The allure of fake orders of chivalry

Caveat Emptor: This is solely my opinion; take it with a grain of salt.

Supposedly, the world we live in is full of equal people; surely we can see this when we look around. When I look around, unfortunately, this is not what I see. I see a world that is more akin to what we read of in the Parable of the Talents. Some men are blessed with more than others. Some men are able to do more with what they are blessed with. Some men squander whatever they have, no matter how great or small. Christ even teaches us that in His kingdom, he who thinks he is first will be last, and he who is last will be first. Even in this Kingdom, everyone has different abilities and different roles to play.

While this has given rise to a notion of “Christian communism”, We know that even the Lord Jesus recognized there were men of authority to whom his followers owed earthy allegiance. I’m sure I can quote the Christ’s command to the Pharisees to “render to Caesar the thingsthat are Caesar’sand to God the things that are God’s.” (Mat 22;21, ESV) and anyone reading this will understand what the Lord is saying.

I’m sure we all recall the story of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and their mother, asking of Jesus that they (James and John) be granted a position of authority at the Christ’s right and left hands in his Kingdom:

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sonsand kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to herWhat do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sitone at your right handand one at your leftin your kingdom.” Jesus answeredYou do not know what you are askingAre you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We areable.” He said to themYou will drink my cupbut to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grantbut it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” (Mat 20:20-23, ESV)

We all know the lesson that Jesus was trying to teach, and we understand that James and John were asking out of pride and ignorance. One thing I’d like to key in on is that the right to essentially ennoble James and John was not one that even Jesus could give, in regard to this heavenly kingdom to come, it belonged to the Father. The LORD God, the great YHW is the fons honorum of the kingdom of Heaven.

Following that example, and hearkening back to Jesus’s statement that we are to render unto Caesar the things that are his, we recognize that God sanctions earthly kingdoms, and we are to abide by the laws of the land in which we find ourselves. In quite a bit of the world, that means we live in republics without a hereditary head of state; without a king, queen, duke, or so forth. Such states do not often retain some of the institutions that exist in monarchical states, and for the purpose of this monologue, orders of chivalry. A good source for this information is found on the website for the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry. The commission states several principles in determining if an order of chivalry is valid;

  1. Every independent State has the right to create its own Orders or Decorations of Merit and lay down, at will, their particular rules. But it must be made clear that only the higher degrees of these modern State Orders can be deemed of knightly rank,provided they are conferred by the Crown or by the “pro tempore” ruler of some traditional State.
  2. The Dynastic (or Family or House) Orders which belong jure sanguinis to a Sovereign House (that is to those ruling or ex-ruling Houses whose sovereign rank was internationally recognised at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 or later) retain their full historical chivalric, nobiliary and social validity, notwithstanding all political changes. It is therefore considered ultra vires of any republican State to interfere, by legislation or administrative practice, with the Princely Dynastic Family or House Orders. That they may not be officially recognised by the new government does not affect their traditional validity or their accepted status in international heraldic, chivalric and nobiliary circles.
  3. It is generally admitted by jurists that such ex-sovereigns who have not abdicated have positions different from those of pretenders and that in their lifetime they retain their full rights as “fons honorum” in respect even of those Orders of which they remain Grand Masters which would be classed, otherwise, as State and Merit Orders.
  4. Although, at one time – many centuries ago – private people of high standing could and did create some independent Orders of Knighthood, some among which came, in due course, to gain considerable prestige and obtained formal validity from the Church and the Crown, such rights of creation of Orders have long since fallen into desuetude and, nowadays, Orders of Chivalry as we understand the term must always stem from or be – by longstanding uninterrupted tradition – under the protection of Chiefs or of Houses of recognised sovereign rank.
  5. The recognition of Orders by States or supranational organisations which themselves do not have chivalric orders of their own, and in whose Constitutions no provisions are made for the recognition of knightly and nobiliary institutions, cannot be accepted as constituting validation by sovereignties, since these particular sovereignties have renounced the exercise of heraldic jurisdiction. The international “status” of an Order of Knighthood rests, in fact, on the rights of fons honorum, which, according to tradition, must belong to the Authority by which this particular Order is granted, protected or recognised.
  6. The only recognised Order with the style of “Sovereign” existing nowadays is that of St John of Jerusalem, called of Rhodes, called of Malta, whose international headquarters were transferred to Rome in 1834, and whose international diplomatic “status” as an independent non-territorial power is recognised officially by the Holy See and by many other Governments. http://www.icocregister.org/principles.htm

