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Old 05-24-2021, 01:28 PM
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Default Values vs Positions

I've been thinking about what people truly value and whether they demonstrate those values in their behavior. Just as an example I believe most people value honesty, generosity, and compassion, yet 70 million people voted to re-elect a US President who pretty clearly doesn't share those values.

That got me thinking maybe I'm wrong about people's core values--at least here in the US--so I started looking around for some data. Unfortunately the first page of results I got from searching for "american values survey" was a bunch of information about where people stand on Trump, abortion, taxes, etc. and nothing about where they stand on honesty, generosity, or compassion.

Obviously where people stand on issues is important, but in this political climate asking people where they stand on issues is like asking them if they're team red or blue. It's not completely useless information but it's not particularly illuminating either.

My hypothesis is that there is a lot more overlap than difference in people's core values, but the right has been so effective at conflating values and positions (e.g. that e.g. "anti-abortion" = "compassionate", and "anti-taxation" = "pro-freedom") that everyone (people, media, and researchers) thinks they can derive values (their own and others') from where one stands on issues.

I don't know where I'm going with this but maybe some feedback will help me figure it out.
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2021, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

It's a good hypothesis, and further, I think most people decide early in life which team/tribe informs their values, and thus adopt the tribe's positions without examining each position on its merits -- particularly new positions that didn't exist when they "joined" their tribe. And while this affects everyone (at least in the US) to some degree, it's more pronounced on the right, as a conservative is less likely to re-examine anything from a new angle, let alone a completely new perspective.
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Old 05-24-2021, 11:17 PM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

I have some disorganized thoughts on this, as I attempt to organize them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sock Puppet View Post
as a conservative is less likely to re-examine anything from a new angle, let alone a completely new perspective.
Iíve noticed this in science education and my current hypothesis is itís a direct result of how conservative society is structured for children. Knowledge is a set of facts and instructions those in authority pass on down to them. They are praised for repeating them correctly and punished for correcting the teacher, even if they are right.

Many are being honest when they complain that Ďscience is always changing and must not know anythingí because as far as they are concerned, being given an A for repeating facts decades ago, while being told they are wrong today suggests to them that they were given wrong information decades ago either out of malice or manipulation, as the concept that facts change and authority isnít always right was forbidden. Authoritarian conservatives have been trained that itís morally right to agree with an authority figure you know is wrong, and morally wrong to question them.

I also think this is one of the reasons there are older generations saying things like ĎItís XX or XYí, like itís gospel, because thatís how it was taught as a gospel of scientific facts and not just, Ďthe best we know at this time.í

Con-artists know this and itís why so many pseudo-science claims spend time acting like an authority and never admitting fault, to their targets *that* is science, a set of facts from an authority that shows they are right over others.
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Old 05-25-2021, 01:19 AM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

Like Stage Four of Kohlberg's moral reasoning scale.

I saw that a lot when Colorado was debating decriminalizing marijuana. People effectively arguing that it's obviously dangerous and bad because it's illegal, sometimes accompanied by generic catastrophizing based on that fundamental Just World belief.
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Old 05-25-2021, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

Side note in regard to values in voting, I am not sure Americans think of politicians as people in the same way they would expect certain values in their friends and neighbours, it is as if 'politician' is some species that is held to a completely different standard. They are expected to be wealthy, ivy league educated, and ruthless. Compassion and honesty seems to be more of a liability, as would be having had a "regular" blue-collar job in the past, mysteriously. Maybe it is just generally what Americans also expect of each other and themselves? Seems unlikely, though.
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Old 05-27-2021, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
I've been thinking about what people truly value and whether they demonstrate those values in their behavior. Just as an example I believe most people value honesty, generosity, and compassion, yet 70 million people voted to re-elect a US President who pretty clearly doesn't share those values.
Why do you believe that people most value honesty, generosity and compassion? What have the majority of people done to justify that belief?
Is it not, rather the case that you think people ought to value those virtues, because they're emphasized in morality tales for children and held up by preachers and social do-gooders as the prime virtues?
At the same time, virtues such as loyalty, steadfastness and reverence are also held in high esteem by the setters of moral standards.

But - do most people ever actually think about what those words mean, or what those virtues demand in terms of personal effort? Or do they just let some self-proclaimed leader tell them what action would - at this moment - demonstrate their possession of a particular virtue they're being called upon to exercise?

