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Analysis / Virtue/Vice Codification

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It can be argued that virtues belong to one or more of three broader categories: utilitarian virtues, social virtues and moral virtues.

  • Utilitarian virtues are virtues that increase personal ability to interact with the world in order to further one's personal or collective goals. Examples include courage and diligence. Due to the fact that these virtues do not necessarily deal with morality directly, they may be Evil Virtues. These are the virtues that work together to form effectuality.
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  • Social virtues are virtues that help people get along with one another harmoniously. Examples include friendliness and trust. As with utilitarian virtues, these may be Evil Virtues, since purely social virtues may come to overshadow moral ones. These virtues work together to form harmony.
  • Moral virtues are virtues that seem to carry some sort of (often subjective) intrinsic moral value, even when the aforementioned two dimensions are not considered. Examples include honesty and respect. The most controversial virtues often fall within this category, due to the intrinsic subjectivity of morality. These are the virtues that work together to form goodness.

A virtue need not carry connotations in only one of these dimensions. For example, the virtue of respect can at the same time be regarded as a social and a moral virtue, while the virtue of mirth can be regarded as dealing with all three.


Some gender theorists, notably Mary Wollstonecraft, have argued that the leading cause of sexism is the traditional emphasis on utilitarian virtues for males, and social virtues for females. This creates a deep identity schism, leading to all sorts of unsubstantiated prejudices about both genders.

Below follows a list of virtues that have been identified in various works throughout history. As the list is fairly long, it has been broken down into categories based on which of the three dimensions mentioned above the virtues seem to deal with.

Sometimes a few links are listed after a virtue definition. These point to public works that someone thought give a particular good and concise example or illustration of this virtue.

The list is available as a venn diagram here.

    open/close all folders 

    Primarily utilitarian virtues 
  • Courage. Synonymous with valor. The ability to overcome fear by channeling it in a constructive direction. Opposite of cowardice.
  • Determination. Strength of conviction. The ability to hold fast to one's convictions even in the face of adversity. Opposite of irresolution. Suitably tempered with open-minded rationality.
  • Diligence. The strength to not give up or fail when facing hardship. Rough opposite of defeatism.
  • Discipline. The ability to set aside emotional impulses in the interests of furthering one's goals. Opposite of impulsivity.
  • Fortitude. Closely related to strength, but with a more mental emphasis. The strength of maintaining integrity in the face of adversity. Opposite of frailty.
  • Frugality. Closely related to chastity, but more economical in focus. The ability of householding one's worldly assets with wisdom and temperance. Opposite of lavishness.
  • Orderliness. The ability to arrange one's circumstances in an organized manner in the interests of efficiency. Opposite of confusion or disorganization.
  • Resourcefulness. The ability to come up with creative solutions to problems by "thinking outside of the box". Opposite of hideboundness.
  • Strength. Closely related to fortitude, but with a more physical emphasis. The ability to retain one's motivation in the face of hardship. This includes but is not limited to physical strength. Opposite of weakness.
  • Tenacity. Basically synonymous with diligence, with slightly more emphasis on the long term. Rough opposite of defeatism.
  • Valor. Synonymous with courage. Opposite of cowardice.
  • Vigilance. The habit of keeping alert for external threats towards one's interests. As a virtue, slightly controversial since it can easily turn into paranoia if unchecked, leading to needless social tension. Opposite of heedlessness.

    Primarily social virtues 
  • Beauty. The aspiration to uphold and express a sense of aesthetics through one's person and environs. As a virtue, should be interpreted in a much wider sense than merely personal comeliness. Rather controversial partially due to the subjective nature of beauty, but it is hard to argue that there is anything wrong with trying to attain beauty, as long as it does not interfere with more morally relevant interests, as Evil Virtues might. Ties in closely with creativity. Opposite of homeliness. All forms of etiquette are included in the domain of this virtue, except modesty (see below). Also includes courteousness, being a form of etiquette.
  • Creativity. The ability to convey one's emotions through artistic expression. Ties in closely with beauty. Opposite of insipidity.
  • Modesty. The inclination and ability to suppress impulses to emphasize one's strengths in social contexts. Opposite of boisterousness.

    Primarily moral virtues 
  • Autonomy. The principle of acting out of one's own moral convictions, rather than out of simple obedience to external authority. This is necessary for moral accountability. Simply acting on the whim of an external authority has been a classic way to escape responsibility and accountability for one's actions. Autonomy needs to be tempered with virtues pertaining to the collective like duty, loyalty and fidelity, but since the definition entails acting in accordance with one's moral views, as long as these values are part of one's personal ethical code, there is no contradiction. Loyalty can be evoked from autonomy as easily as from its opposite. Opposite of servility.
  • Mercy. The drive, motivated by sympathy and/or piety, to abstain from inflicting harm on other sentient beings. Opposite of mercilessness.

    Utilitarian/social virtues 
  • Ambition. The motivation to strive towards one's goals. This may in turn be motivated by personal satisfaction, societal glory or material gain. The version that is motivated exclusively by the last of these is a classic Evil Virtue, see Ambition Is Evil. Opposite of lethargy.
  • Chastity. These days often misread to only mean sexual abstinence (see Ethical Slut for some thoughts on the fallacies of regarding this as a virtue), this virtue is more accurately interpreted as synonymous with temperance and self-control. It is the ability to exercise and express one's desires with constraint, weighing in the consequences of one's actions all the while. Opposite of wantonness.
  • Cheer. Closely related to mirth, this virtue has a slightly more introverted emphasis. Also closely related to hope, on which it usually depends. May seem oddly placed in a listing of virtues since the classical view is that we can do little to affect our emotional outlook. Once we realize that optimism and pessimism are largely a matter of perspective however, it becomes more relevant. It is the ability and will to recover from negative outlooks in order to retain one's integrity. Opposite of cheerlessness.
  • Flexibility. Closely related to open-mindedness. The willingness to change one's habits once convinced of their futility. Opposite of stubbornness.
  • Hope. The ability to retain a sense of purpose through a sense that one's situation can be improved. Opposite of despair.
  • Industriousness. The practice of engaging in activities that further personal and collective goals in a constructive fashion. Opposite of passivity.
  • Joy. Synonymous with cheer. Opposite of cheerlessness.
  • Open-mindedness. Closely related to flexibility. The willingness to let go of one's convictions or views when confronted with greater evidence against them. Opposite of bullheadedness or close-mindedness.
  • Rationality. The ability to apply principles of logic and scientific methodology to problems. May at first seem to be at odds with virtues like faith, but they concern completely discrete domains of speculation. While rationality deals with the realm of observable phenomena, i.e the empirical world, faith deals with anything that lies outside this domain, like philosophy. It is not possible to prove a philosophy, it is only possible to believe in it. Opposite of irrationality.
  • Self-control. See chastity. Opposite of wantonness.
  • Sobriety. Like chastity, this virtue carries modern misleading connotations. As a virtue, it is synonymous with temperance and self-control, like chastity. Opposite of wantonness.
  • Solidarity. The insight that one can accomplish much more in union with others with whom interests are shared than alone, through the means of organization and co-operation. Opposite of self-sufficiency. ([1])
  • Temperance. Synonymous with chastity (in the original, non-sexual sense, see the definition above). Opposite of wantonness.

