This post is the second in a series of articles discussing ethical systems, as well as some relevant intricacies of ethical considerations and their applications.
Targeted Readership: All
Western society is currently experiencing a fundamental shift in cultural ethics, and this series is intended to increase awareness of ethical systems.
This essay is comprised of six parts.
- Chivalry as an Expression of Patriarchy
- The Righteousness vs. Guilt Ethical Code and Christianity
- The Conflation of Chivalry, Christianity, and Western RvG Culture
- The Confusion of Chivalry and Christianity
- True Chivalry is an Expression of the Power of God
Note 1: For definitions and descriptions of the three ethical systems, (1) Innocence/Righteousness vs. Guilt (RvG), (2) Honor vs. Shame (HvS), and (3) Power vs. Fear (PvF), please read the first installment of this series, Foundations of Cultural Ethics and Chivalry (February 18, 2018).
Note 2: The concept of Honour, as it is understood in the RvG system, pertains to an internal sense of honour, whereas, in the HvS system, honor refers to an external appearance of social confirmation. To differentiate between the two ethical concepts, the British spelling of honour is adopted for the former, and the American, honor, for the latter.
1. Chivalry as an Expression of Patriarchy
“Chivalry was a way of establishing honorable actions for fighting men, and a way to determine which actions were the most respectable and why.”
The concept of Chivalry, as it is known in the west today, appeals directly to a person’s desire for the righteous glorification of one’s own behavior and social impact, and secondly to one’s sense of honor. Chivalry appeals to the ego, and thus, virtue signaling is a code of chivalry. Virtue signaling in itself may or may not be inherently virtuous, but the power of virtue signaling lies in the fact that it is a code of chivalry that can be extended as a form of communication within all three ethical systems.
The modern expression of chivalry has come to largely encompass a social etiquette in which men display respect for the vulnerability of a woman. It should be amply noted here that a woman’s vulnerability naturally brings out something powerful in the heart of a man. It appeals to his best and noble instincts to protect and provide, and it also fulfills a man’s ego driven need for a healthy expression of masculinity.
Probably for this same reason, Chivalry has become a highly prized social norm between males and females in many world cultures. I know from experience that the romantic aspect of Chivalry exists and thrives in Russia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (PvF), Japan, and Indonesia (HvS), which are all patriarchal cultures. (I’ve also been to Malaysia, but it is a very complex society, and I was only there for a short time, so I’m not sure how it would be categorized.) Chivalry is known, but not regularly expressed in the Philippines (RvG), which is a Catholic, Matriarchal society, which is unique in Asia.
However, Chivalry in the west (RvG) is becoming less and less revered since the advent of Feminism, which is essentially a shift towards Matriarchy. Part of the erosion of Chivalry is due to the supposed ‘empowerment of women’, an ideology concomitant with Feminism.
As western women have grown to be more independent of men, they have come to consider themselves more ‘powerful’, in the masculine sense of power. But in doing so, they have abandoned their real power in the feminine sense of beauty and vulnerability. Moreover, feminine vulnerability has even come to be scorned as a weakness, and as a consequence, the appropriateness and appreciation of chivalry, as well as its general practice, has fallen severely in its popularity. This phenomenon is further discussed in a post from Wintery Knight: Why Are Men Withdrawing from Traditional Male Roles as Providers and Mentors? (February 16, 2018).
There do exist some patriarchal, HvS cultures which display non-romantic elements of Chivalry, such as honor and self-sacrifice for the good of society, but these systems are not prone to being labeled ‘Chivalrous’, and instead, are called by their own names, such as Bushido, etc. As it is, only the RvG culture of the west now holds claim to the term ‘Chivalry’, and this is predominantly taken to mean the romantic sense of the word – a respect for the vulnerability of women.