With these principles in mind, it becomes clear that there are several orders of chivalry floating around that are illegitimate, yet many people are drawn to them. Why so?

First, it is worth noting that very few people in the world will have heard of even legitimate orders of chivalry, much less give a hoot about them. Those who do are either royalists in a monarchical society, or sympathetic to monarchical causes.

Veering slightly off topic for a moment, as a Christian, I find myself claiming to be subject to the kingdom of Heaven; as a pilgrim and sojourner here on earth, and a citizen of the United States in this physical realm. The Constitution is my Caesar, not the President. When I joined the military at an early age, my Oath was to support and defend the Constitution, but to obey the orders of the President. Before taking office, the President of the United States takes this oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1)

Even the President is subject to the Constitution, but the Constitution has no provision making it the fons honorum of the United States. A document can’t be a fount of honor; it cannot bestow privilege upon an individual. How much easier it would have been had that power been reserved for the President, but it was antithetical to the minds of the Founding Fathers who had just years before fought a war to secede from the kingdom that they were born in. I’ll not get into that debate here, now, but suffice it to say the Founding Fathers did not make a full break from the notions of aristocracy, as can be observed in their actions. I am especially thinking of their proud use of heraldry, which I in no way condemn. So I resign myself to the reality that I’ll never be ennobled. I’m common, if such a notion can be expressed as an American. I recognize there are people better than me in higher stations in life. They come from families that have held those positions for generations. But they don’s exist in America. Families here may be richer, even generationally so, but the sons of those houses are common just like me. But I digress…

So of the fake orders of chivalry, with the advent of the Internet they are Legion. Many people may be innocently doing so because they do not know the old rules. They don’t understand the concept of fons honorum, that not anyone can stand up an order and it be legitimate. Not just anyone can revive and extinct order, either. This practice seems to have begun not long after the Enlightenment, when the humanists and deists were destroying the institutions of monarchy. These newly self-made men had no need of a monarch to make them a knight, they could do so themselves. And they still longed for it. We don’t want to recognize anyone else as our “Betters”, but we have no qualms with wanting to be better than others around us. I think this is ingrained in human nature, as evinced in the earlier example of James and John.

But I find myself reticent to be too harsh on those in their ignorance are drawn to fake orders because they are likely my allies in upholding tradition, they just don’t fully understand. Who in their childhood hasn’t wished to become a knight? The problem then lies with those who know better, and flagrantly defy the notion of a fons honorum and set themselves up as grand masters of some order. They wear medallions and capes and pretend their organizations are legitimate. The draw in others who buy their way to worthless knighthoods that are of no more reality than the kingdoms in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which in its own context provides a great outlet for those who yearn for medieval days. And the SCA holds public events where its knights melee and battle for their notoriety and fame.

This also brings up another concern: the diminished value of legitimate orders due to the change of focus in who is honored. Orders of chivalry were originally made up of men of reputable military service. Honorable men. Nowadays, many actors and entertainers make up the ranks of knighthood; men and women who have never served their nations in a military capacity and who may even publicly oppose the monarchic institution. Such appointments betray the honor of the original institutions. I’ll not be too harsh on the fons honorum who grants such appointments, however, understanding the great political influence that forces him or her to do so. Such is the problem with constitutional monarchies.

