Friday, April 21, 2006

The Five Values

Chris Bowers takes a stab at coming up with Ten Words that describe his political beliefs. I'd like to reduce it even further to what I call the Five Values:

Tolerance, Freedom, Opportunity, Mobility, Democracy

(All with an implied "more" before each one).

(1) Tolerance. I prefer this word to the more common "Diversity" because the latter implies a program of active promotion of diversity (i.e., "forcing" people to interact with people they don't normally interact with), whereas "Tolerance" simply means that we want a society that is open to diverse opinions and ways of living while not making people feel guilty if they would prefer to just hang out with people more like themselves.

(2) Freedom. A rather broad value, but at its core is the idea that people should be encouraged in the expression of their individual Freedom. We don't want a society where people feel inhibited from expressing their opinions about the important topics of the day or from acting on those opinions in order to affect positive change.

(3) Opportunity. The people's opportunity to fulfill their dreams and aspirations should be maximized. It is a tragedy, for the person and for society, when a person cannot achieve success simply because they are never given the opportunity to succeed.

(4) Mobility. Related to Opportunity, but this deals more with increasing the opportunities people have to make their lives better. The opportunities people have to raise their status in life.

(5) Democracy. Specifically, Liberal Democracy, which is founded on the idea that the people are the sovereign and, as such, all governing philosophies should ultimately defer to the will of the people. Our representatives hold our proxy, but they are never our rulers.

Naturally, all five of these values come into conflict with each other. Maximizing Tolerance does not mean eliminating people's Freedom to associate or not associate with whomever they please. Maximizing Freedom does not mean letting people's personal desires forever block the Opportunity of others to get what they want. And so on.

It is in the balancing act between these values that our society can achieve greatness (if a good balance is found) or failure (if it is not).

I could write pages and pages on these. Just consider this a rough outline for now.


Blogger Curio said...

I shan’t question your choice of five words, nor your beliefs, but since it is a “rough” draft, might I seek more explanation and make a few philosophical suggestions?

(1) Tolerance? I like this comparison to Diversity, but are you sure they are on the same level and about the same point? Is wanting to “just hang out with people more like themselves” possibly just a cover for prejudice and separation, but equal, of course?

(2) Freedom. “expressing”, or “expressing their opinions”, “value”? Ahh! isn’t freedom more than just freedom of speech, a lot more? Just limiting, or restricting it to speech sounds rather autocratic to me, even just as an example. Thanks, big brother.

Are YOU going to define “positive change” for all of us less capable peons?

I am extremely glad you used “freedom” and avoided the abuse of “democracy”,
Oh, it’s later on that you did that!

(3) Opportunity. Wow! ?? Too deep, way too deep, but I might question someone’s ability to define “success”, especially their own, but then I wouldn’t be stupid enough to define it for anyone.

(4) Mobility. ? ? “status”, relevance? Sounds to me like we are just stuck in mud, or blinded by the light.

(5) Democracy. Ohhh ! ! this is good.
Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, they came in that order, 1, 2, 3.

Our founders believed,

1. All mankind is inherently free, not given freedom by anyone or anything.

2. It is assured that all, being totally free, will likely infringe on the freedoms of others. Therefore, some sort of order is necessary to preserve the most freedom, on an equal basis, for all. Asking this of all those free people, to make the infringements on their own freedom, to achieve “order”, is the most logical and equitable method. Hence, the attempt at Democracy.

3. They then knowing that Democracy can be as abusive and tyrannical as any form of order, law and order, or government, they saw fit to make some attempt to define what “rights”, human rights, were involved in “freedom”. Hence the attempt at the Bill of Rights. Say, “rights”, and “Rights”, now that’s clever.

Have another good day.

10:29 AM  

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