Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks, no form of government, can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea. James Madison
Perseverance Courage Responsibility Initiative Integrity Respect Justice Moderation
Civitas Latin for civilized
Virtus Latin for moral or good
Roots of Civic VirtueAncient philosophers held civic virtue as the single greatest determinant of the success of democratic governments.
What is Civic Virtue? The willingness to do one's part in supporting the public good.
The willingness to do ones part to combat corruption.
What is corruption?The use of ones position, power, knowledge, and/or influence to promote ones individual desires over the good of the public good.
In order for corruption to exist the following must also exist:The bias/corruption must be intentionalAn advantage must be gained for the individual who has violated the public good
Role of American Civic VirtuesThe civic virtues of the citizens of The United States share a common purpose -- to decrease the likelihood that American citizens will choose corrupt means to achieve success.
Types of CorruptionMoral corruptionMurder, dishonesty, breaking a vowPolitical corruptionIgnoring a conflict of interest, genocide, accepting bribesEconomic corruptionInsider trading, fixing the books, Legal/Judicial CorruptionRacial supremacy, ignoring a conflict of interest, breaking an established law
Why is Civic Virtue Important?When a society exists that prioritizes individual freedom of choice over government control of its citizens, then CV is essential.In such societies CV replaces the dictatorial methods of totalitarian governments/societies.In such societies CV controls peoples behavior instead of the government controlling peoples behavior.
Who is responsible?
The Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the Dutch, all lost their public spirit, their republican principles and habits, and their republican forms of government when they lost the modesty and domestic virtues of their women. The foundations of national morality must be laid in private families. In vain are schools, academies, and universities instituted, if loose principles and licentious habits are impressed upon children in their earliest years. The mothers are the earliest and most important instructors of youth.President John Adams Quote
Letter from Mary Morris to Catherine Livingston (1780)Since liberty is never sure until virtue reigns triumphant the stability of the liberties of this country rests with you.
It rests with us women to make this retreat from the corruptions of Europe peaceful and happy by banishing from it those crimes and corruptions, which have never yet failed to give rise to tyranny or anarchy. While you thus keep our country virtuous, you maintain its independence.
A.J. Graves Quote (1814)Home is her appropriate sphere of action; and that whenever she neglects these duties, or goes out of this sphere she is deserting the station God and nature have assigned her to train up good citizens.
Discourse on Female Influence Jonathan Stearns (1820)Ladies, it is for you to decide if we shall be a nation of refined and high minded Christians, or whether, rejecting the civilities of life, and throwing off the restraints of morality and piety, we shall become a fierce race of semi-barbarians, before whom neither order, nor honor, nor chastity can stand.
The Civic Virtues
ResponsibilityThe ability to choose for oneself between right and wrong; the ability to answer for ones conduct and obligations.
InitiativeIndependent of outside influence or control; and introductory step; energy and aptitude displayed in initiation of action.
IntegrityAdherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; firm adherence to a code
Always do right - this will gratify some and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain
RespectAn act of giving particular attention, to hold in high or special regard, to honor or hold in high esteem.
JusticeThe quality of being impartial or fair; the administration of equitable law.
JusticeJustice is the end of government, it is the end of civil society.James Madison, 4th President of the USA
ModerationThe quality of being moderate; avoidance of extremes or excesses; restraint
If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please. - Epictetus, Greek Philosopher
Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice. - Thomas Paine (1737-1809)Moderation
Perseverance The act, condition, or instance of persevering; to persist in an undertaking despite opposition or discouragement.
CourageMental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Which virtue is addressed in each quote?Treat your fellow human being fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies, no ridiculous fears, no debilitating anger. -- Bill Bradley (Prof. Basketball player and US Senator)
Name the virtue. . .It is the sign of a great mind to dislike greatness, and prefer things in measure to things in excess. Seneca, Roman Philosopher & Politician
You gain strength and confidence with every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. -- Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady
Name that virtue . . . The consciousness of having discharged that duty which we owe to our country is superior to all other considerations. -- George Washington, First President of USA
Inspiration arrives as a packet of material to be delivered. John Updike, author & Pulitzer Prize winner
Fulfilling the PurposeReview: the common purpose of ALL civic virtues is: to decrease the likelihood that American citizens will choose corrupt means to achieve success.
So lets take a look at how each of the civic virtues we identified aids in fulfilling this purpose.
ResponsibilityReview: When a society exists that prioritizes individual freedom of choice over government control of its citizens then CVs control peoples behavior instead of the government controlling peoples behavior.Fulfilled: When one is willing and able to accept responsibility for ones actions then accountability/responsibility become tools that assist individuals in controlling their actions and allow the government to remain absent from such individual/societal control.
InitiativeFulfilled: When an individual steps up to take action on what he/she believes is right, despite outside influence that individual displays the willingness to expose corruption even when the masses are not willing to do so.
IntegrityFulfilled: By adhering to a moral or ethical code an individual shows that he/she is capable of controlling his/her actions and of making ethical choices. This person does what is right simply because it is the right thing to do and does not need outside incentives in order to do so, allowing the government to limit interference in our lives. How?
Government incentives for making lawful choices:Most often the government provides incentive in the form of negative consequences. You choose to do what is right in order to avoid the consequence of choosing what is wrong.Speeding tickets, fines, public service, etc.
Can you imagine living in a country where . . .disobeying your parents was against the law?Lying was against the law?People served jail time for creating a policy that many viewed as unfair? the government publicly punished people who committed adultery?
RespectFulfilled: Since we all want to be respected it motivates us to act in a manner that will command the respect of others.
Our desire to be respected influences our decisions.
JusticeFulfilled: Making decisions and forming opinions that are fair and unbiased is a means of gaining respect.What you may desire as an individual may not be what is fair for the larger group thus your desire to be just will guide you away from corrupt decisions.
ModerationFulfilled: If Americans prioritized and valued all things in excess it would lead to selfish decisions and would limit an individuals desire to sacrifice for the greater good.Practicing moderation develops a selfless character that is less likely to choose his/her own desires over the good of the group.
PerseveranceFulfilled: If all individuals persevered toward success instead of taking the easy way out, then fewer unethical decisions would be made.Through perseverance we learn to work for what we have and not steal it from others.
CourageFulfilled: Like initiative, courage is essential to the ability of a society to stand up against corruption even when it is not easy. Those who take initiative also possess the courage to do so.
Why do the following choices disappoint us?Civic Virtues in action
Professional baseball players choosing to use steroids.
Why will Pete Rose never be put into the Hall of Fame?
Why was President Clinton impeached for having an affair?
Why do Americans care if Tiger Woods cheats on his wife?
Why do pol