In conclusion, it is clear that Chivalry, in the former warrior sense, and also in the current romantic sense, is a masculine construct uniquely identified with a patriarchal social organization. Chivalry is a response to the recognition of men’s place within the hierarchy of society. For more information on this hierarchy within marriage, please see Snapper’s post, Marriage Geometry (January 9, 2018).
2. The Righteousness vs. Guilt Ethical Code and Christianity
Christian doctrine strongly supports the social, ethical, and spiritual constructs of innocence, righteousness and guilt, within the RvG ethical system. However, historic Christianity not only involves the RvG ethical system, but also encompasses the HvS, and the PvF systems of ethics, and the relevant considerations can be found in both the Old and New Testaments (if one has the insight to recognize them). But the emphasis on the latter two ethical systems was severely eroded in the western hemisphere during the Dark Ages, and was almost completely lost upon the advent of Chivalry in the early Medieval period.
Over the past few centuries, the RvG ethic has become so foundational to the accepted social and philosophical ontology throughout western culture, that it goes unquestioned and unchallenged. Most westerners, and especially Americans, cannot even imagine any other ethical system, let alone the validity or application of such systems.
As a consequence, most westerners remain ignorant of the other ethical systems, even when confronted with potentially instructional social interactions with individuals heralding from foreign cultures in which these other systems are dominant.
In fact, the implications of the RvG ethical system have become so engrained within western cognitive processes, that it has even been amplified into a robust, dualistic philosophy of right or wrong, and holy versus evil. As a result, minute nuances of Christian doctrine have taken central stage in past decades, many of which are vainly philosophical in nature and are thus only wholly known to God, or otherwise, the more weighty points of contention are taken on faith, and can neither be proven nor disproven as fundamental Truth. These issues include topics such as the monergistic aspect of Calvinism, the importance of Baptism in salvation, predestination, transubstantiation, among many others. Most of these boil down to ‘outward talk’, while displacing and neglecting the ‘inward walk’ with Christ.
The overemphasis on the implications and importance of these theological discussions have resulted in the splitting of the protestant church into hundreds, if not thousands of denominations.
As a result of this imbalanced ethical approach, westerners, and especially western Christians, have been in the habit of ‘straining out the gnats’ of sin and righteousness for hundreds of years. Such people maintain a repugnant, pharisaical, ‘holier than thou art’ attitude, which is used to reject and shame those who are not considered ‘righteous’ by the current, arbitrary social standards. This is often expressed through implicitly arrogant, virtue signaling ‘compassion’ for the purported ‘sinner’ in question, which is accurately perceived as false judgment by nonbelievers and others in the world.
In the past, these qualities were mistakenly believed to be evidence of a person’s ‘faith’ and ‘sanctification’. More recently, people have begun to recognize the ugly, boorish, bigotry of this, and have shied away from giving this appearance. But the reality still stands, that real heart-felt compassion, and the duty to emulate Christ, as well as the heavy burdens of evangelism and ministry to one’s neighbors, have been thrown into purgatory.
Matthew 24:12 (NKJV)
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Meanwhile, western Christians ‘swallow the camels’ of bringing shame to the Name of Christ, disgraced personal honor/honour, the widespread acceptance of a fractured church, and the sacrifice of both the power of a centralized church authority and the Power of God. All this has created fertile ground for the tares to be planted, ultimately resulting in the dreaded (or celebrated, by Blue Pillers) Churchianity!
3. The Conflation of Chivalry, Christianity and Western RvG Culture
While it’s true that Chivalry and Christianity are cofactors of the current, western RvG system, they are not exclusive features of the same. Consider the following examples.
- There are cultures which are Chivalrous, but not predominantly Christian. China and Indonesia are Chivalrous in the romantic sense. Japan espouses Chivalry on a slightly larger scale.
- The early Christian church did not originally espouse Chivalry. This only came later (See previous post).
- There are cultures that are nominally Christian, but do not subscribe to the RvG ethical system. Russia, certain Balkan states, and other Slavic countries apply here.
