restricted access Chapter 18.a Of Honor in the United States and in Democratic Societies
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1093 s4s4s4s4s4 c h a p t e r 1 8a Of Honor in the United States and in Democratic Societies1 It seems that men use two very distinct methods in the public judgment that they make about the actions of their fellows: sometimes they judge a. Honor derives from the particular needs of certain men. Every particular association has its honor. This proved by feudal honor, applicable to American honor. What must be understood by American honor. 1. It differs from feudal honor by the nature of its prescriptions. 2. It differs from it also by the number of its prescriptions, by their clarity, their precision; the power with which it makes them followed. That more and more true as citizens become more similar and nations more alike (YTC, CVf, p. 47). The drafts of this chapter are found in three different jackets. Two of them bear the same title as the chapter; the third bears the following title: “why men are more unconcerned about their honor in democracies. To examine separately. Subtle and perhaps false idea.” In pencil on the first page of an old version: “” (Rubish, 2). In the beginning,the ideasonhonorseem to have belonged to the chapters on the army (see note b of pp. 1170–71). 1. The word honor is not always taken in the same sense in French. 1. It means first the esteem, the glory, the consideration that you get from your fellows; it is in this sense that you say win honor. 2. Honor also means the ensemble of rules by the aid of which you obtain this glory, this esteem, and this consideration. This is how you say that a man has alwaysconformedstrictly to the laws of honor; that he has forfeited honor. While writing the present chapter, I have always taken the word honor in this last sense. [The reader will perhaps find this note superfluous, but when your language is poor, you must not be miserly with definitions.] 1094 honor in the united states them according to the simple notions of the just and the unjust, which are spread over the whole earth; sometimes they assess them with the aid of very particular notions that belong only to one country and to one period. Often it happens that these two rules differ; sometimes they conflict with each other, but never do they merge entirely or cancel each other out.b Honor, in the time of its greatest power, governs the will more than belief, and men, even if they submit without hesitation and without murmuring to its commandments, still feel, by a kind of obscure but powerful instinct, that a more general, more ancient and more holy law exists, which they sometimes disobey without ceasing to know it. There are actions that have been judged upright and dishonoring at the same time. The refusal of a duel has often been in this category. I believe that you can explain these phenomena other than by thecaprice of certain individuals and certain peoples, as has been done until now. [The whim of men enters into it only partly.] Humanity feels permanent and general needs, which have given birth to moral laws; to their disregard all menhavenaturallyattached,inallplaces and in all times, the ideas of blame and shame. They have called doing evil to evade them, doing good to submit to them.c Established as well, within the vast human association, are more restricted associations, which are called peoples, and amid the latter, others smaller still, which are called classes or castes. Each one of these associations forms like a particular species within the b. On the jacket of the manuscript: “The capital vice of this entire chapter, what makes it sound false, is that I give to honor a unique source while it has several. Honor is without doubt based on particular needs arising either from the social and political state, or from the physical constitution and climate. It arises as well, whatever I say, from the whim of men. “Whim has a part, but it is the smallest. “” c. “There are certain general rules that are necessary to the existence and to the well-being of human societies whatever the time, the place, the laws; individual conscience points these rules out to all men and public reason forces them to conform to them. Voluntary obedience to each of these general laws is virtue” (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 58–59). honor in the united states 1095 human race; and although...