What are the values that matter?
What are the values that matter these days, that you can stake your politics on? Any answer quickly runs up against the terrible slipperiness of our favorite big-idea words – freedom, peace, truth and the like. Everybody defines them as they like. The question is, which bundle of definitions is claiming the most adherents? So as I offer my list, I too am working to claim these grand-narrative terms:
Freedom: democratic values and open possibilities
Peace: nonaggression despite risks
Compassion: active care for those less well-off than you
Innovation and tradition: the evolution of new things, married to the continuing influence of collected wisdom
Common truth: current science, and collected peaceful wisdom, combined as the best guide to reality as we know it
Equality: our rights equal, and our different stations in life earned by merit
Renewability: earth’s dynamic and living systems allowed to sustain us without their permanent degradation
Justice: applying collected wisdom compassionately to guide matters responsibly
If we want to end by dipping our toe in the waters that, all things considered, I see as in the realm of spiritual belief, we could sum it up with:
Love: care for all.