the ability to discern good from bad, and the confidence to act on that discernment

a.k.a. censure, chastisement

Willingness to call out vice and injustice when you see it (though, use discernment).

Of course, this is easier to do when you’re standing on the side of power / authority / the majority / people whose esteem you cherish, and much more difficult (and correspondingly more important) when you stand alone in your judgement. So adding some courage to the mix is probably important here.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • indulgence
  • seeking out blame (vice of excess)

Virtues possibly in tension

How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere


Inspirational quotes

  • “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” … “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “To censure my own faults in some other person seems to me no more incongruous than to censure, as I often do, another’s in myself. They must be denounced everywhere, and be allowed no place of sanctuary.” ―Montaigne
  • “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” ―Jesus
  • “I rather must confess, that I always suspect people that affect to cover all defects of others with the cloak of charity.”―Baron Knigge
  • “When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations. … Young people are acquiring the conviction that foul deeds are never punished on earth, that they always bring prosperity. ¶ It is going to be uncomfortable, horrible, to live in such a country!” ―Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  • “Can love be other than exacting, or loyalty refrain from admonition?” (Analects of Confucius, XIV.VIII)