Saturday, July 31, 2004


Value n. A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.

Numbers have values. Money has value. Words have values (or else you are reading gibberish.) And, of course, people have values…well, supposedly. What I value and what true values are is a difficult bridge to build. Let's say I had been raised among a head-hunting tribe in South America. One of my traditional values would be found in taking the head of any person who transgressed my area.

So, not only are the terms "family values" and traditional values" also subject to scrutiny, but someone must answer as to where values actually should come from. Does a society have values simply because it flaunts the word around regularly? Do politicians have values because they give speeches about their values?

Having values in the generic sense is nothing to trumpet. Values can be in serious error, even traditional values (see World History in general.) So we cannot boast in merely possessing values. This "desirability" is the flaw in the definition if not the concept as we perceive it today. Maybe it is a desirable value to limit our family size due to overpopulation. Maybe it is a desirable value to see the government expand and govern more areas of our lives. Maybe it is a value to see the unborn given a right to life. Maybe it is a value for every person to have the same income and the same possessions. Maybe it is a value to support a strong military.

"Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

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