List of American Values
by Hanno T. Beck (originally written January 28, 2003) http://www.progress.org/2003/america1.htm
Terms such as "American values" and "anti-American" are all too often used by politicians and news media without careful definition. Here are some ideas toward clarifying what we mean by "American values."
The citizens of the United States have been feeling extra stress recently, concerning war against the citizens of Iraq. At the time of this writing, polls indicate that most oppose the war.
When facing stress, many people revisit basic, fundamental questions that had not been recently examined. For instance, what are American values? How do you know if a person is anti-American or a patriot?
Let us make a start right now. Here, for your consideration, are some of the hallmarks of the distinction between truly American values, and the anti- American values that some try to use instead.
American Characteristics in BLACK
Anti-American Characteristics in RED
Holds the U.S. government to high standards of ethics, openness and fairness. When the government fails to meet these standards, criticize it in order to bring the mistakes forward so that they may be corrected.
Feels anxious when hearing criticism of the U.S. government, and feels worried that criticism will weaken it.
Believes strongly in inventiveness, entrepreneurship, and human initiative. Opposes taxes that hinder production, opposes corporate welfare handouts, opposes government-sponsored special privileges such as "limited liability" rules.
Is quick to embrace corporate welfare, special privileges and other government interventions, rather than initiative.
Wants America to have lots of flexible options for energy sources.
Wants America to be dependent on petroleum as an energy source.
Thinks critics of the status quo are patriotic.
Thinks critics of the status quo are unpatriotic.
Believes in the special preciousness of human life. Opposes government sponsored killing programs such as war and capital punishment.
Believes that governments have the right to kill their own citizens and the citizens of other countries.
Believes that the best way to lead people is to understand and help them.
Believes that the best way to lead people is to be powerful.
Supports freedom of speech throughout society.
Is worried or made anxious by others' use of freedom of speech.
Favors freedom of religion and feels proud to live in a land where people of many religious backgrounds co-exist.
Feels threatened by unfamiliar religions, and seeks to have just one religion given special privileges.
Patriotism involves wanting the best for all Americans and demanding the best government in the world.
Patriotism means asserting that the U.S. government is already the best and brooks no criticism.
Strongly supports the right to privacy. Does not want government collecting information about individuals; opposes laws that criminalize victimless private behavior.
Supports centralized government collection of individual information. Favors the government "war on drugs."
Considers commerce (buying and selling) to be a private matter, not a government concern. Therefore, opposes tariffs against international trade, and sales taxes against domestic trade.
Does not mind government intrusion in commerce, such as tariffs or sales taxes.
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