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The word "values" commonly implies a covert sentence: "The only values that are real are my values, and they are good." The fact is that different people value different things. When these acts of evaluation are reified or hypostatized as things they seem to take on a glowing, transcendental status. If I and my group value reproductive success more highly than most other things, then one of my "values" will be the support and encouragement of bundling, trial cohabitation, marriage only after pregnancy has been achieved, etc. If I and my group prize the exchange value of virgin daughters, then chastity will be one of my values.

Saying "Representative Spavindorst has values!" is meaningless, but it can imply to each individual among a whide set of individuals that Spavindorst's values are the same as my values. Why? Because there is only one set of things that can be truly called values. If the right person, the person that I trust, says that Spavindorst has values, then that will mean to me that Spavindorst values the same things I do. It will mean to my neighbor, who values things that I don't value (and vice-versa), that Spavindorst values the things that s/he values.

Put it the other way around: Hitler had values. Stalin had values. Mao had values. The trouble is that they are not my values, so I should not be deceived when some snake oil salesman trumpets their moral excellence, saying, "He has values!"

The remedy is to get the cart back behind the horse where it belongs:

Thomas Jefferson valued: 1, 2, 3...
Abraham Lincoln valued: A, B, C...
Richard Nixon valued: power, secrecy, a good RF*...

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

* The polite explication for this acronym is "rodent fornication" -- the late 50s term for political and other dirty tricks or practical jokes. For some reason this was the one value that Nixon shared with the Beach Boys.

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