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Values

 
EN
 
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EN
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04 December 2019 15:04
 

The Trump phenomenon has revealed a significant divide in the opinions/positions of the American voter.  Many of us - myself included - have found it tempting to explain this by resorting to accusations of stupidity, racism, lack of critical or nuanced thinking, etc., with reference to the opposing side.  In this thread I would like to explore the extent to which “values” - as vague as that term can seem - play a part in this phenomenon.  I’ll begin the discussion with an example.

From the moment I heard Mr. Trump propose a wall all along the southern border (most of which is in my state), I was adamantly against him.  Since that time, he’s given me many other reasons to be against him, but the genesis of my opposition was the wall.  That’s because an unobstructed Texas border was very important to me personally.  Since I had been going to the border since I was a kid, and since I loved the wildness, beauty and culture of the area, the idea of a wall was simply anathema to me.  If that were the only thing that Trump had done (in my opinion) wrong, I would not have voted for him.  So, in a sense, I was a single issue voter from the beginning, even though many other layers of disgust have been added since then.

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

Someone can question or attack my particular desire to see the Texas border protected from the destructive effects of a wall, but that is still something that is important to me - more so than any other issue that has come up. Similarly, one could attack the position of the anti-abortionist.  But once a particular value becomes entrenched, it is difficult to dislodge, and typically more and more defenses are built around that position until it becomes unassailable in the defender’s mind. 

So, how much do “values” as I have described explain the Trump phenomenon and the divide between voters?  And, how do values get formed to begin with, and how do they change?

 
burt
 
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burt
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04 December 2019 16:33
 

Very relevant issue. I’ll just throw some comments up that seem relevant to me. Up until 1990 I’d more or less gone back and forth between Republicans and Democrats but after 1990 stopped voting for Republicans because of the party position on women. It wasn’t a single issue thing, but it tipped the balance.

I had a discussion with a friend on Monday about how one weighed different things to come to a decision. His view was that while one had tools like logic, probability theory, statistics, and so on, that there was also an issue of how one grouped things into categories and attached values to the categories. Relating to that, there’s a great quote from G. Spencer-Brown (from a book Laws of Form that takes ordinary logic apart to its basics): “there can be no distinction without motivation, and there is no motivation unless contents are seen to differ in value. If a content is of value, a name can be taken to represent that value. Therefore, the calling of the name can be identified with the value of the content.” So words gain emotional power through identification with the values they represent.

Some years ago I read an article, I believe in Psychology Today, but could be wrong, looking at the problem between creationists and evolutionists. The gist of the article was that it was a category problem, in terms of values. That is, creationists were arguing in terms of a value dichotomy good/bad (with a moral religious basis) whereas evolutionists were arguing in terms of a dichotomy true/false (with a scientific basis). I speculated about there being a hierarchy of value dichotomies:
pleasure/pain
like/dislike
good/bad
true/false
a 5th level I never really worked out (relating in some way to transcendent reality)t.
The point was that we make judgements and decisions on all of these, but there is confusion and error in misapplying them. In particular, that it’s an error to assume that because we think something is a or not-a at one level that means that we assume that at a higher level as well. For example, it’s a mistake to like something just because it gives pleasure, or to dislike something painful. It’s a mistake to think something is good just because we like it, or bad because we dislike it. Or to think something is true because we believe it is good, and so on. It seems to me that many Trump supporters buy into this sort of error, (and many of his opponents, too). They get pleasure at his behaviour, like it, think he is good (or the chosen one), and so assume whatever he says is true, at least in a metaphorical sense.

 
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04 December 2019 16:50
 

Nice post, burt.  How about “real/imaginary” for the 5th level.  Or does that not quite convey the idea? 

On my personal example, I think I could rise to at least the 4th level in my argument against the wall, but I can see an Evangelist making an argument (and convincing himself) that the abortion issue goes all the way to transcendental reality - the life of a human. I can’t quite elevate to that level talking about a national border or landscape.  Using this calculus, I understand the Trump voter better, although I still disagree and still don’t like Trump.  Values have great explanatory power.

Where do they come from?  Personal experience, inculcated ideas, genetic makeup, intelligence (whatever that is), etc.?  They really are the expression of a complex process that has lead to a complex human being.

 
GAD
 
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04 December 2019 17:23
 
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

 
 
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04 December 2019 19:21
 
GAD - 04 December 2019 05:23 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

Yes, but do you agree that values, whatever they might be, are often what drives a voter’s decision?  What basic values drive your voting decisions?

 
GAD
 
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04 December 2019 19:55
 
EN - 04 December 2019 07:21 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 05:23 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

Yes, but do you agree that values, whatever they might be, are often what drives a voter’s decision?  What basic values drive your voting decisions?

If values = what someone wants, OK. If you want guns and vote for gun guys, is that a value? If you want slaves and you vote for slave guys is the value? If you vote for gun and slave guys who value killing sons and taking daughters as sex slaves and they then kill your son and take your daughter was putting them in power worth your guns and slaves?

 
 
EN
 
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04 December 2019 20:56
 
GAD - 04 December 2019 07:55 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 07:21 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 05:23 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

Yes, but do you agree that values, whatever they might be, are often what drives a voter’s decision?  What basic values drive your voting decisions?

If values = what someone wants, OK. If you want guns and vote for gun guys, is that a value? If you want slaves and you vote for slave guys is the value? If you vote for gun and slave guys who value killing sons and taking daughters as sex slaves and they then kill your son and take your daughter was putting them in power worth your guns and slaves?