- There are (or were) cultures which employed the RvG ethical system, but were not Christian. Ancient Greece and Rome are examples of this. (But in our modern age, admittedly, most RvG cultures identify as Christian.)
- Blue Pill Churchians in the postmodern, western world might qualify as an example of a RvG culture which is Chivalrous, but not Christian.
The RvG system and Chivalry both appear ‘Christian’ in the minds of westerners, simply because most westerners pompously reject all other cultures and ethical systems as being ‘less civilized’. This presumption is based on only two (very conceited) points.
- Non-RvG cultures, with the exception of Russia, have not been successful in developing a comparably strong civilization, which is (perhaps unfairly) judged only on the merits of military might, economy, and the contribution to science and history.
- Non-Christian cultures lack a proper appreciation of humility and gratitude, which are considered weaknesses within the other two systems (HvS and PvF). For this reason, most westerners fail to appreciate the more favorable qualities of foreign cultures, and even go so far as to reject any opportunity to learn how those foreign cultures actually function. Thus, any nuances of Chivalry go largely unnoticed, due to the cultural differences.
So basically, Chivalry, and the RvG ethical system appears Christian because of a long standing association, and an expulsion of alternate ethical interpretations of Christian doctrine.
4. The Confusion of Chivalry and Christianity
In addition to the relations outlined in the previous section and the previous post, there is some doctrinal confusion which has caused Chivalry to be commonly associated with Christianity.
Case in point, the confluence of ideologies arises simply because the self-sacrificing nature of the medieval warrior type of chivalry just happens to agree with the Christian teaching summed up in Matthew 5:39 (NKJV).
“But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
This scripture invariably leads many to believe that it is ‘God’s will’ for them to be generally ‘submissive’ in character, which is NOT what Christ means. Or alternately, they may believe it is ‘God’s will’ for them to be chivalrous in the grander sense, but they erroneously interpret this to be expressed in the sense of clinging to honour, or simply being passively inspired and hopeful, or the romantic sense of respecting the vulnerability of women, or some such reasoning.
This is a false and destructive association. We know that there is no avail of the power of God in a wimpy compromise, or when men submit to women, nor does this corrupted archetype structure conform to the image of God proscribed in the scriptures. This is an inversion of God’s ordained hierarchy, a deception which Satan seeks to establish within believers in order to weaken God’s Kingdom.
There is a difference between (1) utilizing the power of God when conducting the spiritual warfare of Christianity, and (2) the graceful dispensation of kind, loving responsibility to those under one’s charge, as expressed in Chivalry. Men should make themselves well aware of this distinction, and act accordingly.
5. True Chivalry is an Expression of the Power of God
The confusion and error about the value and appropriateness of Chivalry comes into play when individuals do not understand that the point of Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5:39 is that one can draw on the power of God to induce conviction within the consciences of others.
Matthew 22:29 (NKJV)
“Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
Just as in Biblical times, people today have no knowledge of the power of God.
The power of God comes into effect when there is portrayed an obvious congruency between one’s personal interests, and the interests of others, and it is crucial that this congruency is done in spite of the accepted or expected norm of political correctness, ‘rights’ or other self-interest. This is the element of ‘Service’ contained in Chivalry – serving others.
The effect of the power of God is that others experience discipline, love, comfort, security, encouragement, inspiration, and a corresponding increase in spiritual maturity and faith. It is this edification of faith which is the litmus test of the effort, and not the former attributes.
If one person conforms to the will of another, as described in Matthew 5:39, then it should be done with the purpose of expressing the grace of God, and not simply as a gesture of compliance for the sake of peace. In other words, acts of true Shivalry should be motivated by the focused purpose to edify others, and not merely done to signal virtue or ‘niceness’.
To offer another pertinent example, the power of God also comes into effect when women display authentic vulnerability, which motivates men to rise and protect that same vulnerability. By the extension of this point, Feminists have clearly discarded the power of God.
