Ahh, but aynrandlover, you missed the most important sentence to have that quote make sense.
The spirit of the moment is rarely a good long term ethical guide since we will all find ourselves in moments of want and the cost of ethics.
I am not saying that the ends justify the means. I am saying that without an end in mind how can we ensure that we will stay true to our ethics? If you value honesty, but do not hope to achieve or try to achieve anything through honesty, then what hope is there to be honest when the choice is honesty vs. some intense want? Would you lie to attain $1,000,000? Why not if being honest has no personal goal in mind? Keep in mind that “goals” is a VERY wide concept. For some it might be selfish (i.e. if I am honest I will get more building contracts since people will trust me), it might be more spiritual (i.e. honesty contributes to the karmic good), it could be just about anything but it must be there or else the valuing of honesty will survive only so long as it isn’t put to the test.
And that is why I say only a fool or a zealot would make such a claim in seriousness. The fool will not recognize that we all can be victims of circumstance, or that we are all human and therefore subject to occasional fraility. He will be a self-loving person, who has likely never faced a true test of their being and as such does not understand the stain that a true test can put you under. I would say that as a teenager I was this fool, fortunately I grew up.
The zealot will feel that the ethical souce is required simply because … well, they are a zealot. It speaks for itself by definition. Let us take a religious person who feels that god is involved in our lives and is the source of all goodness. If they are totally convinced of this how can they not think that one who lacks success has been seperated from the source of goodness (presumably by their own fault)?
Gaudere: That was exactly my point. Your claim was that ethics need not have its own reward, but is not seeing your dream of a “good world” the reward if it is what you desire? I believe we agree, I was mainly just ribbin’ ya.