Interview with Andreas Kinneging , author of
The Geography of Good and Evil
Aren’t good and evil nothing more than personal preferences or culturally dominant ideas?
No they are not. Good and evil are absolute, unchanging and universal categories. There is nothing relative and subjective about them.
Is virtue ethics relevant today?
Yes, because it is a much better approach to good and evil, right and wrong than any of the alternatives, such as the ethics of duty and the ethics of rights.
Isn’t tolerance the most important of the virtues?
No it is not. Most of what goes by the name of tolerance is something else entirely, such as indifference. And even true tolerance is only a minor virtue.
So what are the most important virtues?
Those that were recognized centuries ago as the most important virtues: Classical virtues like prudence, justice, courage, temperance, and Christian virtues like neighborly love, humility, and the willingness to forgive.
What about honor?
Honor is ‘the prize of the virtues’. Hence, it is vital. The contemporary idea that honor is and should be something relegated to the past is mistaken.
How does all this relate to the family?
The family—a man, a woman, and their children—is the most significant social institution. Nearly everything depends on the family. Here the next generation can be raised to become virtuous men and women. Or if it fails, they will probably not. Modern liberalism and feminism take the responsibilities of fathers and mothers much to lightly, and thus undermine our most significant social institution.
What does it take to reinvigorate families?
We need to stop unthinkingly accepting modern ideas on the family, and reconsider what we have lost by replacing the traditional view. Because we lost a lot.
Should we have democratic government?
Yes, but with a strong dose of natural aristocracy. Not everyone is equally equipped to govern a nation. Those that govern should be intellectually outstanding. But even more important is their moral fiber.