I believe this to be a scene from catch 22 (excuse my mistakes – I’m working from memory) – a young American officer is talking to an old Italian bordello owner, who tells him how he changes his political opinion to suit the people running the country at the time. The American officer is appalled – how can someone be so spineless? “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees”, he says to the Italian, who answers:
“No, no! You got it all wrong! It is better to live on your feet than to die on your knees”.
What’s the point of all this? Honor is a meme, carefully selected with extra features to propagate itself through bearers’ minds (Such as this title). However, from a rational point of view, “living like a lion” is not always worth it. It’s extremely interesting to note that dogs will often choose to die like lions, while cats will usually choose to live like dogs.