|Spurgeon Chapel, Green Lake|
Conference Center, Wisconsin
How, for example, could we trust someone who breaks a vow and cheats on his wife? That question, that intuition, finds support in Aristotle's Unity of the Virtues. Aquinas interprets Aristotle as follows.
- Every moral virtue depends on practical wisdom.
- Practical wisdom depends in turn on every moral virtue.
- Therefore, every moral virtue depends on every other.
Here is the idea of a morally integrated life. What, asks legal scholar Budziszewski, does this tell us about the "character issue" in politics? The answer is that if the virtues constitute a unity, then the person who cheats on his wife will also cheat on the public. David Hume actually went further, saying that such a cheating person-as-politician would cheat the public even more, because "men act less virtuously in their public capacities than in their private." (Ib.)
This is why the character issue is important in politics.