Virtue & Character Archives – Values of the Wise

Virtue & Character


Moral Dilemmas: The Case of the Unabomber

moral dilemmas October 14th, 2017

Ted Kaczynski, as you probably know, was “the Unabomber.” His proficiency with creating bombs delivered through the mail was gruesome; many died from shrapnel and concussion opening a bomb, and they were absolutely innocent of any reasonable charge. His mentality was like something you would see in a high-ranking member of the Nazi party. He was extremely intelligent but had the morality of a sociopath. Quite a dangerous creature he was. Here is the story of his brother, David, who faced a moral dilemma about whether or not to turn his brother, the murderer, in. The topic of moral dilemmas is a most interesting and evocative one, so strap in.

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Caring, Empathy, Love, Moral Development (V&E5)

moral development October 10th, 2017

The following is an excerpt from the book Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom, taken from the name of an Internet-based talk radio show I did in times-past. The topic from chapter five is “Relationships and Social Policy That Foster Moral Development and Caring.” My two impressive partners in dialogue are psychotherapist and author Marianne Preger-Simon, Ed.D. and noted philosopher and professor, Nel Noddings, Ph.D. Concepts we try to elucidate in our engaging conversation include moral development, care, caring, love, maturation, socio-emotional development, nurturance, empathy, morality, character, and responsibility.

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Contrary Notions: Michael Parenti Quotes

Michael Parenti quotes October 5th, 2017

The following are Michael Parenti quotes which I took from his wonderful book, Contrary Notions. It is expensive, but so is organic produce and beef from free-range cattle. And that is how I think of Michael Parenti: the cream of the crop. An independent scholar, he is an inspiration to me. His writings are clear, compelling, and careful. He is a liberal luminary, and I’m proud to present to you a sampling of Michael Parenti quotes from Contrary Notions and other sources as well.

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Social Violence: Causes and Prescriptions

violence October 3rd, 2017

Mass murder is different than 1:1 murder and suicide. It symbolizes deep social decay. Add in heavy weaponry and you got yourself one big social problem. What issues underlie the phenomenon? It is mental illness? Is it guns? Is it endemic to a country that is in “the waning days of empire?” Is it an outgrowth of massive wealth inequality? What role does race play? Read on for some exploration of this noxious type of social violence that seems to constantly recur like an absurd Sysephean tragedy. 

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A Life of Integrity and Meaning (V&E-1)

integrity and meaning September 25th, 2017

Let’s talk about the sphere of ethics: in the living room, the bedroom, the boardroom, the marketplace, media, politics, etc. I feel like you can’t be a bad person in some arena – say, work – and then come home and, all of a sudden, you’re an upstanding individual because you are nice with your family. The Nazis did this, after all. Drs. Kathleen Brooks and Gary E. Kessler, both authors, and a psychotherapist and a professor, respectively, were interviewed by me about the way to live a life of integrity and meaning – and why one should do so.

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Values and Virtues in the Form of Quotations

values and virtues September 24th, 2017

You can really benefit from really thinking about the following examples of values and virtues in the form of quotations from many great minds. It is applied philosophy in a very accessible form. VOW has nearly 27,000 quotes, proverbs, poetry, and lyrics relevant to values and virtues such as knowledge, education, peace, liberty, wisdom, ingenuity, lightheartedness, responsibility, and justice – for free. Here are examples and glimpses into what these values and virtues are about.

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Quotations on Virtue, Liberty & Character

quotations on virtue September 22nd, 2017

The Declaration of Independence, the drafting of the Constitution of the United States, and the men (alas, they were all men) who framed these documents are our intellectual forbearers. We – at least those of us who are on the Left – tend not to think about them that much. Heck, I have an oil painting of Jefferson, Adams and Franklin hashing out the Declaration and I rarely think about the principles of the founders. However, I bought a 12-part lecture on these men, their ideas, and their ingenious works: American Ideals: Founding a Republic of Virtue. In this blog, I will share a few quotations on virtue, liberty, character, duty, democracy, and republic – 18th-century wisdom that can help us in our struggles and challenges today.

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What Do We Deserve? Moral Desert & Entitlement

moral desert September 21st, 2017

What does a person – let’s confine it to Americans in this blog – deserve? In philosophy, it is termed moral dessert. That is, as a member of society, what rights does one have to goods and benefits and opportunities? Contrast dessert (sometimes spelled desert) with entitlement – the rights one has based on law, contracts, and agreements. In this piece, I want to dilate on this topic, and to that end, will share a brief discussion a friend and I had. You may not be surprised to learn that I take a generally liberal position, and my friend, a fairly libertarian one. I am more likely to see, optimistically, that people deserve opportunity, chances, and help from society at large (i.e., the institutions of government and associated social welfare provisions). You can expect, of course, to see apt quotations brought to bear on the dialogue.

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South Carolina’s Own: Pat Conroy Quotes

Pat Conroy quotes September 19th, 2017

We here in South Carolina are very proud of our native son, Pat Conroy. Perhaps you have heard of his books, many of which were made into movies. Two that pop out are The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini. Excellent works. He is also famous for writing soul-searching, penetrating, deep books. He went to the local college, The Citadel, and it helped create the grist he would run through the busy mill of his erudite and tortured mind. He really was a master at language. Take, for example, this Pat Conroy quote taken from The Prince of Tides, a remarkable story about growing up in a dysfunctional Southern home: “There is such a thing as too much beauty in a woman and it is often a burden as crippling as homeliness and far more dangerous. It takes much luck and integrity to survive the gift of perfect beauty, and its impermanence is its most cunning betrayal.” In this blog, I want to share the Pat Conroy quotes I found were most about values from his book My Losing Season.

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America’s #1 Satirist: Mark Twain Quotes

Mark Twain quotes September 18th, 2017

Mark Twain is up there with American luminaries such as Will Rogers, Lucille Ball, Woody Allen, Dorothy Parker, Ambrose Bierce, Betty White, Thomas Nast, Gary Larson, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Charlie Chaplin, and Carl Reiner. This is, of course, a shockingly truncated list. Mark Twain quotes have stood the test of time for their penetrating, serious character as well as their satirical and humorous quality. Here are those in the Wisdom Archive, over 26,000-strong now! 

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