Honor and Duty

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post about resurrecting honor.  Unlike most posts here, this one took off and blew up thanks to a link  from Instapundit.  It also spawned some interesting discussions on Facebook.  Since that first post was never intended to be all encompassing–it’s not a subject you can write about in a thousand words and call it done–it may be worth a second look at honor based on those discussions.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

You see, several people argued that honor is intimately tied to the idea of duty.  They have a point.

Honor is, in part, based on how one performs his duty.  It doesn’t matter what that duty is, what matters is how you perform it.  The janitor who takes care in cleaning the building has infinitely more honor than the CEO who just uses his job for the perks while he’s running the company into the ground.

As a man, I generally outline three duties each man will need to fulfill in his life.  These are the Roles of Men.  I haven’t specifically called them duties until now, but they are.  Make no mistake.

The janitor mentioned above, despite having a task that most people feel is beneath them, has his duty.  As his family’s Provider, doing his job well helps to make sure he’s able to provide for them for a long, long time.  After work, he hits the gym and lifts weights because, as his family’s Protector, he knows being physically strong may benefit him significantly if he has to defend them.  He gets home and takes his son outside.  It’s time to teach him how to change the oil in the family car, which is his duty as the Professor.

These are all duties, and yes, your honor is tied up in how well you do those duties.  If you’re a screw-up who can’t hold a job, you’re failing in your duties.  Your honor is questionable.

The thing is, duties and morals actually are tied together.  If you agree to take on a duty, you’re making a promise to perform certain tasks to the best of your ability.  You’re vowing to do your best.


While sometimes your best might not keep you employed due to circumstances beyond your control, it does keep your honor intact.

On Thursday, I saw there was a bit of discussion about honor.  Some folks were even critical about things I didn’t include in the discussion, things I felt were so obvious as to be unnecessary.  It’s easy to get upset by that, but I’m not.  It was a discussion about being honorable.  This is a win.

A short time ago, I took on the duty of trying to bring back masculinity as I grew up with the term.  I wanted to bring back the days of iron men who knew how to throw down if needed, sweep their woman off her feet when it wasn’t, and raise children who knew right from wrong.  Part of doing that is to bring back the concept of honor.

Thursday, people were talking about honor, and not the kind that involves killing female relations for being looked at wrong or worse, being the victim of a crime.  They were talking about the things that make up honor, such as duty.  I’m going to count that as a win.

But it’s not enough.

We still live in a world where people treat honor as a quaint notion of a bygone era.  It’s something that’s mocked by pretend claims of honor demanding something at a drunken party and little more.

One day of discussing honor won’t cut it.  It’s a start, but Thursday’s discussions weren’t even that good of a start.  We need a lot more of it if we’re going to have a hope in hell of redirecting this world in the right direction.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.