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Desire for Peerage

Dafydd ap Gwystl greets the Cheapside horde;

Luther eloquently states the standard dogma:
	(I mean no offence to Luther here--it is just that the
	normal position is rarely so concisely stated)

>   The token is tarnished by desire for it. 

There is a standard SCA position that wanting a peerage is bad.
Even very bad, such that to admit it in public (or worse, to a peer
of the flavour you ardently desire membership in) is considered by
some to be the kiss of death to your chances.

I agree with Yaakov.  This is perfect bullshit.  (What an image...:^)

When I was a squire I wanted to be a knight.  I didn't try to
pussyfoot around--in my heart of hearts I didn't say to myself
that I wanted to "be worthy", although I certainly didn't want
to be unworthy--I wanted to _BE_ a knight.  I wanted to be
knighted, I wanted to wear the regalia, I wanted to be widely
known and respected, I wanted it all.  Of course I wanted to
"be worthy" as well--I didn't want to cheat my way into a
knighthood, I wanted to _be_ a knight.

Later, when I was more mature, I wanted a Laurel.  I was already
a peer, and (I hope) respected; in this case it was more that I
wanted public affirmation of the quality of my work, and there
is no higher acclaim for artistic endeavour.  (I will not
speak of the Pelican--I'm still worried they might take it away
if I say something wrong).

I do not believe there is anything wrong with those desires.
I expect my squires to wholeheartedly desire knighthood.  If
they do not esteem knighthood highly, why are they squires?

Like everything else, there are good ways and bad ways to want
something.  Letting your desire for a peerage overwhelm your
morality is clearly wrong.  Letting your desire for a peerage
overwhelm your enjoyment of the game itself is clearly foolish
and self-destructive.  But the desire itself is not at fault,
rather the priorities are.

As Yaakov implies, the standard dogma creates a situation where
we publically deny the desire for awards, yet have a culture where
they are in fact both desired and set up as icons of achievement.
This is hypocrisy.

Desire for a peerage can be unhealthy if it is not bounded by
morality and common sense.  However, when such desire is
appropriately balanced with the courtesy and other traits that
we idealize, it is not only healthy but it is also a potent
force for maintaining the ideals of the peerage.  Duke Richard
sometimes speaks about "starting over"--making all peers
re-earn their peerages.  Although facetious, the thought holds
an important truth--it is the effort of noble individuals who
attempt to earn the accolade that ennobles the order itself.