22 March 2011

Bestows dignity and enforces reverence

Honor is the basis of society's centrist institutions. It is the cultural bedrock of service and of a person’s obedience to a code of proper conduct. 
"... honor is the good opinion of the people who matter to us, and who matter because we regard them as a society of equals who have the power to judge our behavior ... the honor group." (Honor: A History, James Bowman, 2006; page 4). 
Honor for men is a measure of their fortitude; for women, of their chastity (temperance). Both these represent conduct with respect to maintaining integrity. 
Male honor is the readiness to stop foreign powers from penetrating the nation and to defend against insults to the wholeness or integrity of the person or people; female honor is the unreadiness to being sexually penetrated by any but acceptable mates, which penetration would compromise the integrity of the family's or the tribe's genetic code. 
Honor has tribal undertones because the tribe is one of the most effective honor groups. Liberals have a hard time with honor because it harkens them back to the Victorian notions of lex talionis and women's chastity. The notion of calling a man a wimp or a woman a slut is a remnant of a Victorian honor code the sixties counter-culture worked hard to discredit. 
Honor is the engine of a person's reputation, the instrument of one's good name. Honor bestows dignity and it enforces reverence. 
Honor is what the East and the West are each fighting over. If the antidote to the culture of terror and the cult of death is the promotion of centrist institutions into societies that have more primitive and more violent and uncompromising notions of honor, it will be because the promotion of those centrist institutions into those societies will, in effect, be introducing a more sophisticated notion of honor into the social matrix. 
The clash of civilizations is the clash of one definition of honor as a challenge for another, different, more evolved and well-developed sense of honor. 

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