June 22, 2004

Promoting Virtue II

SDB just put up his promoting virtue piece and has sufficiently adjusted his model of three women that I withdraw my previous suggestion to bump it to four. RTWT

It was SDB's original construct of Alice (where I thought he was too hard on the poor girl) that I was worried about. There is a rare case that is utterly impossible to create via human external action. This is the case where there is simply no temptation, not even in the most appealing circumstance. Alice, Betty, and Cathy can all shift to this fourth state, called sainthood by Christians. The historical ranks of the saints are mostly drawn from the Cathys of the world who work up to it but the Alices can have it from the start and the Bettys can reform and stick to it.

As I said, it is an utterly useless state when thinking about the promotion of virtue as there is no human method to prevent fleeting temptations that are not acted on, only divine intervention can accomplish that. It is the end state that all should aspire to and far too few actually achieve.

A society of saints makes a lot of things we normally worry about irrelevant. Saints don't lie, cheat, steal, or shirk so even the most defective of economic and political arrangements can work in a society exclusively made up of saints. Of course, utopians are always populating their imaginary societies with saints as it makes thinking up novel social arrangements much easier.

But in the real world, there is no reliable method to produce them. You just hope for them and try to shift as many people over to Cathy status as possible because the chance of Cathy moving to sainthood is somewhat larger and being a Cathy is a pretty good thing in itself.

Posted by TMLutas at June 22, 2004 07:45 AM