In looking at the Knightly Virtues, there are those who will attempt to
rank them in order of importance, and I will freely confess that I am
one of these. Strangely I can only rank the one I feel is least important,
and the one that is most important, and I will write of one of these now.

Franchise occupies the last place on my list of virtues, which is
intentional. Knowing the other eight virtues is critical to
understanding Franchise. Franchise is the virtue of practicing the
other eight virtues without any though of profit or personal gain.
Franchise is the purest motive, selflessness in every action.

In modern terms, Franchise is the polar opposite of "what's in it for
me?". This is not to say that when practicing the virtues one is
wrong to consider personal or spiritual growth, which are the real
essence of practicing the virtues. Becoming virtuous for virtue's
sake alone is the goal. To be virtuous for the sake of having others
notice you being virtuous, or to win acclaim and renown lacks Franchise.

To cite a real world example of this, let's briefly examine the Knightly
Virtue of Largesse. Largesse is sharing with others within the prudent
bounds of one's resources. Making a charitible donation to the United
Way is one form of Largesse, which in some lists of virtues is actually
called Charity. If you made that charitible donation out of a genuine
concern for your fellowman, you are also practicing Franchise. If,
however, you made that donation for the tax break, that is the "what's
in it for me?" part of your generosity, and singularly does not display

As you think on this virtue, it is clear to see that this is the most important of the virtues, as
one's motivation for being virtuous is as important as being virtuous itself is.

created 12/29/2004