Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Destructive Virtue

I believe there is a virtue alive and well in our culture that is destroying us. It has come to dominate the social, religious, moral, political and legal landscapes and is by its very nature corroding the fabric of our souls. The virtue of Tolerance is killing us.

I of course mean Tolerance in terms understood by the majority of our culture today: it is the state of character where we put up with any behavior or belief and consider it morally OK as long as it is not intolerant. One might dispute my use of “virtue” to describe Tolerance, but I use it because that is exactly how it is understood today. To not draw real moral distinctions or to avoid moral judgment altogether are traits of character prized in our milieu.

The reason it is so corrosive is it allows a person to feel virtuous while at the same time leading a life of debauchery and general engagement in vice. All we need now to be good people is Tolerance. As long as we do not judge the actions and beliefs of others, we can do what we please with ourselves and be good. Living my life is now a matter of narcissistic pragmatism, and I am now justified in pursuing every whim as long as I allow you to do the same.

Chastity is no longer a virtue to us. Intellectual Honesty isn’t either. We will look long and hard to find the virtues of Moderation, Courage (especially the moral variety), Patience, and Hope. Love is a sickly and sycophantic shadow of its real self. And good luck finding the value we place in the virtue of real, objective and world-engaging Faith.

You are good as long as you are Tolerant.

But express a second of moral clarity, an ounce of judgment for evil, and you are no longer worthy of our culture’s approbation. As soon as real evil and real sin is labeled as such, Tolerance will come crashing down around you.

We are allowing ourselves to be rusted from the inside out, and our Brave New Virtue is doing it to us.

No comments: