of its individual members.” In other words, Victorians believed that the more that individuals lived the virtues outlined above, the better and stronger the whole society would become. Conversely, each man who slipped into immorality played a role in sapping the whole nation’s strength (some even considered moral laxity treason during times of war). Men were motivated to follow the code to attain the status of a respectable gentleman, to avoid being shamed and maintain the opportunities open only to those with an honorable reputation. The more he excelled at the code, and the more he cultivated ambition, industry, discipline, and so on, the higher a gentleman rose in the ranks of society and the more status he gained. And the more men strove for status, the greater the economic and technological progress society experienced as a whole. Just as in the primitive tribe, but now with a new set of traits, what was good for the individual man was good for the group as a whole.

Was Stoic-Christian Honor a Public or Private Honor?

In the previous posts in this series, we talked about how the decline in traditional honor is rooted in its shift from being external and public to inner and private in nature. Traditional honor was based solely on your having a reputation worthy of respect and admiration in a group of equal peers, while inner honor is judged only by the man (and perhaps God) himself.
Despite Stoic-Christian honor’s addition of many other character traits and moral virtues to the simple primal standards of strength, courage, and mastery (and it was an addition, not a replacement – courage was still part of the honor code for a Victorian man), the Victorian honor code remained largely public in nature. Remember the definition from Julian Pitt-Rivers I shared in the first post: “Honour is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride.” While the claim to pride for a Victorian gentleman rested on moral virtues rather than physical prowess, the process was the same for him as it was for primitive man – it began with an inner claim to excellence, but that claim had to then be recognized by one’s peers. You couldn’t act like a scalawag, and say you were a gentleman – no one else would recognize your claim to that title. Others watched and judged your behavior, and middle and upper class men, at least of a little eminence, had a public reputation. A slip in morality or the breaking of decorum could bring public shame, and ostracization from social and professional circles.
Boys in both private and public schools were taught to be gentlemen, and the older boys supervised and checked the behavior of the younger. According to Sally Mitchell, these peer mentors learned “to give orders in a way that would not arouse resentment and to internalize a sense of responsibility.” In the athletic arena, young men dedicated themselves to the concepts of teamwork and “fair play,” and upbraided those who violated the code of sportsmanship.
However, there was a shift to a greater emphasis on one’s personal conscience during the Victorian period. The Victorians simply picked up what the Renaissance thinkers had begun in championing the importance of sincerity — it wasn’t enough to simply act like a good man, you had to actually be a good man deep down. A man who achieved this congruence of outer behavior and inner virtue, adherents to the Stoic-Christian honor code argued, not only earned the approbation of others but enjoyed the satisfaction of a free and clear conscience. A Victorian man needed to get in touch with his conscience more than his predecessors, because increased geographic mobility and travel meant that, unlike his primal brethren, he had a good chance of finding himself outside his honor group and among strangers – or with no supervision at all. For a Victorian gentleman, this was a great test of one’s honor – would you keep your word and maintain your standards when no one was watching? (Contrast this standard with the advice that traditional honor-ist Thomas Jefferson gave to his nephew decades prior to “ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.”)
The popular adoption of university honor codes during this period perfectly encapsulates the tension between private and public honor for the Victorians. University honor codes celebrated the ideal that simply by giving one’s word of honor, a student could be trusted to do the right thing – academically or otherwise – even when someone wasn’t looking over his shoulder. Yet, at the same time, some of these codes made it a provision of honor that if a student saw a fellow student cheating or otherwise doing something dishonest, he was obligated to turn him in – sometimes even tolerance of a violation was considered a violation itself. We moderns who have entirely lost the concept of public reputation and judgment, have questioned whether turning someone else in is truly honorable (and some students at the time grappled with this question too). I would personally posit that the provision made in some honor codes, such as that of the Brigade of Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, which allows the observer of the violation to confront the accused without formally reporting him, aligns with the principles of traditional honor to a greater extent.
Conclusion

Oftentimes, when a modern man thinks about honor, his mind turns to the ideals of honesty and integrity, duels (we’ll get to those next time), university honor codes, “women and children first,” and a well-mannered, Stoic uprightness. What they think of, in other words, is the honor code of the Victorian Era. Stoic-Christian honor is still indelibly imprinted on our cultural consciousness for several reasons. First, the Victorian era represented the birth of the modern mindset, and its honor code developed in response to technological, sociological, and economical factors that are still with us today; the effort to deal the seemingly fast and ever-changing pace of life, the consequences of anonymity, and the pursuit of personal progress and professional goals still resonates with our own sensibilities. Second, the Victorian era represented the last manifestation of honor as a societal culture, not simply as a private concept. Third, many of the ideals of the Stoic-Christian honor code continue to have deep appeal (and often pop up here on AoM), the reasons for which I will discuss in the final post in this series.
Though the Victorian code had much to recommend it, it did not last – stumbling into the 20th century and finally expiring after the First World War. Although the stereotype of ridiculously repressed and prudish Victorians paints far too narrow a view of a much more diverse group, in overzealous hands, the honor code did indeed become priggish and austere – focused only on the don’ts rather than moderation and positive virtues. It was used by some more as a stick of judgment with which to swat others, than a personal yardstick for one’s own behavior. There was enormous pressure to conform to the code, and as the celebration of individualism – of following one’s own convictions and desires — increased in the 20th century, and shame became a negative, the Stoic-Christian honor code would be tossed aside as far too constraining.
Further, despite the (at least marginally) coherent picture we have tried to describe here, the Stoic-Christian honor code was never universally adopted by all men. Born of the middle class, while it had an enormous influence on Western societies that extended both to the upper and lower classes, its penetration to the latter was minimal. For the urban working class, honor still resembled the primal variety, with disputes settled with fists and status based on physical prowess and strength. And even those in the middle and upper classes struggled to reconcile what felt like a very manly urge to be aggressive and rowdy, with the ideal of being a refined and restrained gentleman, who was above such things.
This struggle between competing ideas of manly honor is vividly illuminated against the backdrop of the diverging societies and values of the American North and South. And so that is where we will turn next time. Then we tackle the evolution of honor in the wars of the 20th century, followed by the decline of honor during the countercultural movement and its modern state. I think. Maybe even all this week, so we can actually have time for working on other posts, and showering. Maybe. I assure you that the rest of the posts in this series will be shorter and pithier, so I hope you will continue on with us.
We shall leave you with a piece from a Victorian poet, Robert Nicoll, that couldn’t better sum up his contemporaries’ views of honor:
True Nobility
“I ask not for his lineage,
I ask not for his name;
If manliness be in his heart,
He noble birth may claim.
I care not though of world’s wealth
But slender be his part,
If yes you answer when I ask,
‘Hath he a true-man’s heart?’
I ask not from what land he came,
Nor where his youth was nursed;
If pure the spring, it matters not
The spot from whence it burst.
The palace or the hovel
Where first his life began,
I seek not of; but answer this—
‘Is he an honest man?’
Nay, blush not now; what matters it
Where first he drew his breath?
A manger was the cradle-bed
Of Him of Nazareth.
Be nought, be any, everything,
I care not what you be,
If yes you answer, when I ask
‘Art thou pure, true, and free?”
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:01 PM   #19
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Manly Honor Part IV — The Gentlemen and the Roughs: The Collision of Two Honor Codes in the American North
by BRETT & KATE MCKAY on NOVEMBER 12, 2012 · 31 COMMENTS
in A MAN'S LIFE


