“Virtue as a dress and a lifestyle”

The words of the academic Natalino Irti on Sole 24ore

Virtue as “commitment to oneself and to oneself, so that a lifestyle is outlined, capable of distinguishing the individual and defining him in the relationship with others”. Thus the academician and jurist Natalino Irti, today on the Sole 24 ore.

“The four cardinal virtues, so called by Sant’Ambrogio, prudence justice temperance fortress – writes Irti-, still mark the direction of the journey. All require self-control, the government of impulses and instincts, the measure of action. There is no virtue without this “measure”, which becomes the “norm” of life and guides the will. Only in this way is it possible for us to reconcile subjectivist doctrines and objectivist doctrines: action is decided by the individual, but finds measure in a general criterion. Virtue is therefore not a quality of nature, bestowed by some number at the time of birth, but a commitment of the will, capable of giving us “strength”. This is the authentic “hinge” around which prudence justice temperance gravitate “.

“The” fortress “- he adds – is not expressed and consummated in an act, or in a series of acts, but gives the individual physiognomy and moral style. the arrogant guardians of virtue are exercised, but of the style of consistency and fidelity to oneself. In order to give rise to the trust of others, the reasoned expectation of our conduct, which, in its obeying the chosen criterion, is always calculable, by friends and enemies, since “etiam hosti fides servanda” virtue, understood as a habit of life, is not something that can be taken or left at will, because it is now the moral physiognomy of each individual“.

The academician further explains: “Faithfulness and consistency also belong, as is obvious, to the human soul, to its dark abyss, and are always subject to a destiny of fall. And our will cannot go beyond the limits of being human. , nor averting their twists and turns. “Prudence” also concerns the virtues themselves, and accompanies them on their earthly journey. This can be easy and simple, or troubled and painful. It is not up to us to decide. and dubious praise of virtue “.

The civil virtues, he continues, “do not stand alone, they do not stand by themselves, but rely on the moral seriousness of the individual individual – which is habit in relationships with others – civil virtues, enunciated in communities and political regimes, are contrasted. Virtues, also called “republicans” in memory of the Jacobins of Paris and the great Revolution. They are expressive virtues of “belonging” and historical-political ties, linked to their own destiny: and therefore they last as long as they last, and are extinguished with their exhaustion “.

“Civil virtues – he concludes – do not replace or abolish the ancient cardinal virtues, but rather presuppose them and find a firm guarantee in them. Only fidelity to oneself -” strength “- can also guarantee the continuity of political commitment and choices. The civil virtues do not stand alone, they do not stand by themselves, but rely on the moral seriousness of the individual. It means, once again, that virtue is not a “natural” quality, nor is it exercised by belonging to a community, but it is a commitment to oneself and to oneself, so that a lifestyle is outlined, capable of distinguish the individual and define him in the relationship with others“.