Send death- and rape-threats to a feminist in congress to prove your love of liberty! Vote for a sleaze to show your patriotism! Fire-bomb a birth-control clinic to let 'em know you love the iddle-widdle babies they're trying to kill!

When people are too stupid, lazy or browbeaten to think about what they value and why; what the words really mean, and how those values might best be expressed in action, they can be sold any bill of goods, persuaded to do any amount of harm and self-harm, under the cover of a slogan.
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Old 05-27-2021, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

When our leaders decide to go to war, people who would normally show the compassionate values you describe, will volunteer, or be conscripted, to kill other people who have now become, "the enemy". Only a tiny minority of conscientious objectors refuse to join - and they are severely punished and separated from society for so doing.

Groups of humans exhibit very different behaviour patterns to individual humans. Most species of animals do the same.
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Old 05-27-2021, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
Groups of humans exhibit very different behaviour patterns to individual humans. Most species of animals do the same.
That's a characteristic of social animals: to identify with their herd, pack, troop or tribe; to support fellow members and defend the group, its territory and feeding grounds against both predators and rivals of the same species.

In complex civilizations, this group identity gets all twisted up in stratification, specialization, amalgamation of different groups and other kinds of sub-grouping. A civilized human has affiliations with the larger society, and also with many smaller sub-groups. At any given time, any given human's "us" identity may be as small as his nuclear family or as large as her ethnic origin - and there may be a conflict of interest between any two of those affiliations.

When an individual has so many competing group loyalties, the day-to-day decision of their order of priority becomes exhausting and confusing.
Comes a "leader" who can convince a large number of people that he represents the common interest of all of their sub-groups and will make the decisions for them.
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  #9  
Old 05-28-2021, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxymaroon View Post
Why do you believe that people most value honesty, generosity and compassion?
Because people are generally interested in self-preservation, I can't imagine a significant percentage who would say they prefer lying, greed, and cruelty.

Quote:
What have the majority of people done to justify that belief?
Right, my whole point is that many people's actions (e.g. voting for Trump) appear to contradict values I expect any rational person to hold.

Quote:
Is it not, rather the case that you think people ought to value those virtues, because they're emphasized in morality tales for children and held up by preachers and social do-gooders as the prime virtues?
It is not.

Quote:
But - do most people ever actually think about what those words mean, or what those virtues demand in terms of personal effort?
It's probably more nurture than nature, but I don't think most people think very deeply about anything.

Quote:
Or do they just let some self-proclaimed leader tell them what action would - at this moment - demonstrate their possession of a particular virtue they're being called upon to exercise?

Send death- and rape-threats to a feminist in congress to prove your love of liberty! Vote for a sleaze to show your patriotism! Fire-bomb a birth-control clinic to let 'em know you love the iddle-widdle babies they're trying to kill!
That's kind of my point. I think a lot of people have been persuaded to put the cart before the horse, or in this case the issue before the values. They have been told e.g. that anyone who values human life must oppose abortion, so they believe anything they do to oppose abortion, no matter how grotesque, is a demonstration of a positive value.

Quote:
When people are too stupid, lazy or browbeaten to think about what they value and why; what the words really mean, and how those values might best be expressed in action, they can be sold any bill of goods, persuaded to do any amount of harm and self-harm, under the cover of a slogan.
I used to think most people were stupid and lazy, but I think browbeaten (and deceived) is understated. It is incredibly difficult to think outside the box in this world, much less move outside the box. I'm more inclined (of late) to believe that people are generally more maltreated, misinformed, and misguided than innately bad.
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Old 05-28-2021, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Values vs Positions

To quote from the Dred Scott decision "[black people have] no rights which the white man [is] bound to respect". I doubt that the people who agreed with this would've said that they therefore don't value any rights!

This type of thing is a crucial component of the importance that many people place on honesty, compassion and generosity, and other pro-social values. While they might generically say that they value those things, it's often the case that they really only consider them mandatory to apply with members of what they consider their in-group.

There may also be other qualifications - you might need to be a member of the in-group in good standing, hence it may not apply to apostates, heretics, people who violate certain group norms (against homosexuality or interfaith relationships, for example), etc.

Perhaps you think that honesty and compassion should be placed higher than group loyalty, religious devotion, or "honor", "purity" or the like. But if you place group loyalty higher in priority, it makes sense that Trump's lies, which they view as in service to their group interests, would be perfectly acceptable to them.
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