Political Values Are Dividing Us Over Basic Facts, Not Just Policy Choices

September 30, 2014 9:49 PM

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Political Values Are Dividing Us Over Basic Facts, Not Just Policy Choices

You can't open a newspaper -- or pull up The Huffington Post -- these days without encountering evidence of our country's political disagreement. Everything from the best policy for solving a problem to the core values that should guide our nation seem to be hotly contested -- the grist for verbal smack-downs in Congress or cynical attack advertisements. Contention is to be expected in a democracy, since this is, after all, the airing of competing notions of the public good and how it should be pursued.

But most conceptions of democracy assume that these arguments will be over values and priorities -- that we observe the world around us, and apply our personal conscience (and, of course, self-interest) to the political choices we face.

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