Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How does international geography shape morality?

Sept. 11 And The Non-Crisis Of Values by Dick Meyer
from NPR's "Against the Grain"

Dick Meyer is the editorial director of Digital Media at NPR.org. His "Against The Grain" column is a mix of sarcastic sociology and comic moral philosophy that occasionally descends into political commentary.

A friend forwarded me this article in NPR about the perceived political crisis of values in a post 9/11 America. I thought it was apt to our class discussions with the timing of the 9/11 anniversary and the presidential elections... and a generally interesting perspective on (moral) wandering amidst our cultural geography.

Meyer illustrates the difference between values of countries around the world via a sociologist, Wayne Baker. "From a broad, global perspective, Baker examines human values on two planes. The first is a range of values from traditional to secular-rationalist. . . The second axis of value runs from survival values to self-expression ones. . . When material needs are well met, self-expression, self-realization, environmentalism, gender equality and creativity become more important. All societies are a mix."

How are we as individuals and as a country wandering this moral international landscape? How is our freedom to create a by-product of our political and cultural values?

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