Saturday, October 10, 2009

Values Come Before Virtue

Values are defined as beliefs that we have an emotional investment in. Our beliefs underwrite our practices. And our practices are the public realm of "living in the world". Thus, politics is the arena that values plays itself out.

In a free society, values should be discussed in an open-ended way, with no discrimination toward the religious or the atheist. All should have voice in the public square to voice their opinion and allow all to come to some resolution, or to a consensus. There should not be propaganda, but investigative reporting, which should lead those who hear to investigate themselves. A free society does not remain free, if its freedoms are ignored, or under-valued, whether the error is in an ultra right-wing religious beliefs, or a radical left-wing secular view.

I just read on "Exploring Our Matrix", that conservatives are re-writing the Bible. These believe that the political agenda of Obama supporters was too liberal for them. Was this decision made because of some specific conservative values, such as abortion? Or a political stance on the economy?

It saddens me that conservatives do not think they have a voice or that they must segregate themselves from others who may be more informed than the wider population. And, as always, those who think that their "purity" values are being undermined have separated themselves to "form a new group". This is the Protestant Principle at work.

I agree that our society seems to be more politicized than it ever has been. But, does this mean that conservatives should withdraw to another part of society, which they create to form their own values without "outside information"?

Virtue is a response to values that differ. Virtue has to have a "context" to express itself. And usually that context is defined by the "sacred or secular", that has erred on one side or another. This is where difference can "make a difference" in virtue ethics.

"Good sports" know how to loose. And loosing does not have to mean that one become passively submissive or dependent on the winning view. Politics demands that we do not give up. Losers seek a way around the views they disagree with. But, to re-write Scripture without any scholarship, seems a little misguided. This is how cults are started. Shouldn't all conservatives be open to those with understanding about these areas of interest?

Values have become so concretized, that one cannot differ in anyway from the "party line". "Party lines" limit critical thinking, education, and a broader understanding of the issue. Broader understanding of a value is mandantory unless we want to "follow the leader" without questioning why these are values that should be maintained.

The Bible. after all, was not the focus of religious life in the Church's early history. Possibly the Bible is too much of a "value" of conservitism. Is this the "problem"? Surely these conservatives kow that the Trinity was not even formulated until the Church had existed for several hundred years.

American Conservatives should be a little more nuanced than narrowly focused and formed "group think"!

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