    Social/moral virtues 
  • Charity. Synonymous with generosity. The will to give of oneself and one's own property to help satisfy the greater need of another. Opposite of stinginess (in the specific sense unwillingness to give). Worth noting is that greed is not an exact opposite of this virtue. The opposite of greed would rather be the satisfaction to lead one's own life with a minimum of personal property. This has seldom been called out as a virtue in western culture, for some reason.
  • Compassion. The ability to sympathize emotionally and relate to another's ordeal. Presupposes empathy, but the inverse does not apply. Opposite of indifference.
  • Fairness. A sense of personal justice. The practice of adjusting one's reciprocal treatment of others in response to their behaviour toward oneself and others. Also entails impartiality, see that virtue. Opposite of unfairness.
  • Fidelity. The habit of staying true to one's previously expressed intention. This particularly includes holding one's vows and promises, but also entails striving to hold true to one's word even when no vow or promise has been made. Opposite of perfidy. The word "fidelity" today sadly carries fallacious religious connotations that are not relevant here. In this context, definition #1 as listed here (when viewed in a desktop browser) is the relevant one, although it needs to be emphasized that fidelity certainly not presupposes servility.
  • Forgiveness. The capacity to relate to the flaws of others with empathy, and forego any punitive action or attitude out of this understanding. Opposite of vengefulness.
  • Friendliness. The practice of seeking joyful harmonious relations with others. Opposite of aloofness.
  • Generosity. See charity. Opposite of stinginess (in the specific sense unwillingness to give).
  • Impartiality. The abstinence from giving arbitrary preference to one person's or group's interests over another's. Opposite of partiality. Combined with the principle of kindness, can be said to form the foundation of the ethical school of philosophy called Utilitarianism (not to be confused with "utilitarian virtues" as defined in this article, no correlation exists between the two). Can conflict with Loyalty.
  • Helpfulness. Roughly synonymous with charity and generosity, with slight emphasis on immaterial aid. Opposite of unhelpfulness.
  • Honesty. The inclination to share one's sincerely held views, with particular unwillingness to deceive. Opposite of duplicity,
  • Kindness. The habit of striving to heighten the well-being of others. Also implies mercy, and a degree of charity. Opposite of cruelty. Combined with the principle of impartiality, can be said to form the foundation of the ethical school of philosophy called Utilitarianism (not to be confused with "utilitarian virtues" as defined in this article, no correlation exists between the two).
  • Loyalty. The principle of guarding the interests of those with whom bonds of trust, affection or camaraderie have been formed. Opposite of fickleness or illoyalty. Can conflict with Impartiality.
  • Peace(fulness). The desire and ability to suppress or channel into their opposite feelings of anger, hatred, alienation and fear. Opposite of harriedness.
  • Respect. The principle of not encroaching on another's personal freedom or dignity. Opposite of disrespectfulness.
  • Reciprocity. Basically synonymous with fairness, but without the emphasis on impartiality. Opposite of irreciprocity.
  • Selflessness. The capacity to regard the interests of others as not fundamentally subordinated to one's own for any arbitrary reason. Opposite of selfishness.
  • Self-sacrifice. The capacity to make personal sacrifices in the name of one's moral convictions. Opposite of self-indulgence.
  • Steadfastness. Synonymous with fidelity. Opposite of perfidy.
  • Tolerance. The principle of reserving judgement until truly certain it is due. Opposite of prejudice.
  • Trust. Suffers a strained relationship with vigilance. The inclination to allow strangers the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming the worst about them without due cause. Also denotes having faith in the abilities and intentions of friends and allies. Opposite of mistrust, which in many ways is similar to paranoia (see vigilance).
  • Trustworthiness. The principle of safeguarding the trust placed in oneself by others. Opposite of treacherousness. Related to Fidelity, Honesty and Loyalty, but unlike the latter, does not conflict with Impartiality.
  • Understanding. The capacity to relate to the views of others with empathy. Acknowledging the similitude between oneself and others. Opposite of judgmentality.

    Utilitarian/moral virtues 
  • Passion. Deep caring. The capacity and inclination to cultivate deep and vivacious emotions. Best tempered with discipline and chastity (non-sexual, see definition above). Opposite of apathy.
  • Purpose. Forming and maintaining a personal goal, or adopting and maintaining a collective one. Opposite of disorientation or fecklessness.

