He said it: Paul Johnson on heroism

Paul Johnson, historian, from his book Heroes (HarperCollins, 2007):

Paul Johnson (at right, with Dr. Norman C. Francis and Ruth Johnson Colvin) receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2006. Whitehouse.gov  photo by "PaulJohnson1" by White House photo by Shealah Craighead.
Paul Johnson (at right, with Dr. Norman C. Francis and Ruth Johnson Colvin) receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2006. Whitehouse.gov photo by Shealah Craighead.

So how do we recognize the heroes and heroines of today? I would distinguish four principal marks.

First, by absolute independence of mind, which springs from the ability to think everything through for yourself, and to treat whatever is the current consensus on any issue with skepticism.

Second, having made up your mind independently, to act – resolutely and consistently.

Third, to ignore or reject everything the media throws at you, provided you remain convinced you are doing right. 

Finally, to act with personal courage at all times, regardless of the consequences to yourself.