Russell Kirk: Where does virtue come from?

“How can human society form and raise up virtuous people?” asks Barton Gingerich in this week’s Acton Commentary. As Gingerich notes, Russell Kirk explored this perennial question in a 1982 essay titled, “Virtue: Can It Be Taught?”
Kirk defined virtues as “the qualities of full humanity: strength, courage, capacity, worth, manliness, moral excellence,” particularly qualities of “moral goodness: the practice of moral duties and the conformity of life to the moral law; uprightness; rectitude.” Despite modern attempts to supplant vigorous, active “virtue” with passive “integrity,” people “possessed of an energetic virtue” are still needed, particularly in more turbulent times. Continue Reading…

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