Chivalry is men’s duty under patriarchy. Chivalry is the male side of the patriarchal social order. Patriarchy itself is an overall social system, it provides direction and a role to both men and women and it is meant to benefit both men and women in a way that provides for the best for children. Patriarchy is centered around obedience to God or in non-religious terms patriarchy is an expression of the natural order. In patriarchy children come first, everything is organized around the needs of the child. This is why the patriarchal social system works; because it encourages children and provides for children. A social system that does not put the needs of children first is doomed as such a system will short change children for the benefit of the adults leaving children worse off than their parents. Children being worse off than their parents is the very definition of social breakdown and degeneration as children being worse off than their parents means that the future will be worse than the present. In addition a social system that does not value children will not have children and in this way will physically and literally go extinct. Evolution does not allow for a social system that rejects children; this is why evolution created patriarchy in the human species. In the sense that God expresses his will through evolution patriarchy is therefore God’s will.
Chivalry is necessary for patriarchy to function; chivalry is an intrinsic part of patriarchy. Chivalry is the male expression of patriarchy; it is the man’s role in patriarchy. The fundamental ethic of chivalry is that it is a man’s duty to provide for and protect women. To “provide for and protect women” has many different aspects and many different expressions. I would place chivalry into three broad categories. First is romantic chivalry, this is chivalry in a romantic context such as the symbolic expression of the man paying for the date which indicates the more fundamental aspect of romantic chivalry of the husband financially providing for his wife. Second is community chivalry where a man shows a protective regard for women he is part of the same community with but has no current or prospective romantic relationship with. An example of this might be a male co-worker escorting a female co-worker to the parking garage late at night so the woman doesn’t have to be in a potentially dangerous situation alone. Another example of community chivalry is the heroism of the men on the Titanic. Third is public policy chivalry where a law or public policy has a chivalrous intent such as excluding women from the military. A society needs all of these forms of chivalry to function properly and all of these forms of chivalry are born of the same fundamental respect of the woman’s natural and traditional role in the family and society.
Chivalry is not something that women earn and it is not something that women “deserve” but it is something that women have a right to. Chivalry is an inherited duty on the part of men and it is an inherited privilege on the part of women. Women do deserve chivalry in the sense of the woman’s role and purpose being something honorable and something desirable and something generous and kind and deserving of respect. However chivalry is not something that is “deserved” in the sense of it being earned or based on superior merit or it being an expression of preferential treatment due to the woman’s good conduct. Chivalry is a universal duty of the man towards all women indiscriminately; it is a principle of ethical conduct rather than it being in response to any particular behaviors or characteristics of the woman. Chivalry is also universally desirable and a male duty regardless of the social system currently prevalent in a society and regardless of whether or not chivalry is culturally or legally sanctioned.
Chivalry is not done for the purpose of pleasing or gaining the approval of women. Pleasing and gaining the approval of women is a side benefit that often accompanies chivalry but it is not its purpose. The purpose of chivalry is the man maintaining his honor as a man. Chivalry is meant to provide a benefit to the woman but it is not based on the desires of the woman. In other words the man practicing chivalry is acting as a guardian of the woman, not as a servant of the woman. Chivalry is done on behalf of women but it is not done on the request or the demand of the woman. The chivalrous duty is based upon the judgments of the man and it is an expression of the man’s sense of ethics. The man practices chivalry because he feels he ought to, because it helps him to maintain his sense of identity and his purpose as a man, becomes it is the way he expresses his manliness and his love of women, because being chivalrous is an expression of who he is, who God created him to be.
The specifics of what men’s chivalrous duties are in any given society are decided upon and enforced by men. The origin of chivalry is the natural order of the interlocking duties of men towards women and women towards men and parents towards children. In this way what chivalry is is externally imposed; it is what I would call part of the externally imposed moral order or what in religious terms would be called God’s will. So the rights of women that are derived from chivalry, women’s natural or traditional rights, are granted by God and men have a duty to obey and adhere to this God imposed chivalrous moral duty. How exactly this chivalrous duty is to be expressed in practical everyday terms is something that men decide upon as a collective ethical body with men enforcing upon other men the moral duties that chivalry requires.
Chivalry is man’s heroic calling, his heroic mission, and it is something that all of society depends upon for survival.