Sunday, February 11, 2024

What U.S. Citizens Need to Study


What US Citizens Need to Study

Peter Schultz


            Here is an interesting sentence from Peter Dale Scott’s book, The Road to 9/11: “I do believe that U.S. citizens should study Germany in the 1930s, to see how a civilized nation, under stress, momentarily lost track of its inherent moral virtues and lapsed into a disastrous course of repression, xenophobia, and ultimately war.” [243]


            Two thoughts: (1) The Germans’ moral virtues were not “inherent.” Perhaps no moral virtues are “inherent.” Perhaps they are all constructed as habits, offsetting vices which may be inherent. Question: which are inherent, vices or virtues?


            (2) What if it was the Germans’ moral virtues, their desire to regain them, to display them, to fortify and to demonstrate they possessed them, that led them to embrace “repression, xenophobia, and war?”


            Didn’t Americans, post-9/11, embrace “repression, xenophobia, and war” to prove that they were virtuous and to display those virtues via the War on Terror? So perhaps what U.S. citizens should study is moral virtue itself, so as to understand what it is and what it isn’t.


            Question: Is understanding moral virtue more important than being morally virtuous?

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