Pride. It is a necessary part of heroism and heroic characters. It also gets a bad rap from far too many people. The people who belittle pride come in two very unrelated types. The Christians who consider it a deadly sin and those who want to destroy a nation by destroying its pride in itself. The two groups have little in common and would be surprised to discover that they had this point of agreement.
The Christians are easily understood, their problem is simple ignorance. You see, Pride is listed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins and easily the cardinal sin. What they don’t realize is that the pride referred to in the SDS is more akin to hubris and less to do with simple pride. It is a confusion of semantics not of thought. These same Christians are quite proud of their church and its good works, never realizing that pride is the proper word for what they feel. The business of the meek inheriting the earth factors into it as well. The Christian religion was largely designed with keeping serfs in line, not being responsible to the practitioners of the faith. Do not take this as a condemnation of Christianity, it is rather a condemnation of the early church leaders and the politicians of their countries working out a deal where the state could back the church because the church backed the state. Oddly enough most folks on either side probably never realized that was what they were doing.
The other group which dislikes pride is a bit more insidious, and much less honest. It can be easily noted that they only despise pride when it is the pride of a great nation or those who power it. The U.S. is evil for being proud, they are not exceptional. Tiny backward nation? Their pride is something to be celebrated. Odd how that works isn’t it. Want a good example? Read the Wikipedia article on pride. Notice that ethnic pride for most groups is lauded as a good thing, ethnic price for whites is rated as racist. So, if pride is bad if you are white or American but good otherwise there must be a reason. Looking at it objectively it is a matter of hate for the U.S. and whites. Obviously the work of enemies of the United States and those of European descent. Strangely enough most of those holding the views seem to be “progressives”.
Pride is a good thing. I take pride in my work. When I build a scientific instrument it looks good and functions well. I am proud of that. When I flipped burgers for a living they were well prepared and as good as the ingredients would allow, I took pride in that too. I am proud to be a member of several social organizations that are made up of intelligent patriotic people. I am proud to have served my country in the Armed Forces. And I am -proud of my brother in arms who stood and stand between our people and our enemies. If you feel that I am wrong for that pride I don’t want to know you.
Characters in SF and Fantasy often have pride, the heroes at least. It is after all part of being heroic to have pride in oneself and one’s accomplishments. Often in literature entire peoples are described simply as “Proud warriors of a proud warrior nation”. Just that line of description tells you much about the entire nation of people under discussion. Note that there are no negative connotations when the phrase is used that way. For that matter when someone refers to “The Few, the Proud, The Marines” there are no negative connotations and many positive ones.
I have been described many times as a proud man. I never really thought of myself that way. Then it was pointed out to me by my family that what was being referred to was my desire to take care of myself, by myself. I hate asking for help, or accepting more than the minimum necessary. I don’t need charity, I am more than willing to help those in need but don’t want to take it if at all avoidable. Apparently this is pride. I guess it is. I am proud to be able to care for myself and my family. I am proud to be able to help others. I think we all need a little more pride.