Abstract: This article examines a danger faced by this NWE Values Forum, the Values in Knowledge Foundation, and other progressive and enlightened efforts to re-integrate values in knowledge and information.
It is said that President Obama has over-reached with the expansion of Federal control. For this reason and perhaps others, a mighty energy has seized what is called “the right wing” of American politics, including a strong force now swept up in political elements pertaining to “values.”
This forum and the VKF must be vigilant and clear to express and establish their distinct purposes and relationship to the concept of values in a time when the term is in danger of being popularized as a narrow and divisive concept.
A good many factors have led to increased bifurcation and calcification on the American political landscape. From at least 1992 onward, public discourse on political matters has been dominated by provocative and divisive rhetoric and behavior. The 4 year cycle of national politics has taken the form of relatively wild pendulum swings trading on sound-bite culture and rapidly growing ignorance of genuine civics and accurate and nuanced national history.
It is this very battle against “dumbing down” to which NWE and VKF are so energetically devoted. The “dumbing down” should not be understood as describing a populace that “knows” less, but rather a populace that lacks the inherent habits of mind capable of sound assessment of rhetoric, argument, and the manipulation of knowledge and information.
This has enormous implications for the near future of American politics, but as importantly, it is a pressing matter that the importance of “values” does not come to be equated with the narrow and particular views and agenda of “values voters.”
NWE Forum and VKF values embrace a great many broad and progressive ideals not commonly emphasized among values voters.
Here are a few words on the very important recent event gathering “values votes,” with special focus on the relationship between this movement and the “Tea Party.”
Values voters see common cause, if not agenda, with tea party
by Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service WASHINGTON RNS
With its emphasis on lower taxes and smaller government, the “tea party” movement hasn’t spent a lot of time on the social issues that animate social conservatives — abortion, gay marriage or stem cell research.
Many of the estimated 2,000 social conservatives who flocked here Friday (Sept. 17) for the annual Values Voter Summit say the tea party’s smaller-is-better conservatism resonates with them, even if it doesn’t always hit all the same hot buttons.
“We’re not just one issue only,” said Dale Burroughs, a pastoral counselor from Bradenton, Fla. “We have a social agenda but we also recognize economic problems, too. It’s like a train track. You have two rails and they’re going in the same direction. They’re just two separate tracks.”