Thursday, September 18, 2008

Have American Values Shifted?

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman suggests today in the New York Times that America is no longer the right-leaning, conservative nation that it had been for the latter half of the twentieth century. From his perspective, the citizens are shifting their traditional views on the role of government, foreign policy and, unfortunately, moral absolutism:

We have documented a similar, if less drastic, shift in public views of morality. Just three years ago, a majority of those we surveyed said that “there are absolute standards of right and wrong that apply to everyone in almost every situation.” Today, however, respondents by a narrow margin say they believe that “everyone has to decide for themselves what is right and wrong in particular situations.”


Dag said...

That's hilarious. I posted a piece above before I noticed this one from the NYT. Who is right? Time will tell, but not likely the Times.

Long live Norman Rockwell!

truepeers said...

it seems unimaginable that the relativism pervasive among the elite and schools wouldn't be having some effect.

However, as the conservative can never tire of pointing out, even the idea that "everyone must decide for themselves" is articulated as a universal moral imperative. And once you are forced to recognize that you admit one such imperative, you may be capable of seeing that you do believe in some kind of fundamental truth and should want to get to know a bit more about it. Of course one has to overcome the great religious opposition to that next step... one has to leave the crowd and start thinking for oneself... the truth as I see it is that America is as conformist and religious as it has ever been; just in different ways...

the paradox is that real thinking about fundamental and shared human truths has always required individual honour, courage, will... some things can't be done by committee so in our bureaucratic culture they're hard to do. It's not part of any job description.

Dag said...

Leave it to Sean Orr to show he doesn't know the difference between "sole" (a fish,) and "soul," (of a Fish, as it were.)

Sean is always good for a chortle, even at times a snortle.

truepeers said...

Then again, dag, that could be Sean's ways of making a sly comment on these feet-holding shoes that are washing up on our shores:

For those wondering what we're talking about, Sean writes:

"'Values' voters search for a home. "When representatives don't support the core beliefs of their constituents, where do those potential voters turn"? We wait. We wait for the firestorm of retribution that God will have upon their flesh; for the day in which judgement [sic: "judgment" is linked to this post] will come to the millions of wayward soles (liberals)."

Dag said...

I hate being unfair to Sean, and to be fair I admit I thought he'd made a typo when he wrote "soles." I assumed he really meant "solos," as in O, Solo mio! It's too obvious, in that what else could "liberals" write of themselves otherwise while they wait for conservatives to notice them?

Yes, I'm sure that somewhere in the physical universe there is a person of some form named Sean, the one referenced above; but the reality here is that he's just a name to write about while we, the great mob of us in the basement, wait for the second coming, for some rough beast, it's hour come round at last, slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. And when it comes, then it's dinner time, roasts for the poor, Sean invited, to eat lots of good red meat. 'Cause that's the kind of guy I am.