• Admin

Values: Personhood v. Outcome

A couple years ago a read an article discussing one reason why progressives and conservatives have trouble getting things done together. The author took the time to explain why the nature of policy tends to eschew to a progressive front. New laws tend to be written to grant additional liberties or to take into account how society has changed, whereas removing laws tends to make things simpler and more traditional, often better reflecting conservative ideal. While each side has causes it is trying to advance, the belief of how to do so is often diametrically opposed. Progressives often want to create new policy and conservatives often want to roll back existing pieces. Because of this norm, progressives are often happier to to compromise on the creation of something new because doing something for them is better than nothing, whereas for conservatives, nothing is often better than something.

I am open to discus the foundation of that piece if I have misrepresented it but it was helpful for me to be given a new lens on policy fundamentals, to better understand why leaders often can't seem to get anything done.

Saturday as part of my leadership St. Louis class, we delved into the topic of values. There are three types we discussed (Personhood, Outcome and Procedural) but for the sake of this, I'm going to dive into personhood and outcome.

Our speaker described to that personhood values are often discussed with overarching theme of rights. The right to lawful assembly, freedom of speech, due process, freedom of religion, etc. Whereas outcome values can often be framed up as a cost-benefit analysis. "In exchange for my giving up x, my community/country and I will receive y."

He then referenced the recently debated and approved tax bill now law. He said in the case of this particular debate is often times people fall into debate over something like this and one is coming at it through a lens of personhood values while the other is thinking of it in terms of outcome values and don't realize the difference in discussion. People of certain views at certain times may prioritize one type of value over another.

Democrats might historically look more at this discussion as an outcome value saying, "I'm willing give up x% of my income in order to achieve y benefit for the community." Where as on an issue like this, republicans might look at it through the lens of, "its money I earned and I have a right to do with it as I please. Not government"

The exposure to these points-of-view did not impact my political beliefs but it did help me to think of how I might frame up conversations like these in the future. If I am in conversation with someone and we're not even having the same language, that's a sure way to lead to either argument or confusion.

Go Forth Boldly

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Finding the patience and practice to write

Over the past several years I’ve battled adopting the identity of a writer. One thing that keeps me from this is the constant tug-of-war between actually writing and not feeling like taking the time.

Why today is the perfect day to try something new

The other day I took part in the second session of David Whyte’s Courage in Poetry workshop and he talked about some of his work in the corporate sector. He said it is not uncommon to find people ther