http://artofmanliness.com/2012/11/12...merican-north/

Welcome back to our series on manly honor.

In our last post, I said that Northern and Southern honor would be covered in one article, and that future posts would be shorter. Neither turned out to be true. Well, this one is a little shorter, but we’re giving Northern and Southern honor their own posts – there’s just too much interesting stuff to cover. And as all my projections have been wrong thus far, I will refrain from making any more moving forward. Just come along for the ride!

An exploration of honor in the American North during the 19th century offers a fascinating framework from which to build on and expand many of the concepts we discussed in our post on Victorian England’s Stoic-Christian honor code, while also digging into the tensions that emerged as a result of its creation – tensions that are still with us today. So if you haven’t read that post yet, I recommend doing so before jumping into this one.

The Stoic-Christian Honor Code in the American North

The Middle and Upper Classes: The Honor of Gentlemen

The North experienced many of the same economic, geographic, and social changes – the rise of industrialization, increased mobility and urbanization, the spread of evangelical Christianity (which took the form of the Second Great Awakening in the US) — that had shaped Victorian England. So this region of the country unsurprisingly experienced a very similar shift in their ideal of honor. Because of the unique nature of the American landscape, the various component parts which made up the new Stoic-Christian honor code in the North were emphasized and de-emphasized in different ways than they were across the pond.

For example, the “gentility” part of the Victorian honor code – an emphasis on education, decorum, manners, style, and above all, “taste” – did not enjoy that same widespread popularity on these shores. For some, a focus on refinement and formal rules of conduct, no matter how nominally democratized, smacked too much of the European aristocracy they had only recently won independence from. Zealous converts to evangelical Christianity found the standards of gentility overly materialistic and worldly. There were also men who thought real manhood required a degree of rough coarseness, and found such refinement effeminate and contrary to the rugged nature of the country, and even its democratic spirit; some worried that outward polish might hide a man’s inner rotten nature, allowing him to get ahead over a man who looked a little rough, but whose heart was true.

On the flip side, the ideal of the self-made man was never as celebrated as it was in America. In a nation of newcomers who were freed from tradition and inhabited a land of great opportunity, the ethic of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps became practically synonymous with the American spirit, and still is. Even at the turn of the 19th century the country already had real-world success stories like Benjamin Franklin to look to, exemplars of the promise that any man who adopted the values of industry, thrift, self-sufficiency, and integrity could rise in the world as far as he wished. For this reason, the virtues and character traits connected with economic success played an even larger role in the North’s code of honor.



The middle and upper classes’ emphasis on earning status through virtuously-won wealth, coupled with the even greater mobility in the North than in England (Americans have been famous for relocating for the sake of opportunity since the country was settled), and the American penchant for individuality and independence, pushed the evolution of honor from public to private even faster in the States. Public reputation still mattered to gentlemen – a history of immoral and lazy behavior could follow a man via letter and gossip and close doors of social and business opportunity. But in a social, economic, and geographic landscape that was increasingly dependent on impersonal relationships, and in which the chief virtue was self-restraint, the need to physically retaliate against anyone who impugned your honor began to seem silly; un-manly, in fact. Who cared what other people thought of you? A man could simply point to the fruits of his labors to rebut a critic. Gentlemen began to assert a self-worth that was less dependent on the opinions of others and more focused on the contents of his conscience. In turn, dueling greatly fell out of favor in the North (although it did not die out altogether), and while a Northern gentleman was still prepared to at least have a fistfight when insulted, he could decide to walk away and still retain his sense of honor. It became a matter of honor to resort to violence only under extreme provocation – the point at which the insult and harassment reached a point that the gentleman could say with a clear conscience that he had “no choice” in fighting back (a subjective standard, of course, that varied from man to man).

Yet despite these slight differences in emphasis and acceleration, the Northern code of honor was very much like that of Victorian England: a standard predicated on civility, piety, morality, Stoicism, and hard work. The watchword of Northern honor, as it was for the English, was self-restraint. This was the virtue that tied the others together; the man who had mastered himself had the discipline to consider how his actions affected others, the will to resist the temptations of sin, the power to control his emotions, and the ability to set aside frivolous distractions and work hard to get ahead. Self-restraint gave a man the defining quality of Northern honor: “coolness.” A Northern gentleman was to be cool in personal and physical confrontations; he didn’t give in to extreme emotions, could laugh off the insults of others, and never caused a scene. A Northern man who suffered a lapse in his self-restraint and failed to be cool would often say he had “forgotten his manhood,” or had been “unmanned” by the incident.

The Northern variety of the Stoic-Christian honor code also paralleled its English counterpart in that it was adopted by both the middle and upper classes, but did not reach very far down into the working class. Those on the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder in the North — who more upper-class gentleman referred to as “the roughs” — had an honor culture too, but it was very different than that of their well-heeled brethren.

The Working Class: The Honor of Roughs



Honor for the roughs was very much like the primal honor of ancient times – centered on physical prowess and strength, and proven through physical feats and plenty of fighting. The austere self-control of the upper classes was disdained, and camaraderie was built through unchecked aggression, boisterous noise, rowdy behavior, heavy drinking, and licentious indulgence. In place of the middle-class emphasis on sentimentality and sincerity, roughs engaged in constant mocking, teasing, and what one contemporary called “relentless sarcasm.”

