Character, a Search for Humility


(With Postscript)

Is it a sign of less character  to be vain? How about excessively vain?

Is it sign of low character to be arrogant? Or just excessive arrogant?

Is it a sign of low character to display condescension toward others? To look down one’s nose?

What if we don’t wear condescension on our sleeve, but only think it about another? Is that an act of less character in ourselves? Do we decide based on how they are dressed, where they are located, or wait til they speak?

Is it a sign of low character to brag? Even when the bragging is true, as it sometimes is?

When is bragging excessive, and when is it just socially acceptable self-promotion.

Is it a sign of bad manners to be blunt? Excessively blunt?

Are bad manners always a sign of less character, or, as Mark Twain once said of profanity, “sometimes provides a relief denied even unto prayer.”?

So, what about the use of foul language, then? Some words are gross and foul anywhere, others taboo everywhere. Blasphemies, no matter where uttered, carry their own set of penalties, (at least people of faith believe) but also carry their own largely private rules of repentance. No one else’s business.

What about locker room talk, whether recorded (probably evidentiary) or repeated (hearsay always) but only to prove another element of an offense, in this case, low character?

Is it an act of low character if I laugh at a dirty joke? Or merely stay in the room and listen?

What words are commonly used today, in conversation, blogging, and Twitter, that were once believed to be indicators of low character? Does their use today convey the same sentiment about character?

Make a list of words you believe to be exceedingly bad and which indicate low character, then compare with friends.

In measuring character. do you use a different measuring stick depending on the way a person is dressed? Or speaks, Ya’ll.

From the featured image, if Mona Lisa had had four drinks, would you think differently about Mona’s character?


What about the jokester who profaned Da Vinci’s masterpiece? Bad character? Bad taste? Or just clever?

Is draft-dodging a sign of low character? (A hindsight observation, since there has been no draft in close to 50 years, and virtually no person alive under 60 who can tell us much about what the draft really was, what it really meant to draft age young men.) (Apparently Wikipedia doesn’t either.)

Is draft dodging an act of low character or an act of conscience? Can it be both? Apparently the Left thinks it’s both, to be applied selectively by a political measuring stick. Does our side do likewise?

Was it an act of low character to be in favor of the War in Iraq? Against?

After 911 enlistments to fight Terrorism did not increase? Indifference to American security? Laziness? Simpatico with the Terrorists? Are any of these a sign of lessening cultural patriotism and a general lessening of national character?

40 years ago, people who were divorced once were considered to be of lower character on that account alone. Mostly men. Now, not so much. Since divorces have not been aired out in public as to cause for at least 40 years in most jurisdictions; infidelity, (once believed to be an act of low character, and still a sin, for those of you who read), alcoholism, infertility, (inability to produce children), just couldn’t get along, poor provider, there is no way to know what today, if any, acts of low character might have broken the marriage.

Today no one knows what causes a couple to break up except through rumor (hearsay) and the unmistakable fingerprint of selective clairvoyance which gives a person the ability to know what is in another person’s heart, even from a great distance. Fault-finding, at one time the sole province of town busy-bodies who looked like Margaret Hamilton.

Clairvoyants not only claim “insight”, but also the ability to judge.

So sexual infidelity, like draft dodging, above, throw the spotlight on what is probably the most egregious act of low character in the public world today, (and also the most common) and that is rumor-mongering, which seems to tell us that some of the loudest practitioners of low character are those accusing others of low character based on the sole evidence that they “know” a thing which cannot be proved.

On Twitter I see our side practice this sin daily.

Feel free to join in….not only about what I’ve said, but what I’ve missed. It’s an interesting subject, and will explain a lot as the days move forward.

I always put these kinds of people right alongside atheists who are always preaching to people of the Book how live a more enriched and fulfilling spiritual life, also based on hearsay.


I tried to write this without mentioning individuals, but that didn’t work. And someone doesn’t like the picture of Mona Lisa all leisured-up, on her fourth margarita. (attached here) cause it keeps disappearing.

I’m from the Don Rickles generation and I think it’s funny.