So in summary, one might find himself drawn to a fake order for a myriad of reasons. To even know they exist means the individual is likely of some royalist bent. The gentleman or lady (I’ll afford them that honor) realizes he or she will likely never be recognized in a legitimate order, thus concedes to seek recognition in a fake order. They then satisfy their desire to put on the mantle of nobility and be recognized in their group of pretend knights. In general I do not see where this creates any true harm, other than perpetrating fraud with little opportunity for damage, although in countries with legitimate orders, the person may be engaging in crime. Is that crime worth prosecution, given the greater violence occurring in the world today? Probably not.

Would I join a fake order to satisfy these cravings for nobility of my own? Absolutely not. Even though I live in a republic where I am free to associate with whomever I please and call myself whatever I please (although it wouldn’t be recognized by the state), I can’t in good conscience support such institutions. I cannot endorse a fraud even if no harm would come from it.

 

Cooking is a Manly Skill

[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]

Graham Seibert recently posted an article at Return of Kings citing eight reasons why a man should teach his son to cook:

  1. Cooking gives a boy adult responsibilities
  2. Cooking is educational
  3. Cooks pay attention to their health
  4. Cooking is thrifty
  5. Cooks learn to clean up
  6. Cooking saves time
  7. Ladies love men who cook
  8. Cooking is highly social

You can read this excellent article in its entirety here, but I’d like to share another reason that my father impressed upon me at an early age.

Being a grizzled veteran of the vile divorce wars, he told me in absolute terms that someday my wife might leave me, and if I didn’t know how to cook I’d starve. Granted, there’s a bit of hyperbole given the preponderance of restaurants this nation is blessed with, but the admonition was seared into my conscience. Thankfully, the Good LORD has blessed me with a loving and faithful wife, so I’ve never had to test my father’s theory.

Old Hickory 

[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]

I have a love-hate relationship with General Jackson over the treatment of the Five Civilized Tribes and his expansion of Executive power as President, but he was a man of action and unafraid to defend any perceived slights to his honor. Old Hickory is a complicated figure indeed.

That being said, this website has a great photo and short paragraph about Old Hickory’s tomb.

Ressurecting Honor

[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]

I want want to share with you a well written article titled Ressurecting Honor that was recently posted on By Spear and Axe. 

The author reinforces many of the points that have been made on this site. I’m proud to live in the South where the honor culture still exists, but it has been greatly eroded in the past couple generations. 

Once people stopped holding their honor as sacred, the world began a nasty descent into what it has become today. Men and women both view relationships, even marriage, as temporary arrangements and get married only for tax benefits or to be on one another’s insurance, nothing more. So-called “protestors” initiate violence regularly. Alleged leaders defend a would-be killer and excoriate the police officer who ended the threat.

https://21stcenturymasculinity.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/resurrecting-honor/

The author goes beyond pointing out the problem and offers some solutions:

  • Don’t Be Self-Righteous About It
  • Treat People Like Your Life Depends On It
  •  Own Up To Your Mistakes…Then Make Amends

These are all areas that a true Southern Gentleman will recognize as essential to maintaining honor, and I commend the author on bringing them to our attention. 

Read the full article here. 

Is Game a Modern Rite of Initiation?

[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]

A few weeks ago an article was posted on Return of Kings that was titled Game Is A Modern Rite Of Passage That Helps Turn Boys Into Men. I’d like to briefly explore some elements of that article. Mr. Anthony begins by stating this fact:

Anyone who’s been involved in the manosphere for long enough knows about the concept of a rite of passage. For tens of thousands of years, when boys hit the age of puberty, they were forced to undergo a set of challenges.

These challenges were meant to break them down, and build them back up even stronger. These challenges were meant to test them as men, and they are collectively known as an “initiation,” or as a “rite of passage.” When a boy successfully completed the tasks laid before him, he became a man.