Roughs were always challenging and testing each other and getting into brawls to prove who was stronger and more “game.” Honor was premised on never letting another man dominate you. At a great remove from the white-collar work of the expanding middle class, roughs earned honor and status through the giving and receiving of pain, as they were either unable or unwilling to acquire it through the climbing of the economic ladder. More well-off gentlemen thought it was the latter; because a central tenet of the Stoic-Christian honor code was its democratic nature – that any man who so willed it could, at least hypothetically, cultivate its traits – men who refused to do so were shamed, and seen as despicable.


Physical culture was a point of contention for gentlemen. Some thought it too working class and vulgar, while others believed working out at a gymnasium was an excellent way to release the masculine energies a man was restraining in other areas, while also building up more discipline at the same time. Boxing was a particularly debated pastime. Some though it too violent for gentlemen to partake in or watch, and it was banned in many states. Other gentlemen thought it was a healthy way to keep oneself from becoming too soft and refined.
While there was debate among adherents to the Stoic-Christian honor code as to whether things like drinking, swearing, gambling, and fighting were compatible with true manliness, there were plenty of men in every class who enjoyed such things, and felt they were, along with a little scrapping and hazing, good for manly camaraderie. But even gentlemen who indulged in such “vices” scorned the roughs, for they did not balance such activities with more civilized and refined qualities. As Lorien Foote put it, many Northerners believed that true manliness “combined the ‘soft’ virtues of womanhood with the ‘hard’ virtues of manliness.” Or as a writer from the time argued, “Always with the highest courage there lives a great pity and tenderness. The brave man is always soft-hearted. The highest manhood dwells with the highest womanhood.” A man was to be both brave and moral, strong and kind, stoic in crisis and affectionate at home. As civilization had progressed, the markers of manliness had shifted from those that most harkened to the savage – strength and aggression – to those that set a man apart from his primitive origins – a shift from more biological traits to those which required higher cognitive power, reason, and willpower to earn. Thus, because of the roughs’ lack of tenderness, constant need to fight, and unchecked aggression, gentlemen saw them as degenerate, immoral brutes whose lack of self-restraint made them little higher than the beasts – and unworthy of the designation of honor, and, the title of man.


That middle and upper class gentlemen not only rejected the working class as equals, but as fellow men too, can be seen in cartoons of the time which often depicted the Irish as apes.
From the founding of the country, American leaders had argued that the strength and vitality of the nation – this new experiment in democracy– was directly dependent on the virtuous manhood of its citizens. That virtue originally centered on civic-mindedness and involvement — having a true stake in society — and the ability to set aside selfish concerns for the common good, and had evolved to include other virtues as well, like moral character and economic independence. Gentlemen thus saw the roughs as dishonorable because they believed their economic dependence, lack of education, and penchant for savagery and vice could lead, ultimately, to the failure of the republic.

With this great divide between the two honor groups, the gentlemen and the roughs did not often interact, and fairly inhabited two different universes. That would all change, cause great conflict, and widen the divide even further when they were forced to serve together during the Civil War.

The Gentlemen and the Roughs During the Civil War



The North’s two competing ideas of manhood – one undomesticated and primal, the other restrained and moral — came into direct conflict during the course of the Civil War.

When the war first broke out, volunteers made up the Army’s ranks — men driven by a sense of honor and duty to fight for the Union. Well-educated gentlemanly elites from New England’s middle and upper classes signed on to lead regiments largely composed of men from a similar socio-economic background.

But once the draft was enacted in 1862, the Army was flooded with conscripts — 2/3 of which were immigrants — who came from the lowest tier of Northern society (well-off men who were drafted could pay for a substitute – again invariably a man from the working class — to serve for them). The Army’s ranks were greatly diversified, creating a common scenario where refined, morally upright middle and upper class gentlemen had command over an enlisted group of hard-drinking, oft-fighting, working-class roughs.



A clash in codes of honor arose. You had one company of men sitting quietly at temperance society meetings or scripture study, and another going off to drink and wench and brawl, and then coming back to bust up the temperance meeting and pour mule urine on the teetotalers. On the one hand you had 17-year-old chaps like Charlie Brandegee, who was aghast at the amount of profanity in the army, and wrote to his father: “I have not used any form of swearing since my arrival, although I have it on every side. There are 100 men in this co. on an average each man uses 25 oaths [swear words] a day — 2500 oaths a day! I have always protested against profane language and think there is less swearing in our tent than in any other. Whenever anybody commences to swear the rest sing out ‘English language, English language in this tent.’” (Interesting fact: 5,223 men were court-martialed for the use of profanity during the war, in violation of the 83rd Article of War requiring conduct appropriate to one’s status as an “officer and a gentleman.”) On the other hand, you had men who cheekily formed anti-temperance societies, that pledged “to destroy (by drinking) all the liquor they could get,” and created anti-moralizing clubs like “The Independent Order of Trumps,” whose bylaws proclaimed that members would always act with decorum, and then added: “drinking, eating, smoking and chewing will be considered decorum.” The Trumps “resolved to acquit ourselves like men, and other things.”

A Clash of Manhoods in the Union Army




The two groups eyed each other warily. Each had absorbed the American ideal of all men being created equal, and each wanted their manhood to be recognized by the other. But the gentlemen thought the roughs were brutes, and the roughs thought the gentlemen were effete; neither would acknowledge the other’s respective code of honor. This tension, understandably, would often compromise the unity of Northern regiments.

As aforementioned, the strength and vitality of the American republic had, since its founding, been linked to the virtuous manhood of its citizens. The North believed it would win the war because of the superior character of its citizens. Thus, the roughs’ unapologetic revelry in vice and licentiousness was seen by gentlemen as draining vital virility from the Union effort.

What had been more of an abstract concern before the war crystallized into a more immediate worry during it; gentleman commanders felt that the roughs’ drinking and lack of discipline prevented them from becoming effective soldiers, and thus compromised the chances of Northern victory on the battlefield. Adherents to the Stoic-Christian honor code believed moral courage and physical courage were linked, and that without the former, the roughs would have to be physically compelled to fight and would drag the Union army down with them.


