MARKS OF HONOR EXISM
To have no respect for respect
when it means 'honor',
and to respect nothing,
and to disrespect nothing,
To have respect for respect
when it means 'concern',
and to respect everything,
and to disrespect nothing,
requires respect for what it values, or condemns disrespect with regard
to what it values.
Thus our own denominational doctrine condemns disrespect with
truth and all values derived
from and associated with these three.
Traditional, denominational and other doctrines are not capable, however,
of distinguishing the absence of respect and of honor from disrespect and
Their lack of
catenical discernment makes
them equate a concept such as lack of respect, in which
respect is a positive notion, with the negative notion
disrespect (not to speak of rudeness).
In the eyes of their adherents dishonorable does not only mean
disgraceful or shameful (which is correct) but also
having no honor.
The underlying, ignorant conception is that there would be only two
possibilities: a person either actively shows respect and has honor in some
positive sense, or
'e is disrespectful and
dishonorable. (When describing this position, it would probably be more
appropriate not to speak of "a person and
'er honor" but of "a man and his
honor".) Now, on the catenical model disrespect is not simply a
negation of respect but its opposite.
Similarly, dishonor is not some universal negation, or
aspect negation, of honor but
its opposite too.
Not showing respect is therefore not necessarily being disrespectful, and
not having honor is therefore not necessarily being dishonorable.
Only those who still base their conception of truth on the
antonymical metaphysics of the
dialectical yang-yin brand can seriously maintain this.
The doxastic truth they respect is not the truth we respect.
Closely related to the concepts of honor and respect is the concept of
Where reputation does not mean anything else than the opinion people
in general have about a person, group or institution, there is, from a
normative perspective, nothing
right in having a so-called 'good' reputation or wrong in having a
so-called 'bad' reputation.
Being highly esteemed in a culture or subculture for one's orthodox,
exclusivist attitude and behavior, for
instance, is nothing valuable.
But when a person, group or institution is judged by the values of a
particular normative doctrine, and 'e or it has a good reputation
then, this means that the person or social entity in question
wholly conforms to the standards of that doctrine, or at least more than
the average person or social entity.
In the event that good is used in a
badness-auxiliary sense, one
must indeed conform completely; in the event that it is used in a
goodness-auxiliary sense, then much more
often than on average.
In the latter case it is possible to 'increase' one's good reputation
As may be expected, adherents of every
ideology —also ours— are
in favor of a good reputation in terms of the values of that ideology.
It is something else
tho, to call such
a good reputation "honor" and to say, for example, that one would be
protecting, or fighting for, one's honor rather than one's reputation or
Reputation is etymologically nothing else than a 'reckoning up' or
'thinking over', while good and bad are clearly auxiliary
On the other hand, honor(able) and
dishonor(able) are not auxiliary terms
and have a number of different meanings and connotations which are
extremist and exclusivist in
but too blatant a manner.
This need not surprise us, for unlike reputation, honor is a
positively unneutral concept which is totally devoid of the basic meaning
of concern, thoughtfulness and consideration inherent
A good reputation is open to every person in that no person should and
need disregard normative principles.
Moreover, every person can be both respectful and respectable.
Truistic as these statements may seem for us, the ideal of equality
expressed in respect for people has not yet come true in cultures or
subcultures where some people, or groups of people, claim to be the
only 'Hono(u)rable' ones.
x-ist milieus everyone is 'honorable'
(deserving respect), but some are judged 'more honorable' than others, for
example, because they are of so-called 'high' or 'noble birth', or because
they are officials of a specific governmental class.
As tho this were not yet enough, some are not just more honorable than
other (honorable?) people but 'Right
There are anthropic prides that prescribe the use of expressions such as
Your Hono(u)r when addressing so-called
'men (or women) of superior standing' like judges or mayors.
Even representatives of political parties which claim or purport to be
egalitarian, and of parties which claim or purport to respect persons as
persons, do not refrain from styling themselves and their fellows
They do not seem to have the common sense needed for realizing that where
an exclusive minority is 'Hono(u)rable'
a majority is not.
It could be argued that there is at least a considerable difference between
calling certain male or female human beings
"Hono(u)rable" solely on the grounds
of their biologic-materialist relationship with other males or females,
and calling certain people
"Hono(u)rable", or giving them honors,
for the work they are doing or have done.
There definitely is a difference between these two categories, because
being someone's child, or male child, may be a virtue in feudal circles
that have not yet been squared with the new present, it is not an
anafactive value, whereas the work someone
does or has done can be very anafactive indeed.
Nonetheless this is not a reason to be anti-anafactive ourselves in our
attitude towards people's services and good deeds.
Even if the assessment of these services and deeds were correct, the
function of titles and honor listings is to create absolute differences
where there are really gradual ones.
What counts in
practise is, of
course, that the assessment is ideological and must serve the interests,
not of high ideals such as truth and respect, but of the institution
that does the creating and the dubbing.
exism has also infiltrated science, a
field of human activity which many have enthusiastically
—unfortunately too naively— claimed or believed to be
(entirely) objective, nonideological and, to top it all, nonnormative.
In traditional (pseudo-)scientific
phraseology academic degrees and courses may be called "honors degrees"
and "honors courses".
Elsewhere people are said 'to have graduated cum laude'.
It needs no explanation that some courses are more advanced or difficult
It needs no explanation either that the kind of course someone has followed
and the talent or diligence 'e has displayed are relevant to legitimate
academic, professional or other goals.
Yet, this is, firstly, no reason to speak in terms of honor, and secondly,
no reason to suggest that the difference between the one person who is
better qualified, perhaps, only a little bit better qualified, and the
other who is less qualified, perhaps, only a little bit less qualified, is
an absolute one in which the former person needs to be honored (or praised
out of proportion), unlike the latter.