    Utilitarian/social/moral virtues 
  • Camaraderie. The willingness to form social bonds based on affection and habit of facing joy and hardship together with friends rather than alone. Needs to be tempered with independence, see below. Opposite of severance.
  • Duty. A sense of obligation to those with whom bonds of trust and loyalty have been formed. Closely related to loyalty, but also includes an element of industriousness in the name of the collective. Opposite of negligence.
  • Humility. A realistic view of one's own limitations and place in the world, while at the same time possessing a true sense of one's own worth. This need not imply acceptance, unless one truly knows that one's lot cannot be changed. Opposite of pride or arrogance, both of which denote having an inflated sense of self-worth. Can also be regarded to be at odds with meekness, which is having a deflated sense of the same. A "golden mean" virtue.
  • Independence. The abstinence from relying on others for the solution of problems that are more prudently dealt with by oneself in solitude. Opposite of dependency. Can be viewed as synonymous with self-sufficiency but that also carries problematic negative connotations, see solidarity.
  • Mirth. Closely related to cheer but includes an element of sharing of one's joy through laughter or playful activity. Often follows cheer naturally and without further effort. Can also be simulated even when down in order to safeguard the cheer of others. Finding cheer for oneself is of course the preferred route to expressing mirth, however, since simulation of emotions in the long run is both exhausting and insincere. Opposite of glumness. ([2])
  • Patience. The acceptance of the fact that things, including understanding, takes time, and the ability to suppress negative reactions that arise when the wait takes longer than initially expected. At first may seem trivial in a list of virtues, but it is truly of profound weight in order to avoid needless social tensions. And, as is well known, social tensions have a way of snowballing... Opposite of impatience.
  • Prudence. The practical wisdom to distinguish between constructive and non-constructive action. Opposite of recklessness.
  • Responsibility. Can in one sense be regarded as a synonym of duty. In another, it means having prudently analyzed the possible consequences of one's actions beforehand, weighing them into the decision. Also implies not shying from one's own responsibility for said consequences when they happen. Opposite of irresponsibility.
  • Sincerity. Closely related to honesty. The drive to fully acknowledge one's deeper motivations, and not hiding them from trusted others. May lead one from a destructive path to a constructive one, hence the utilitarian implication. Opposite of delusionality. ([3])

    Vaguely defined, self-implied or very controversial virtues 
  • Benevolence. If regarded as a virtue, it would be a virtue that simply instructs us to be good. Not only is this self-implied, but it undermines the point of defining morality in terms of virtue in the first place.
  • Chivalry. A broad, somewhat loosely defined virtue roughly consisting of a combination of courage, duty, self-sacrifice and courteousness (which can be regarded as a brand of beauty). Overall too complex to be rhetorically or pedagogically useful as a virtue. Can be used in storytelling for narrative colour, though.
  • Equality/Egalitarianism - An extremely controversial societal virtue due to Unfortunate Implications. The simple fact is that some people are always going to be better at a given thing than other people, whether you are talking about singing or making money. While many people conflate the two concepts, fairness and egalitarianism are in fact often mutually exclusive. In the simplest scenario, one can only give all people an equal chance to succeed by penalizing those with advantages or giving unfair advantages to the less able and one can only be truly fair by allowing unfettered exploitation of any advantage. In reality, there are situations where equality is preferable to fairness, and in others, fairness dictates that people can only be equal in the sense that the same rules apply to everyone.
  • Faith. A complicated virtue, covering the inclination to form opinions or beliefs about the non-empirical domains of existence, to find value in things that have no obvious utilitarian value, to trust that things beyond ones control are not actively malevolent, and that there are answers and reasons for everything. Listed as highly controversial because conclusions about non-empirical matters are intrinsically subjective, and some believe that there is no intrinsic moral value in believing in things that cannot be proven. When faith refuses to acknowledge empirical evidence it is no longer faith in its uncorrupted sense, but rather irrationality. Even a purely materialistic scientist, however, must have faith that the scientific method and empirical evidence can allow further understanding of the universenote , and that this knowledge has value beyond the practical. Morality itself is also a subjective value, and morality based purely on empirical evidence tends towards becoming a Cold Equation focused on providing the most benefit at the most efficient price. See reverence, hope, and trust which have similarities, but are more narrow in focus.
  • Honor. This virtue is often included in virtue-ethical systems, but very rarely elaborated on in detail. It appears to be a form of aggregation of duty, loyalty and responsibility, with a slight emphasis on the societal glory that rewards these virtues. Like chivalry, problematic when used outside of storytelling due to its complexity. Also carries some problematic connotations pertaining to reputability.
  • Integrity. The state and quality of holding fast to one's moral beliefs. Self-implied. This is a virtue that simply tells us to be virtuous. Can turn into non-constructive willfulness if not tempered with flexibility, a willingness to compromise. Its opposing vice is hypocrisy.
  • Love. Another complex concept. Best dealt with by looking at the separate aspects individually.
    • Storge. Familial affection. Closely related to loyalty and duty, but of course with added emotional implications. It is hard to ascribe any intrinsic moral value to this affection without violating the virtue of impartiality, however, since we do not normally choose our family, nation, etc.
    • Phileo. Friendship. The affection implied here is more morally relevant, since we may actively seek the friendship of those who we deem worthy of it. This is basically a combination of camaraderie and reciprocity.
    • Eros. Romantic affection. Somewhat relevant in relation to the virtue of passion (allowing oneself strong feelings) but otherwise not morally relevant, for the same reason as storge. A classic Evil Virtue, see Love Makes You Evil.
    • Agape. Unconditional love. A feeling of connectedness with and sympathy for all living things. Very morally relevant, as some would argue that it is the foundation of all morality. As such, it is much too all-encompassing to be rhetorically useful as a virtue, however. Particularly closely related to compassion, especially when in synergy with impartiality.
  • Obedience. The unswerving dutifulness to political or familial authority. Deeply problematic for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has studied any contemporary history whatsoever. History is ripe with examples of mass slaughter (wars included) and other crimes against humanity resulting simply from people being obedient to an immoral authority. Obedience ceases to be good the moment the authority toward whom it is exercised ceases to be so.
  • Patriotism. See the subtype storge of love above. Nationality has many similarities to familial bond. While a measure of loyalty is certainly called for, bringing this too far will invariably infringe on the virtue of impartiality. See loyalty for the not-necessarily-partial equivalent.
  • Piety. Basically a combination of faith and integrity. See these respective virtues for the individual reasons why each one is problematic.
  • Rectitude. Synonymous with integrity. Self-implied.
  • Righteousness. Synonymous with integrity. Self-implied.
  • Spirituality. This falls somewhere between reverence and faith in the depth of its implications. It implies deep reverence for certain immaterial phenomena (morality, for example), but does not place as heavy emphasis on arbitrary belief as faith. Still suffers from some of the same controversies as that virtue, however.
  • Wisdom. Too wide in focus and loosely defined to be useful as a virtue. Its practical side is largely represented by prudence and responsibility, while its abstract side is covered by virtues like rationality, humility and reverence in balance.

Below follows a work in progress, a speculative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of modern political ideologies in terms of virtue.

