Founding Fathers Quote Friday: Virtue

Favorite Founding Father's Quote Day

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.

George Washington, letter, Aug. 17, 1779. Quoted in Maxims of Washington, “Virtue and Vice,” (1942).

Why is this generally true? Because our virtue always consists in acting on principle, even when it is not immediately beneficial; and so it is always assailed by the promise of instant gratification.

A twentieth-century author, Natalie Clifford Barney, wrote, “Most virtue is a demand for greater seduction.”
The unprincipled people who hold to “virtue” are holding out for a bigger bribe, or more likely, they already have their reward in the form of superficial praise and an inflated ego. That outward form of virtue is not what we aspire to.

That phony kind of virtue has led many “conservatives” astray during the administration of George Bush. They supposedly believed in the virtue of limited federal government, until more money was offered to them and their buddies. Then, all of a sudden, federal debt and radical intervention became “necessary.” Basically, anyone who calls themselves a “conservative Republican” right now looks like a complete idiot, all because of their fake virtue.


3 thoughts on “Founding Fathers Quote Friday: Virtue

  1. This, unfortunately, is too true. I’ve observed this process for many years, and call it “The Day of Visitation.” God orchestrates circumstances to test someone’s depth of commitment, forcing them off the fence. In my experience, most people jump off the wrong side.

    To “bigger bribes” I would also add fear as a motivating factor. Some cannot be bribed, but they can be threatened. Witness the House that was threatened with martial law if they didn’t pass the bailout.

    Excellent post. Thanks.

  2. Oh, this is so true. But how thankful we can be that George Washington had sufficient virtue!

    This is really the test, isn’t it? How few believe that virtue is its own reward. It surely does not reward the baser passions!

    Thanks for posting.

    Happy FFQF!

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