The HvS system is most aware of the power of God in this respect, whereas, the RvG system emphasizes the holiness and grace of God. The PvF system emphasizes humility before the Glory of God. Hence, the Biblical phrase, ‘fearing God’, means to live humbly and reverently.
The self-sacrificial aspect of chivalry in a Christian context will work in RvG and some HvS environments, but this same approach is a display of submission and loyalty within the PvF system, and thus, it will be more difficult to draw on the power of God, and have the desired effect of softening the hearts of others, as intended.
As a further eisegesis to illustrate the appropriateness of chivalry within the context of the larger ethical system in society, the Israelites in the bible had to go to war against certain foes (e.g. the Hittites, Jebusites, and Philistines, of the Old Testament), while treating others (e.g. the Romans and Greeks of the New Testament) with grace and forbearance. I believe this is not simply a result of the introduction of the NT gospel. This is because the local, heathen tribes were given over to feudality (HvS) and bullying (PvF), while the Romans and Greeks were ‘romanticized’ by their cultures of reason, law and order (RvG), and much to their historical advantage. Thus, Chivalrous acts of self-sacrifice were appropriate in demonstrating the power of God to those in the civilized world, but would be a major faux pas in the uncivilized word.
We often see this same mistake when ‘enlightened’ westerners get the arrogant idea that they are the ‘Saviors’ who can ‘fix’ the problems characteristic of third-world countries, which are all HvS or PvF cultures. But it is impossible for a RvG culture to offer any long term solutions to a non RvG culture, without first introducing an RvG ethics system within that culture. Otherwise, those in power, and the real decision makers within that culture will merely misappropriate any material aid and assistance for their own purposes. With this in mind, it is obvious that missionaries are more effective (and cheaper) than soldiers, towards the advancement of civilization.
Currently, it is a common sight to see Blue Pilled White Knights offer expressions of false ‘Chivalry’ with the following characteristics.
- It is done primarily as a virtue signal.
- It is an egotistically driven affirmation of self-identity.
- It is done irrespective of the real vulnerability of the subject.
- It is a gesture of obeisance to humanity, or ‘woman worship’, as some have called it.
- It does not effectively edify others, but in fact, empowers an evil, inverted hierarchy.
- It is devoid of the power of God.
As such, I will argue that the common expressions of White Knightery are NOT true Chivalry at all, nor do they encompass any application of Christian doctrine, nor do they possess any authentic virtue.
The most poignant meat and potatoes of this installment are as follows.
- Chivalry is associated with a patriarchal system, and glorified within the RvG ethics system.
- Chivalry is an ethical response to the vulnerabilities of others, e.g. women, children, widows, the disabled, and the elderly.
- Chivalry appeals to men’s better instincts.
- Christianity in the west has overemphasized the RvG ethical system, and has totally neglected the HvS and PvF systems.
- The preeminence of the RvG culture within Christianity has led to the division of the Church into denominations and factions associated with social politics.
- Chivalry, and western RvG culture are mistakenly believed to be synonymous with Christianity.
- Christian doctrine has been misinterpreted to support fake Chivalry.
- Chivalry can be used to express the power of God, but only within certain contexts.
- Blue Pilled White Knights commonly misappropriate Chivalry as a form of deference and virtue signaling, and this expression is devoid of the power of God.
The next post (Part 3) will further explore the implications of fake Chivalry and the presumptuousness of ‘liberated’ women, and how the misappropriation of Chivalry to other ethical structures has contributed to the downfall of the SMP within western society.
Even though I have argued that the various elements of culture, including Chivalry, Patriarchy, Christianity, and the RvG ethical system, are not essentially contiguous, the following post (Part 4) will argue that these four characteristics do indeed support one another, and blend together seamlessly. Furthermore, the gestalt phenomenon of this superposed effect is what has allowed western civilization to flourish for the past millennium.