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Virtue is Strength

If you had to define virtue in one word it would be “strength.” In English we use the same root word when we say virility. Virility means a special kind of power. So does virtue.

The Stoic School teaches that strength is a good thing. This is basic to human nature and Nature in general. Nature rewards the strongest in a species with survival and progeny. Nature is a place of struggle. The earth is a place where all animals must exert constant activity to live and must exercise great strength to get ahead. Those who lose their energy fall behind and perish. 

Human society also rewards athletes of great strength or speed. You don’t find yourself wishing you were weaker, do you? 

But, the Stoic School teaches about a strength more powerful than muscles.

First, think about an army. History shows that the most athletic soldiers do not always win. A smaller army with better strategy and equipment often defeats a larger force. Why? Second, a runner or boxer who has beaten a certain opponent previously might lose to him during the Olympics because the opponent trained harder and kept a stricter diet. Third, a weaker army can rout a greater one when the stronger flees the battle field.  Fourth, The ancient play The Suppliants by Euripides illustrates a special kind of power. In the play, the women have no physical power to retrieve the bodies of their dead loved ones who were killed in a battle, because the victors wanted them to rot in the open and be eaten by animals, so what mysterious strength empowered the mothers, wives, and daughters to win?

Our cultural grandparents called the first kind of strength “Wisdom,” the second “Temperance,” the third “Courage,” and the fourth “Justice.”

1) Wisdom is “being smart,” “thinking things through,” “making good decisions.” 

2) Temperance is self-control, self-discipline, and the ability to choose the difficult path that is good rather than the easy paths that are bad.

3) Courage means fortitude, bravery in the face of danger and pain, and risking personal safety, wealth, and reputation in the interest of something more noble.

4) Justice is doing the right thing, recognizing a higher morality than even human laws, and successfully harmonizing with Nature rather than only reading and talking about it.

The Stoic School teaches that the purpose of human life is Virtue. 

Even in human society, Nature requires constant energy to live, to be healthy, to be wise, to control yourself, to be brave, and to be fair to all.

An evidence that Nature intends mankind to be virtuous is that Nature gave humanity the potential for all these strengths. We know of no other creatures with the potential to develop the four Cardinal Virtues as we mean them here. Nature has attributes that can only be understood by those who practice wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. We live in Nature more and more only as we grow in Virtue more and more. 

Another indication that Virtue is our purpose in life is that virtues bind us in stronger friendship with our fellow citizens, our friends, and our family. We are political animals. Nature provides no other species with a social structure anything like human society. There are no other species with commerce, technology, musical instruments, clothing, conversations, etc. anything like human society. But, along with our need to socialize in our uniquely human way, we see that virtue is what binds us together in the bonds of good faith necessary to produce thriving human societies. Individuals who practice Virtue are bound with their friends in stronger bonds of friendship and are praiseworthy among their countrymen. Those who practice vice suffer in their public and private relationships.

We call Wisdom, Temperance, Courage, and Justice the Cardinal Virtues. They remind us of the cardinal directions North, South, East, and West. With only four directions you can get from wherever you are to wherever you need to be in two-dimensional space.  In life, you need a different dimension of directions – virtues.

With the Cardinal Virtues, you can get from any circumstance you are in to where you need to be. The four virtues form a coordinate system that surely navigates you through your entire life, with “magnetic north” being the Good. Whatever crisis or reversal befalls you, the way to maintain happiness and to get where you need to be is always a combination of these four virtues.

The mother of all the virtues is Gratitude. All virtues are a combination of Wisdom, Temperance, Courage, and Justice, and those Cardinal Virtues come from Gratitude. Wisdom, Temperance, Courage, and Justice are the natural response to gratitude for what Nature has done for us, what our friends have done for us, and what our country has done for us.

On Judge Roy Moore

- by Cicero

It is clear to anyone honest that Roy Moore is a person of integrity in that he sticks to his values even when it might hurt his fortune or sacred reputation.

Now, let’s discuss whether America is committed to the rule of law or not.

1) Apparently, only the allegations about a 14-year-old girl would involve anything illegal. Many find a 30-something-year-old man dating a 16-year-old-girl repugnant. Nevertheless, we are a nation of laws, and if the law allows that girl to consent and a man of that greater age to pursue her, that means the people of that state do not agree that it is repugnant. We go down a very dangerous path nationally, when we begin to crucify people for doing something legal.

2) Any inconsistencies in Roy Moore’s comments are not under oath. The media often succumb to the arrogance that everybody needs to tell them everything about their life even if it was 40 years ago and they are not proud of it and they have changed their ways for the past 30 years or so. The media is not the Constitutional forum where citizens must tell the most painful things in their life to the public, thank God. America has decided that forum is our judicial system where Mr. Moore can face his accusers, and both parties are put under legally binding oaths to God to tell the whole truth, etc. Isn’t that the kind of society we all want to live in? The media has no claim to that sacred information. The First Amendment freedom of speech is completely different from the Article III jurisprudence and the judicial systems of the several states. Please remember, neither Mr. Moore nor his accusers have said anything under oath. A word to the wise is enough.

3) Please consider the crowd trying to burn Mr. Moore at the stake. McCain, McConnell, Shumer, the DNC, establishment RNC, and others who are under investigation for current ongoing high crimes constitute a crowd that should give the intellectually honest pause. There are critical times in a nation’s history when the continuation of freedom outweighs things one individual did once or twice 40 years ago. In other words, will the other senatorial candidate do better for America in DC? Isn’t the choice of who will represent Alabama in the US Senate entirely and only up to the people of Alabama? America has committed itself to an affirmative answer to that question. When politicians or media from outside of Alabama try to decide who should represent Alabama in Washington, wise people see a red flag – a big Marxist red flag. This is not like the Left’s, “the end justifies the means.” This is what American culture and the philosophy of Stoicism talk about as forgiveness. Crucifying a person for what they have not done for 40 years is merciless and unforgiving, and the West’s Sacred Bible as well as Stoic texts teach that we will be forgiven as we forgive others, particularly when no law was broken, but also even when laws might have been. American laws codify this concept via statutes of limitation.

The West has developed a very good systematic method to get to the bottom of corruption, vice, and slander. It is nothing new that people have tried to use our political offices for vice. The West is the best in adjudicating these important issues. For more than 23 centuries, the free West has been the best in overcoming these things successfully. What we have developed is a judicial system that works amazingly well almost all the time. The Stoic School continues to refine the process, but the West’s judicial system is the best among mankind even now, although it can improve.

A word to the wise: the media is not the forum for criminal justice. The judicial system is fully competent to sort these things out. One might pause and give thought to why none of the accusers of Mr. Moore have filed law suits in our judicial system. Things that make you go hmm … 

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