The Virtue of Temperance

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ISSUE BEING DISCUSSED FOR Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Temperance is the virtue whereby man governs and moderates his
natural appetites and passions in accordance with the norms prescribed
by reason and the Faith.  How is the virtue of temperance NOT being practiced in today’s economy and culture?

  • Francis Slobodnik

    Even classical pagans recognized the necessity of man tempering his desires, today anything goes.  Contemporary man has not been challenged to think, to read, to really study and certainly to pray and reflect.  The emotions are good when controlled by the will illuminated by reason.  Today most live with an inversion of that order.  They want and then devote their energies to acquiring the desired possession or pleasure.  Consequences are not weighed. As a result prices are paid resulting in personal and societal economic, moral and religious chaos the opposite of order.  People who practice temperance weigh whether a want is good or appropriate and then act accordingly.

  • The lack of temperance in our culture is witnessed by the size of the soda drinks in some of these convenience stores.   A normal drink was 12 ounces.  A big drink was 16 ounces.  That was ages ago.  Now we have soda guzzlers of 64 ounces, with free refills. 

    While I am all in favor of legitimate truculence and hearty drinks, do we really need 64 ounces of soda with free refills as we drive the car down the highway?

    The outrageous size of some of these sodas is a symptom of a larger, more generalized intemperance in the soul.

    The other symptom of a lack of temperance in the culture is the way some people demand that they get what they want on the spot, or they don’t want it at all.  They go to a store and ask about a certain product.  The sales rep says, “I can order it for you and you will have it delivered to your doorstep in 3 days.”

    “No. That’s no good.  Either I get it now, or I don’t want it.”  

    A little temperance goes a long way, if we could only learn to wait.

  • Look no further than Grey Thursday and Black Friday.  It’s out of control in some places.

  • MrMansell

    Another example is the inordinate amount of pain killers, narcotics, and other drugs consumed by the American public.  All in an attempt to further disconnect from reality, which is truth itself.  These forms of escape are highly encouraged by the pharmaceutical industry, who wants nothing more than our souls, let alone our money.

  • Maria

    Recently I obtained a very beautiful tablecloth which someone discarded because it needed to be ironed. It occurred to me that this very beautiful object so uplifting to look at was “traded in” for a much inferior polyester substitute. Today’s housewife is generally overworked. However, the principles outlined in “Return to Order” will hopefully enable her to understand the importance of surrounding her family with beauty even though it may require some planning and work. Truly, these principles will impart a calm and reflection that can only be attained by having the Catholic perspective of life in mind.

  • Candy/soda/sweets! Dealing with children daily, one realizes how much importance is given to anything with sugar. Obesity is a problem, not just for the wealthy, but also the poor.

  • Candy/soda/sweets! Dealing with children daily, one realizes how much
    importance is given to anything with sugar. Obesity is a problem, not
    just for the wealthy, but also the poor.

  • wcam

    In today’s society the virtue of temperance is far from the minds of most of humanity. People are constantly being bombarded with advertizements that tendentiously promote intemperance in eating, drinking and buying. I believe that the Industrial Revolution was the catalyst that led to this gross intemperance in our culture. 
    Because of the mass production of so many goods our culture is overwhelmed with stores which allow you to to purchase anything from a toothbrush to a forty inch T.V. all under the same roof. When people gaze at the huge amount of items that are available to them they are moved to buy items that they don’t need with the money they don’t have; hence enters the lack of temperance with the use of the credit card.
    Today, with the help of the parents, it became a tradition in most homes to give the children everything they want. This created a viscous cycle which helped to destroy the notion of temperance in today’s economy and our culture.  

  • Kenneth Murphy

    Advertisers know that what people want most is to escape from suffering. With this in mind advertisers know that the goal of an advertisement is to tell people that they are suffering and that a certain product will make the suffering go away. (ex: easy-mops, better pillows, robotic vacuum cleaners, multipurpose kitchenware)

    It’s natural to want to escape suffering but the intemperant amount of gadgetry we are being told to buy only fills the our boxes and ez-roll plastic containers.

  • Maria

    Today, 20 children and 7 adults were killed in a Connecticut elementary school.  The killer is a young man who killed his own mother along with the others. What better example of intemperance taken to the utmost degree?  Could one guess that the killer’s upbringing lacked every legitimate control and boundary?

  • Speed is a big deal in our culture.  We are constantly demanding immediate answers, immediate satisfaction, immediate results, immediate text messages, immediate news coverage, etc.  We are constantly on overdrive.  There’s little time or no time to reflect, think, ponder, admire, and explore the higher meaning of life.

  • Charles Laczkskie

    Intemperance is the new “norm”.  People don’t sit and watch a movie anymore.  They’ll watch 3 or 4 in a row. The movies average 90 minutes. Six hours in viewing and then they wonder why they have a headache.  I did counseling for some years, mostly children and adolescents.  Give them a video game and they didn’t hear a word that you said to them. I had to ask parents to take the games away while we had a counseling session.  The teens wanted to play these games with me during counseling.  Needless to say, I first asked them to explain the game to me and then I would refuse.  How about cell phones today.  There is no temperance there. People cannot even drive without texting.  Kids and adults alike are on the phone texting, gaming, internet surfing, etc. There doesn’t seem to be  an area where this crazy world allows anyone to think.  Besides all the above, ask a high school student how they study.  The TV is going, music is on and they are texting back and forth with their friends.  I was teaching a class last week and the one 15 yr. old had a 122 texts in our 90 minute class.  Where is any balance shown?  Parents lead the way.  Gaming, shopping until you drop, running in and out of the house is how many spend their days, including weekends.
    We need order.
    Alexis de Toqueceville said that “Order is Heaven’s first law…” A return to order is long overdue.

  • karlmag

    With the consumer marketplace of modern capitalism-cum-socialism convincing people through advertising that they all equally need to buy more things and services all the time in order to find some sort of the highest good, the very time and space wherein one would take the effort to contemplate the real meaning of life is lost to the individual and to the group. Once people fall victim to consumerist advertising through the media and through public government institutions, temperance and real self-restraint begin to wither away in the weaker-willed, eventually effecting a change even in the stronger-willed.Today’s economy and culture have at their faulty Enlightenment foundation(s) a love of sloth, luxury and the too common “something-for-nothing” attitude, thus the traditional, Catholic norms prescribed by reason and Faith get dismissed by the majority who are nowadays falling for the siren-song of modern capitalism/socialism. Materialism then tries to fill the void left by the absence of a God-inspired system, and all that fills that void are the lies of a terrible abyss.

  • Black Friday is madness and completely ridiculous. This mad frenzy is not restricted only to Black Friday and crazy sales like that. It is for anything that is popular such as the next new iPad or iPhone or anything that has to do with an addiction to technology or entertainment. I mean has anyone ever seen the lines outside a Best Buy store when a new gadget comes out? They are just as insane as Black Friday sales. There are different degrees of this obsession because the lines to go in to a theater on release day of a new movie are not nearly as long as the lines to buy a new video game. I once saw a video of a line of people waiting to see a midnight showing public preview of a video game and it was eight blocks long at ten o’clock. This preview was about five minutes long. Most of these people would not even get to see the video and all of them could watch it the next morning on their computer. If you ask me that is one small example of the intemperance of our age. I mean Hollywood has nothing on video games. It took the most successful video game of all time 16 days to beat Avatar in profits, something that James Cameron could only dream of.