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Bernard Mandeville's Fable Of The Bees: A Country Built On Vices.

1791 words - 7 pages

Human vices have commonly been known to man as ultimately wicked and in no way beneficial to society or to the well-being of the public. Selfishness and greed are frowned upon by the masses while virtue, prudence, and empathy are praised, which in most situations is valid as praiseworthy. To many the idea that the United States was found on such corrupt vices would seem absurd; however, as put forth by Bernard Mandeville's The Fable of the Bees, he evidently believes exactly that and is absolutely correct. This nation's foundation was built on humans' most horrible vices, and this nation's economical growth and prosperity are in great debt to such vices. Virtue, prudence and empathy are over glorified by moralists as provisions for a strong nation. This nation has progressed throughout the years due to humans' self-interest to increase public opinion, social reputation, wealth, happiness and power.Moralists believe that the foundation to anything good and pure, should be founded on virtue, prudence, and empathy and that people lack such values leads to a corrupt society. Mandeville had a totally different perspective which he proclaims benefited the entire nation and society. Through evil, good prevails. Not to transcend the idea that Mandeville didn't believed in virtue, Mandeville believed the truly virtuous were the good simple people such as farmers. Morality is over valued by human nature and tainted by the masses. There is no unselfish good act, for all good acts are done in self interest and beneficial in any certain aspect. Humans have appetites they need to satisfy, may it be power, wealth, or public honor, but only then will humans carry out what is suppose to be thought as an unselfish act. As Mandeville (1997) so strongly believes that "making use of this bewitching engine, they extolled the excellency of our nature above other animals...and bestowed a thousand encomiums on the rationality of our souls" (p. 37). Even those educated, higher class citizens who make it seem they're acting out good deeds do so of their own vanity to promote their fame, their recognition and to earn the prestige of a true gentleman. Mandeville brands such people as "skillful lawgivers" for they are the upper crust of society who acts sociably and suppresses the appetites of the masses. It is these "skillful lawgivers" that will govern humans and make them sociable and sophisticated, and separate humans from animals.Greed is thought by many, including moralist, to be the deadliest sin, when in fact can prove to be the most beneficial and lead to virtue. It is generally known that greed provokes humans to consume until ones' appetite is full and happiness is reached. Mandeville puts forth the idea that such animalistic hunger and greed can be controlled and redirected to create good. Donations to charities perfectly demonstrate how persons selfishly donate sums of money, goods, or services for the proper recognition and glory of the public. But while these...

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