How are we to go about promoting a virtuous society?
The first question is obvious: “What is virtue?” The Oxford English Dictionary says it is “behavior showing high moral standards.” And there is the rub. Whose standards are to be used? Some people believe they are virtuous because they don’t cuss, smoke, or drink. Others think themselves virtuous because they work hard and take care of their families. Some think they are virtuous because they don’t judge others or because they are charitable. In each case, people adhere to a set of rules in order to achieve what they think is virtuous.
But when you are talking about a virtuous society, it isn’t good enough for each individual to pursue his own idea of what is virtuous. If you think it virtuous to lovingly raise children and another thinks it virtuous to “lovingly” kill them, there is bound to be a major societal rift. As there is.
And so, as much as I respect Ron Paul and agree with him about the importance of promoting a virtuous society, I don’t think his recommendation is specific enough. Remember his words?
The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.
The number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.
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