[October 5, 2022] My wife and I have been watching several shows that cater to those interested in the lives of cowboys. One recent show, Ultimate Cowboy Showdown (2019 – current), is a competition that judges who is the “best cowboy.” Both men and women compete. In this competition, we see the cowboy code on display and the mystique and romanticism of the Old West, where this code was developed.
The code came about on the western American frontier. And, like so many codes we find in the West, they are often built upon Christian and common sense rules that made it possible to survive the difficult life on the frontier.
The 10 Principles of The Cowboy Code assembled by cowboyethics.org:
- Live each day with courage.
- Take pride in your work.
- Always finish what you start.
- Do what has to be done.
- Be tough but fair.
- When you make a promise, keep it.
- Ride for the brand.
- Talk less and say more.
- Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
- Know where to draw the line.
There are more of these codes that target more specific jobs. Like being the local Sheriff, we could add that there is always a trial by jury, vigilantism is discouraged, and your peers will judge you. Not surprisingly, many of these have made significant advancements in modern-day law and other informal codes of ethics.
We may not be in the Wild West of the olden days, but people are not much different. There are still criminals today, not unlike the outlaws and cattle rustlers. Criminals today wear different clothes, but they are still criminals. We still tell the truth, never steal, greet others openly, and are honest and hospitable.
The Cowboy Code will be with us always because they make up what we still do.
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