Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Traditional Values": Neither valued nor traditional

I've heard a lot of talk from the Rethuglicans and religiots about "traditional values", especially in the last week or so. Most of it is stemming from the political conventions and the nominee selections that have been chosen, and some of the questions, concerns and issues raised by those candidates. It seems that 'traditional values' means whatever the speaker wants it to mean, usually a long-ago dreamland virtue from some imaginary 1950's black-and-white drive-in movie, and hawked as being biblically based and "Christian".

In other words, it's crap.

If you want "traditional values" from the Bible, go buy some slaves.

If you want some real "Christian" sentiments, go stone a heretic to death.

"Traditional" simply means "we've always done it this way" -- which in no way implies that "this way" is the optimal or most ethical way. A long time ago (OK, about 150 years ago), a great many people in this country accepted the "traditional value" that blacks were unintelligent and unteachable. Many others accepted the "traditional value" that a woman's place was in the home. Just about everyone accepted the "traditional value" that only white men had the right to vote.

Guess what -- those "traditional values" aren't considered tradition anymore. Why not?

Because culture, social norms and mores change over time (you know -- evolve). As knowledge and education expand and spread, the lies, misinformation and errors of the past are laid bare, and the people adapt to accept the new and correct.

Usually, it seems that people who like to use the term "traditional value" have very little stock in that value themselves, but it is useful for gaining power and prestige over others - because most of the time, those "traditional values" end up de-valuing the worth and respect of others.

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