Please, Stop Talking About ‘Values’ by Phil Lawler

Pope Francis’s Strange Bedfellows, by James Kalb
August 8, 2019
After the Shootings — Look to Culture, Not Politics, by Star Parker
August 8, 2019

By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Aug 07, 2019

This week I have received a political flyer aimed at “values voters,” heard a fundraising pitch from an organization that upholds family “values,” and sat through a sermon about maintaining Christian “values” in a secular world. The constant references to “values” are tiresome, they’re ineffective, and they’re fundamentally misguided.

I’m ready and willing to fight for faith, for truth, and for moral principles. But I won’t fight for “values.” I wish they’d go away.

To speak of “values” is to introduce a term that is loaded with subjective connotations. “Values” are by nature relative. “What are your values?” the preacher asks, and the implicit message is that everyone has different values. But if everyone’s values are different, then it means nothing to speak of “values voters” or “defending family values.”

The very term “values,” as it is used today, was popularized by Nietzsche, on his way to promoting the “transvaluation of values”—the rejection of Christianity and traditional morality, the triumph of the ubermensch and his will to power. When conservative Christians use the term, they unwittingly subvert their own cause. ….