Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Selfishness is the Vice of what Virtue?

October 05th, 2017 by G.

It’s a commonplace that vices are sick virtues.

Some vices are crippled virtues.  Some vices are bloated virtues.

So what is the healthy virtue that, when ill, becomes the vice of selfishness.


We don’t have a word for it, which is always telling. When your society as a whole lacks a clear counterpart virtue for a vice that it clearly attacks, its a sign. If your society attacks the bloated vice but ignores the virtue, it usually means that your society praises the crippled vice as virtue.

It then behooves the student of character and the man who would be learned in virtue to recover the base virtue that is being ignored.

So what does a virtuous version of concern for oneself look like?

It has some parts self-respect. Some parts self-reliance. Thumos, especially in the new modern way the virtue of Thumos has been understood.  Self-love, in the sense in which one is commanded to love one’s neighbor’s as oneself.

But most of all, the virtue is righteous pride.  The scriptural term for righteous pride is glory.


Glory and love are the two dominant virtues of God. He has said that his work and His glory are to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. This is the type of work we normally see as selfless. Thus we see that Glory and Love–selfness and selflessness–are in fact highly complementary.

Comments (7)
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October 05th, 2017 10:04:05

October 5, 2017

Ayn Rand has a lot to say on what she calls “the virtue of selfishness”. Her version of it looks something like ambition coupled with ruthless self-honesty: “I love myself too much to do this sin”. “Violating others through theft or robbery is dishonest because it pretends that I do not have the capacity to achieve my goal honestly.” And she contrasts that against the antagonists she portrays, who are selfish but minus self-respect, causing them to stoop to low means to achieve their goals. They extol themselves as valuing “sacrifice” and “selflessness” but examined under Rand’s lens, these ‘virtues’ are simply a lack of honest self-respect trying to disguise itself. In truth they are selfish in the rotted way-stealing from others to give to themselves and trying to fill the holes in their souls.

October 5, 2017

Something in the water today. I was just having some insights into love and glory, then afterwards jumped onto the JG and find this.

Here’s an unrelated question that just occurred to me: if Albion is the England-that-should-be, is there a name for the America-that-should-be?

October 5, 2017

@spdi: Zion, maybe?

October 5, 2017

Oh, dear, that one was really staring me in the face, wasn’t it.

October 5, 2017

I have long thought that if we are to love others as ourselves, then in order for us to love others, it is a logical necessity for us to also love ourselves.

Mankind is in the image of God. That includes ourselves.

October 15, 2017


Let every man esteem his brother as himself and practice virtue and holiness before me.

It would seem selfishness is the oppoasite of that.

October 16, 2017

very true, but I don’t think selfishness is an exaggeration of charity.

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