Dear Readers: I was reading a wonderful piece by my blogging icon, the Anchoress (perhaps she would have preferred me to use the word “idol”, but as my admiration for her has a spiritual aspect, I think my use of the term is correct). She quotes another writer in her post, Had enough Michael Jackson, yet?.
Here is the quote that leads me to today’s topic:
When it comes to personal behaviour we have now come to believe that there is no right and wrong. Instead, there are choices. The market facilitates those choices. The State handles the consequences, picking up the pieces when they go wrong. The idea that there may be things we would like to do and can afford to do but which we should not do, because they are dishonourable and a betrayal of trust, has come to seem outmoded.
Concepts like duty, obligation, responsibility and honour have come to seem antiquated and irrelevant. Emotions like guilt, shame, contrition and remorse have been deleted from our vocabulary, for are we not all entitled to self-esteem? The still, small voice of conscience is rarely heard these days. Conscience has been outsourced, delegated away.
One of the key concepts I try and instill in my son is HONOR. I think it is because I am a student of ancient history; I have a deep admiration for the courage it took for the men and women who struggled to maintain their sense of honor. A great analysis of the Roman sense of honor can be found by reading the book: Roman Honor – A Fire in the Bones. I think one of the fundamental concepts of honor can be distilled into a single sentence from Sophocles:
“Honor isn’t about making the right choices. It’s about dealing with the consequences.”
A big reason I am focused on honor in my life, and trying to teach it to my son (The Young Prince), is that there is a movie scene I watched when I was a teen that really moved me. It is from the 1945 version of G.B. Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra“. The young vixen has promised to take an audience with Caesar, who she thinks will “eat her” and is frightened. She has just been forced to promise an old man (who turns out to actually be Caesar in disguise) that she will meet Caesar in full regalia as Queen of Egypt. She tries to flee. Her nurse, FTATATEETA, stops her with these words:
You have said “So be it”; and if you die for it, you must make the Queen’s word good.
To sum up the state of the world as it progressed during my vacation: Too bad our current leadership cannot fathom this simple concept. There is a far greater need for statecraft than stagecraft if Americans are to prosper, thrive, and live with dignity.
As I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in Richmond, VA (a beautiful city adored by this lover….of history), I wanted to ease my way back into the current world by writing about Egypt — and I am delighted to be able to share my love of this 1945 film with my friends.
I also wanted to give a shout out Rosita the Prole, who has written about her New York Tea Party experiences. As we have a similar history and are of an age, I will be adding her to the blogroll as a Capitalist Hero. I would recommend everyone involved in Tea Parties read her critique of the July 1st event in NYC — it provides solid pointers for organizers.
I am going to sign off today with another great YouTube compilation of Leigh portraying Cleopatra (I love the music):
MUT’s Money Links: In keeping with the cinematic theme of this post, I would like to commend for your attention an article about a true class act in Hollywood — Malden Brought Depth, Morals to Film Roles.