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We all know that courage is a knightly virtue.

But what does it mean to have courage in today's western society? How does it apply to a reality no longer based on tribal wars and judicial combat? What enemy in our midst should we confront?

Modern civilization has taken appropriate steps to promote and safeguard a civilized way of life. We have laws, professional police and soldiers to protect us and keep order. Vigilantism is not condoned.

So, what about courage? Is it still a virtue still worth cultivating? Does it have a purpose in differentiating a Knight from others?

Indeed it does.

Courage plays an important part in all aspects of our lives. While today's good and evil are not so obviously defined as in Arthurian literature, they are nevertheless real. In fact, evil has become more insidious in its subtlety and power to deceive and persuade. It disguises itself with a civilized veneer. Greed cloaks itself under the benign aegis of a free market. Bigotry feeds itself with a justification of victimhood. Leaders dehumanize and portray our supposed enemies as being far worse than they are. People twist religious mandates to satisfy less godly preferences.

The subtleties of evil are such that we can even agree with the above comments while thinking they apply to others and not ourselves.

Nothing is more important to achieving the authenticity of Knighthood than looking into the mirror of truth and learning from it. It takes far more strength and integrity than just going around looking tough or standing up to bullies.

The contagion of a lie is far more destructive on the inside than a well-armed enemy from without. Once believed, the enemy wins by default, even when they lose in battle. That's because we lose the better part of who we are.

The power of such lies depends on their not being recognized as lies at all. They attach or portray themselves to what seems to be virtuous, but actually is not. This is how evil works in today's world of strategic distractions - finding ways to prevent us from looking closer, distracting us from the dictates of conscience, patting us on the back when we support what is wrong.

Evil knows that it is easier to follow the crowd, or agree with friends when they are wrong, repeating the lie again and again until it seems true.

It takes incredible amounts of courage, strength of mind, self-discipline, and unshakable integrity to reject a popular lie and answer it with uninvited truth. It takes a selfless warrior, a Knight in the truest sense of the word, willing to stand alone if need be for the cause of truth.

Today's Knight does not go around welding a sword or otherwise threatening people in order to prove their worth. All that would do is prove their insecurities, which is anything but courageous.

Our purpose is to fight for the survival, advancement and flourishing of civilization so that all may benefit.

Our words must be carefully articulated to reflect the profundity of Knighthood.

Our cause must be just, and not some superficial cause du jour l that ends up hiding and propagating what is wrong.

Many people find the virtues and pageantry of chivalry attractive, but it all comes to naught if we fail to cultivate the courage to liberate the authenotic Knight within. Only then do we acquire the strength to become true warriors of chivalry in the depths of our souls - which is what Knighthood is all about.


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