Rather than being constituted by a collection of ideas in and of itself, conservatism is characterized by a strong motivation to protect traditional views and values, whatever they may be. In this regard it can be regarded as ideologically opposed to value liberalism.

These virtues are commonly emphasized in societies with conservative leanings:

  • Chastity. Moderation in all things is a commonly held ideal of conservatives.
  • Duty. Strongly emphasized. Conservative societies often have a strong sense of patriotism. See fidelity.
  • Fidelity. Conservatives have a tendency to place high value on all moral ideals that increase reliability.
  • Humility. The will to not allow anything to upset or disturb the order of affairs in society can be viewed as rather humble. Conservatism can be seen as a "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" sort of attitude. Sometimes this is over-emphasized in order to suppress reformationist (or revolutionary) tendencies among the populace.
  • Loyalty. See fidelity.
  • Modesty. Usually a highly valued trait in conservative cultures.
  • Orderliness. The goal of conservative ideologies is usually to preserve a system of values and traditions that has been known to serve a working purpose, at least in some regards.
  • Patience. To the extent that any kind of political progression is desirable at all to the conservative, they believe it should be attained at a very slow pace.
  • Responsibility. See fidelity.
  • Reverence. Conservatives have a tendency to assign a very high value to certain elements of their culture. Whenever threats against or questioning of these elements arise, the reaction is likely to be very strong.
  • Solidarity. This is actually pretty strong in conservative cultures, where it usually springs from familial and patriotic bonds.
  • Trustworthiness. See fidelity.
  • Vigilance. A trait needed in order for conservatives to identify and respond to threats to the order of society.

These virtues often end up suppressed or overlooked in societies with conservative leanings:

  • Autonomy. Practically non-existant in most conservative societies. Obedience to authority is usually strongly emphasized, since the traditional role of executive authority is to uphold and protect cultural values.
  • Cheer. With very few exceptions, living in a conservative society is not a very enlivening experience. Cheer and mirth are often simulated and/or relegated to certain pre-scheduled holidays that carry cultural significance.
  • Creativity. Often inhibited in conservative societies for the same reason as resourcefulness.
  • Flexibility. Pretty much the antithesis of conservatism.
  • Forgiveness. Not often emphasized in conservative cultures, in part due to the view that the response against discordant elements should be swift and powerful, and partially because prejudice tends to be strong, see understanding.
  • Impartiality. A real Achilles heel of conservatism. The strong emphasis of familial and patriotic bonds places a lot of natural strain on this virtue.
  • Mercy. Problem elements are often dealt with most harshly in conservative cultures.
  • Mirth. See cheer.
  • Open-mindedness. Conservatism believes in holding fast to aged and proven ideals and ideas. From a point of view, this attitude constitutes the very opposite of open-mindedness.
  • Rationality. Can sometimes be set aside in conservative cultures due to the sceptical attitude towards open-mindedness and the strong emphasis on reverence.
  • Resourcefulness. By its very nature this virtue is a threat to conservatism. Most new innovations and ideals are likely to met with strong reactions.
  • Sincerity. Conservative attitudes frequently cement delusional views in society.
  • Tolerance. Attitudes towards deviant elements in conservative cultures tend to be very negative, often crossing over into downright punitive, even when the deviant elements cannot credibly be regarded as a threat to the culture.
  • Trust. The inherent intolerance of conservatism sometimes leads to prejudiced attitudes, becoming a real obstacle against trust of (particularly apparently deviant) strangers.

    Value liberalism 
In many ways a direct ideological opposite to conservatism, value liberalism emphasizes the value of letting cultural values and ideals evolve free from all restraint. It is marked by a "to each his own" attitude of tolerance.

These virtues are commonly emphasized in societies with value-liberal leanings:

  • Autonomy. More or less encouraged by value liberalism, although all modern liberal societies also have a code of laws to which strict adherence is required by the authorities. The laws tend to be a great deal more permissive than in conservative societies, however.
  • Beauty. Value liberalism emphasizes personal freedom of expression and tends to encourage its citizens to cultivate a personal identity.
  • Compassion. Value liberalism encourages understanding in order to cultivate tolerance. This has the added positive side effect of heightening compassion.
  • Cheer. The personal freedom afforded the individual in a liberal culture can be very liberating and emotionally stimulating.
  • Creativity. See beauty.
  • Determination. Each individual is encouraged to find his or her own personal identity, and influence society. Diversity is seen as enriching, rather than threatening or diminishing.
  • Fairness. At least in regard to the personal freedoms afforded to the individual. In the eyes of the authorities, there isn't really such a thing as "deviants".
  • Flexibility. Value liberalism regards collective values as no more than the sum of its parts, and is very open-minded about changes to these values.
  • Forgiveness. The rather tolerant attitude of value liberalism encourages forgiveness as well as understanding and acceptance of individual differences and preferences in general.
  • Honesty. This is promoted in cultures where individuals are less likely to be judged for their personal views or qualities. Slightly counteracted by the fact that society is also less likely to judge people for their dishonesty.
  • Impartiality. See fairness.
  • Independence. Value liberalism is rather individualistic in its emphasis on personal freedom. This tends to encourage independence.
  • Mirth. See cheer.
  • Open-mindedness. See flexibility.
  • Passion. Value liberal societies tend to appreciate aesthetic expression, and does not impose any limitations on what nature or depth of emotion is allowed.
  • Rationality. This tends to emerge as a very strong influence factor in value-liberal societies. Scientific methodology has an inherent power of convincing a lot of people, and the political power springing from the strength of this movement is undeniable.
  • Resourcefulness. In value-liberal societies, any solution is a good solution. Traditional views are not an issue.
  • Respect. A true cornerstone of value liberalism. Every individual is afforded a degree of personal space and freedom, and infringement or restriction of others' freedom is one of the few things truly seen in a judgmental light.
  • Sincerity. It becomes much easier to acknowledge and accept one's own deeper motivations when society will not judge you for holding them.
  • Tolerance. Another true cornerstone, if not the central doctrine, of value liberalism.
  • Trust. Tends to follow naturally from the tolerance exercised in liberal society. In some regards may even be necessary a prerequisite of it. Somewhat counteracted by the reduced trustworthiness of the average citizen, see fidelity in the list of drawbacks below.
  • Understanding. A highly valued core value of liberalism. The deepest tolerance always stems from understanding.

