Is honor a lost value?

So people say that media and government reflect the populace. That because the way they decide to do business is more or less a democratic process, that they represent a good cross section of the populace and what the populace thinks and feels.

Is honor dead? Whatever happened to honor? With shows like Curb your Enthusiasm and celebrities like Paris Hilton, have we become so cynical that we’ve lost honor as a value? We elect people like George W Bush and Tom DeLay. The corporations that are successful are the ones with the least honor and integrity.

So where has honor gone in our society?


This is probably more suitable for a different forum.

Moved from IMHO to GD.

It’s as dead as a doornail. The concept doesn’t even register on the mental screens of 99.999% of the people in America today. And 99% of those who do know the word pervert it by having “outs” that render it meaningless.

That is not to say that honor is an unmitigated good. Honor has led to any number of silly, dangerous, anti-social acts throughout history. Getting yourself killed because somebody sullied your sisters honor is rather…counter-productive, in the long run. Stay alive and make him marry her. That way he exists in a living hell for years! :smiley:
Every year when we get to Imperialism, I make my students read and write an analytical essay on The Young British Soldier, Tommy, and Gunga Din, examining the concepts of honor and duty. The responses each year are…sobering.

What nonsense! Every American I’ve ever met would agree: Honor is worth its weight in gold! :smiley:

Or if you add “Harrington” to it! :smiley:

“Henry IV, Part 1,” Act V, Scene 1.

Honor is dead, scarificed on the altar of expediency.

**To Lucasta, going to the Wars **

Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.
-Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)

I too think that the concept of “honor” has completely disapeared from the scene. It was replaced by values more limited in scope that were previously included in the concept of honor, while some other elements of it were just thrown away or even came to be negatively connotated.

What exactly does “honor” mean, for purposes of this discussion? It has meant more than one thing throughout the word’s history. Nowadays it is more or less synonymous with “honesty” or “integrity” – meaning, it’s something you can have even if nobody else knows or notices. But in Shakespeare’s time it meant “reputation,” “esteem,” especially that accorded a brave warrior or a noble family.

Paris Hilton might be embarassing, but how is she dishonorable?

We laugh at things like honor and then are supprized to find traitors in our midst.

Like Brianglutton, I’d like the OP and the me-too posters to explain exactly what they think “honor” is.

The Declaration Of Independence ends with the phrase “our sacred honor”. This would seem to indicate that honor was considered quite important at the time. But, we still had problems with this Arnold guy.

Who’s surprised? When CIA agent Aldrich Ames was caught spying for the Soviets in 1994, I was taken aback, I suppose, but not on the level of, “Hey, the sun just rose in the West!” I mean, that’s the game, these things happen.

Everything you said is how I define honor. I read an article on wikipedia about cultures of honor vs cultures of law. As we live in a culture of law, I think it’s fairly obvious, but what it described as a culture of honor would be like among Bedouin tribes where there is no central authority to enforce the law.

I feel like there is a sentiment in America that people wouldn’t be nice people if they weren’t FORCED to be nice people. I think that runs counter to our ideals of liberty personally. I think lacking honor is what is problematic in our society, perhaps as a society we wouldn’t need to enforce our laws so heavy handedly if there was more of a sense of honor. I have seen a greater culture of honor the more rural the area I’ve lived in actually, or amongst criminals. Thieves generally have more honor than the average I think. I know it seems like a paradox, but they’re willing to steal from people they’ve never met, but will go down fighting for their friends.

I personally have never had much faith in laws, I’ve always seen them as clever ways for the wealthy to enforce rules upon the poor, and when I’ve sullied my own honor it has done more damage to me than anything else, but I find that not too many people see honor in the way that I do, makes me feel anachronistic from time to time.


Here is honor…

Honor is respect for yourself. Not self idolatry, but respect. Honor is internal and usually unseen. It is something that can never be taken away, but it can be thrown away. It is keeping your word. Standing up for what is good and right, regardless of the cost. Willingness to stand your own ground instead of following the crowd, but being willing to follow if that is the right course. Treating people with respect even if they can do nothing that benfits you. It is fighting fiercely for what you believe, and being gracious in victory. It is holding your head high in defeat, knowing you did your best.

Honor is a catch - all word for everything that is best in people

They can take you property, they can take your wealth, they can take your freedom (forget Braveheart), they can even take your life. But they can never take your honor.

Honor, like education, is seen in a modern America as a sign of naivete; as a sign that you’re out of touch with the times. It’s very closely tied into the anti-intellectualism promulgated by Bush Republicans. The American “Wild West” iconography, as misunderstood by modern anti-intellectuals, is about getting away with whatever you can get away with; “No cop, no stop.” It’s tied in with masculinity and a cultural snobbery: to look down on people who are “unsophisticated” enough to adhere to “outdated” codes of behavior.

This is, if you ask me, entirely antithetical to the paradigm that made this country great, and will ultimately be responsible for our downfall, if and when that comes.

It’s not clear, from this, whether you are arguing for the concept of “honor” or against it.

And slavery.