Soldiers in the Union Army not only fought the South, but each other as well. See here for a not so uncommon story about one company getting into a “bench clearing” brawl with another.
In a way they were right. The roughs’ honor code of aggression and physical prowess was suited to the battles of primitive man – when war parties consisted of a group of equal peers, the fighting could be flexible, impromptu, and hand-to-hand, battles were infrequent and short-lived, and the reason for fighting was the protection of the tribe and the defense of kin.

The Civil War, on the other hand, was a modern battle that bore little resemblance to the primal skirmishes of old. Men served in a strict hierarchy, stood in organized battle lines to face increasingly mechanized and impersonal weapons, and fought not for the immediate protection of kin, but for abstract principles of union, democracy, and patriotism. In this new type of war a soldier had to be able to obey orders from a superior, fight out of duty, and have the self-control — the “coolness” — to hold the line as cannon fire ripped through the ranks. Unfettered aggression, a plus for primal man, now had to be corralled through proper channels.

A man also had to be in battle-mode not simply for days, but for years — living away from family in spartan camp life. In such conditions, raw courage became less important in earning honor than a man’s ability to bear suffering.

Unsurprisingly then, the roughs rebelled against such demands, and saw little in the war that benefited themselves. They were reluctant to give up the equality of their honor group, and felt that submitting themselves to their officers – whom they often referred to as the “shoulder-strap gentry” — resulted in a loss of manhood. They believed status had to be earned through competition, but many of their commanders had gotten their positions through influence and family connections. Their code of honor did not allow them to let another man falsely claim status and thus domination, and they would have loved to have brought their elite officers down a peg. But they were frustratingly forbidden from establishing their honor in the way they desired — by having a physical throwdown. They would often tell an officer whom they felt was lording their authority over them that if it weren’t for his shoulder straps, he would have given the man a merciless pummeling. For example, Union soldier John Clute told his Captain, Daniel Link, “If you will lay off your shoulder straps I will give you a damn good whipping.” Another soldier told an officer, “All that saved you was your shoulder straps, if you hadn’t them on, I would whip you in a minute.” Sometimes privates couldn’t control this urge to physically lash out; striking a superior officer was in fact the second-most common offense during the war.

Enlisted men also sometimes joined together in rebellion against officers they felt abused their authority; 2,764 men were charged with exciting, causing, or joining in a munity during the war. And these numbers greatly underestimate the true number of such cases, as the majority were likely given an immediate punishment or tried with a regimental or field-officer courts-martial.

Rough soldiers also resisted the authority of their gentlemen officers in less violent ways. They were slow to obey orders, talked back when they received them, refused to salute, and would yell and even make farting noises when their officers tried to talk. Complete desertion was also quite common.



For their part, officers were not above using violence themselves in order to compel obedience from their men. As Lorien Foote writes, “Because army regulations sanctioned the use of physical coercion from officers when inferiors disobeyed lawful orders…Officers grabbed, hit, kicked, and pulled swords on recalcitrant enlisted men.” Some elite officers shot disobedient men outright, and some regiments established the position of “file closer,” whose job it was to hold the ranks during battle by shooting or bayoneting any soldier who straggled or tried to flee from cowardice."



Continued
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Conclusion

At the end of the War Between the States, the North had bested the South, while in the battle between two competing codes of honor and manliness, the gentlemen had triumphed over the roughs. Having already ascended prior to the war, the Stoic-Christian honor code consolidated its status as the North’s cultural ideal. Those in the middle and upper classes believed, as Foote writes, that “The men who had truly saved the Union…were its gentlemen, men with domestic virtues, moral character, and proper manners.” They had pulled out the victory, despite the dangers the roughs had posed – men whose lack of discipline and indulgence in vice had, Stoic-Christian gentlemen believed, threatened the strength of the Union Army, and in turn, the future of the whole nation.


Things like drinking, and even playing cards were gray areas among those who aspired to be gentlemen. Some embraced such vices in moderation, while others thought it was honorable to abstain entirely.
But it’s important to point out that the above discussion represents a simplification of the issues surrounding honor in the North during this period. The gentlemen and the roughs represent extremes on a spectrum of manliness, and there were plenty of men whose codes of honor fell somewhere between them. All classes agreed on the necessity of physical courage to manhood. And outside the roughs, there was general agreement about the importance of good character – being honest, hardworking, resolute, and respectful to others. But beyond that was a gray area. Some men believed that things like strict purity, temperance, and proper manners were important parts of the code, while others enjoyed swearing, drinking, fighting, and oat-sowing in moderation, and didn’t feel such indulgences compromised their honor, or even their designation as gentlemen.

The reason I wanted to flesh out the subject of Northern honor in the 19th century is that the question as to where to draw the line on the spectrum of manliness is still very much with us today. In fact, I get a front row seat to it with the feedback we get on our posts. “How to dress with style? Real men don’t care about how they look!” “How to field dress a squirrel? Real men don’t kill innocent animals. Do more about style!” “Gambling? That’s immoral! Real men never gamble!” “Etiquette? Real men do whatever they want to do!” “A real man saves himself for marriage.” “A man should be able to have sex with whoever he wants to, as much as he wants.” “Swearing is manly!” “No it’s not!” “What does it mean to be a man? A real man doesn’t think about it. Do more practical stuff.” “Your philosophical posts are the most important. You should do more of them.”

The heart of the debate both for the 19th century man and for today’s, is whether manhood, and thus the honor code of men, should be based on primal, biological traits or in our capacity for higher virtues. The first type of manhood is made up of instinct, aggression, virility, violence, strength, and the need to earn status through physical prowess and martial courage — the essential traits that all men shared anciently, and transcend culture and time. Here manhood is defined as what is unique from womanhood. The second type roots manhood in the ability to overcome lower urges and master self – the cultivation of the higher traits of mind and character that separate man from beast, and man from boy. The type of manhood one ascribes to influences one’s view of what is good for men; as Foote puts it: “Within this complex discourse, some men feared that excessive civilization produced weak, decadent, and effeminate men, while others warned that those who had not developed civilized restraint and refinement were savage boys rather than fully developed men.”

No matter how messy, the possibility of combining the virile traits of essential manhood with the moral virtues has been explored since ancient Greece, and is a tradition we continue today, and will explore more in the last post in this series. But for now, next up is a look at Southern honor."