These virtues often end up suppressed or overlooked in societies with liberal leanings:

  • Ambition. The radically lower emphasis on societal duty removes one important source of motivation for citizens. Everyone is left to find purpose and ambition for themselves.
  • Chastity. Liberal society imposes very few restrictions on indulgence. While this is liberating, it also poses a danger to individuals who lack the ability to temper their habits.
  • Diligence. The emphasis on personal freedom may cause fickleness in citizens stemming from a lack of training in discipline.
  • Discipline. See diligence.
  • Duty. This is emphasized to a much lower degree in liberal societies than in conservative ones, leading overall to a more fickle culture.
  • Fidelity. The emphasis on personal freedom leads some people into an attitude that they are free to deceive others without inhibition, as long as no laws are broken. This does not promote trustworthiness, pushing society at large closer to the vigilance end of the vigilance vs. trust scale.
  • Fortitude. See diligence. The responsibility to cultivate the mental and physical strength needed to successfully cope with life lies solely on the individual (and sometimes his/her family and parents).
  • Frugality. Succumbing to passions and interests that are destructive is easy in liberal societies, where pretty much everything is allowed. This can lead individuals lacking in discipline or prudence to very destructive habits.
  • Industriousness. See ambition.
  • Loyalty. See duty.
  • Humility. See modesty. The constant pressure to present oneself in a positive light in liberal society can lead to an inflated sense of self-worth.
  • Modesty. Value liberal society usually gives rise to social hierarchies based on social and effectual merits. This encourages the individual to show off him- or herself in the most positive light possible, often crossing over into downright deception.
  • Orderliness. Non-liberal societies have stricter organizational hierarchies. Organization needn't always lead to efficiency, however, as most communist states in modern history have demonstrated.
  • Patience. Self-indulgence is overall far more prevalent in value liberal societies than in conservative ones. This can lead to a drastically reduced ability in the average individual to temper desires with patience and prudence.
  • Prudence. Prudential judgement is entirely left to the individual in most cases. While liberating, it sometimes causes important historical lessons learned to be forgotten. This effect can be counteracted with public education, to a degree.
  • Responsibility. The "anything goes" attitude of liberal society leads many people into an impression that they can escape any consequences for their behaviour. Sometimes they are right.
  • Solidarity. The individualistic views of liberal society can lead to an over-emphasis of independence and self-sufficiency. This makes certain types of goals harder to attain. In modern capitalistic societies this is counteracted by the economical drive to cooperate for profit.
  • Strength. See fortitude.
  • Tenacity. See diligence.
  • Trustworthiness. This can sometimes suffer from society's lowered expectations of loyalty and duty from the individual.
  • Vigilance. The tolerance in liberal societies can sometimes cause genuine threats to collective interests and health to be overlooked.

    "Laissez-faire" capitalism/Libertarianism 
Libertarianism, or as it shall henceforth be called, capitalism, places a heavy emphasis on the uninhibited right to personal possession. In capitalism, agents lay claim to resources that have not already been claimed by another agent, and from that point onward regard themselves as the rightful owners of those resources. Said resources are then often refined into more complex products, generating an even greater worth, and facilitating trade between parties.

This process is seen as largely self-regulating, and capitalistic ideologies tend to advocate minimal interference in matters of economy from the authorities. Capitalism is often coupled with value liberalism, but can function equally well in conservative cultures.

Capitalism tends to place extremely heavy emphasis on the utilitarian virtues, seeing as how these have a direct impact on personal and collective productivity. Since these virtues are classically associated with the male identity, capitalist cultures may be subject to chauvinist tendencies.

These virtues are commonly emphasized in capitalistic societies:

  • Ambition. Since there is a direct relationship between entrepreneurship and material profit in ideal capitalism, ambition is very strongly and directly motivated by the desire for personal wealth. This is one reason why capitalist societies are exceedingly productive and innovative.
  • Beauty. The more aesthetically pleasing a product is, the higher its worth. This is a principle well understood by marketing professionals.
  • Courage. Delving into previously unexplored areas of industry is frequently rewarded in capitalist society, as each new venture potentially creates a fresh niche in the market. This motivates many budding and veteran entrepreneurs to deviate from their zone of comfort.
  • Creativity. See courage.
  • Determination. All utilitarian virtues promote effectuality and are therefore of critical importance to any entrepreneur.
  • Diligence. See determination.
  • Discipline. See determination.
  • Duty. This is emphasized, and most often discussed in terms of "work morals".
  • Fairness. (Partially) Capitalism affords its citizens a measure a fairness, although this is rather limited in scope. Fairness is seen as equal opportunity, in the sense that anyone can, with exertion, rise out of poverty and attain wealth. Unrestrained capitalism has no mechanism for guaranteeing its citizens satisfaction of basic needs and dignity, however, and in reality, rising out of poverty when such needs are unmet is exceedingly difficult, bordering on the impossible. The number of homeless people and deaths resulting from poverty even in rich capitalistic nations can certainly attest to this.
  • Flexibility. Adaptability is important for any entrepreneur in order to secure and maximize profits.
  • Fortitude. See determination.
  • Frugality. This becomes theory of economics in capitalistic contexts. Extremely important for reasons that should be obvious.
  • Helpfulness. To the extent that capitalism encourages any form of charity at all, it places the emphasis on immaterial aid. "Help others help themselves" is a common capitalist mantra.
  • Hope. In many ways a winning point of capitalism. Capitalism works, to put it simply. And extremely well, at that. No other political system has generated as rapid scientific advancement and financial growth as capitalism (particularly in conjunction with value liberalism). This usually has a positive effect on the average citizen's outlook, except in periods of financial stagnation or recession.
  • Impartiality. See fairness.
  • Industriousness. A true cornerstone of all forms of entrepreneurship.
  • Loyalty. See duty.
  • Mirth. Capitalism can be pretty conducive to this, for citizens who are not trapped in poverty. Consumption can certainly improve both individual and collective moods. This even tends to give rise to a whole separate segment of the market - the entertainment industry. Some have observed that the cheer and mirth attained from consumption of entertainment seems rather short-lived, however, particularly if partaken of in solitude.
  • Orderliness. See determination.
  • Prudence. In capitalistic contexts, this denotes "smart business".
  • Purpose. Of central significance. This is the driving force that leads to the birth of new ventures.
  • Rationality. Scientific advancement is an important cornerstone of capitalistic evolvement. This has a strong promoting effect on rationality among the citizens.
  • Reciprocity. Principles of reciprocity tend to be rather strong in capitalistic society, perhaps because the notion of the mutual contract is so central.
  • Resourcefulness. See courage and determination.
  • Respect. As an ideology founded on the notion of liberty, respect is important in libertarianism.
  • Responsibility. (Partially) Ignoring the consequences of one's actions is very seldom profitable in the long run. CEO:s take great care to plan for the future, albeit usually only out of narrow self-interest. This can allow serious consequences that lie outside of this narrow scope to be overlooked.
  • Solidarity. Capitalism understands very well the value of cooperation for mutual gain. This is the fundamental principle behind the concept of the corporation.
  • Strength. See determination. In particular non-physical strength is emphasized among entrepreneurs. In other words, fortitude.
  • Tenacity. See determination.
  • Trustworthiness. Capitalistic acteurs try to simulate this, at the very least. Blatantly untrustworthy agents are quickly filtered away from the open market, by trading partners or end consumers.
  • Vigilance. The entrepreneur's view is that threats to one's ventures must be monitored and planned for beforehand. In entrepreneurial terms this is referred to as "risk-management".

