I would like to make two apologies. First, I do not have even a quarter of the writing talent that Grim, or my co-bloggers, possess here in the Hall. Finally, my apologies for not using the comments area for this, as my reply is something that I feel needs it’s own post.

I do believe that we should, in some ways, model our conduct on the gentlemen of old. I do not believe that every American man can attain the status of Gentleman. No matter how good his character, devotion to arms, or other abilities driven by steadfast resolve.

Put simply, we will always fall short in one key area: Nobility.

From a linguistic perspective, a Gentleman is strictly defined as a man of superior, noble, social station. This is why I feel it is a dishonest usage.

Blackstone confirms that requirement right from the start:

“ALL degrees of nobility and honour are derived from the king as their fountaina : and he may inftitute what new titles he pleafes.”
Blackstone Book I Chap 12

To compound the problem, we have an intrinsic, as Americans, misapplication of what nobility truly means.

George F. Jones pointed out in both Honor in German Literature & Southern Honor, that the understanding of ‘noble’ had drastically changed when the Christian Guilt Culture supplanted the Germanic Shame Culture (incidentally, giving birth to the, then foreign, concept of Chivalry), and again changed in the North East during the birth of our United States and finally changing that last bastion of the Old South during the post-Civil War era.

Jones’ point is that noble is something recognized and confirmed by a sovereign and not something one feels about ones self. I would agree as I take deeds as the measure of a man. As such an action is not a noble action unless recognized. How you internalize an action is between you and your God or Gods; neither of which means anything to me. When a man says, “I am a man of honor”, it is a meaningless statement to me. While I will give leave of Right Good Will, and thus give you the benefit of the doubt, I will come to judge your deeds.

The next problem goes back to Blackstone; who are we to confer that status? Staying true to the roots of sovereignty, I could confer noble status only as far as my reach. Meaning, if thirty men swore oath to me as liege, my confirmation has meaning only among those men and their families. In the United States that is officially meaningless as we do not recognize peerage.

So I have a problem with the use of gentleman as anything other than a term of politeness in speech; “Ladies and Gentleman, if I can have your attention”, “That gentleman over there is Mr. Smith”, etc. Yes, an incorrect usage as well… but one that is not as dishonest in my eyes.

I feel a greater honesty in saying that Grim is an Honorable Man as opposed to a Gentleman. There is my recognition of honorable conduct, without the assumption of a shared sovereign with reach over us both, nor dependant on contrary views of nobility.

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