Pushing Intrinsic Values…

An intrinsic property is a property that an object or a thing has of itself, independently of other things, including its context. Those with intrinsic values tend to be less reliant on the good opinion of others, their focus being more on personal relationships with friends, family and community.  An extrinsic (or relational) property is a property that depends on a thing’s relationship with other things. Extrinsicism means to not from any essential part of a thing arising or originating from the outside; “extrinsic evidence”; “an extrinsic feature of the new building”; “that style is something extrinsic to the subject”; “looking for extrinsic aid”.  Extrinsic values and priorities are much more personal and tend to be more centred around the individual and/or a highly selective group of others.  Religious views are extrinsic by their very nature on the grounds that the acts that they inspire, are more often than not, in order to improve their own standing in the eyes of their imagined deity or chances of a favourable eternity, rather from their own sake.

“Conservatives in the US generally avoid debating facts and figures. Instead they frame issues in ways that appeal to and reinforce extrinsic values. Every year, through mechanisms that are rarely visible and seldom discussed, the space in which progressive ideas can flourish shrinks a little more. The progressive response has been disastrous.”

I have heard it countless times that intrinsic values are really cynical,selfish and shallow.  I have been told that a lack of reliance on the good opinions of others shows an unfavourably independent streak.  I long ago lost count of the times where the phrase ‘she just will NOT be told‘ has been used as a form of castigation from various individuals when I could not honestly validate their point of view.  The thing is, I didn’t then (nor do I now) see it as a failing in me or anyone else. Not listening is NOT the same as not adopting -or even pretending a particular point of view to suit the feelings of others.  When one prioritises extrinsic values of calculated self-interest, a primary focus on personal financial gains,  and cherishes  popularity and the idea of their image in the eyes of others, I have observed that the means do not matter anywhere as much as the ends.  It comes at a cost of empathy, both toward those who do not share those values and those less well off than themselves as though it is somehow self-inflicted and therefore deserving of none.  A primary example of this can be seen in the so-called ‘Religious-Right’, the Tea Party movement who have recently voiced support for the Right-Wing extremist movement, the E.D.L, and a vast proportion of both the US Republican Party and the UK Conservative Party.

“Guy Murphy, global planning director for JWT: “marketers should see themselves as trying to manipulate culture; being social engineers, not brand managers; manipulating cultural forces, not brand impressions”.”

Of course, there are very few who are guided solely by either, but we invariably guide our behaviour with a mixture which is dominated by either one or the other.  This is all very well, but overall social trends seem be leaning more in favour of the extrinsic than the intrinsic.  When the results of extrinsic actions have a negative impact on the UK’s economy, those responsible have not paid the penalty for it, they have carried on regardless.  They have are still yet to admit even a partial responsibility for the errors that led to the tax funded bail out, and have instead merely pointed the finger of reproach at the Financial Standards Agency and the previous labour government for the lack of regulation, at those it irresponsibly loaned money to and those who it subsequently aided to get into severe financial hardship.  All this in true ‘Blame the Victim‘ fashion.  Why is this occurring?  The simple fact of the matter is that we are letting it happen by way of NOT speaking against things we disagree with and NOT speaking out when our own values are criticised.  Freedom of choice is quite different from being a verbal and political doormat.

“Once progressive parties have tried to appease altered public attitudes: think of all those New Labour appeals to middle England, often just a code for self-interest. In doing so they endorse and legitimise extrinsic values.”

It is not uncommon for our values to be turned around on us by those who see something to gain by painting us as hypocrites.  Those that do, seem not to understand the overall benefit in acting without self-interest, even only very occasionally.  It is human to have an infantile me-first attitude in some situations (competition for a coveted job vacancy for instance), but to adopt it on principle, it is not only anti-social but were everyone to adopt that stance it would be irreversibly detrimental for the survival of the species.  How far do those people think they will get without police and firemen to protect them, and doctors and nurses, to help them when they are ill?  It takes far more than a drive to make money while trying to turn public services into an expensive commodity, to achieve those positions.  My advice to them is to be careful.  Intrinsic values have a very important place in our society.  Where the progressive approach of attempting to pass off intrinsic as extrinsic has gone awry is by even attempting to appeal to an extrinsic and uninterested audience as by doing so, it has lost touch with previous subscribers.