These virtues often end up suppressed or overlooked in strongly capitalistic societies:

  • Camaraderie. While true friendship is certainly allowed and commonplace in capitalist culture, simulation of friendship for profit is probably even more commonplace. As a rule, simulation of something is not conducive to growth of the real thing. In this case, it raises the question of who's friendship you truly can rely on as genuine.
  • Charity. Generosity in general is not encouraged in capitalistic cultures. In fact, it is sometimes even seen as a threat, or an attempt at socialistic wealth redistribution. To the small extent that capitalism tolerates aid, the emphasis is placed on immaterial aid, see helpfulness.
  • Chastity. Capitalism not only tolerates greedy hoarding, but actually encourages it.
  • Compassion. Problematic, because sometimes immaterial aid is just not enough, see mercy below.
  • Fairness. (Partially) See fairness in the list of advantages above.
  • Friendliness. Often simulated in capitalistic culture. Trade is carried out under the guise of friendship, but underneath the surface lies a rivalry.
  • Honesty. Completely chucked out the window. You don't have to be honest about a product to sell it. Quite often the contrary. All marketing professionals understand this very well. Slightly mitigated by the fact that market actors need to uphold a guise of trustworthiness, but since this can be simulated, this is far from enough to compensate for the damage.
  • Humility. Capitalism is all about what humanity can do. While certainly inspiring, the notion that this lust for power might draw us into domains of activity better left alone (at least for the time being) is far from unrealistic. Genetic engineering provides one example of an industry where the possible consequences are notoriously hard to analyze and predict beforehand, but profit is still possible. This may well prove to be capitalism's single most fatal deficiency.
  • Kindness. Suffers from capitalism's generally strained relationship with values like charity and compassion.
  • Mercy. Unrestrained capitalism has no mechanism for guaranteeing its citizens satisfaction of basic needs and dignity. This can lead to extreme symptoms of poverty like homelessness and downright starvation, even in rich countries.
  • Modesty. Modesty is counter-productive to profit and career advancement.
  • Peacefulness. Life in capitalistic societies is generally rather stressful. This can make it harder to deal with negative emotions.
  • Responsibility. See humility and duty.
  • Reverence. Capitalism's notion that "everything has a price" carries unfortunate implications for this virtue. To the capitalist, truly nothing is sacred (except capitalism itself, in some cases). This often causes a great deal of strain between capitalistic cultures and value conservative (for example, theocratic) ones.
  • Selflessness. Actually discouraged in capitalist culture, since the desire for personal profit is regarded as the main driving force behind the financial system.
  • Self-sacrifice. See selflessness.
  • Sincerity. This often comes away with the short straw due to the general lack of focus of honesty in capitalistic culture. When dishonesty permeates society it becomes exceedingly hard to be truly honest with ones self.
  • Understanding. Suffers from capitalism's lack of focus on other "soft" values like compassion, kindness and friendliness.

    Social liberalism/Social democracy 
Social liberalism intermingles elements from value liberalism and capitalism. What distinguishes social liberalism from these ideologies is that social liberalism allows intervention from the state, particularly in matters of economy, to a much higher degree. The management and ownership of a significant sector of the industry that is deemed to be of particular importance to basic common needs, the "public sector", is more or less entrusted to the state. Areas of the market that are usually managed by the state in these societies include public transport, care for the sick and elderly, and education.

The reasoning behind this is that the normal motivator of the private market, profit, can have a destructive effect in these areas of critical public interest. Social liberal society places a heavy emphasis on human rights, and the general view in this culture is that all citizens have the right to quality health care and education (even at higher academic levels), so these services tend to be free of charge and financed by taxes. This leads to a higher tax pressure on the citizenry, obviously, and has been criticized by more radical capitalists as an example of unjust redistribution of wealth.

Social democracy, unlike social liberalism, evolved from ideological socialism/communism. Where the political schools today associated with communism, like bolshevism, leninism and stalinism decided to pursue a revolutionary agenda, social democracy instead chose a reformationist path, but the end goal was the same: the complete abolishment of capitalism and realization of a class-free society. Contemporary social democracy has abandoned this goal in all but name, however, and is these days more or less ideologically identical with social liberalism.

