Chivalry was a well-established code of conduct expected of knights that started around 1000AD and evolved over the subsequent centuries. It served to raise expectations of those who held physical power as well as social status, creating a situation where they were actually deserving of respect through their conduct.
Chivalrous Code of Conduct
- Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions.
- Thou shalt defend the Church.
- Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
- Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
- Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
- Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
- Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
- Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
- Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
- Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
Steel-manning the Idea
Chivalry represents a timeless and essential set of values that are just as relevant and necessary today as they were in the Middle Ages.
At its core, chivalry is a system of values that emphasizes honor, courage, and selflessness. It is a code of conduct that seeks to elevate and ennoble the individual, to inspire acts of bravery and self-sacrifice, and to foster a sense of duty and responsibility to others. These values are not unique to chivalry, but are universal ideals that have been expressed in many different cultures and historical periods.
One of the key strengths of chivalry is its emphasis on the feminine. Medieval knights saw themselves as defenders of the weak and vulnerable, and they often extended this protection to women. This gave rise to the ideal of courtly love, which emphasized respect, devotion, and selflessness in the pursuit of the beloved. While courtly love may seem outdated or even oppressive to modern sensibilities, it is important to recognize that it represented a significant step forward in the way women were viewed and treated in medieval society.
Chivalry also represents an important counterbalance to the "cult of efficiency" that characterizes modern society. In a world that often values productivity, pragmatism, and self-interest above all else, chivalry provides a moral compass that can guide us toward a more just and humane way of living. It reminds us that there are higher values than mere efficiency, that there are things worth fighting for even if they are not immediately practical, and that there is a nobility in selflessness that is often overlooked in our individualistic culture.
In conclusion, the concept of chivalry represents a timeless and essential set of values that are just as relevant and necessary today as they were in the Middle Ages. By emphasizing honor, courage, selflessness, and respect for the feminine, chivalry provides a moral compass that can guide us toward a more just and humane way of living in a world that often seems to have lost its way.
Straw-manning the Idea
Chivalry is a concept that has long been romanticized and celebrated, but a straw-man argument reveals that it represents an outdated and oppressive set of values that have no place in modern society.
First and foremost, chivalry is rooted in a patriarchal and hierarchical view of society that is fundamentally unjust. It places men in positions of power and privilege, while relegating women to subordinate roles as objects of protection and adoration. This reinforces gender stereotypes and perpetuates a system of oppression that is deeply ingrained in Western culture.
Furthermore, the emphasis on honor and courage in chivalry can lead to a culture of violence and aggression. Knights were celebrated for their ability to engage in brutal battles and conquer their enemies, often in the name of an idealized version of Christianity. This glorification of violence and conquest is incompatible with the values of peace, nonviolence, and cooperation that are necessary for a just and peaceful society.
Moreover, the emphasis on selflessness and self-sacrifice in chivalry can lead to a culture of submissiveness and self-denial. Knights were expected to put the needs of their lords and ladies above their own, often at great personal cost. This can lead to a culture of self-abnegation and a lack of concern for one's own well-being and happiness, which is not a healthy or sustainable way of living.
Finally, the idea of courtly love, which is often associated with chivalry, is based on a romanticized and unrealistic view of romantic relationships. It places women on a pedestal and idealizes them as objects of adoration and worship, rather than as autonomous individuals with their own desires and aspirations. This can lead to a culture of objectification and dehumanization, which is not conducive to healthy and fulfilling relationships.
In conclusion, the concept of chivalry represents an outdated and oppressive set of values that have no place in modern society. By reinforcing gender stereotypes, glorifying violence and conquest, promoting self-abnegation, and idealizing unrealistic romantic relationships, chivalry perpetuates a culture of oppression, submissiveness, and objectification that is incompatible with the values of equality, nonviolence, and autonomy that are necessary for a just and peaceful society.
Major Thinkers and Works
- King Arthur
- With linked works
- William Marshal
- Leon Gaultier
- C. S. Lewis
- The Allegory of Love
- The [[Necessity of Chivalry]]
- "Chivalry is a way of life that is built upon the virtues of respect, honesty, courage, and compassion." - Ronald Reagan, former US President
- "Chivalry is not a code of laws, but a code of honor." - William Bennett, American politician and author
- "Chivalry is a word that comes to us from the French, which means, roughly speaking, 'the qualities of knighthood'." - C.S. Lewis
- "Chivalry is not dead, it's just no longer required of men." - Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State
- "Chivalry is the code that sets apart the soldier from the brute." - Anonymous
- "Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world." - Anonymous
- "Chivalry is the art of being kind, generous, and brave in all circumstances." - Anonymous
Back to: Start Here
#politics/right #idea #philosophy #nrx