I’m using “values” as what you really believe in, think is important, value highly.  What is it for you?  I gave you an example of something important for me that affects my voting. What is it for you?

 
GAD
 
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04 December 2019 20:59
 
EN - 04 December 2019 08:56 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 07:55 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 07:21 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 05:23 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

Yes, but do you agree that values, whatever they might be, are often what drives a voter’s decision?  What basic values drive your voting decisions?

If values = what someone wants, OK. If you want guns and vote for gun guys, is that a value? If you want slaves and you vote for slave guys is the value? If you vote for gun and slave guys who value killing sons and taking daughters as sex slaves and they then kill your son and take your daughter was putting them in power worth your guns and slaves?

I’m using “values” as what you really believe in, think is important, value highly.  What is it for you?  I gave you an example of something important for me that affects my voting. What is it for you?

Reason.

 
 
EN
 
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04 December 2019 22:04
 
GAD - 04 December 2019 08:59 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 08:56 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 07:55 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 07:21 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 05:23 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

Yes, but do you agree that values, whatever they might be, are often what drives a voter’s decision?  What basic values drive your voting decisions?

If values = what someone wants, OK. If you want guns and vote for gun guys, is that a value? If you want slaves and you vote for slave guys is the value? If you vote for gun and slave guys who value killing sons and taking daughters as sex slaves and they then kill your son and take your daughter was putting them in power worth your guns and slaves?

I’m using “values” as what you really believe in, think is important, value highly.  What is it for you?  I gave you an example of something important for me that affects my voting. What is it for you?

Reason.

OK. So who are you voting for in 2020?  Who is the “reason” candidate?

 
GAD
 
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04 December 2019 22:18
 
EN - 04 December 2019 10:04 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 08:59 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 08:56 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 07:55 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 07:21 PM
GAD - 04 December 2019 05:23 PM
EN - 04 December 2019 03:04 PM

However, if my single issue, my passion, had been to protect unborn fetuses, then I can see myself transitioning to the other camp. Then, even if Trump had acted in a way that I considered to be inappropriate in certain areas, I might have hung with him so that my single goal would have been accomplished.  That is the basic position of many Evangelical voters.

That is how bad guys get power and stay in power…

Yes, but do you agree that values, whatever they might be, are often what drives a voter’s decision?  What basic values drive your voting decisions?

If values = what someone wants, OK. If you want guns and vote for gun guys, is that a value? If you want slaves and you vote for slave guys is the value? If you vote for gun and slave guys who value killing sons and taking daughters as sex slaves and they then kill your son and take your daughter was putting them in power worth your guns and slaves?

I’m using “values” as what you really believe in, think is important, value highly.  What is it for you?  I gave you an example of something important for me that affects my voting. What is it for you?

Reason.

OK. So who are you voting for in 2020?  Who is the “reason” candidate?

Biden is the safe choice, if he get the nom. Maybe Buttplug, but a lame duck Trump is less damage then Warren or Sanders, so there I would vote for a despicable piece of shit over people I think would do worse.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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05 December 2019 00:29
 

Values are not a useful term: pick your values right, and you can justify anything.

More useful would be Limits: make it clear where the Red Lines are, and then have the values to not tolerate transgression by anyone.

 
 
Traces Elk
 
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05 December 2019 04:05
 
Twissel - 05 December 2019 12:29 AM

Values are not a useful term: pick your values right, and you can justify anything.

More useful would be Limits: make it clear where the Red Lines are, and then have the values to not tolerate transgression by anyone.

Not tolerating stuff requires action or else it is nothing but a feeble noise. There’s a limit, for ya.

People value their assets. That may come from the Department of Tautology Department. Otherwise, expressing values just implies making a noise of some kind.

[ Edited: 05 December 2019 06:07 by Traces Elk]
 
 
EN
 
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05 December 2019 13:11
 

GAD, I agree that Biden is the safe choice.  But I would vote for another Dem on the theory that Congress is t going to let them get too crazy.

 
GAD
 
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05 December 2019 17:27
 
EN - 05 December 2019 01:11 PM

GAD, I agree that Biden is the safe choice.  But I would vote for another Dem on the theory that Congress is t going to let them get too crazy.

Voting for crazy people because you think less crazy people will stop them from being too crazy, is crazy!

 
 
EN
 
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06 December 2019 08:49
 
GAD - 05 December 2019 05:27 PM
EN - 05 December 2019 01:11 PM

GAD, I agree that Biden is the safe choice.  But I would vote for another Dem on the theory that Congress is t going to let them get too crazy.

Voting for crazy people because you think less crazy people will stop them from being too crazy, is crazy!

It’s a “lesser of two evils” argument. Congress can restrain Elizabeth or Bernie.  It hasn’t done a good job of restraining Trump. And either Trump or the Dem candidate are going to win.  No other vote is going to count for anything.

 
Jb8989
 
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06 December 2019 14:39
 
EN - 06 December 2019 08:49 AM
GAD - 05 December 2019 05:27 PM
EN - 05 December 2019 01:11 PM

GAD, I agree that Biden is the safe choice.  But I would vote for another Dem on the theory that Congress is t going to let them get too crazy.

Voting for crazy people because you think less crazy people will stop them from being too crazy, is crazy!

Congress can restrain Elizabeth or Bernie.  It hasn’t done a good job of restraining Trump

It hasn’t? I feel like I have a newfound respect for Congress.

 
 
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