Table of Contents

  • Maintaining Moral Integrity in Modern Society: A World of Vice and Hedonism
  • What Is Moral and Virtue? Why Are They Important?
    • The Issues Of Our Society
  • How To Stay Sane and Virtuous In The Modern World
    • Individualism and Morality: Focus on Yourself
    • Ethical dilemmas: Acknowledge Moral Greys
    • Modern Ethical Challenges: Perfection Does Not Exist
    • Absorb The Past
  • Conclusion: Work Towards Being As Virtuous As Possible
  • Actionables: Overcoming Moral Challenges
    • Reading List

Maintaining Moral Integrity in Modern Society: A World of Vice and Hedonism

no whim worship | people having a party

Most people follow their whims. They are slaves. You must act better than they do. They cannot be your moral guide.

Our culture is corrupt. We are a society of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. But we also suffer from single motherhood, deadbeat dads, child abuse, sexual deviants, inflation, high crime rates, and so much more.

As I’ve tried to navigate life, I run constantly into places and moments where I must compromise my individualist values. These compromises help me earn more money or avoid one more inane argument. But these moments are frequent to my irritation.

However, I can’t waver on other values: the importance of my children and wife to my life, my desire to be free of mindless consumerism, and my refusal to subjugate myself to identity politics.

In a modern world fraught with vice, hedonism, and ethical dilemmas, individualists must maintain moral integrity by focusing on what they can directly control, embracing classical virtues, and making virtuous decisions that benefit themselves and their communities.

Today, I will explore how to keep your morals in a world of immorality. First, we will define morality. Second, we will examine society’s vices, evils, and abuses. Lastly, we will explore how focusing on local issues helps you act morally in an immoral world.

What Is Moral and Virtue? Why Are They Important?

“You know there are people in your life who are doing wrong. Go talk to them, and encourage them to pursue philosophy, self-knowledge and virtue. Be your own hero; you are the One that your world has been waiting for.” – Stefan Molyneux

Morality is a system of conduct based on principles distinguishing right from wrong. It can be rooted in rational principles, Universal Preferable Behavior, or religion, advocating for integrity, honesty, compassion, and other positive qualities.

To be virtuous is to act morally, improving our own and others’ well-being. For instance, marriage exemplifies virtue and morality, offering significant physical and mental benefits, especially for women and children. It fosters higher ideals like loyalty, honor, and selflessness while shielding against societal ills such as STDs, domestic abuse, loneliness, and economic instability. There is a long list of practical benefits marriage produces.

Conversely, casual sex lacks these benefits and often leads to poorer outcomes. While both marriages and casual relationships can have issues like domestic abuse or infidelity, stable marriages generally provide better environments for raising children.

Only a society of virtuous individuals can act in ways that create stability, promote productivity, and help society flourish.

The Issues Of Our Society

Our society is not filled with moral, virtuous individuals. Societal issues arise from individual dysfunction. We cannot have a beautiful forest with dead trees. When individuals are broken, improper, and morally bankrupt, their institutions, corporations, and governments will reflect these personal failings.

Single motherhood and fatherlessness, for instance, result from poor self-control and harm children by placing them in unstable environments. This moral failure leads to broader societal dysfunction, leaving good people to navigate a broken society. Additionally, institutions like the government focus on rewarding and addressing single motherhood instead of protecting responsible individuals from social predators.

Now, let’s focus on how you can keep your virtue and sanity despite the corruption of the modern world.

How To Stay Sane and Virtuous In The Modern World

“Virtue is not an end in itself. Virtue is not its own reward or sacrificial fodder for the reward of evil. Life is the reward of virtue—and happiness is the goal and the reward of life.” – Ayn Rand

In a broken society, you are forced to pay for those who are broken and weak-willed. Taxation is not voluntary and is the primary means by which you must support the evils of modernity.

Do you dislike pointless wars raged to support the elites and ruling classes? Too bad, you must pay your taxes for “national defense.” Do you believe subsidizing poor sexual strategies is terrible for society? Too bad, you must pay for welfare and its unsustainability and ineffectiveness. Would you like your money to increase in value? Sucks to be you, the government you have to pay is going to print money even as it taxes every level of your income.

Thus, there are aspects of evil you must partake in because the government will force you. Don’t lose your mind stressing over the places your tax money will go. You can’t stop that without great bodily harm. Let it go and focus locally.

Individualism works because the focus is on the greatest thing you can control: yourself. Focusing on the world is a fool’s game because you can’t control the world but can control yourself.

If you want to act morally in a morally bankrupt world, you must focus on what you can control. Let’s investigate the best methods and mindsets now.

Individualism and Morality: Focus on Yourself

Firstly, focus on yourself.

Above all else, we just have to avoid vice. Reducing our vices eliminates our participation in evil.

For example, overcoming my porn addiction meant I wasn’t engaged in an industry with seedy connections to sex trafficking. I’m no longer a consumer. Thus, I’ve objectively reduced my involvement.

Will pornography and sex trafficking die overnight because I’m out of the game? No. But I’m happier, healthier, and evil no longer has my active participation.

Ethical dilemmas: Acknowledge Moral Greys

grace | a man praying

Life is difficult to navigate, even in the best times. Always show yourself grace and focus on acting morally.

Secondly, acknowledge that you can resolve morally grey areas through better actions and behaviors.

For example, you might be on the fence about buying from Amazon. If you have moral qualms about Amazon, start by simply not buying there. You can direct your money to other places.

If you don’t have enough in your budget, you can reduce your spending on Amazon while committing to increasing your earnings. This shifting is just one example of how adjusting your actions can reduce your engagement with something that might be morally ambiguous.

