Virtue is Own Reward?
Virtue really can be its own reward, as it is trite to say. But for this to happen would require that virtuous behavior be repeatedly, and in many ways, reinforced by a surrounding social group. With such a history, the individual’s own actions, that the social group calls virtuous, can become learned generalized reinforcers to the behaving individual. Under these conditions the behavior of the individual actually does become self-reinforcing (its own reward). However other good outcomes caused by this behavior are likely to be delayed and unknown to the virtuous individual. This is the main reason that it is important to identify good and effective moral codes and to powerfully teach their behaviors within all sociocultures that wish to survive.
George Washington knew this and so should we all.
There exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness … we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” –George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789
End of quote.