“Moral courage is the rarest of all the rare things of this earth. The war has shown that millions have physical courage. Millions were willing to face rifle and cannon, bombardment, poison gas, liquid fire, and the bayonet; to trust themselves to flying machines thousands of feet in air, under the fire of anti-aircraft guns of enemy planes; to go into submarines, perhaps to meet a horrible death. But how many had the courage merely to make themselves unpopular? The bitter truth must be told: the many enlisted or submitted to the draft on both sides of the conflict not because they were convinced that they were helping to save the world, not because they had any real hatred for the enemy, not to uphold the right, but simply that they hadn’t the moral courage to face the stigma of “slacker” or “conscientious objector.” ... Fear of death? No; the soldiers faced death bravely. But they feared unpopularity, the dreaded the suspicion of their fellows. What was needed in war is needed no less urgently in peace. How many persons in public or even in private life have the courage to say the thing that people do not like to hear?...
“What can it profit a man to be able to think if he does not dare to? One must have the courage to go where the mind leads, no matter how startling the conclusion, how shattering, how much it may hurt oneself or a particular class, no matter how unfashionable or how obnoxious it may at first seem. This may require the courage to stand against the whole world. Great is the man who has that courage, for he indeed has achieved will-power.”—Henry Hazllit, The Way to Will Power (1922). Also author of Economic in One Lesson
“What can it profit a man to be able to think…...? One must have the courage to go where the mind leads…...Great is the man who has that courage….”
Hmmm, I’m not so sure that there is any virtue in the ability to justify one’s beliefs. Certainly there is no clear relationship between self justification and the likely veracity of those beliefs. Typically, as this author suggests, strong self justification is found in proportion to the dissonance between the belief and other, experiences contradictory to the belief. This is not necessarily a virtue however, as beliefs associated with strong self justification in the face of contradiction are often simultaneously found to bear an inverse relationship to the truth.