Core Values » Core Value #2 – Public and Private Virtue

Core Value #2 – Public and Private Virtue

How ought one to act? Philosophers, poets, and religious writers have studied this question for thousands of years and have come to remarkably similar conclusions. Correct or proper action is termed “moral.” Moral excellence is called virtue.  The foundation of the word, virtue, is strength. Virtue is an inner commitment and voluntary outward obedience to principles of truth and moral law. Virtue is readily learned, loved, and best nurtured while in our youth. Specific private moral virtues include 1) justice, 2) wisdom, 3) courage, 4) temperance, 5) reverence, 6) prudence, 7) charity, 8) integrity, and 9) honesty. The foundations of our republic are morality and virtue, which when practiced produces unqualified integrity. John Adams said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Our scholars embrace these virtues and seek to incorporate them in the John Adams Academy community through which these virtues are developed and expressed. Public virtue is the voluntary sacrifice or subjugation of personal wants for the greater good of the community. George Washington exhibited this when he allowed himself to be called out of retirement three separate times to serve our country. Thomas Jefferson referred to such people as a “natural aristocracy.” It was a nobility of virtue, talent, honesty, integrity, and patriotism, the absolute opposite of an artificial aristocracy, which most often is built on avarice, power, and birth.