…it’s only that people are sleeping knights.” – (with apologies from) Guffaw, in high school (c) 1968
My Daily Kona thoughtfully expounds on this very subject, that is Chivalry, the rules of Western Civilization’s gentlemen, as seen through the eye’s of libertarian science fiction author Robert Heinlein:
I have been told that I am a throwback to a bygone age, my mannerism and vocabulary are archaic from what I was told. I am a firm believer in manners, I like to quote “Lazarus Long” a character that Robert Heinlein created. Basically Lazarus Long was an immortal and he would keep notes of his experiences and observations.
“Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as “empty,” “meaningless,” or “dishonest,” and scorn to use them. No matter how “pure” their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.” – MrGarabaldi
You should really go and read all the rules, as MrGarabaldi outlines. And remember, once upon a time, they were the rules of gentlemen (and gentlewomen). And Western Civilization relied upon them for social order – the very lubrication Lazarus Long spoke of in the previous paragraph.
See how far we have diverted from them, and decide for yourself, was it worth it?
He outlines 31 Rules that used to have prevalence in polite society. In the interest of transparency, I more often than not violate number 12, but always adhere to numbers 21 and 29.
Number 17. :-(
When I was growing up, there was a television show called The Millionaire. In the show, personal representative of millionaire J. Beresford Tipton (Michael Anthony) doled out one million dollars to a worthy nobody every week. Of course, the plot revolved around how this windfall affected their life. At the time, one million dollars was a lot of money. The only caveat was the recipient was to agree never to reveal the source of their new wealth. I suspect the IRS wasn’t involved in this agreement. :-)
Today is St. Valentine’s Day*, a day I loathe, as I’m alone. Obviously, if there was someone in my life, celebrating it would be terrific. But alas…
I was preparing dinner last night, when the doorbell rang. It was the UPS guy. He presented me with a small, heavy package. I hurriedly opened it and discovered a surprise!
NO, it wasn’t one million dollars, but rather a serious amount of ammunition in the calibers I own and shoot! Accompanying the ammo was a note. Obviously someone reads this blog, read I am ‘ammo poor’ and took it upon themself to send me a gift of reloads! How cool is THAT?
I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to go shooting, again, but it’s nice knowing people whom I’ve never met are kind enough to send me gifts. I’m quite moved and humbled. And now more sufficiently armed.
And as I’ve no way to thank them personally, I’m posting about it. And, I’ll never reveal the source. Part of my agreement.
You never saw a happier worthy nobody!*I’ve asked this before – WHY is it just Valentine’s Day, unless one references the massacre? It’s not Patrick’s Day?
Having studied American History for some time, with certain foci (The American Revolution, progressivism, political intrigue and assassination, Constitutional government, libertarianism) something has been bothering me.
Like most civilizations, historically, we have (had) a code and at least made an effort to abide by it. A man’s word is his bond. A handshake means something, as does a signature. Being a gentlemen means holding to certain standards of behavior and deportment. Honor.
But, it appears all this is now a facade; it has all fallen away. Especially regarding men of influence and power. Lying, cheating, stealing, having an alternate code of whatever it takes to accomplish ‘x’, rules the day.
I remember my College Course ‘Introduction to Western Civilization’ wherein Dr. Smith taught us that The Roman Empire didn’t fall because of barbarian attack. It fell because of a decline in morals – in short, a loss of honorable men.
As author Brett states in Manly Honor VII…
But today in this final post I want to strip away many of those layers and try to get back down to the heart of manly honor – the basics of why it’s worth preserving and how we can, and must, revive elements of it in this anti-honor-honor world.
You should go and read, not only this chapter, but the previous six. Both men and women. We can restore civility, integrity and a code of behavior as it once was, if we agree to take a code upon ourselves to behave and act accordingly. And by doing so, perhaps we can reverse this trend wherein people protest by destroying and stealing property, and songs are written about killing civil authority and defiling women. By being an example for our youth. By doing what’s right for the American Culture and our own worth.
Back when I was contracted to perform private security at the old country club, there were a number of regularly scheduled events. One of these was a famous golf tournament (years later moved to another venue) and various other sundry events for society and charity. We provided security for all.
One of the lesser known events was a private card game in the club room, almost every Sunday night. I never knew when it began, but it usually ran way past closing and the clubroom grillman always had to stay to make certain the participants were properly fed and watered. And boozed.
One of these regulars was a nephew of famous Senator, famous himself in California politics, another a local businessman in the construction business, the owner of the business. The third, yet another local luminary.
And they’d meet almost every week to play cards.
Usually they’d sneak out some one-way exit without security knowing, but every so-often they’d ask for a security escort to their cars.
One early Monday morning, about 0300 as I recall, they called security asking for just such an escort.
I arrived quickly to the clubroom, the grillman gone, the game just ending.
They were ‘settling up’.
“Let’s see, that’s five thousand to you, and eight thousand to you.” one said! These weren’t matchsticks or pennies. And out came the rolls of bills.
Soon, we were on the way to the parking lot. A couple of Mercedes and some other luxury car. One of the guys tried to tip me, but I declined, as that wasn’t allowed (and I thought would be poor form, anyway).
I was glad none appeared impaired, as I’d hate to have let them on the road in such condition. Rich and drunk. They were just rich, at least by my standards.
I was bringing down $90.00 a week! (1975)