By Joe Anthony
“What,” asks Shakespeare’s Falstaff, “is honor?” There is no practicality to it. It “hath no skill in surgery,” he discovers. It is a mere word. Air. “Honor is a mere scutcheon,” he concludes, prompted mainly, it’s true, by his cowardice. Honor breaks bones though it does not set them. He will have none of it.
Falstaff’s quest for a definition of honor comes to mind because I, too, have been wondering lately about this word “honor.” It’s in the news so much lately. What is its substance? In particular, what do the tea-partiers and Glenn Beck have in mind when they say things like , “Let’s bring back honor and let’s take back the country”?