“The 1986 “Big Bang” that opened up the City to an influx of foreign firms and laid the ground for the speculative frenzy that brought us to our present pass occurred on her [Thatcher’s] watch.  But she would have been appalled, or at least incredulous, if she had been told that the end result would be an economy and society awash with debts that no one could repay and toxic assets whose extent no one could fathom.”

Were the answer to a healthy society so simple as to merely privatise our public services, I am certain it would have been done by now. The trouble was that the idea of society was usurped for a time by individualism and an aversion to collectivism.  There are people still alive today who remember what it was like without the NHS but oddly enough you don’t hear them whining about how awful they think it is. It has only been since fairly recently in our history that education was available to all but compulsory and free, yet there are those who would have our school systems abolished and replaced with private schools who have free reign over admissions, exclusions and curriculum, as well as corporate protection (think Reagan and Thatcher). In other words, education would cease to be a public service essential to the overall well-being of society, and become a status symbol for those who could afford it along with healthcare and the emergency services.  What they do not mention is that the tax burden of those families who could no longer afford such ‘luxuries’ as an education and good health, would not be reduced; especially if the corporations funding these candidates get their much coveted tax-breaks.  The money has to come from somewhere so they would be stitched-up the ‘undeserving’  from both ends.

“Common Cause proposes a simple remedy: that we stop seeking to bury our values and instead explain and champion them.”

When did it become socially embarrassing to have liberal or left politics?  I know many claim to have no politics, or ‘not to get involved‘, but to them I ask how they ever make a decision about anything without politics? It becomes even more infuriating when those who otherwise have ‘no interest‘ in politics, or the intravenous-agnostics among us spin out that appallingly condescending claim that others ‘need religion or how else would they behave morally?‘.  After this comes the ‘everyone’s entitled to their beliefs/opinions‘ which is admirable, of course but I am sure that I am not the only one who has noticed that the latter is only used when we have vocally challenged an idea or voiced an opinion which disagrees with that of the user, AND that when used we seem to be excluded from that same sentiment in their eyes.  They churn out the phrase by rote and without even realising how obtuse it has become, revealing that they have probably not thoroughly thought out their own stance and gone with the, always easier, populist view.  Remember that it was once ‘popular’ to make women stop work after getting married. It was also once ‘popular’ to keep slaves, but it is thanks to those, like us, who dared to speak out against the establishment, and push intrinsic values, that they became unacceptable.

“Those who succeed in politics are, by definition, people who prioritise extrinsic values. Their ambition must supplant peace of mind, family life, friendship – even brotherly love.”

I disagree with this sentiment partly because it could be applied to ANY corporate job role but mostly because those who have embarked on this career have NOT cast their relationships aside but are doing what they can, in their view, to improve a way of life not JUST for themselves and their families but for the whole town, county or country.   What better way to promote our values, than by working to place ourselves into a position where we can physically act on them for the benefit of all of us and quite the opposite to extrinsic views?  The Daily Mail, The Express, The Sun and The Mirror, would have us all believe that all politicians are cynical, self-serving, liars.  Why?  So people continue to buy their newspapers and ‘learn’ to rely on them to tell them the way of the world.  The attitudes portrayed in the tabloid press are grossly unfair.  There are some but NOT all politicians are dishonest or behave immorally.  If you look at it proportionally against members of the Catholic church, who are being protected from investigation over often repeated accusations of child abuse, then the politicians are the ones that I shall be trusting.  Politics is a career like any other and there is NO shame in pushing yourself as far as you can go within a corporate or political career as we have evolved by competition.  The shame lies in trying to make others feel shame for NOT doing so.

People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them. We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.”

Is this affirmation at last? Doubtful, but no less true.  I would also argue that we must be as vocal in this as we can.  Join local political parties, turn up to meetings, or even start your own, but getting involved and showing the country that we are not in the minority is the way we will get our views acknowledged.  Nobody CAN listen if we just sit quietly and apologise for our views and if we continue to allow our views to be bulldozed by the gutter-press and others, then by the time we do speak up in a real emergency then it will be too late and nobody will listen.  Why should they if we have sat back and let it happen?

“We do not have to accept the world as we find it. And we have a responsibility to leave our world a better place and never walk by on the other side of injustice.” – Ed Milliband – Labour Conference Speech.



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