Values are all that matters; it is who we are and what we stand for. Without our values we would have no character and no personality. We would be an automaton – but even then someone else with values would use us for their purposes. Folks that are not consistent with their values are seen as shifty, two faced chameleons – definitely not to be trusted. Every action in our lives serve several functions. Many of them serve very practical functions such as repairing something on a car or eating a meal – but ultimately most of our actions also serve our values. We carry our values inside of us as a guide on how to deal with the world. It is how we decide what is right and wrong, what is important, what we want to promote. Even as we repair our car, we are doing it for a reason that may include being able to drive ourselves to work because we have placed a high value on our work ethic and personal responsibility. If we catch a bus instead of driving a car, maybe it’s because we care deeply about the value of protecting the earth and climate and like to meet the community. The person driving the car may also care a lot about the environment, but their value of personal responsibility may be slightly higher on their personal values priority list than the cost to the environment. The person riding the bus might take offense at the thought that they are not personally responsible, but the truth is that perhaps they are willing to compromise a bit on being able to control their arrival time for the sake of their higher priority – to help fight the climate crisis.
Below I’ve included some common values. We all have a unique combination and prioritization of values that make us who we are.
The truth is that those who consider themselves conservatives and those that consider themselves to be liberal are operating out of a different priority set of values. Very often conservative thought places an extremely high importance on obeying authority; for many of them it is literally a chain of command leading all the way up to God. For a liberal the overriding value tends to be empathy – a general sense of compassion that often extends to all humans and beyond in the animal and plant kingdom. Conservatives value a person based on how well they keep the top few values – obedience to authority, tradition, and “boot strap” autonomy. Liberals tend to care more about a compassionate community, equality of opportunity, and comprehensive justice . Each school of thought is painted as being the opposite of each other but the truth is just that the two groups just have a different prioritization. It’s hardly worth a screaming match.
So remember this Very Important Part – V.I.P – 1. Values 2. Issues 3. Programs. If you talk about things in this order and use your authentic voice (not the talking points from pundits), you are more likely to seem credible, sincere, and correct with your audience. If you get the first word in you will have a much better chance of creating the frame that the discussion will revolve around.
More about values http://www.ethics.org/resource/definitions-values