In my 2009 article “Who Are We? What Holds Us Together?” I suggested we examine ourselves in order to enhance our sense of purpose and expand our community.
I wanted us to understand what makes us more alike than different.
I asked: “What are the essential threads of philosophy that bind us in common cause? What do we believe and how do we make our belief explicit? Can we state our beliefs so clearly and concisely that they function as a beacon to attract and retain conservative patriots in our cause?”
Our local discussion group seemed to “converge” in agreement on core Beliefs, or Principles. This enabled us to establish high-level moral clarity with regard to right and wrong, good and bad.
As we moved from “single-issue activism” to the selection and endorsement of candidates in the 2010 election year, I observed growing discord among individuals and between confederate groups. People who I respected began to exhibit behaviors I struggled to understand.
There was ‘something’ in our personalities that caused us to diverge and fracture when we attempted to address contemporary topics that required practical and political action.
To address this dysfunction, we briefly discussed the “Values” identified by Benjamin Franklin and others to measure personal growth. We as individuals “Value” certain character traits of other humans. The traits we Value are the attributes of people we consider inherently desirable or intrinsically good.
However, we did not promote a broad dialog to examine how we individually embrace and rank Values in our lives and our decision processes. Our failure to critically examine Values may have been a serious oversight.
In my attempt to understand motivation behind behaviors that puzzled me, I was drawn to re-examine our list of Values:
- Industry (persistence, procure wealth)
- Frugality (secure virtue)
- Resolution (personal responsibility)
- Sincerity (reverence, honesty, gratitude)
- Justice (hope)
- Order (consistency)
- Tranquility (patience)
Upon reflection, I offer a hypothesis:
As individuals we rank Values with different priority.
For example: I personally rank Resolution, Order and Sincerity very highly. I will not support a person or political candidate who shirks responsibility, is inconsistent, or appears to compromise integrity – regardless of strengths in other areas.
When I look at endorsements made by others, I infer their selection may be the result of differences in priority among the Values. Someone who ranks Industry, Justice and Tranquility among their primary Values would likely support a different individual.
While we converge on Principles, we may never fully converge on Values. Therefore we should expect differences of opinion on actions, leaders and political candidates.
We must not, however, fall into a trap of elevating Value-generated differences to the point where our divisiveness fractures a remarkable coalition of those who have converged on Principles.
Give some serious thought regarding which Values are most important to the general adoption of our core Beliefs (Principles), and the re-establishment of a state of Rightful Liberty.
Discuss these in your tribe and seek consensus. Examine your Values and expose the Values of those who seek roles of leadership and political office.
Are the Value priorities in your daily decisions consistent with the Value priorities forLiberty?
Do your part to ensure we “hang together” and prosper throughout the next four years.