The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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Courting Disaster

Foolishness 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:

  • willingly pollute our atmosphere and groundwater that we need for our own survival.
  • knowingly promote our dependency on foreign oil.
  • have built an economy based on debt.
  • outsource 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 to them.

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 midst.
    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 of all.
    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.

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