A Political Values Perspective
Society is made up of individuals whose lives are guided by conceptions of what is right and wrong, what ought or ought not to be, and the appropriate modes of achieving these desired states of being. While different individuals hold broadly the same values, they rank them differently. The choices that governments face are matters of judgment in the face of uncertainty and these judgments invariably involve the juggling of conflicting societal values. Given that citizens rank values differently from each other, the choices facing policy makers are often not between “good” and “bad” but between “good” and “good”. Over recent decades, a large body of research has developed which identifies and measures human values. This work can inform political scientists and policy scholars by drawing attention to areas of values conflict, with the potential to improve the nature of policy debate.
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