Why am I laying all this groundwork. Keep reading. The way will be clear when this draws to it's conclusion. These are strange days we are living in. Dominoes are going to begin falling with ever increasing regularity. Long steadfast institutions will crumble seemingly from within. Figure out now who and what you want to side yourself with. Get yourself in alignment. There is a storm a coming.

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Old 11-17-2012, 07:57 PM   #21
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http://www.adn.com/2012/11/16/269517...years-for.html
By CASEY GROVE — casey.grove@adn.com

An Anchorage Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced Byron Syvinski to serve 19 years for punching a 7-year-old girl in the head as he tried to steal her bicycle in his Eide Street neighborhood in 2011.

Judge Jack Smith also handed Syvinski, 33, a six-month sentence Friday for attacking another neighbor prior to the assault on the girl, Am-Marie Martin, now 9.

A jury convicted Syvsinski in July on charges of first-degree and fourth-degree assault as well as robbery. It was his fourth felony conviction.

Neighbors told police Syvinski seemed delirious when he tried to take a bag from a teenager in his driveway, then punched the teen's father, Roberto Delreal. The Delreals fought off Syvinski, who turned his attention to Martin as she sat, defenseless, on a child's pink bike in her driveway, according to a sentencing memorandum filed in court Friday by prosecutors.

Syvinski knocked Martin off the bicycle, punched her twice in the head and tried to take the bike but neighbors held onto him until police arrived, prosecutors said.

At the Friday sentencing hearing, Judge Smith said the seemingly random, "horrendous" violence that June day deeply affected the neighborhood.

"Even after she's on the ground, he continues to strike her," Smith said. "The neighbors respond, which may have been fortuitous. We really don't know what might've happened, whether it would've stopped at that point or continued at that point, because, frankly, he's out of control."

Smith noted Syvinski's drug abuse, mentioned in court documents for probation he served, which included abusing heroin, methamphetamine, Ecstasy and prescription pain medication. Prosecutors said that Syvinski was using "bath salts," a generic street name for synthetic methamphetamine, the day he attacked his neighbors.

But prosecutor Rob Henderson said the drug use did not fully explain the random act of violence that left Martin hospitalized. He warned Judge Smith that Syvinski would likely use drugs and lash out again if given the opportunity.

"Mr. Syvinski is not a person who's addicted to drugs and commits bad acts," Henderson said. "He is a bad person, he's a violent person who's addicted to drugs."

Syvinski's lawyer, Krista Maciolek, disagreed with Henderson and said the drug abuse and Syvinski's mental health issues were at play in the assaults. Syvinski's addiction grew out of prescriptions Syvinski had for back pain and trauma from his son dying in 2008, Maciolek said.

When it was his chance to speak, Syvinski -- looking heavier than he did at trial and wiping away tears at one point -- apologized to his neighbors and, specifically, to Martin.

"I'm terribly sorry for my acts, and I accept the sentence that the court hands down to me," he said. "All I can say is I apologize and I'm very sorry."

Martin's mother, Andrea Dunwoody, said the attack changed the neighborhood, once teeming with children playing outside. Afterward, the kids were afraid to come outside, she said.

Dunwoody said she hoped Syvinski received treatment for his apparent long-running drug abuse. She said she was glad Syvinski apologized and that her daughter, in fourth grade and at school Friday, had survived the attack.

"It shocked me, and I wish Am-Marie was here to hear him say he's sorry," Dunwoody said. "It doesn't take it all away but at least he did say it, so she can hear it. It's going to take a lot more for me to let go."

"It's hard to forget the things that happened. I'm very grateful that she's still here with me," Dunwoody said. "It's just a step forward. I hope he gets the help he needs before he is released, and it's time for my family to move forward."

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2012/11/16/269517...#storylink=cpy
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:18 PM   #22
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"...looking heavier than he did at trial..."

That's horrible.

He's blaming it on doctors and his son's death.

Maybe justice will really be served by Bubba while he's in the pokey.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:33 AM   #23
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In or is? Both he deserves.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:12 AM   #24
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Once again, a new installment on this series. I have received kind words of encouragement from quite a few in AKIC in my travels. There are more people than I realized out there expressing thanks for these postings. I am certain there are those who would rather not see a wall of text but it is those who venture here and read, if only for a bit that I post for. 860 views as of this posting, someone somewhere is getting something from this.

It is too often that much of what it means to be a man, or to have honor, or to live a righteous life (not religious) in these trying times. Our disconnection from traditions which have carried the human race through centuries is too often lost in this digital age. Why learn about such things when you have video games and malls? Many of us are not in proximity to our families and there is a further disconnection from the passing of this knowledge from one generation to another. It is but one small attempt to stay in my groove, working to be a light bringer, a nomad sharing collected wisdom in my own journey.

Myself, I find this information fascinating. It has added to my life greatly. It is interesting that my Aprilia forum and even amongst my own local riding group, we discuss much more than just cars. We talk about music, cigars, travels, food, wine, whiskey and even internal struggles we have. I see deficits and gaps in this community. Lonely people, bored people, or worse LOST people.

I am from the deep south. This next passage really touched home with me. Mannerisms present in me today, I recognize within these words. A tradition passed onto me by my family and I had no clue as to their origins, but here they are instilled in me nonetheless. I hope it is enjoyed by you as much as it was by me.

If you don't like it, don't read it. No one made you click it.

http://artofmanliness.com/2012/11/26...EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

Manly Honor Part V: Honor in the American South

By Brett & Kate McKay

Welcome back to our series on manly honor. Today we tackle Southern honor in the 19th century. Now, be prepared: this is and will be the longest post in the series by far. The complexity of traditional honor and its various cultural manifestations cannot possibly be underestimated, nor can the difficulty in distilling these complexities into an accessible, coherent narrative. We have done our best with that task so far, and here as well; however, understanding Southern honor requires a more in-depth exploration. We could have just sketched out the very basics, but truly grasping those basics necessitates an understanding of the framework which underlies them. Also, as we shall see, because the South’s culture of honor still influences that region today, it’s a good subject to become knowledgeable about if you want to understand the country. Plus, it’s just really interesting!
We didn’t set out to do it, but I’m proud of the fact that this series has turned into a resource unlike any other that is out there. I don’t imagine there’s a huge audience among blog readers for 7,000-word posts about Southern honor, but those who are interested in the subject will hopefully really dig it, and anyone who girds up his loins and reads the whole thing will be rewarded.
Southern Honor: An Introduction

