The return of virtue

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, DEC. 2-3 - This Thursday, Nov. 23 2017 photo, shows the exterior of the historic Epsom Bible Church, moved to its current location in 2007 next to the town library, in Epsom, N.H. The same year it was moved, a New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program grant helped make significant improvements to the building, often referred to as the meetinghouse. (Elizabeth Frantz/The Concord Monitor via AP)

Photo by: Elizabeth Frantz ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, DEC. 2-3 – This Thursday, Nov. 23 2017 photo, shows the exterior of the historic Epsom Bible Church, moved to its current location in 2007 next to the town library, in Epsom, N.H. The same year it was moved, a New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program grant helped make significant improvements to the building, often referred to as the meetinghouse. (Elizabeth Frantz/The Concord Monitor via AP)

By Cal Thomas

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Rarely has the idiom “virtue is its own reward” looked better than it does in light of the sex scandals sweeping the nation. The so-called “prudishness,” of a previous generation and the respect most men were once taught to have for women — and which Hugh Hefner and his disciples of “free love” mocked — are looking better with each passing day.

Conservatives have been told they can’t impose their morality on others, so how is its opposite working out for individuals and the culture?

Washington Post columnist Christine Emba writes, “Now could be the time to reintroduce virtues such as prudence, temperance, respect and even love.”

“What’s love got to do with it?” asked Tina Turner? Everything. If you love somebody or something — from institutions, to people — you are bound to treasure them, as opposed to what you dislike, don’t respect and treat like a disposable item that is useful for the moment, but is discarded when it has served your purpose.

Who decided traditional virtues were no longer viable and should not be taught to schoolchildren? Was a study conducted that found young people were being damaged from learning how to live and respect one another? Were they expected to catch these virtues on their own without guidance from elders? If so, why do we teach table manners, not interrupting when someone else is talking, sharing and many other things to counter what our lower nature doesn’t teach us?

The idea behind virtue being its own reward is that people who pursue virtue enjoy a layer of protection from the sins now being exposed in so many, from Washington to Hollywood and in between. People who are faithful to their spouses in marriage, honest in their financial dealings, respected for their character and integrity in public and in private don’t have to worry about being “embarrassed and ashamed,” as Sen. Al Franken said of his behavior toward some women.

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