Values

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The term Values is actually a term, useful in propaganda, that is a shorthand designation for things that the speaker's group like or otherwise attach positive value to. Asserting that, e.g., "Alexander Hamilton had values!" amounts to saying that Hamilton valued a set of things such as economic goals and policies, social goals and policies, etc., and that the set of things that Hamilton valued were right -- right in terms of the axiological system of the speaker.

Using "values" this way automatically privileges the set of things valued by the speaker as the only possible set of things that can legitimately be valued. Members of the speaker's opposition will be said to "not have any values," when in fact any human being capable of maintaining his or her own life values certain things.

Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Hirohito, Mao... All of these people had values. The question that faces the individual is whether the values of some leader are values that one can personally accept.

It may be useful to list the things that candidates for political office actually values. The watchword should be: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

Some people simply accept the values that were taught to them by their family, their community, their religions, etc. Human progress seems often to have been made because people questioned their values and whether these values form a consistent set. Those with authoritarian personalities, and politicians that have described themselves as "conservative," seem to prefer that everyone accept the values that they themselves promulgate. Sometimes the values that govern their own lives are inconsistent with the values that they advocate that others adopt.

One component of the evaluation of a political candidate involves evaluating that person's values as displayed in everyday life and in policy decisions. Doing so implicitly involves clarifying one's own values.

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