Thursday, May 18, 2006

We are All "Values Voters" Now

First off, I want to apologize about the limited posts. There's a lot of stuff I want to talk about, but I'm fighting a nasty spring cold, which kind of makes me not in the mood to pontificate on matters. I'm still trying to get motivated to start planning Sunday's worship service.

My physical health aside, I did run accross a great column by George Will, that bust the myth of the so-called "values voter." Actually, it's not that he busts the myth, it's that he believes we all vote our values. Here are some choice quotes:

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.

Agreed. Some of my liberal friends vote because of their beliefs on poverty or budget issues and they will say it's because of moral reasons. Sounds like a values voter to me. Will continues:

Conservatives should be wary of the idea that when they talk about, say, tax cuts and limited government -- about things other than abortion, gay marriage, religion in the public square and similar issues -- they are engaging in values-free discourse. And by ratifying the social conservatives' monopoly of the label "values voters," the media are furthering the fiction that these voters are somehow more morally awake than others.

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.

I think Will is correct in blaming the media for falling into this use of "values voter" to describe only social conservatives, when most of us vote our values. No vote in my view is value-free, so why let one group hog all the "values?"

And now, I will head back to my cave and heal.

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