Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth.
Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
Chivalry and Gentlemanly behavior are evolving concepts, constantly changing as society changes. These are not static rules, but rather an organic ideal that reviews and refines it’s self as it strives to honor the world it lives in. that is why every time Chivalry has been pronounced dead or dying, it has been by men and women who don’t understand the concept.
Although the word Chivalry as we know it originated from the Medieval Knights, the concept of the Gentleman has an older and broader tradition. From the Confucius’s Noble Man, to the Greek’s Superior Man, to the Samurai, to the Roman Centurion, to any honor based tradition, the Gentleman’s ideals establish a frame where a man must hold himself accountable for his actions and serve as an example to those around him. Yet we keep seeing many willing and wanting to pronounce it dead at the first opportunity.
As the Knightly Orders no longer served their original purpose of a Military Class; Chivalry, their code of conduct, was pronounced dead. Ironically, the ones pronouncing the death of Chivalry were the ones who wanted to get rid of the power held by the Knight. Yet as the knights power faded, and the Nobility took over, the Noble class adopted a modified version of the very concepts they dismissed.
As Nobility was overthrown, the merchants and businessmen declared Chivalry dead once again. Yet they themselves adopted their own version of Chivalry and Gentlemanly behavior. And so forth every time society changed and evolved, men took the mantle of keeping a Code of Honor, based on a Warrior’s tradition as they understand their social obligations to lead by example. We are witnessing another time of social change, so why would you think that Chivalry and the Gentleman would not change with it? Men of Quality don’t fear Equality.
Sure, we have petty men who have tainted the concepts, but condemning either, chivalry and the Gentleman because of the acts of a few weak men is like condemning Christianity because of the Westboro Baptist Church. Within every ideology and every group, there are those that use the concepts for their own petty and personal interests.
So if you ask me, is Chivalry dead or if are all the Gentlemen gone? I say no. We, the modern Knights, still fight on. We replaced our horse with a car or a motorcycle, we traded our armor for a suit, and our pens replaced our swords. But that thirst for social justice and the determination to be a better man, which we refuse to give up.