VIRTURE--PUBLIC AND PRIVATE by Richard John--Ed. Neuhaus


Email this review


Four essays from a conference on virtue sponsored by the Rockford Institute Center on Religion and Society, along with a summary of conference proceedings. Like all such gatherings, this one provokes both yawns and applause (a bit more of the latter, thank goodness). All the participants seem to share a religious view of life and a concern over the erosion of moral standards in modern society. James Billington of the Woodrow Wilson International Institute for Scholars rambles on about the collapse of the family, the need for better role models, the lack of belief in an objective moral order. Oberlin's Gilbert Meilaender writes on the relationship between character and virtue and on the tension between public and private ethics. ""On Law and Virtue"" is a splendid piece by Robert E. Rodes, Jr. of Notre Dame that resurrects the idea that the law is a vehicle for leading people to virtue. SUNY's Bernard Semmel wonders how modern democracies can reconcile majority rule and the sustenance of public virtue. In sum, some sparkling wine, some flat soda pop. One question unwittingly raised here: how can people be so dull when discussing subjects as peppery as virtue and vice?

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Eerdmans