Pride is one of those words that has ambiguous meanings full of double standards ripe with political controversy. Gay pride gives warm fuzzy feelings to many. National pride, though, is supposedly fascist and awful. Black pride is often considered an expression of overcoming racial oppression, whereas white pride is deemed white supremacy.
However, all these usages of pride are attached to a group identity. Individualists, by contrast, insist that pride is a legitimate expression of individual achievement. If you work hard you ought to take pride in the fruits of your labor.
Strangely enough, the collectivist left who praise gay pride often dismiss national pride using the individualist argument that it is irrational to take pride in something you didn’t do. When you confront them with why gays should be proud of being gay, which they did nothing for, they then serve you an explanation that pride in fact means the opposite of shame, and gay pride is a celebration of having overcome social stigma.
However, when someone puts up a poster saying, “it’s ok to be white”, meaning you shouldn’t be ashamed of the color of the skin with which you are born, the definition flips and we are back to fascism again. Fascism, in these instances, appears to be defined as whites not having collective shame and guilt for being born white.
Cleaning Up the Mess
All this is very confusing, so let’s do what conservatives do best: create order out of chaos. Pride and shame are indeed opposites so let us reserve them for individual wrongs and achievements. National pride is not a legitimate concept. However, it seems to be pointing at some important phenomenon that is indeed legitimate, but what?
Respect is a powerful word. Even though you do not like a culture or nation, you can still respect it. Respect means to extend civility and an element of “hands off.” When Russia tried to meddle in the U.S. election, regardless their level of success, they were not being respectful.
Similarly, when the left tries to meddle in the U.S. electoral process by declaring “not my president,” and chronically trying to undermine the legitimacy of the presidency, they are not being respectful of those that voted for Donald Trump nor of the institution itself.
Far stronger is the term admiration. To admire a culture or nation means to value its achievements and to some extent try to emulate it. The Founding Fathers deeply admired ancient Rome and Greece, and despite being deists they held the Christian faith in high regard. That is why the United States has a constitution based on individual rights and the separation of church and state.
Honor is a stronger term still. It involves a tinge of both respect and admiration, but also contains a strong element of gratitude. It is a recognition of the hardships and hard work of your ancestors or peers who through their actions gave you an inheritance, a culture, a nation as a gift. It could have been better, but it is yours, and without their efforts you would have nothing, maybe not even your life.
The Virtue of National Honor
First and foremost, you should honor your parents, or at least parenthood, because they are directly responsible for bringing you into this world. However, this concept of honor should be extended to your nation. Why? Social cohesion. Honor is the glue that preserves the fabric of a nation.
So far, the only successful model of a sustainable society has been the nation which is held together by deeply rooted common values. All societies that have not heeded this cohesion have failed abysmally. National honor is therefore the collective effort of making sure that a nation stays on a sustainable path so that the efforts of our ancestors were not in vain.
National honor must not be confused with national pride, which is a foolish enterprise. The greatness of a nation is largely not your doing, but you could be the undoing of your nation — if you do not properly honor it.