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Thursday, August 18, 2005


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I like your five, but I'll add one more:

6. Respect

It's often found in company with the five you mention anyway.


I might add "commitment to deal in reality, not partisan fantasy." I don't know how to put that in one word. Sanity? Reasonableness? Honesty.


OK, so between the three of us we've got seven words: 1. integrity; 2. compassion; 3. honor; 4. freedom; 5. fairness; 6. respect; 7. honesty.

And I'm thinking: Is that all we need? What are we missing? Because if you just take those seven words and you take them with all seriousness, then I think you've got a powerful political party and the moral standing to speak to anyone.

You can derive all sorts of policies from those values, but the most important thing, to me, is what those policies PREVENT you from doing. A government that really and truly acted in accord with our seven words would not start phony wars. It wouldn't degrade air quality with a bill called the "Clear Skies Act." It wouldn't strip bankruptcy protection from working people in a giveaway to the credit card industy, and it damn sure wouldn't be satisfied with a health care system in which children are uninsured.

Fairness? There go no-bid deals for Halliburton. Respect? That's your tone for political discourse and the way your IRS treats taxpayers.

I'm not convinced it's a complete list, but I think it's already as powerful a set of political values as I've seen. What are we missing? We've got room for three more, if we need 'em.


I'm not sure if we need it, but I seriously considered adding "Tolerance" to "Respect". I think it comes from the 7 we have, but I sort of felt that way about "Respect", too.

In any case, I would define "tolerance" as "accepting that people are different and do not need to be changed".

My hesitation in adding the word is that it has been over used and subverted by the hippy thought police.


yeah, I'd beware of "tolerance." It's been turned into a code-word for "anything goes and you have to like it." Respect ought to cover it, if people understood what the word means.

I would like to see something that expresses a willingness to act and be involved rather than just passively accepting whatever comes down the pipe. I was having a hard time thinking of a good word, though.

It's amazing the number of words that have been co-opted by advertising. Like, I can't hear "active" without thinking "active seniors depend on Depends! or some other ridiculous kitschy slogan.

any suggestions?


On Jeda's concept of (roughly): Put your money where your mouth is.

I like it, and I think we need to add such a word.

"Commitment"? Also over-used for other things, and not quite right...


I also think we need a word that expresses intelligence or wisdom... not a dogmatic approach to problem solving, but an approach that demands intelligent analysis and. Something that suggests we value people who have knowledge and will choose wisely.

Thesaurus? Where are you?


I didn't see this thread when it first arose. While I have to grit my teeth to use the word after it became a cliche during the Bush, Sr. White House, the word we're looking for here is the classical concept of "prudence." When employed by Cicero et al (Hobbes even!), it refers to "practical wisdom" or the ability to contemplate the right course of action within contigent circumstances. While one has guiding principles, of course, prudence does not allow dogma. It's making wise decisions in practical circumstances that contain large number of complex issues and desires.

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