Thursday, July 21, 2022

Is virtue a necessary qualification for public office?

Virtues are traits of moral excellence or strengths of character whose practice can lead to both ethical living and satisfying happiness. Although the concepts of virtues and values are interrelated, there is an important distinction. As we’ve seen, values are magnetic, they provide the aims and goals that attract us toward that which is more perfect, more real, and more right. Values represent the improved future conditions we desire. Virtues, on the other hand, represent the good qualities we presently possess; the acquired attributes of excellence that become engrained into our basic nature through commitment and practice. Values are the best of what we want, but virtues are the best of who we are. Simply put, values are headings and virtues are habits—“habits of the heart,” as they’ve been called.


McIntosh, Steve. Developmental Politics: How America Can Grow Into a Better Version of Itself (pp. 130-131). Paragon House. Kindle Edition. 


The idea of virtue rarely is discussed in public any more. When we consider which candidates to vote for virtue is rarely a consideration. Certainly Donald Trump was no paragon of virtue nor some would argue was Hillary Clinton. 


It would seem that politics is a dog eat dog kind of enterprise and virtue, good character, is not considered a necessary or even a desirable qualification.


How important is virtue and character when you choose a political candidate to vote for?

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