“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
—2 Timothy 1:7
“When neither their property nor honour is touched,” wrote Mach-i-avelli, “the majority of men live content.” The American people, it is safe to say, do not live content. Our property is subject to the whim of a thousand clones of Lonesome Rhodes who have telepromptered their way up to Capitol Hill, which magically qualifies them to look deep within themselves and ascertain a pretty fiction they call “public good.” Like good little boys and girls, we understand that we are just too stupid, too clumsy, too hotheaded to wield our own weapons in defense of our own property. As for honor—well, isn’t that a quaint little term? Long ago, during the days of slavery and universal bigotry, when fathers were despots and everyone hated blacks and women, people talked about honor. But honor means making distinctions, paying deference due a man—which suggests that some are deserving of it, while others are not. And that implies some sort of standards, derived not from popularity contest or press release, but from tradition—in other words, a civilization.