Why traditional values are important
Why traditional values are important
This question was asked of me, and it really made me stop and think. Important to whom? Important in what way? What are 'values' and what makes a value 'traditional' or not. Whose tradition? Such philosophical questions!
For me, we must first define a 'value'. I equate a 'value' with a belief. The core operating system within a person that determines how that person will behave in any circumstance. For example: one person might find a purse on a park bench. That person says to herself "Hey! My lucky day! I wonder how much money is in there?" She takes the money and throws the purse away. Another person might see the purse and feel an obligation to return it to it's rightful owner. While a third person might not want to be bothered and walks on by. There are as many reactions to each situation as there are people in the world - but they all fall near one of these three choices. For me to say one decision is 'bad' and another is 'good' would tell you what MY value system is.
In the purse scenario, the 'good' choice was to return the purse. That is my judgement. The 'bad' choice was to take the money. The uninvolved person's choice was neither good nor bad - that person may have been on the way to a doctor's appointment, or thought the purse looked like trash, or that it's best to leave it right there where someone left it - we don't know. It comes down to the respect for personal property, or the right of ownership, even personal space.
Have you ever had a confrontation with a person, and they get in your 'space'? This is a form of intimidation. That person wants something from you, and to get it, they get a little too close and usually say things to let you know what they desire for the outcome to be in that situation. There is no rule that says how many inches a person is allowed to have between your face and theirs when communicating. It is an understood distance. Crossing this invisible barrier impinges upon one's sense of security and demands attention. It can be uncomfortable. It requires the injured party to react. Will he ignore this affront? Will he back away? Will he stand his ground? Or will he escalate the encounter and close the distance further? It's all about respect. Respect and order.
It's just like when you are driving your car and someone flies past you. They are going the same direction, yet much faster. Are they more important than you? Should they be allowed to speed to where ever it is they are going, while every one else obeys the speed limit? No. But what if they are on the way to the hospital? What if they are just in a hurry to get to a bathroom? At what point do we use the legalistic view that says speeding is speeding? You should have gone to the bathroom before you left. You should have called an ambulance. Or some might say - "Who cares? As long as I get where I am going, and they stay out of MY way". Order requires that the majority follow the traffic laws. Respect for the laws insures safe travel for all.
Are these the 'traditional values' people want to know about? When some one asked Jesus, He said we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourself. Loving ourselves is easy. It comes automatically. We are supposed to love our neighbor that way. Automatically. Without even thinking about it. That is a tall order. I don't even LIKE my neighbors. I don't want to know to know them that well either.
Our choices in life are based upon our values. Society, in the form of government, laws and punishments, emphasizes certain values. We are free to make choices within these limits. Who decides what the limits are? In our country, the people make the laws, indirectly. We vote to have the people in power who will represent our views. They in turn make the laws. Laws to enforce certain beliefs or core values.
How do choices affect us?
Let's say you decide not to pay a portion of your taxes, or not to pay a park entrance fee, or fish without a license, or any other 'victimless' crime. We all suffer as a result. There will be a little less money for park maintenance, or wildlife control. If everyone did the same thing - we would all notice pretty fast!
So, traditional values, practiced by the majority, make life better for us all.
What about people who want to do their own thing? They say: "I can do what I want, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody". But that is not true. It is selfish. Again, if everyone did that it would be chaos. There is a limit to what society will allow you to get away with. The driver who speeds just a little will likely get away with it, and truly no one is bothered by this casual crime. The driver who speeds excessively, and endangers himself and others - he will be stopped.
Traditional values maintain order
When we as a people decide what is important to us and establish laws, with a way to enforce them - then order prevails. Societal change can and does, over time, revise these laws; but there is always an underlying current of what is 'acceptable' behavior and what is punishable behavior.
There will always be debate over what the laws permit or deny. People will always want to be allowed to do whatever they want to do. But so long as the majority rules, some people will be required to do things that they don't want to do, and may be prevented from doing things that they want to do. This is the nature of majority rule. The values chosen by a society maitain the order in that society.
Choices have consequences
When you decide to take a course of action, if it falls within the bounds of what is acceptable, according to the values chosen by society, there seem to be no consequences. Wrong. The outcome of these type of choices is normalcy, routine, and the person should feel that he is 'doing the right thing'. This is truly a consequence - a good one. It often goes unnoticed and therefore is not thought of as a good thing. But the more people we have that make good choices and have positive outcomes - however unheralded these choices are - the more we all benefit!
When some choose to buck the system, or skirt the law, or blatantly break the law - then energy must be spent to enforce the law. These people often say "I aint hurtin nobody!" Their selfish pursuits do in fact hurt all of us as a whole as we all have to work a little harder and do a little more, to make up for their lack. For example: Even the simple crime of littering costs us all. We all foot the bill for the cleanup of highways and streets. This time, money and effort might be used to make better parks, or simply lower taxes.
Traditional values are important then to preserve order, provide for a stable environment for society to thrive and to foster the common good.