These virtues are particularly emphasized in social liberal societies (since it borrows elements from liberalism and capitalism, this causes some cultural impacts to be carried over from these ideologies; they are not listed again here):

  • Charity. In social liberal society this is systematized through taxpaying and the public sector. A significant part of the taxes are used to finance basic security and dignity for society's least privileged individuals.
  • Chastity. See frugality. This also has implications for chastity.
  • Compassion. Social liberal societies generally place a much higher emphasis on "soft values" like compassion and charity than libertarian ones.
  • Duty. Borrowed from communism, social liberal societies place a stronger emphasis on patriotic duty than libertarian ones. This is necessary to meet the increased tax pressure.
  • Fairness. The social liberal notion of fairness is rather schizophrenic, as it is inspired by the "equal opportunity" style of fairness of capitalism, as well as the "equal wealth" version from communism. Both definitions are valid, and relevant.
  • Frugality. This is emphasized to a higher degree due to the cost of the public sector and the increased tax pressure.
  • Helpfulness. Institutionalized particularly by the higher taxes directed towards quality education and mental health care.
  • Kindness. Institutionalized, to a degree. See helpfulness and mercy.
  • Mercy. Social liberal societies are generally much better at accommodating basic human needs for even its most impoverished citizens than purely libertarian ones.
  • Selflessness. The higher taxes require society to promote this value to a higher degree. This can be regarded as a form of patriotic duty.
  • Solidarity. The social liberal brand of solidarity includes elements borrowed from capitalistic corporatism as well as communism. Solidarity towards the state and all citizens is expected to a much higher degree in social liberal societies than in purely capitalistic ones, but the strong capitalistic elements place a heavy emphasis on corporate cooperation for mutual gain as well.
  • Understanding. Tends to flourish alongside other "soft values" like charity and compassion.

These virtues often end up suppressed or overlooked in social liberal societies (again, drawbacks inherited from capitalism or value liberalism will not be repeated):

  • Ambition. The tax pressure in social liberal societies can be seen as inhibitive to entrepreneurship, sometimes even leading entrepreneurs to move their ventures offshore to a libertarian culture in order to avoid taxes.
  • Cheer. Social liberal cultures tend to be significantly less permissive of potentially dangerous forms of entertainment, like drug consumption (including alcohol, which is rather strictly regulated in many social democracies). This can be seen as inhibitive, but has the benefit of added safety for those prone to overconsumption.
  • Independence. Some more impoverished citizens may become overly reliant on the social safety mechanisms, and start to "play the system" rather than find meaningful work that contributes to public interests.
  • Industriousness. In relation to libertarianism, anyway. See ambition.

Communism, a theory of economics in many ways diametrically opposed to libertarianism, is based on one simple doctrine: "From each according to ability, to each according to need". This describes a very ambitious, perhaps utopian, moral view that implies that citizens should be motivated to work only by patriotic duty and solidarity. Harder work is not rewarded with greater wealth (although there may be other institutions with the explicit goal of rewarding diligence), but perhaps with a better conscience. In return, society will not only supply for everyone's basic needs, but also equally distribute the surplus equally among the populace. Everyone gains from a single citizen working harder, but the inverse also applies. This leads to incredible collective pressure, but also a very strong sense of duty and solidarity.

The communist notion of fairness is a positive, economical one. Unequal distribution of wealth is unfair, according to communism. Personal property, with the possible exception of food, is not acknowledged; everything is regarded as owned collectively and only under temporary stewardship of a certain individual or societal organ.

This describes the ideal communist society, however. In reality, very few historical examples exist where this model has been successfully employed. Rather more noteworthy are the failed attempts, those that got as far as to establish "dictatorship of the workers", but were unable to progress past this stage into the truly class-free society.

This makes it tough to quantify and evaluate communism, due to the enormous discrepancy between the theoretical ideal and the de facto mode of operations in authoritarian historical examples of communism. The lists below will try to quantify communism as originally intended by its inventors, the class-free society. It needs to be emphasized again that this state has almost never been successfully realized (there are actually a few exceptions to this, see anarchism below). The historical humanitarian costs of failed authoritarian attempts to realize this model are well known.

These virtues are particularly emphasized or (in the theoretical ideal case) promoted by communism:

  • Camaraderie. Promoted by communism's focus on solidarity and mutual aid.
  • Charity. The central value communism is founded on. Communism is charity, extrapolated into its logical extreme.
  • Chastity. See frugality. The strong emphasis placed on frugality is likely to also lead to a cultivation of chastity.
  • Compassion. The extremely charitable views of communism is likely to also foster compassion in its citizens. This may be somewhat counteracted by bitterness against citizens who are deemed lacking in their motivation to work for the common good, however.
  • Diligence. Communism demands work for little personal reward. While it might seem unfair, it does offer an opportunity to cultivate virtues like diligence and discipline founded on patriotism.
  • Discipline. See diligence.
  • Duty. Quite possibly communism's single most important value. The motivation to work is supposed to stem exclusively from a sense of duty to the collective.
  • Fairness. Communism defines fairness as equal distribution of wealth and tolerates no economic privilege. This is a positive and very powerful definition of fairness, which also includes the "equal opportunity" view of libertarianism.
  • Fortitude. In communist society, the menial tasks are shared between all, while academic jobs are reserved for educated specialists. This means that most citizens will actually have many jobs, of potentially very different kinds. This has many implications, one of which is that everyone will take part in the mental and physical training resulting from partaking in menial duties.
  • Friendliness. Pretty much vital in order to maintain a healthy work environment. Not as often simulated as in capitalistic society, since there is no profit to gain from the deception.
  • Frugality. Extremely important, for reasons that should be obvious. When property is shared among all, there can be no such thing as personal wealth. Frugality becomes a downright necessity under such circumstances.
  • Helpfulness. When everyone must work together for the common good, the drive to help each other will be strong.
  • Impartiality. See fairness.
  • Industriousness. (Partially) Emphasized. May be unreliable, however, due to the fact of its motivation out of patriotic duty rather than a desire for personal reward. On the other hand, laziness and sloth is likely to be very harshly judged by the collective, since it has direct consequences for everyone.
  • Loyalty. Alongside duty, the main driving force behind communism. Borderline reverential.
  • Kindness. See compassion. The same applies for kindness.
  • Mercy. In communism, no one is left wanting when it comes to supplication of basic needs. Judicial mercy may be another matter, however.
  • Modesty. Communism places little emphasis on personal excellence, so showing off is seldom needed.
  • Orderliness. Emphasized in the interests of productivity. When the personal reward for work is lower, the motivation to "work smartly" is generally increased.
  • Patience. Training in patience follows naturally from engaging in many different kinds of work, with no immediate reward.
  • Purpose. The collective kind. A powerful, if not necessary, motivator.
  • Reverence. The extremely powerful emphasis of virtues like loyalty, duty and solidarity is likely to lead to a certain affinity for this virtue.
  • Self-sacrifice. Pretty much required, seeing as how work is required without direct reward.
  • Solidarity. Strongly emphasized, partially as a result of communism's revolutionary heritage.
  • Strength. See fortitude.
  • Tenacity. See diligence and fortitude.
  • Tolerance. The elimination of class differences promotes understanding, which in turn promotes tolerance.
  • Understanding. The removal of economic privileges would eliminate one powerful obstacle to understanding: the class difference. Also, this is one of the "soft values" which communism values so highly.