Modern Ethical Challenges: Perfection Does Not Exist

Third, admit there is no perfection. Just commit to improving as well as you can.

We will not walk through life as saints. We do need to eat, and we should pursue a level of comfort and pleasure.

But be honest with yourself. You know when you have gone too far and have compromised your morals for ease.

For example, you shouldn’t mouth off at all opportunities for fear of reprisal from HR. But there are moments when you can be a dissenting voice professionally and introduce a little rationality into your workplace.

I can’t give you a list that accounts for every potentiality. But the more honest you are with yourself and the more you reduce your comforts, the easier it becomes to know when you should push back.

Absorb The Past

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” – G.K. Chesterton

Lastly, listen to great men and women of the past.

Modernity thinks itself wisely because it uses computers for vices and distractions. However, our ancestors understood what led to good living and that such living is moral and just.

Additionally, those ancestors had firm definitions of what is good. You may disagree with them, but they at least tried. Today’s average man can’t define what good is and would be content with defaulting to “live and let live” as if all paths in life are equally valid.

And we moderns have aggressively denied the systems and programs we know work. How often do people passionately argue against marriage as if there is any alternative that works when structuring healthy sexual relationships? And what is their reasoning for opposing marriage? Is it to reach a new level of virtue or enjoy the next fleeting desire?

There is wisdom within the people who came before us. Deny this wisdom at your peril.

Conclusion: Work Towards Being As Virtuous As Possible

Monderity is frustrating because we have the history and technology to know better. To be fair, we might not know the best way to deal with AI. But we sure as hell know that marriage is the foundational component of a successful civilization. There is no competing sexual strategy that is as productive and stabilizing as marriage, but modern man follows every stupid, immoral vice he can find. Then, he pretends not to understand why he’s depressed, lost, and horrid.

Morality is complicated, to a degree. Many great men and women have shown us what we ought to do. Our refusal to act better is our own flaw, not anything else.

To be moral in an immoral, broken society is to simply control yourself. By reducing your vices, you will conduct yourself better than most, even if you don’t grasp moral theory or philosophy.

Become an Individual so you can flourish in an immoral world.

Actionables: Overcoming Moral Challenges

  • Your Moral Codes: How would you define your moral code? What do you believe in, cherish, and value? What do you think is right or wrong? And how can you live this moral code in your daily life?
  • Maintaining Integrity: How have you maintained integrity in our broken world? What are you doing to be good even if the world wants you to be nothing more than a vice-addicted slave?
  • Understand Others: If there are people in your life who do not act morally, why do you think that may be? Trying to understand the pitfalls of others will ensure you humanize your opponents, understand their vices so you can avoid those vices, and remind yourself of how easy it is to fall prey to comfort.
  • Daily Reflection: Spend a few minutes each day reflecting on your actions and decisions. Ask yourself if you acted according to your moral principles and how you can improve.
  • Set Boundaries: Clearly define and set personal boundaries that help you avoid situations that may compromise your moral integrity.
  • Surround Yourself with Virtuous People: Build a like-minded community that supports and encourages moral behavior. Avoid those who consistently engage in or promote vice.
  • Educate Yourself: Continuously educate yourself on moral philosophy, ethics, and the lives of virtuous individuals. Reading books, attending seminars, and engaging in discussions can reinforce your moral framework.
  • Volunteer and Give Back: Engage in community service or volunteer work that aligns with your moral values. This not only helps others but also strengthens your commitment to living morally.
  • Practice Self-Control: Develop habits that strengthen your self-control, such as mindfulness meditation, regular exercise, and disciplined routines. These practices can help you resist temptations and stay true to your values.
  • Create a Personal Manifesto: Write down your moral code, values, and the principles you strive to live by. Revisit this document regularly to remind yourself of your commitments and to track your progress.
  • Mentor Others: Share your knowledge and experiences with others struggling with their moral integrity. By teaching and mentoring, you reinforce your own values and contribute to a more virtuous community.
  • Seek Feedback: Ask trusted friends or mentors for honest feedback on your behavior and decisions. Constructive criticism can help you identify areas for improvement and stay accountable to your moral standards.
  • Limit Exposure to Negative Influences: Reduce your consumption of media, entertainment, and environments that promote vice and hedonism. Instead, seek out positive and uplifting content that aligns with your values.
  • Set Achievable Goals: Establish small, achievable goals that align with your moral values and work towards them consistently. Celebrate your progress and use it as motivation to continue improving.
  • Cultivate Gratitude: Practice gratitude by regularly acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life. This can help you maintain a positive outlook and focus on your moral values.
  • Adopt a Growth Mindset: Embrace challenges and view failures as opportunities to learn and grow. Maintaining moral integrity is an ongoing journey, and be patient with yourself as you strive for continuous improvement.

Reading List

  • “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt
    • Explores the psychological underpinnings of morality and how they influence our political and religious beliefs.
  • “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis
    • Discusses Christian ethics and morality, offering insights into virtuous living from a religious perspective.
  • “Virtue Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction” by Liezl van Zyl
    • Provides an accessible overview of virtue ethics, discussing key concepts and their application in modern life.
  • “Ethics: A Very Short Introduction” by Simon Blackburn
    • A concise introduction to ethics, covering various ethical theories and their implications for personal and societal behavior.
  • “How Should We Live?: Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life” by Roman Krznaric
    • Draws on historical philosophies and ideas to offer practical advice for living a meaningful and ethical life.

Please remember it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.

Refer to the linked articles and studies throughout this post for detailed evidence and case studies supporting these views.

*Image credit to Unsplash.