Thursday, May 18, 2006


The Washington Post today is carrying an absolute MUST READ from George Will:

“Who Isn't A 'Values Voter'?”

Dr. Will’s thesis is aptly summed in the first two paragraphs:

“An aggressively annoying new phrase in America's political lexicon is "values voters." It is used proudly by social conservatives, and carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.
This phrase diminishes our understanding of politics. It also is arrogant on the part of social conservatives and insulting to everyone else because it implies that only social conservatives vote to advance their values and everyone else votes to . . . well, it is unclear what they supposedly think they are doing with their ballots.


I’d like to make a couple of observations:

“"values voters." It is used… carelessly by the media to denote such conservatives.”

It’s interesting to note “values voters,” being mostly “social conservatives,” tend to hold the MSM in very low esteem… Social conservatives are usually first to hurl the “bias” charge.

So why does the MSM play along with this? Why give people they are thought to disagree with the right to define the social debate?

A cynic might suggest it’s just pandering to a large, powerful market. Market share is hard to come by today, with choices constantly proliferating.

I’d suggest something simpler. This is another good evidence the MSM isn’t biased toward the left.

Dr.Will goes on to argue everyone votes values; it’s just different values:

“Today's liberal agenda includes preservation, even expansion, of the welfare state in its current configuration in order to strengthen an egalitarian ethic of common provision. Liberals favor taxes and other measures to produce a more equal distribution of income. They may value equality indiscriminately, but they vote their values.

Among the various flavors of conservatism, there is libertarianism that is wary of government attempts to nurture morality and there is social conservatism that says unless government nurtures morality, liberty will perish. Both kinds of conservatives use their votes to advance what they value.”

It’s the basic work of politics: Creating a system where people of different values can co-exist… As opposed to a “system” where people believe violence alone can protect their “values.”

And that’s a caution to majorities… Present and future.

I think the MSM came up with the term "values", probably derived from "family values". Either way, the MSM uses the term with a tone of derision.

But I agree all have values. And I would say all (most) have moral values. The difference lies in the term "moral". For conservatives it means how one conducts oneself. For liberals it's how well (much) government takes care of us.

Great topic.
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