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Author Topic: Most Important Social Value?  (Read 462 times)
anvi
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« on: February 04, 2012, 03:58:51 am »
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In the American socio-political context, we often assume, and sometimes are told, that the highest social value is freedom, and that freedom is what human beings most want and are meant to have.  The fundamental purpose and justification of our form of government and our economy are often claimed to be the maximization of social and political freedom.

Not taking anything away from the importance of this social ideal, I want to ask with this thread if you think there is a human social value that people prize, want, or find even more meaningful than freedom.  So, do you think there is a social value or ideal superior to freedom?  If so, what is it?  (Feel free to pick more than one if you wish.)
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memphis
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 09:05:15 am »
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Access to healthcare.
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 10:39:27 am »
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Mine are respect and kindness.
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Redalgo
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 11:32:44 am »
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Happiness trumps freedom. I prefer to emphasize compassion and fairness but, looking at the bigger picture, that is something characteristic of the secular left instead of society as a whole.
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"I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realized." ~ Nelson Mandela
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 01:22:10 pm »
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I think that, for most of us, a sense of community is of equal importance.
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They call me PR
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 01:29:54 pm »
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The profit motive, of course.
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anvi
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2012, 01:39:07 pm »
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I think that, for most of us, a sense of community is of equal importance.

Yes, this is what I was thinking too.  The vocabulary I was thinking about it in is a sense of belonging.  In societies where freedom is not anywhere near as important as the various kinds of obligations or duties people are thought to have, what makes the obligations acceptable is a sense of belonging that follows from them.  In our own society, where freedom is often said to be the highest good, it's a qualified freedom insofar as we still want to identify with certain people (families, friends), certain groups (workplace, neighborhood, country), certain sets of common values (different conceptions of national ideals)--and in fact freedom is only possible if it is a value held in common, since we must agree to acknowledge one another's freedom in the first place.  So, on the whole, I do think people want to have a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves, which gives their lives meaning, more than freedom.  That's not at all to say that freedom is not important; it's profoundly important, and all those who prize it are right to do so and all those who defend it for the rest of us ought to have our enduring gratitude.  But I do think, as far as basic human aspirations go, a sense of belonging comes first, because, one way or another, we need one another even to survive and flourish.
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They call me PR
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« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2012, 01:45:12 pm »
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Serious answer:

I think having a harmonious community is pretty clearly a very important value of human societies all over the world. However, what exactly is a harmonious community will vary, of course, depending on the social norms of the particular society.

I also think the obsession with "individual freedom" that many so-called "Western" societies have is more of an aberration, relative to history and societies in general throughout the world. Or let me rephrase this: there isn't really a conflict between the "individual" and the "community" in non-modern, non-"Western" societies.
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anvi
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« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2012, 02:03:25 pm »
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^^^I agree with this as well.
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