In our last post about the history of honor, we took a look at how honor manifested itself in the American North around the time of the Civil War. Yet when most folks think about honor in the States, both then and now, what first comes to mind is invariably the South.
There’s a reason for that. While honor in the North evolved during the 19th century away from the ideals of primal honor and towards a private, personal quality synonymous with “integrity,” the South held onto the tenets of traditional honor for a much longer period of time.
Unlike the Northern code of honor, which emphasized emotional restraint, moral piety, and economic success, the Southern honor code in many ways paralleled the medieval honor code of Europe — combining the reflexive, violent honor of primitive man with the public virtue and chivalry of knights.
The code of honor for Southern men required having: 1) a reputation for honesty and integrity, 2) a reputation for martial courage and strength, 3) self-sufficiency and “mastery,” defined as patriarchal dominion over a household of dependents (wife/children/slaves), and 4) a willingness to use violence to defend any perceived slight to his reputation as a man of integrity, strength, and courage, as well as any threats to his independence and kin. Just as in medieval times, “might made right” in the American South. If a man could physically dominate or kill someone who accused him of dishonesty, that man maintained his reputation as a man of integrity (even if the accusations were in fact true).
Anthropologists and social psychologists believe this form of classical honor survived and thrived in the American South and died in the North because of cultural differences between their respective early settlers, as well as the North’s and South’s divergent economies.
Herding, the Scotch-Irish, and the South’s Culture of Honor


To understand why a more primal and violent culture of honor took root in the American South, it helps to understand the cultural background of its early settlers. While the northern United States was settled primarily by farmers from more established European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, and especially England (particularly from areas around London), the southern United States was settled primarily by herdsmen from the more rural and undomesticated parts of the British Isles. These two occupations — farming and herding — produced cultures with starkly different notions of honor.
Some researchers argue that herding societies tend to produce cultures of honor that emphasize courage, strength, and violence. Unlike crops, animal herds are much more vulnerable to theft. A herdsman could lose his entire fortune in one overnight raid. Consequently, martial valor and strength and the willingness to use violence to protect his herd became useful assets to an ancient herdsman. What’s more, a reputation for these martial attributes served as a deterrent to would-be thieves. It’s telling that many of history’s most ferocious warrior societies had pastoral economies. The ancient Hittites, the ancient Hebrews, and the ancient Celts are just a few examples of these warrior/herder societies.
As it happened, the Scotch-Irish settlers that poured into the Southern colonies from the late 17th century through the antebellum period were genetic and cultural descendants of the war-like and pastoral Celts. Hailing from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and the English Uplands, these Scotch-Irish peoples made up perhaps half of the South’s population by 1860 (in contrast, three-quarters of New Englanders, up until the massive influx of Irish immigrants in the 1840s, were English in origin). As the Celtic-herdsmen theory goes (and it is not without its critics), their influence on Southern culture was even larger than their numbers. These rough and scrappy Scotch-Irish immigrants not only brought with them their ancestors’ penchant for herding, but also imported their love of whiskey, music, leisure, gambling, hunting, and…their warrior-bred, primal code of honor. Even as the South became an agricultural powerhouse, the vast majority of white Southerners – from big plantation owners to the landless — continued to raise hogs and livestock. Whether a man spent most his time working a farm or herding his animals, the pastoral culture of honor, with its emphasis on courage, strength, and violence — characterized by an aggressive stance towards the world and a wariness towards outsiders who might want to take what was his — remained (and as we will see later, continues even to this day).
Agrarian Economics

While the South’s ethno-cultural background may explain the origin of its primal and sometimes violent code of honor, it doesn’t explain why it remained so entrenched in Southern life for so long while contemporaneous Northerners were quick to adopt the more modern, private notion of honor. To answer that question we simply need to look to the divergent economies of the two regions.
While industrialization transformed the Northern landscape in the 19th century and sparked the rise of urbanization, the antebellum South remained largely agrarian and rural. This created two important effects in the region: economic opportunities were fewer in number and less diverse, and kinship ties remained very strong.

continued

Last edited by Nomadgene; 11-26-2012 at 09:40 AM. Reason: bolding sections
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:16 AM   #25
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Land Ownership and Class

While for many, slavery is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of the Old South, only 25% of the white population owned slaves, and 73% of those who did held fewer than ten. In other words, three-quarters of the white population were nonslaveholders. While it is common to imagine there were only two white classes in the South — rich, slave-holding planters and poor whites — there was actually a middle-class majority of non-slaveholders (around 60-70%) who owned their own land. All told, about 75% of all white males in the South owned land. Another number were professionals and artisans, and the remaining percentage were “poor white trash” (yes, this derogatory term originated way back in the 19th century). Alternately referred to as “squatters,” “crackers,” “clay/dirt-eaters,” and “sand-hillers,” these poor whites eked out a subsistence living in isolated settlements nestled in the hills and mountains, planting perhaps a few crops and raising a few animals, but mainly getting by through hunting and fishing.

