is not the right word. Foolishness implies innocence, and hints
at consequences that are not severe.
Insanity describes it better the kind
of insatiable, "me first" thoughtlessness that tramples
innocent people to death at the door opening of a holiday sale.
This particular kind of insanity (let's call
it greed) implies that on some level that we know
what we are doing wrong, that our eyes are open to the consequences,
but we do them anyway. Only insanity explains how we:
pollute our atmosphere and groundwater that we need for our own
promote our dependency on foreign oil.
- have built
an economy based on debt.
jobs to the point of decimating the middle class.
- vote people
into political office who are obviously not up to the task.
- pay million
dollar salaries and bonuses to CEOs who not only do not deserve
it, but actually lead their companies to ruin at small consequence
When we sacrifice
reason, the crown jewel of human exceptionality,
to the excesses of greed, power and intoxicating pride, we demonstrate
that something is fundamentally wrong with us!
We cannot excuse it as error or momentary lapse of judgment.
We are turning ourselves into creatures who are irresponsible, self-destructive,
enemies of the earth and to each other.
People used to say that the immoral person is
more animal than human. While this is, I think, an unwarranted insult
to the animal world, it does point out the separation of those for
whom moral rationality is an inconvenience easily set aside, and
those for whom it is more. Without moral and rational integrity,
we are a species doomed to self-destruction, a scavenging blight
upon this Earth, murdering, scandalizing, stealing, seeking pleasure
as ends unto themselves, even as people starve and suffer in our
And this is exactly what the conscience of chivalry
points out to us each evening on the nightly news. Our species,
blessed with so much insight and talent, is failing the expectations
of its potential. Our inner demons are winning, and it is up to
us to resist where they want us to go.
The financial crisis of 2008 reveals the subtlety
of this in no uncertain terms. For centuries Western society has
proudly claimed moral principles based on Hellenistic and Judeo-Christian
traditions. Now, to our shame, we have elevated their antithesis,
greed, to roughly the same significance. When contrary values compete,
one or both have to suffer. What we find is that our moral values
are being compromised in order for greed to thrive. This cannot
be regarded as mere foolishness on our part. It is a cultural
schizophrenia that breeds hypocrisy. We ruin the qualities
of greatness that would otherwise flourish, and for what?
The few who benefit from this madness have convinced
the rest of us that we all benefit as well. What they fail to point
out is the intrinsic loss to our humanity that comes with it. When
it comes to human nature, money can never be the bottom line. The
only goal that makes sense is the happiness and fulfillment that
comes from an authentic life that is directed for the betterment
We stand at a crossroads! We can
do our best to repair a broken system, bailing out industries that
may not deserve it, and then return to the insanity that ruined
everything in the first place. Or we can learn deeply from our mistakes
and take another path, a path of honor, reason and compassion.
We only repair this culture by first repairing
ourselves, tapping into our hearts for moral
answers until the ambient society cleanses itself of the poisons
that lead to our demise. This is how free people transform the world,
while being true to themselves at the same time.
We have been taught to prefer costly programs
or therapies, or regulations, or prayer, or political activism
and each of these hold some merit. What we really need to understand
is that effective change only comes about when people change, when
attitudes change, when our culture supports humane values instead
of disparaging them.
This is the approach that Chivalry-Now takes
providing both a moral code and the inspiration to follow
it. Chivalry-Now concerns itself with the heart of our society,
where the direction of our thoughts and deeds find their origins.
Here we find that freedom defines itself not as personal license,
but as personal responsibility.
Here we find what it means to a man.