The other day, as I was on my way to work, I was driving through a relatively empty parking lot. Being in somewhat of a hurry, I was trying to save as much time as possible, taking the route in which I had expected the least amount of traffic and cruising over speed bumps. But as I moved quickly to my destination, and a young woman crossed in front of me, a wave of impatience smothered my sensitivity and urged me to continue at my same pace. Surely she can speed up, I thought. And she did: I did not slow down.
But once she was past, I encountered another pedestrian. This time, it was a Hispanic man, but his facial expression was much different than hers. Having seen my impatience, and how I did not slow down for the young woman, his eyes burned with anger and glared right into mine, holding my attention until I had passed. What little remaining sleeplessness left me, as I was penetrated by a deep regret which I could not escape for the next few hours. My chivalry was gone, along with my manhood. And I hoped, deep within my soul, that I would never see either of those two pedestrians again.
This feeling is what humans recognize as shame, the deep and uncomfortable knowledge that man has not lived up to his calling, that he has neglected his duty and expressed his true inner being by his actions, a character of weakness. It is the understanding that two paths could have been taken, but the lazier, more cowardly, or more selfish was chosen. It is the idea that one has lost control of himself, that his body has not been tempered into his servant, but rather that he is subject to his own whims, incapable of aspiring to greatness, not unlike a baby.
Men were not meant for shame, of course. They loathe it, along with themselves when they deserve it. And regardless of what certain people may say about whether or not people have a right to feel good about themselves, there is something within the human being which cannot entirely rid itself of the concept of shame. It is a voice within each and every one of us that cries out when one knows he has rejected the call of nobility, which calls us to hide when we fail to live up to expectations both personal and otherwise. Yet, despite an inability for man to abandon shame, to convince himself that he is worth accepting, he tries to abandon it anyway. And perhaps in no way is this attempt more embarrassing that in recent pro-homosexual “anti-bullying” campaigns.
Most people know a real bully when they see one. It is the person too insecure and pathetic to keep from deriding a person with coke bottle glasses, to refrain from laughing at those with a speech impediment, or too dishonorable to secure his wife’s respect without striking her. Yet in recent years, the concept of bullying has been extended beyond its natural boundaries*, not to protect those who cannot help their circumstances, but to defend lifestyle decisions which are unacceptable and immoral, or the behaviors indicative of such debasement.
In this redefinition of bullying, something great is not only lost, but persecuted. For if a people willingly choose to discard the shame associated with a dereliction of duty, in this recent case particular duties relating to the gender role, they also willingly choose to abandon honor. Perhaps some may believe that shame is something which exists independently, but it is rather the absence of something else, much like darkness cannot be explained without first experiencing light. Thus, when society declares that man has no shame in creating a child out of wedlock, it simultaneously denies the honor in responsible fatherhood and dedication to one’s wife. When society declares acceptance of man’s weakness, it denies the honor of his fortitude.
This denial should not come as a surprise. Since the forced acceptance of secularism in all aspects of American life, whether in education, business, or government, man is no longer considered to be created in the image of the Almighty, with objectively honorable duties and expectations. Instead, he can only be the sum of all his biological urges, the expectations relating to honor considered nothing more than a subjective social construct forced upon him by others who seek to be his master. And in the interest of a liberty which they cannot properly define, such a lawless and Godless people dismantle honor with an intensity reserved for those attempting to abandon their shame, trying to run, like Adam and Eve, from the immense dishonor which they will not admit, but yet cannot escape. And in this desperate attempt, being incapable of hiding, they seek instead to punish those who will not bend the knee to lawlessness.
It is important, then, for those who stand in defense of the honorable, to first know what honor is. Honor is not something which every man possesses at every time, nor is it something which society has a duty to bestow. Honor is a glory allotted to a person solely for rising above their personal urges, to become what they were intended to be. It is the currency of community, the brick and mortar in the house of human exceptionalism. It is man placing aside his sexual desires and the disagreeableness of his employment to sacrifice daily for his wife and children, so they can live in safety and without need. It is woman rejecting the call of feminism, choosing to care for her children in spite of poverty, in spite of a lack of glamor, to give for the family and not simply to the self. It is the soldier in a just war, leaving friends and family behind, to march into the jaws of death in their defense. It is the man who through personal integrity establishes a successful business, which provides employment for his neighbors, feeding their children. It is the knee of the martyr, bowed to the Creator instead of man, knowing well that refusal of tyranny will end in his death, and yet grasping for immortality.
In such honor alone is shame defined. It is in the need for trustworthiness that we shun adultery, and in the protection of children that we deride laziness. It is in the need for strong men, to stand tall and fight against abominable injustices — quite possibly with the force of violence — for which we shame the man who becomes a gossip columnist, or the man who wears a dress, the crybaby and the sissy. It is in the need for statesmen, constantly informed and rooted in wisdom and character, that we deride childish men who fill their time with beer and football. It is in the need for caring and delicate women, the essence of motherhood and the heart of the home, that we frown upon the girl in steel toed boots with a shaved head. And we cannot hold people to a flexible standard, saying that a man may either choose to act in duty as a man or a woman. If man may honorably act as a woman, or woman as a man, then aspiring to either quality cannot ever be considered dishonorable.
Those who reject their calling, the man to be what he was intended by God to be, and the woman likewise, choosing to abandon their duties to those around them, and display that dereliction with overt and outward expressions of rebellion, cannot receive honor, just as we do not cheer men for fleeing in battle. And similarly, those who challenge men and women to rise to their calling, though many may have Americans believe otherwise, should not be shamed. The duty of mankind is the very plight of civilization, liberty requires that duty cannot be in most ways be enforced by the state, and both require a vigilant and noble population for their defense. And in order to do so, society must know, with absolute clarity, what honor is, and how to express it. And if these so-called anti-bullying campaigns seek to dismantle our expectations for our young men and women, expectations that they be noble, self-controlled, and dutiful according to their calling, then such campaigns must be treated as more abominable than the rejections of duty and civilization themselves.
John Stuart Mill, perhaps the most influential and articulate purveyor of social liberalism, did not disagree. He wrote,
The same strong susceptibilities which make the personal impulses vivid and powerful, are also the source from whence are generated the most passionate love of virtue, and the sternest self-control. It is through the cultivation of these, that society both does its duty and protects its interests: not by rejecting the stuff of which heroes are made, because it knows not how to make them.
It is not in the acceptance of urge which makes man honorable, then, but rather what he does with it. Yet it may be said that in such a pursuit, individuals oftentimes confuse the boundaries of shame, and that because such confusion exists, that nobody is right. Perhaps some may be rightly offended by the increasingly rude, insensitive, selfish dog of a manchild which Westerners have bred in recent years, the “man” who bases his competitive value not in virtue, but in vice, neither in strength nor talent, but in self indulgence. Were he nothing more than an evolved primate, perhaps such a belief could be tolerated. But we are men, not apes. Let us rise to our calling, and if we cannot, then let us be ashamed of ourselves.
And in the meantime, more honorable Americans should place their children in karate lessons. If not because their children are actually being bullied, then perhaps because another may need a helping hand. The nobility of our children will confront bullying. It is what nobility does.
*It might be said by liberals, and in fact has been said, that a stance against such pro-homosexual anti-bullying campaigns is support of violent bullying, something which is entirely untrue. All children are already protected by most (if not all) school authority from physical bullying, and oftentimes from harsh language. Therefore, gay children are already protected on an equal basis with other children, and any attempts to increase their protection can be labeled as an attempt to legitimize homosexual behavior beyond what protections every child already receives for any other reason. It can therefore be identified as an attempt to further police the thought and speech of student dissenters.