Gerald R. Ford Leadership Forum

War and Virtue Seminar

October 12, 2022, 12-5 p.m.

“It is well that war is so terrible,” Robert E. Lee once observed, “or else we should grow too fond of it.” Those words may strike our ears as odd: given war’s horrors, why would we ever grow to love it? What does war teach us about the human condition, about who we are, about the place of conflict in life, and about particular virtues we might possess? Ancient writers often believed that war was essential for developing particular virtues such as courage and magnanimity, and also an important aspect of public service. President Ford heard the same call, and served his country in World War II. But what virtues are undone by war, and are there other, less costly, ways of learning the lessons that war teaches us?


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