But on our side…our side, I say…there are a lot of swipes being taken at Donald Trump about a lack of  character. Moral priggery, most are young, and while stretching their own credulity to agree with anything Trump does because of, you know, the character thing, they seem to have paved the ground with the general understanding that Donald Trump is morally flawed…and even if war is forever ended if the Korean peninsula it will carry that  asterisk, *brokered by a man of low character”.  And should war ever flare up again, it will be that character void that caused it.

Moral priggery.

But also being a criminal defense trial lawyer, I’ve asked every sneering “conservative” writer I can find for a bill of particulars of just what good and low character are, or, as Will Rogers once said about art, “I don’t know much about it, but I know what I like.”  I’m looking for evidence that can support a motion to a judge to mark as “evidentiary” events and conduct that at least can be presented to a jury.

I can’t even get an answer as to just what “character” is.

My friend Jaded raises another great point, and that is sex before marriage, and character. A sin, an “oops!”, but an act of low character? For Christians it actually is a sin, albeit an easy one to cure, simply by standing before a JP, with or without the shotgun. The great thing about most sins is that the media, including the writers at National Review, never get to witness or mediate the forgiveness or penance sessions. They are strictly one-on-One.

You’d have to go to’s Beer Tent  to find out that I had a 30 year affair with prostitution, yet only at a very early age did I get my feet wet. Most prudes miss that. Still, today, I’d rather sit around a table with a bevy of hookers, swap stories and learn new dirty words any day that get Jenny Beth’s autograph at a CPAC convention.

Linking pre-martial sex with draft-dodging, another point I made poorly here, my younger brother didn’t want to go college but he went anyway just to get the automatic deferment granted to every college student during most of the war in  Vietnam. (Wikipedia implies to the younger generations, who never knew the draft, that Trump dodged it simply by going to college in that period.)

My brother tried college for two semesters, hated it, so went to Plan B, and knocked up his girl friend, married her, and got a job in a factory. With a kid he was safe he figured. For a while. Then came the Lottery, and he came up  #5. So he enlisted in the Navy, then spent the next 32 years, mostly at sea, avoiding her company.

Bill Clinton, had he been drafted, would never have served in a line unit or hear a shot fired in anger. Too big, actually, and too smart. A clerk in some command. Downtown Saigon where the chickies were. The same is likely true of Trump. I’m guessing here, but both didn’t want to go simply because of the other things they had planned for their lives and with Clinton especially (Trump had attended a military school so had gone through the heavy lifting and hazing of a boot camp) probably the dread of 6 AM reveille, making his own bed, and having some black drill sergeant yelling down his face. Oh, Trump never protested the war, at home or abroad.

In 1968, right after Tet, and the War entering a new phase, I was sworn in a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry, my brand new bride standing by my side. To delay having to go in, I applied to law school, and got in, thus postponing my active duty for another three years. In 1971, then as a JAG captain instead of an Infantry lieutenant, I had to take my entrance physical. And flunked. Bad knees from high school football. The doc who told me this laughed a little, because, had I take the physical in ’68, I’d have been released completely. But going to a desk job, I was waived. Karma.

The doc told me if I really wanted to stay out he could still fix it. I paused, then said no. I spent five years in uniform. Best job I ever had.

Somewhere at sea, my brother was laughing.


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Jaded ByPolitics
Jaded ByPolitics
January 4, 2019 6:09 pm

I like to think character is subjective to the person not those doing the stone throwing. I cuss like a sailor, I had my 1st child out of wedlock then married a man and coming up on 31yrs married am I a harlot? maybe to others not to myself. Should I judge others? I don’t know, but I do and will continue to as that is part of my character. There are no answers to character because it resides in the individual not the myriad of books propagating such.

Larry Eastbay
January 5, 2019 12:33 am

Mr Vassar sir I am puzzled by “…and virtually no person alive who can tell us much about what the draft really was…”. I was drafted and not all THAT old now.
And what the draft was to me was a “call to duty” that I hoped would not come, but answered willingly.