(an Ayn Rand quote ~ love & virtue & vice)

If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It’s no more than a fact and it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful, you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty. To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She’s earned it, it’s a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is a real gift, unearned and undeserved. To love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake – and that is a real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self-esteem.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

But is love supposed to be a gift? Is it a favour you’re doing the person by loving them? And if you reward vice, instead of virtue, what reason does a person have to remain virtuous?

8 thoughts on “(an Ayn Rand quote ~ love & virtue & vice)

  1. You certainly raise some interesting questions here.

    The post also made me think of another saying about beauty, which states that “an ugly child belongs to its parents, whereas a beautiful child belongs to the world.”

    1. I haven’t heard that saying before (so thank you for sharing it with me) but its meaning is intriguing and really makes one pause and think about it.

  2. Calling her beautiful is great. Cause beauty isn’t skin deep. But loving her for vices is encouraging a behavior is detrimental to her own being. At the end of it what has she gained? a belief that she was right all this time? . love inspires one to get better at everything . The only person who has the power to tell us we are wrong is the one we love. we don’t listen to anyone else.

    1. I’m sorry it wasn’t clear to you that here it isn’t only external beauty which is being referred to. I think you may have missed the point here. Love isn’t charity. One doesn’t love for the sake of being noble. If one loves with the aim of changing the object of one’s affection perhaps the “love” requires a closer look by those involved. The fact is the vices and virtues of the person we love say more about us than our supposed reasons for “loving” the person do. We accept the love we think we deserve, from people we think we deserve.

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