Honor Culture

Written for Operation Werewolf by Operative 413

There have been three great revolutions in history. You’re living in the last one. 

From the dawn of history until only a few  centuries ago, most people lived in an Honor Culture. Some people still do. Maybe you’re one of them. 

In an Honor Culture, reputation is supreme. If you are hit, you hit back or look weak. If you are weak, your property, family, and life can be taken. If insulted, you confront. If threatened, you protect.

It’s on you to protect yourself and those you care about. It’s on you to act in a way that those in your tribe, your gang, your army, your empire, your village, think you someone worthy of respect. 

An Honor Culture builds great men. It also creates killers. 

An Honor Culture means constant grudges, feuds, and vendettas. If you tolerate a slight, you may lose everything. Entire communities are gutted by conflicts that never end, blood for blood, life for life. 

Elaborate rituals and codes of respect and hospitality arise to regulate the carnage. 

It’s something that was universal—the Icelandic Sagas are filled with tales of wars between families that go on for generations. In some places, probably still in most places, this is the way of the world. Sometimes, it’s fought within limits. Sometimes, it’s war to the knife. 

And though this culture seems so foreign to us, it wasn’t that long ago that this country’s Vice President shot dead the former Secretary of the Treasury over words. 

The face that stares at you from the twenty-dollar bill is that of a killer who took a bullet to the chest, then calmly murdered his helpless opponent. 

But the state grew, courts spawned, laws proliferated. Honor retreated. It wasn’t needed anymore. A new culture developed—a culture of dignity. 

A Dignity Culture values the individual. Everyone has inherent “rights,” and everyone acts accordingly. This is what took root in the West in the last few centuries. 

If someone damages your property, you call the police. If cheated, you sue. If you work with someone, you demand a contract, backed by law. 

But you don’t do it all time. Mostly, you can figure out things on your own. You practice restraint. You can afford to. The State, the “coldest of all cold monsters,” is always there. 

You expect safety, so you stop being dangerous. But you also don’t become reliant or submissive. You accept an insult, lest you be arrested if you turn to violence. But if attacked first, you retaliate. Even in this culture, you can push a man too far. 

Heroes arise when “dignified” men are placed in extraordinary situations—wars, criminal attacks, a sudden natural disaster. Yet by its nature, Dignity Culture can’t produce a king, a conqueror, a Myth. The hero, in this culture, returns to the “normal” world after his extraordinary deed. 

The Dignity Culture produces “good” men, not great men. Something is lost, but physical safety is gained. Instead of commanders, you get CEOs. Instead of vicious knifemen operating in the shadows, you get lawyers. 

This moral culture only lasted a brief time in history. It could only have been created because some remnants of Honor Culture restrained people from becoming entirely dependent on the State or from completely giving up their pride or idenities. 

You live in this world now. But it’s decaying. Something new is replacing it. In many places, it already has. 

A 2014 paper called “Microaggression and Moral Cultures” defines an ascendant “A Culture of Victimhood.” Like an Honor Culture, it is extremely attentive to slights. Unlike in an Honor Culture, the “victim” seeks the help of third parties to avenge them. This system doesn’t produce men—just consumers. 

“People increasingly demand help from others, and advertise their oppression as evidence that they deserve respect and assistance,” write Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning. “Thus we might call this culture a culture of victimhood because the moral status of the victim, at its nadir in honor cultures, has risen to new heights.”

They argue this culture is already ascendant on many college campuses. And you’ve seen it in the larger culture too. People brag about their mental problems, their disabilities, their depression, their newly invented sexual identities. 

These aren’t cries for help or self-affirmation. These are weapons wielded against targets. Weakness is strength. If your words, your actions, or your existence makes someone feel uncomfortable, they can use corporate media or state action against you. At the least, they get the System to try to shut you up. 

The weakest person, the most unstable, the most hysterical, is the one with all the power in such a System. Worst of all, without mind-reading, there’s no way to tell whether such a person is being sincere or just claiming victimhood to gain power.

Equality isn’t just undesirable, it’s impossible. Hierarchy is constant. It is eternal. Under any system, under any conditions, it will emerge in new forms. Even in a system dedicated to “equality,” someone has power over you. Instead of the strong, it’s the cynical who rule over the herd in this System. 

When someone preaches “equality,” it’s because that person wants to be in charge. None possess more “privilege” than those who speak about “privilege.” 

Disagree? Speak back at them. 

See how long you keep your social media, your business, or your job. 

See what the media has to say about you. See where your “rights” go. 

You can bench 400 pounds but if you say “gendered language” in the wrong setting, you’re their bitch. 

Pissed? Good. It shows you have some shred of honor. It’s time to rediscover that essential virtue. 

Like we are learning with our food, our physical activity, and our whole way of life, we weren’t meant to fucking exist under this kind of a moral culture. It’s driving both men and women crazy. 

Yet far too many think the solution is to double down on the System that’s failing them. They want more controls, more catering to their “victimhood,” more programs, more censorship, more safe spaces and pretty lies. 

The solution is simpler. Fuck the System. Fuck Systems entirely. Fuck the Vote. In this world, you’re a cog and you’re expendable. Your worth is what little you can contribute to keep the Beast staggering along, and how can you can give what little you earn right back to it. When you die, you’re no longer an economic input or output. You’re forgotten. 

How do you rebel? The vulnerability of Victim Culture is that it depends on third parties. The “rulers” in such a system are the most enslaved of all. 

Instead of dependence, you prize self-reliance. In an age of total disintegration, you build a new Order from the ground up.

The System won’t be salvaged from within. It can only be undermined from without. Wolves in the shadows of empire, in the darkness out of reach of the Masters of Lies and their bluescreens. 

It’s time for tribes, cults, and warbands to return. It’s time for Honor to return. 

How do we define Honor? It can only be defined within a group context. It is defined by keeping one’s oaths to those bound to you, and bringing glory, wealth and strength to your tribe. You don’t give yourself Honor. Those in your group give you Honor. 

Does modern Honor Culture lead us down the same path of pointless feuds and vendettas? It doesn’t. Creation, not destruction, is what we do. We worship strength. We build shrines in the forests and temples of our bodies. We write new Myths and live our own Sagas. We defeat the Empire by ignoring it. 

Yet even if it did, what matter? We’re already in the world of pointless feuds of vendettas. Say the wrong word, look at the wrong person, or even just be caught in a random “viral” controversy and it’s all over for you in today’s culture. Even if you play by the rules, that’s no guarantee of safety. 

The difference is that in an Honor Culture you take responsibility for your own safety and reputation. In Victim Culture, you trust someone else to do it for you, usually the automatons of Media or Law. 

Why try to live up to the standards of those without Honor? Better to build your own group and live up to each other’s standards. Better to create sparks among the kindling  of this gray world, until they spread to form a conflagration. We can build our own Honor Cultures without anyone’s permission. 

And when we do that, the Age of Heroes will return.