The Decline of Honor

By | August 22, 2022

[August 22, 2022]  The U.S. Army has met only 40% of its current recruiting goal.  Teachers are leaving the classroom in droves.  Churches and synagogues go empty.  More people are abandoning once traditional, noble professions and similar organizations.  It’s not money or a lack of training and skills causing this phenomenon.  It is the decline of honor.

“Honor once served as a barometer of the virtue and vitality of both men and nations.” – George Grant, pastor and author

We have systematically stripped honor from our dealings with others.  Honor is the foundation of healthy relationships and is vital for maintaining civil order.

Honor is an ancient concept, and we see it as the central theme in literature and life.  Homer’s epic poems are primarily about honor and man’s quest to achieve and maintain it.  In Shakespeare’s plays, honor and manhood take center stage as reoccurring themes.  When the Declaration of Independence was signed, the American Founding Fathers “mutually pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Today we have almost zero understanding of honor, what it means historically, why it is in decline and what that says for our society.  Honor was once so intrinsic to people’s lives that they felt no need to define or describe it.

We usually think of honor as the “right to respect among an exclusive society of equals.”  Usually associated with the military, police, firefighters, and gangs, this kind of honor requires a code of honor (laying out the standards to follow), an honor group (who are committed to the honor code), and shame (what is felt when honor is lost).  This type of honor is all or nothing.  Either you have it, or you don’t.

Honor is also about praising and esteem to those “who are superior, whether by virtue, rank, their services, their office, or anything else.”  This kind of honor is hierarchical and competitive.  The honor of this type goes to the man who not only lives the code of honor but excels at doing so.

“Honour is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society.  It is his estimation of his own worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride.” – Julian Pitt-Rivers, anthropologist

Honor is often associated with men.  The link between masculinity, men, and honor is interesting and sometimes odd.

It remains unfortunate for our society that honor is being lost quickly.  Those institutions that relied upon it for the kinds of people there are now scrambling to add some honor back into their organizations.  Men (and women) without honor are unreliable, often violent, and lacking the industrialness and orderliness needed today.




Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “The Decline of Honor

  1. Harry Donner

    The modern mentality now sees human life as a commodity. It does not respect the gift of offspring if not planned. It wants intelligent human beings to believe that the child now living in a woman’s womb is something other than human life. This is absurd and an insult to an intelligent person.

  2. Max Foster

    The new, so called sexual revolution was not about freedom of expression. It was not about the liberation of inhibitions. It was not about “love”. The truth the new mentality was nothing but the absolute success of the aggressor to be a selfish as possible. It is about persons entering into an arrangement that is devoid of responsibility or regard for the other person. It is about pure and utter selfishness and uniquely grotesque behavior.

    1. Willie Strumburger

      Good points Max, again you nailed what I was thinking but having a hard time putting into words.

      1. Desert Cactus

        True enough. The sexual revolution, brought on by the pill and changing norms, has brought untold disasters in the family and society.

        1. Joe Omerrod

          Yes, thanks. We all should appreciate what is being said here to reinforce the important aspects of human existence and not degrade it at every turn like the socialists and Democrats have done.

  3. Gil Johnson

    The decline of honour in the West. Why was “honour” such an important concept in the ancient and medieval western world and why has it declined in importance in the modern era? This may be an impossible question to answer, but it seems to me that to ancient peoples in the West and also elsewhere around the world honour has always been an extremely important concept (and still is in many places). However, the paramount importance of honour appears to have gone in the West over the last 100 years. Why?

    1. Liz at Home

      Of course, much has changed since Shakespeare penned those words. The decline of honor has been precipitous from its place at the pinnacle of Western culture and Christian virtue to utter obscurity, or perhaps even ignominy.

  4. Greg Heyman

    Loved the article, Gen. Satterfield. Keep these coming our way like you have done so for more than 8 years.

    1. The Kid 1945

      So much to write about and so little time. Gen. S. has done us a huge favor by showing us what he thinks is important. ❤

      1. Kenny Foster

        I’m too a long time fan of Gen. Satterfield and his leadership blog. If you are new to this blog, good. Read on. Read the many years of clarity that needs to be given to us. Also, please buy his book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.” You won’t regret reading it. Wonderful ideas to use day to day.

        1. Oakie from OK

          Me too!!!!! Be part of the good people, those who believe in moral norms and who respect others. Don’t just give respect a mouth lashing but a real idea that makes a difference inour lives.

  5. Edward G.

    For those of us on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog, this comes as no surprise whatsoever. Keep up the great work you are doing Gen. S. We are big fans!


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