The Cowardice of My Convictions
Questioning Anti-Human Values
Keywords:humanism, metaphysics, ontology, morality
This essay makes the argument that contrary to long-standing, unquestioned, popular belief, human courage is not a virtue – not if courage is defined broadly as risking one’s personal well-being for a higher goal and virtue is defined as a quality conducive to the long-term betterment of oneself and/or humankind. I contend that courage in general is best viewed as a morally neutral, innate or learned, behavior or attitude which can be used for great evil, i.e., unnecessary harm, as well as for good. In the latter case, I would use the qualified expression “moral courage.” Continuing to indiscriminantly promulgate within human culture, the belief that courage is an aspirant virtue is I believe a mistake humankind can no longer afford to make with the advent of technological weaponry that threatens its survival.