I suspect that much of the neglect of virtue comes as much from its inconvenience for the powermongers as much as it does from its necessary reliance on free will. “Men will be good or bad builders as a result of building well or building badly,” Aristotle claimed. “For if this were not so, there would have been no need of a teacher, but all men would have been born good or bad at their craft. This, then, is the case with the virtues also.” Somewhat horrifically, though, for the last two-hundred years, western civilization, in particular, has moved steadily away from a belief in real choices and toward determinisms of various types.
The virtues, however, are rooted in nature, in creation, and in God’s will for us. They can be forgotten, mocked, or distorted, but, being real and true and beautiful, they can never be conquered. Russell Kirk argued that virtue “is [the] energy of soul employed for the general good.” Thus, there is never a bad time to remember the virtues, and our society desperately needs them. God distributes these, then, according to His Will, through His Economy of Grace. “For just as in a single human body there are many limbs and organs, all with different functions,” St. Paul wrote, “so all of us, united with Christ, form one body, serving individually as limbs and organs to one another.” Gifts such as teaching, counseling, or speaking “differ as they are allotted to us by God’s grace, and must be exercised accordingly.” Our gifts should be for the common good, for the Body of Christ—that is, the Church.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/01/remembering-virtues-bradley-birzer.html