|Dems 0 for 3 on Terror||The Synergy of Harry Reid|
by Christopher Chantrill
October 08, 2006 at 12:00 am
IN THE AFTERMATH of the Foley resignation, conservatives have spent a lot of energy complaining about the very different outcome of the Eighties sex scandals. Representative Barney Frank skated after disclosure that his sexual partner had run a male prostitution ring out of his apartment. And Representative Gerry Studds was returned to Congress five times from the 10th District of Massachusetts after disclosure of a sexual relationship with a congressional page. What a double standard!
But the Democrats are not hypocrites, at least, not in the way you think.
Republicans and conservatives live according to an honor culture. It requires them to resign after the exposure of shameful deeds. There is no need for Democrats to resign when they are are exposed for violating the very standards they impose upon the rest of society. They dont believe in honor.
The honor culture of conservative America is a very different thing from the traditional culture of male honor. That is made clear by James Bowman in his excellent Honor: A History. Honor is the good opinion of the people who matter to us, he writes. As practiced since time immemorial honor has two components: Bravery for men, chastity for women. Bravery for men is related to the fundamental requirement of the warrior band. Chastity for women we will leave for another time.
[I]t is only the soldiers sense of the importance of his fellow soldiers opinions of him... that keeps a man facing the bullets when he wants to run... As a U.S. Department of Defense manual once put it: it is not primarily a cause which makes men loyal to each other, but the loyalty of men to each other which makes a cause.
Unfortunately, when the warriors come home they often corrupt their honor culture into a culture of Might Makes Right, and a mans honor is not proved in the heat of battle. Insults to honor are purged instead in the duel.
A mans honor, then, is his reputation for bravery, his commitment to support the man next to you. This traditional concept of honor still operates, as we have recently come to understand, in the Islamic Middle East.
In the Christian West the old honor culture is extinct. Instead we have developed two different cultures. The first, which Bowman attributes to the influence of Christianity and the rise of the middle class, is the modification of honor-as-bravery into a culture of honor-as-virtue. We no longer blindly venerate the brave, but the brave and good. The most complete expression of the new culture was the Muscular Christianity of the nineteenth century that comes down to us in the person of Eric Liddell, the hero of Chariots of Fire.
In the other culture, honor is extinct. There is only morality and law for us to rely on and the honor culture is despised as an offense to individual autonomy and moral progressivism. That is the gift to humanity of the international progressive class.
But the curious thing is that, even as they have rejected the old honor-as-virtue culture and insisted that everyone abandon it for values and rights, the progressives have developed for themselves an honor group of the old style. It is the company of the enlightened and the progressive-minded, and its members understand that the only thing that matters is to be loyal and steadfast to the person next to you in the progressive phalanx.
We can discern the left-wing honor culture working in the spy scares of the late 1940s when liberals stood shoulder to shoulder protecting Communist spies like Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs and anathematized the traitor filmmaker Elia Kazan for naming names of fellow Communists. We saw it in the 1990s as feminists rallied round the accused sexual harasser Bill Clinton.
So we can understand that it is entirely appropriate for progressives to close ranks around men like Frank and Studds, loyal soldiers in the rank-and-file progressive army. Honor among progressives is everything.
But we should take note of the double standard. For over a century the progressives have toiled to strip western men of their culture of honor-as-virtue, demanding that they replace it with compulsory collectivism in the economic realm and compulsory individual autonomy in the cultural realm. But even as they banish honor from society as a whole they smuggle it in the back door to sustain the unity of their predatory progressive band in its drive to world domination.
Conservatives want to revive the culture of honor-as-virtue that has serves as a vital cultural bedrock of the West, civilizing men out of the predatory warrior band into the virtuous western team.
Win or lose this November, it is the conservative culture of honor-as-virtue that makes conservatives strong. Let us not betray it, and let us not allow the progressives to succeed in stripping it from us.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America