Useless Virtue

Whether a quality counts as virtue is dependent upon the possessor of that quality. In the human however the thought occurs to me more and more that the virtuous man is useless.

I don’t really mean that in an absolute way. What I mean is that, the virtuous man is not a slave. He is generous, but he gives freely, he cannot be coerced. By not being a slave he is useless, which is to say he is unexploitable. No man is really unexploitable, but equally no man is the pinnacle of virtue either. This side of heaven we make do with striving and approximations.

The uselessness of virtue is why there is so little of it in modern society. Virtue being unexploitable can in it’s increase only increase inefficiency. By cultivating vice we make men with all kinds of vulnerabilities that can be used to make them do societies bidding. This seems like a good thing, because society is good (genuinely) but a society made up of vicious (though wonderfully useful) men is not a good society. “Greed is good” as a doctrine really does raise the GDP, but in the process it turns men into civilised and domesticated demons and society into a mere trough for the swine.

Things are not as bad as that because no man is truly completely vicious either, barring some strange genetic defect perhaps. We may strive for vice to increase efficiency and accelerate the circuit of currency, but man looks back to paradise and upward to heaven even without any words for such things.

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One comment on “Useless Virtue

  1. Agon says:

    “man looks back to paradise and upward to heaven even without any words for such things.”

    Yes. Funny that we live in a society where men feel inadequate if they’re unable to live up to the standard of vice.

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