The richest planters might own thousands of acres and hundreds of slaves, while a yeoman farmer worked a hundred acres and held no slaves; 90-95% of all agricultural wealth in the South was in the hands of slaveholders by 1860. Despite this deep inequality, the culture of the South was quite different than the walled-off oligarchy of the Old World nobility. Whereas Europe’s landed aristocracy held a monopoly on power and claimed honor as exclusively their own, because of the accessibility of land in the South – even if men’s holdings vastly differed – a common bond between the two groups existed.
Yeoman farmers typically lived close to plantation owners, and the two groups frequently intermingled through both trade and kinship. While entering the upper echelon of Southern gentlemen depended partly on family lineage, there was a degree of social and economic mobility; non-landowners acquired land, non-slave owners acquired slaves, and non-planters married into planter families. Yet, most yeoman farmers sought not great wealth, but being a “good-liver” — attaining a simple, comfortable self-sufficiency surrounded by one’s family and enough land to pass onto one’s sons. Striving to get ahead was too much work; while industry was perhaps the sine qua non of honorable virtues both in Victorian England and the American North, Southerners valued leisure in their lives. In this they harkened back to their Celtic forbearers, who had employed the least labor-intensive method of herding — the open range system – and used the rest of their time for feasting, fighting, and merriment.
This satisfaction with self-sufficiency was rooted in both cultural ideals and practical considerations. While industrialization in the North had opened up a new stratum of diverse professions, options in the South outside of agriculture were far fewer; the only other honorable professions were law, medicine, clergy, and the military, but even then, many men hoped these positions would simply serve as stepping-stones towards becoming a planter. And while Northern men were celebrated for having the pluck and initiative to leave home in pursuit of personal goals, Southerners wished to stay close to hearth and home, and some saw such pecuniary striving as crass. Again, this viewpoint derived from both cultural and utilitarian considerations; the ability to move into professions and politics in the South relied less on the egalitarian boot-strapping that defined the North, and more on personal and familial connections.
Honor in the South
The differences between the industrialized North and agrarian South led to differences in their honor codes. While the North equated honor with economic success, and economic success with moral character, honor in the South hinged on hitting a more basic threshold.
The Southern ideal, in theory, if not always in practice, was that the rich man was no better than the poor man; all whites of all classes considered themselves part of the same honor group. As all traditional honor groups are, it was a classless hierarchy not of wealth, but of rank. The military makes a good comparison. All soldiers are equals as men of honor, but there are higher and lower ranks; each strata has greater or lesser responsibilities and privileges, and its own culture.
Every white man acknowledged the personal equality of every other – horizontal honor – while also acknowledging that some, because of blood and talent – had risen higher than others and achieved greater vertical honor. Most who occupied a position below the top respected that setup as proper and natural; differences in status did not hold moral significance. Southerners also did not see hierarchy as incompatible with democracy, but rather as a necessary way of bringing order to what would otherwise be a society dominated by chaos and mob rule.
While the poorest whites were seen as dishonorable and despicable because they did not contribute anything to society, and just as importantly, chose to live in isolation from the “tribe,” such a label was only possible for those who could perhaps be members of the honor group, but failed to meet the code. While some Northern gentlemen did not even acknowledge the common manhood of “the roughs” because of their failure to meet any of the requirements of the Stoic-Christian honor code, poor whites in the South had the potential to be included because basic Southern honor was not dependent on gentility (clothes/education/manners), but things that were accessible to every man. While poor whites weren’t generally concerned about the integrity part of the Southern honor code as much as the farmers and planters were, all were united in honoring independence (not working for another man and being master of one’s own “little commonwealth”), strength and personal valor, and a man’s willingness to use violence to defend his reputation. Men from every rank in the South believed that honor required a man to take an aggressive stance to the world – a constant readiness to fight for what was his against the encroachments of outsiders and the insults of scalawags of all varieties.
What About Slavery?
When discussing the differences between North and South in the 19th century, obviously the huge elephant in the room is slavery. Slavery definitely affected the honor code inasmuch as it shaped the South’s economy and was part of the way of life whites wished to defend. It influenced it in other ways as well, but historians disagree on exactly how. Some think the fear of a slave uprising made Southerners more prone to engaging in reflexive violence – demonstrating strength as a warning against would-be mutineers. Some say that by including all whites in the Southern honor group, rich and poor alike, they pacified possible resentment from the lower class, and thus headed off the possibility of their teaming up with slaves in a rebellion against rich plantation owners. Slavery helped solidify the Southern hierarchy, and traditional honor thrives in an environment of “us vs. them.”
It’s obviously a complex subject, which sits outside the purview of this article. Since an honor group can only consist of those who consider themselves equals, for Southern whites, blacks were obviously excluded. Thus, honor for whites in the South was something generally only judged, jockeyed for, and mediated amongst each other (with the exception of black on white crime, in which a white man’s honor necessitated his meting out justice himself, sometimes in the form of a lynch mob.)
As with the North, we know that just because one group claims exclusive right to honor, doesn’t mean those left out don’t have their own code (i.e., the gentlemen and the roughs). Slaves assuredly had their own code of honor too, but unfortunately no one has tackled that subject yet that I know of. A Ph.D. dissertation waiting to be written…
The Public Nature of Southern Honor
That a man’s public reputation remained the basis of his honor, as opposed to shifting towards private conscience as in the North, was due to the close communities and kinship ties in the South. In the North, waves of immigration, coupled with urbanization, created a diverse society dominated by impersonal relations, making agreement on a single honor code difficult, and sparking the development of personal codes of honor. The South, on the other hand, remained agrarian and sparsely populated; at the start of the Civil War, the North had 10+ million more residents.
Southerners preferred to live physically close to their relatives, and the foundation of every community was one’s extended family. One of the interesting signifiers of the way Southerners were more tied to tradition and familial interests versus Northerners can be found in the diverging naming practices of the two regions. For example, at the beginning of the 1800s, only 10% of boys in a typical Massachusetts community were given non-familial names, but that jumped up to 30% by the time of the Civil War. In contrast, Bertram Wyatt-Brown reports that as late as 1940, a rural sociologist in Kentucky “discovered that only 5% of all males had names not affiliated with traditional family first and middle names. Over 70 percent of the men were named for their fathers.” Giving sons familial names symbolized the patriarch’s important position in Southern families, tied grandparents and grandchildren together, and imparted to sons a sense of pride and place in a long lineage – a lineage he was charged with honorably upholding.
As a result of the close-knit, more homogenized nature of Southern society, two fundamental requirements of traditional honor remained in place: a cohesive honor code that everyone in the group understood and ascribed to, and frequent face-to-face interactions that allowed members to judge each other’s reputations. This also left in place traditional honor’s mechanism for dealing with social deviants: public shame and group justice.
Honor acted in tandem with the formal legal system in the South. For Southern men, some matters of honor could not possibly be justly settled in a court of law; the matter had to be resolved mano-a-mano, sometimes in the form of a duel. On her deathbed, Andrew Jackson’s mother (Scotch-Irish herself, and an immigrant to the Carolinas) told him: “Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man.” Jackson took his mother’s advice to heart, participating in at least 13 “affairs of honor.”
Crimes and disputes that did end up in court were discussed in the taverns and parlors about town, and judges were swayed by the public’s opinion of the crime and of the accused when rendering their sentences. Southerners wanted it this way; impersonal justice seemed too Northern — a justice system which incorporated local circumstances preserved local autonomy.
When the community felt that justice, according to the dictates of honor, had not been served by the court, they believed it within their rights to step in and mete out the proper punishment themselves. This often took the form of lynch mobs, which frequently went after blacks, but sometimes fellow whites as well. Whites in need of shaming were more likely to be on the receiving end of a “charivari”, which was an ancient ritual that dates back at least to the Middle Ages in which the townspeople would gather outside the home of one who had violated the community’s norms – perhaps through adultery or wife-beating – and beat on pots and pans, hoot and holler, and sometimes give the accused a tar and feathering. The duly shamed would quickly get the message and high-tail it out of town.
For Southerners, these extra-legal forms of justice were not a substitute for the court system, but a supplement; as Wyatt-Brown puts it: “Common law and lynch law were ethically compatible. The first enabled the legal profession to present traditional order, and the second conferred upon ordinary men the prerogative of ensuring that community values held ultimate sovereignty.”
Yet it was the threat of simple, informal shunning — being made an outcast — that was enough to get most Southerners to conform to the code. As in all traditional honor societies, a Southerner’s relations with others and their inclusion in the community were the heart of life; one could not separate their personal identity and happiness from their membership in the group. What Moses I. Finley said of the world of Odysseus was true of the South as well: “one’s kin were indistinguishable from oneself.” Thus to be abandoned was the worst possible fate. Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish writer who was popular in the American South, described this tribal mindset well:
“Isolation is the sum-total of wretchedness to man. To be cut off, to be left solitary: to have a world alien, not your world, all a hostile camp for you; not a home at all, of hearts and faces who are yours, whose you are! … To have neither superior, nor inferior, nor equal, united manlike to you. Without father, without child, without brother. Man knows no sadder destiny.”
These strong bonds with kin, along with their deep connection to the land, created an honor culture extraordinarily rooted in people and place.
The Three Pillars of Southern Honor Culture

