“The wider culture needs virtue education, because a free society relies on certain bedrock moral principles being inculcated and incarnated,” says Josh Herring in this week’s Acton Commentary.
We need business men, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, and grocers who act with the honesty which allows the free market to thrive. Virtue, character, ethics – these things matter profoundly, and it is one of the tasks of education to transfer the system of values from one generation to the next.
And yet, students – and often their teachers – hold to a reflexive moral relativism that makes teaching moral norms difficult. Couching the demand for honesty in the ninth commandment given to Moses is no longer a universally recognizable way to teach the next generation. In the aftermath of postmodernism’s questioning of the metanarratives that give character traits their substance, it is more difficult than ever to uphold moral standards of conduct as normative.
The full text of the essay can be found here.