These virtues are likely to end up suppressed or overlooked in (even ideal) communist societies:

  • Ambition. Communism completely eliminates desire for personal economic reward as a motivating factor. Instead, it is supplanted with an expectation of dutifulness to the collective. On average, the former source of motivation tends to be rather more powerful than the latter.
  • Beauty. When everyone benefits directly from everyone's work, judgmental attitudes towards activities that do not directly and obviously promote collective economic benefit are likely to be harsher. This can be inhibitive to aesthetic pursuits, unless they are perceived as work-motivating.
  • Creativity. See beauty. Can also suffer from the procedure of establishing political consensus required whenever a collective decision needs to be made.
  • Cheer. See beauty. Damage somewhat mitigated due to the heightened authenticity of interpersonal relationships.
  • Flexibility. Whenever a collective decision must be made, consensus (or at least democratic majority) must be established. This can be a tedious process, and conservative interests may well undermine propositions that would have been fruitful.
  • Hope. The lack of direct reward from one's work may impose a feeling of hopelessness. Any communist society that hopes to maintain its citizen's morale needs to find a way to circumvent this problem, because a lack of hope can be truly paralyzing.
  • Independence. "Salary" is guaranteed regardless of the amount or quality of work performed. This may lead some people with a low reservoir of energy or simply weak integrity to "leech off the system". Judicial countermeasures against such parasitism are likely to be harsh, however.
  • Industriousness. (Partially) See ambition above and industriousness in the list of advantages.
  • Mirth. See cheer and beauty.
  • Passion. May suffer from the possible negative implications for virtues like beauty, cheer, mirth and creativity.

Having only been practiced by two regimes note  during a relatively short period of the former half of the 20th Century, Fascism is perhaps the least well understood ideology in common parlance. With the word itself being most commonly used nowadays as an insult against others' positions, definitions of the term are highly contentious, hotly debated by academics and political thinkers of various ideological persuasions, whose definitions tend to vary according to said ideological persuasions. To say the least, this can make authoritative definitions hard to come by.

Almost all scholars can agree, however, that Fascism is a highly authoritarian, totalitarian form of ultranationalism, obsessed with national myths (most often ethno-racial, but not necessarily so,note ) corporatist,note  aggressive and intolerant of those it considers enemies or traitors. Condensing this definition to a bare-bones "fascist minumum", Roger Griffin coined the term "palingenetic ultranationalism", with palingenesis in this context referring to the rebirth of the nation.

There are other common features deriving from this basis. Fascist movements typically position themselves as a third way between capitalism and socialism, co-opting the economic frustrations of the middle and working classes while retaining a hierarchical nationalist structure. A form of Social Darwinism is commonly applied not only to individuals (the weak deserve to die) but to the nation as a whole (the nation must be purged of its degenerate members to preserve its vitality. Significantly, Fascism is perhaps the only ideology to see war and conflict as virtues in their own right, regarding conflict and competition as the driver of national destinies. This often means permanent military mobilization even in peacetime, and needless to say a highly aggressive foreign policy.

These virtues are particularly emphasized or (in the theoretical ideal case) promoted by fascism :

  • Camaraderie: An almost familial relationship between members of the same nation is encouraged. However, distance from outsiders is also stressed, as is contempt for those considered inferior.
  • Chastity: The ideal person is self-sacrificing and will subordinate his personal desires and comforts to the collective good. In more anti-capitalist iterations of Fascism, profligacy is especially denounced.
  • Courage: One of the emphasized traits of the superior race. More emphasized for men.
  • Determination: In a martial sense; the determination to fight to the death for the nation.
  • Discipline: Total military discipline.
  • Duty: The founding quality.
  • Fortitude: Mental weakness is no more tolerated than physical weakness.
  • Frugality: See Chastity.
  • Industriousness: Fascism emphasizes organisation of the entire state along military lines. A command economy where labor is seen as a national duty is common.
  • Loyalty: To the nation and the state. Loyalty is expected to be total and heartfelt.
  • Obedience: There is a strict hierarchy in Fascist regimes.
  • Orderliness: See Obedience.
  • Patriotism: Of the ultranationalist type, absolute and unreasoning.
  • Reverence: The nation state is held in quasi-religious reverence, regarded as a higher power in its own right.
  • Solidarity: Again, a sense of ethnic, national and racial solidarity and identification is the bedrock of Fascism.
  • Strength: Fascism has a distinct martial focus, and the rebirth of the nation is seen to lead to its renewed strength and vitality. Individuals are expected to be strong, and weakness is not tolerated.

These virtues often end up suppressed or overlooked in strongly Fascist societies:

  • Autonomy: No one is an individual. Everyone is a part of the hierarchy with a rigid, determined purpose and goal. The state will exercise full control over people's behavior and even thoughts.
  • Cheer: The emphasis on war and conflict doesn't make for a very cheery environment.
  • Compassion: Certainly not towards enemies or inferiors.
  • Fairness: Few relationships are based on reciprocal fairness; those who are superior explicitly have rights over inferiors.
  • Flexibility: With an iron will comes iron inflexibility.
  • Independence: See Autonomy.
  • Kindness: Although some kindness may extend to friends and family, it is expected to be subordinate to duty. Too much kindness is seen as weak sentimentality.
  • Love: Notions of purity extend to sexual pairings and offspring, especially in more racialist iterations, and will be limited by such beliefs and probably by the state too.
  • Mercy: The Social Darwinist nature of Fascism abhors any mercy to enemies or those seen as inferior. Weakness is a sin in and of itself, and the weak are seen as deserving of their fate.
  • Mirth: Fascists aren't exactly known for levity.
  • Patience: Fascism tends to harbor a "cult of action", and has little tolerance for delay or mistakes.
  • Peace: Oh good heavens, no.



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