While it is true, as Wyatt-Brown asserts, that “honor in the Old South applied to all white classes,” it was still lived with “manifestations appropriate to each ranking.” If you remember our military analogy above, it can be compared to the way officers and privates are equals as men of honor, but each group has its own culture and way of interacting with each other.
For example, the code of honor of the upper middle class and the wealthy was tempered by gentility. Their aggressive stance to the world was refined and balanced by an emphasis on moral, dignified uprightness, clothes and manners, and education. The latter was typically devoted to classical literature from ancient Greece and Rome; The Illiad and The Odyssey were instruction manuals on living a life of honor, and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations was considered second only to the Bible in importance.
There were, however, three pillars of Southern honor culture that transcended socio-economic status, even if they sometimes manifested themselves differently according to class. For all white Southern men, these three pillars were public, ritual encounters which served to test a man’s honor, and Wyatt-Brown argues, “helped Southerners determine community standing and reaffirm their membership in the immediate circle to which they belonged. In all of them honor and pursuit of place muted the threat of being alone and provided the chance to enjoy the power in fellowship.”
1. Sociability and Hospitality

Generosity, friendliness, warm-heartedness, and expressive sociability were points of honor for a Southerner and one of the primary ways in which he “distinguish[ed] himself from the Yankee.” If the watchwords for the Northerner gentleman were “coolness and detachment,” the watchwords for his Southern counterpart were “passion and affability.” While Southern men honored the Stoics for their apathy towards death and centered calmness in times of both crisis and fortune, they made more allowance for joviality in social situations than their more restrained Northern brethren. Even today, Southerners take pride in their region’s friendly and big-hearted ways.
To combat the fear of solitariness discussed above, Southerners looked for any excuse to get together with friends and kin and held frequent dances, corn huskings, barn raisings, picnics, and militia musterings, amongst many other types of gatherings.
But it was the ancient ritual of hospitality that held the most central role in a Southern man’s sociability and acted as a test of his honor. Wyatt-Brown defines hospitality as “the relationship of an individual and family to outsiders on home turf.” But it started with taking care of one’s own kin. Southerners contrasted their generous approach in aiding their relatives to that which they perceived as the impersonal and tightfisted way in which Northerners more frequently relied on public assistance – leaving the job to asylums, poorhouses, and charitable organizations.
And of course when it came to strangers and visitors, Southerners felt duty-bound to show hospitality to whomever showed up. An element of competition existed in Southern hospitality – households which pulled out more of the stops in entertaining won status in the eyes of the community.
The honor-bound obligation to show hospitality to everyone who appeared on your doorstep could lead to financial distress. When Jefferson returned to Monticello after serving in the White House, even folks who had simply voted for him felt entitled to swing by and say hello; having to entertain this constant stream of well-wishers contributed to the large debt with which the president died.

2. Gambling and Drinking
While Southerners were a religious people – often Baptist or Methodist in their faith – the Second Great Awakening that swept the Northeast did not have as transforming an effect in Dixie. In the North, a revival in evangelical Christianity led to an emphasis on seeking moral perfection – both individually and as a community. This desire for purification sparked the creation of reformation groups, such as temperance societies, and led some gentlemen to believe that abstinence from things like alcohol and gambling were requirements of a man’s code of honor.
While such things fell out of favor with Northerners (and some Southerners as well) most Southern men continued to heartily believe that drinking and gambling (what one contemporary referred to as a “generous and manly vice”) were not incompatible with their faith or morality, and greatly contributed to maintaining a social, honorable culture. Their piety on Sundays with their families and the rowdy good fun they had with each other could be compartmentalized, like two different roles in their life. As has famously been said, “The South votes dry, and drinks wet.”

In a time before basketball, football, and hockey, horse racing was America’s most popular sport. Especially anticipated were races that played up sectional hostilities — pitting a Southern-bred horse against a Northern one
Southern men felt that vices like drinking and gambling didn’t make them less of a man, but more of one, because they, just like their Scotch-Irish ancestors, saw its role in building and managing the honor group. As we’ve discussed, in honor groups men challenge and test each other to earn status, and also to prepare each other to face a common enemy. In peace-time, men use games, sports, and drinking to accomplish this. Such diversions give men a chance to best their rivals without rocking the social boat. And through all this friendly competition, camaraderie is built and bonds between men are strengthened.

Last edited by Nomadgene; 11-26-2012 at 09:51 AM. Reason: bolding section headings
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