Our society, for the most part, lacks these rites of passage. This is, in large part, why there is such a lack of masculinity in our culture—boys are never given a chance to develop into men. We have all of these 45 year old boyish-men running around for a reason: there exists no institutionalized rite of passage in the West.

http://www.returnofkings.com/99770/game-is-a-modern-rite-of-passage-that-helps-turn-boys-into-men

When I look back at my own life, the closest thing I had to a rite of passage was Basic Training. I’d imagine that would be the case with many men of my generation. I’d enlisted in the Army National Guard my Junior year of high school and went to Ft. Jackson, SC, the summer before my Senior year in what was called the “Alabama Buddy Platoon”. A whole platoon (and a half) of Alabama kids spent a summer setting aside racial differences, as the platoon was fairly evenly split black and white, being broken down as individuals to become soldiers. We had a Puerto Rican drill sergeant who absolutely enjoyed forcing us to sing the Hee-Haw Song: he considered us all rednecks. When I finished Basic and went back to school, it was if all my friends had reverted to Kindergarteners, but I knew I was the one who’d changed. 

The author explains his reasoning of why rites of initiation are essential and why he believes that Game can fill the void:

I believe that, although it isn’t perfect, game is a phenomenal substitute for this lack of a male initiation ritual. Game provides us with many of the characteristics that you need to be a man, and it has many of the characteristics that the old rituals of the past did:
ŸŸ- Destroys your ego
– Requires you to face your fears
– Forces you to be decisive, in times of uncertainty
– Develops confidence, ferocity, and a strong will

While I like the aspects presented, here is my dissention with the premise: Game is largely focused on sexual satisfaction, although I’ve seen a bit of maturity beyond the original PUA mentality in recent years. I am reminded of Ecclesiastes where we are told “There is nothing new under the sun” which I wholeheartedly agree with. Game isn’t a modern innovation, it’s a rediscovery of lost knowledge adapted to deal with the dysfunctional society we live in. My disagreement on Game as a rite of initiation is that it serves as an unguided act without the tribal and paternal interaction with father and elders that are traditionally part of such rites. 

I’m not knocking Game as a rite of initiation; it’s a better option for instilling manhood than almost anyone else is offering. It comes about eight or so years later than most traditional rites of initiation, but so did my Basic Training experience. It leaves early teens still wandering between childhood and adulthood without offering a guiding hand.

Here is where those of us with sons or nephews nearing that age can fill the gap. We can be the men to restore the traditions of our ancestors, which requires us to learn them. We can restore tribal identity in a morass of globalist non-identity. That means, for me at least, looking at my Welsh and Ulster Scots ancestors to see what kinds of rites they had. What did their descendants do after settling in the South? Fortunately for me, I still have a few years before my son comes of age. 

In all, I encourage you to read the article. In this post-modern era, we’re all struggling to maintain tradition and identity, and Mr. Anthony’s article is as good as any other on the topic, and far superior to any progressive notions on how one becomes a man. 

Read the full article here. 

On Meritocracy and Experts

[N.B. I originally posted this article on the Society of Southern Gentlemen blog. I don’t plan to maintain that site, so I am merging all the posts there onto this site, but keeping the original timestamps.]

The word “meritocracy” is one which we’ve seen thrown around a lot in recent years. In theory, the word would describe the rule by those with the most “merit” (which would, on its face, seem to make it a synonym for aristocracy, but in practice this is most certainly not the case). As it is popularly used in the media and other outlets, it tends to take on a very narrow definition, with “merit” appearing to be used synonymously with “bureaucrat” or “public policy wonk.” In other words, those which our society considers to have merit are those who would more properly be classified as “experts.”

https://neociceroniantimes.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/on-meritocracy-and-experts/

Continue reading the full article here.

Four Ways to Create a Gentlemanly Value System

Prior to viewing materialism through the lens of the pillars of the Gentleman Project I want to discuss the importance of creating and upholding your own personal value system. This is not a value system that is created by those around you, or by your hometown. This is a value system you create with yourself and the loved ones in your life. Creating and upholding your own personal value system is critical to your overall success, and ultimately, your happiness. We’ve all heard of the old adage, “Keeping up with the Jones”. This is NOT something you want to be a part of, because you’ll never be truly happy, or ahead of The Jones.

https://gentlemenproject.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/4-ways-to-create-a-gentlemanly-value-system/

Continue reading the full article here.