Clarification on Value

Not one but two responses to my last post made me realize that I’m working off of an incorrect, or at least outdated definition of ‘value.’ To be clear, I was using it in the sense of ‘Objective Value:’ designating an awareness of qualitative realities such as virtue, beauty, honor, and so on. This, it seems, doesn’t really match up with the dictionary definition, though I’m hampered by the lack of suitable alternatives. Principle, offered by both responses as a better alternative, strikes me as too limited; referring chiefly to action or ideas of action, rather than an exterior reality to which we ought to respond a certain way (to my mind it also conveys the same subjectivity that it seems most people get from ‘value,’ but I suppose that’s just me).

The term ‘Conservative’ was also more a matter of brevity than precision: I meant to encompass the general mass of people opposed to the specific ideology of what is known as the Left. The point was that, while traditional children of the west (and elsewhere) tended to direct their lives and actions according to their perception of principles or objective value (i.e. ‘this is the right thing to do,’ or  ‘this is good work’), the children of Marxist thought, which we call the Left, direct their lives and actions according to a more or less defined end goal: ranging from ‘the revolution’ to something like ‘equality’ or ‘social justice.’ It is this end that they have in mind, and anything to achieve it is good. Hence, to take one instance among many, Leftists praise objectively bad films like The Last Jedi, Ghostbusters (2016), and Black Panther because they seem to promote the correct agenda. Someone raised in a traditionalist mindset, on the other hand, praises a good film like The Greatest Showman even if he is aware that it seems to promote the wrong agenda.

This distinction was actually brought out really well in Infinity War, where Thanos’s whole character was directed to a specific goal, for which he was willing to do absolutely anything, while the heroes time and again gave up their end goal for the sake of protecting their friends and family. Thus the heroes had principles: Thanos only had an agenda.

One thought on “Clarification on Value

  1. I agree with your point, but I’ve long cringed at the word ‘values’ as used today. Objective Values is a good alternative, except I’m guessing few would understand you if you used it. Values has been long used by those who want to talk about my values versus your values, the key idea being that people are free to choose whatever values they want, and nobody has the right to tell them otherwise. I know that’s not what you mean, but it is what many moderns mean.

    I think truth is the best term for what we’re after here, as in ‘we hold these truths to be self-evident”. Truths are declarations of reality, and therefore make claims on everybody. This leads to the even more jarring habit of moderns referring to ‘my truth’ – a nonsensical phrase that attempts to make even truth subjective.

    Anyway, hope I didn’t drag you too far off your initial point, which I agree with wholeheartedly.

    Like

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