11 Dec So Robin needs to think about what long-term virtues he is trying to protect through his short-term acts in desperate times. (LOU MARINOFF)
Virtue ethics’ weaknesses are twofold.
At one extreme, in Asia, the Confucian emphasis on family as the building block of community, society, and polity can lead – and has led – to corruption and favoritism in the form of nepotism and related vices.
At another extreme, where the modern Western emphasis on individual liberty has undermined nuclear families, and where political power is a commodity that has to be purchased, there is altogether insignificant attention to virtue.
When people are left to their own devices, and are never encouraged – or compelled – to adopt ethical systems, they often choose vices over virtues.
Like the physical world, the moral world is not perfectly efficient. Loss of efficiency or gain of entropy – movement from order toward chaos – is built into the physical world. Every process is less than 100 percent efficient.
Similarly, it is easier to acquire bad habits than good ones, and harder to break the bad ones than the good. In the short run, and from an individual perspective, vice seems more fun than virtue.
But in the longer run, and from a societal perspective, a vicious society becomes dysfunctional and inimical to the well-being of its members, whereas a virtuous one remains functional and supportive of the well-being of its members.
So Robin needs to think about what long-term virtues he is trying to protect through his short-term acts in desperate times.
All persons ought to endeavor to follow what is right, and not what is established.
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