On the Need to Call Evil Good

Quote of the Day for Wednesday, December 8th, 2010:

Robert R. Reilly, concluding a smart essay originally published by the National Review in November 1996, entitled “Culture of Vice”, which discusses the psychological origins of moral disorders that threaten whole cultures:

Controversies about life, generation, and death are decisive for the fate of any civilization. A society can withstand any number of persons who try to advance their own moral disorders as public policy. But it cannot survive once it adopts the justification for those moral disorders as its own. This is what is at stake in the culture war.

Reilly does a terrific job in a short space of exposing the process that moves inexorably  from personal immorality, toward a society-wide capitulation to systemic evil, skirting cognitive dissonance on its way.

With rare exception, the human person is not much capable of embracing evil per se. In the absence of a will to pursue righteousness through the inculcation of virtue, he will not only rationalize his personal immorality, but will ultimately be satisfied with nothing short of a social affirmation of the “goodness” of his immorality – even to the point of overturning the public moral order. Un-resisted personal vice, in other words, eventually demands the destruction of the good in the public sphere.

Well worth reading.

HT to James V. Schall, posting at The Catholic Thing, for the link.