I've long advocated being a gentleman.
To do so, though, requires that you constitute yourself a defender of your country and its civilization. It is not enough to say, as did Dutch humanist Oscar van den Boogaard:Today I read about men who were no gentlemen.
"I am not a warrior, but who is?" he shrugged. "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it."No, that is not a gentleman, though he wears the finest clothes and writes the finest novels, keeps the best society, and has the finest manners. He has only the accidents of a gentleman. He has nothing of its essence.
The essence is to bear arms, in defense of country and civilization. That is the real thing, the root of the tradition. The arms may be symbolic, or they may be actual. The defense must be devout.
On the afternoon of July 4 in Washington DC, a teenager with a knife boarded a crowded metro train and attacked a 24-year-old man, Kevin Joseph Sutherland, stabbing him 30 or 40 times and kicking his head repeatedly until he was dead. No one tried to stop him....The basic theory I advanced more than ten years ago in "Social Harmony" was that we need old men to be dangerous. This 18 year old was totally un-moored from our civilization. He was a murderer, an armed robber, and his society was so soft that no one in a train car full of people tried to stop him. Older, larger men did nothing. Even if they were too late to stop the killing, as knives work fast, they needed to stop him from leaving until police could arrive. A virtuous citizenry would have that courage. They would pull together to enforce the common peace.
That no one did displays not just cowardice but also a callous and unthinking selfishness. The Reddit eyewitness had no idea at the time how many more people Spires would kill, no idea if he would attack the 52-year-old woman or an elderly passenger. He just let him walk off the train into the subway, covered in Sutherland’s blood.
This is essentially the opposite of the spirit of United Flight 93—the heroic selflessness that prompted a group of courageous passengers on 9/11 to attack their hijackers, forcing them to crash the plane in a Pennsylvania field.
Maybe we've become too nice, and not rough enough. Present company excepted, of course. A dangerous world can only be tamed by what Louis L'amour used to call "men with the bark on." This guy isn't nice, he dresses and grooms himself in a terrifying manner, and he uses obscene gestures and language. Yet he has the spirit of the thing. He's a guy who dares to be an apostate from Islam, a convert to Christianity, and a proud American. He has understood what is valuable about our civilization, and he has constituted himself a defender of it.
We must do better.