Charlie Collins Portrait
Charles A. Collins

About the Honor Blog

This blog has been created for the purpose of exploring controversial moral problems, using the concepts explored in The Book of Honor as a foundation. Since it seeks to tackle difficult problems, readers should approach it with serious minds and should expect to have their prejudices challenged. However, an element which is central to The Book of Honor is that there are things upon which all normal humans will agree. This blog seeks out those things - it focuses on areas of agreement, rather than disagreement, so that the discussion can remain positive even in the face of serious disagreements.

The Gratiae

One of the most important conclusions reached in The Book of Honor is that acting in a good and moral way means giving value to other persons. The things which represent that value are called the gratiae, and in The Book of Honor, we learn there are three of those things:
Vitality,
Liberty, and
Dignity.

Good actions are those which support human life, which recognize the freedom and dignity of other persons. Immoral, evil actions are those which deprive persons of their lives, deny them their freedom, and/or destroy their dignity.

The Virtues

The purpose of The Book of Honor is to establish a code of conduct, a set of factors which will guide persons toward honorable behavior. Those factors are summarized in the form of seven Virtues:
Wisdom,
Courage,
Compassion,
Discipline,
Industry,
Hope, and
Humility.

These Virtues are used to guide honorable behavior; a person who considers and applies the Virtues when making decisions, when taking action, will serve the gratiae - and act in a good, moral way.

About the Author

Hopefully most of your questions about me are answered by the About page. However, within the context of this blog, I think it also is important for me to point out that:

Inevitably, controversial subjects will touch upon the political arena. There is no way to remove all bias from a discussion - so I believe the best thing I can do is to let you know that I am Catholic, and inclined toward conservatism.

Previous Posts


Sep 22, 2021: Thalidomide

Apr 4, 2021: Escaping Politics

Aug 31, 2020: Handling Embarrassing Flaws

Jun 19, 2020: A Sign of Sickness in Education

May 10, 2020: Noble Self-Sacrifice

The Honor Blog

Today is: Dec 2, 2021
Post From: Sep 22, 2021

Thalidomide

Something which I perceive to be true is that Americans seem more willing than ever to allow their decisions to be made by "experts". Or, said another way, they increasingly invoke expert opinions as the final word in an argument - they are increasingly reluctant to question people they perceive as authoritative.

To a certain extent, this is natural. There are a great many things to know in the world, and all of us are busy with other concerns. It is good sense to allow some specialization to happen, and it is reasonable for people to be humble and defer to those who appear to be knowledgeable.

As is the case with anything, however, it is possible to carry this deference too far. As an example, I bring you the drug thalidomide.

Very few people recognize that name, these days. In recent years it has found some use in treating cancer, but the reason I know the name is that it was used in the 1950s and 1960s as a measure to help pregnant women manage their morning sickness. In fact, the experts considered it safe enough to be sold over the counter - it did not even require a prescription.

The experts were wrong.

During the early 1960s, an increasing rate of birth defects made clear that thalidomide had a powerful effect on the development of fetuses. I have known several people with underdeveloped limbs - missing or shortened - people whose physical configuration was badly altered by the use of thalidomide.

Now, of course, people might argue that the use of thalidomide was banned a long time ago, that that discovery led to a tightening of drug regulations. Essentially, what those people are saying is that it is acceptable to trust the experts now, because that mistake has been corrected.

I hope you do not need me to tell you how ridiculous that argument is - essentially, it asserts that one mistake is the only one the experts have ever made. Now, apparently, we are to believe the experts are perfect.

In the movie Serenity, Mal declares exactly the point I am trying to make in the most moving speech of the move. He says, "'Cause as sure as I know anything I know this: They will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground, swept clean. A year from now, ten, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better."

The experts believe they can make you better, if you will just live your lives the way they tell you to live them. Don't question, just do what the experts tell you. Take the drugs the experts tell you to take.

That position is wrong - and it is immoral.