Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Are Progressives/Liberals Finally Reclaiming the Values Turf?

I went to a bookstore the other day and noticed two books prominently displayed on the same front table:

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, by none other than former President Jimmy Carter, and a Beacon Press anthology, Global Values 101, featuring such well-known progressive thinkers as Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman, Robert Reich, and Lani Guinier, among many others.

For more than two decades, the ultra-right has staked a claim around "values." Unfortunately, the values they claim are not my values or the values of most people I know. Just as one example among many, the term "family values" has been far too often used to create a climate of acute homophobia--of bigotry. These people claim they're in favor of family values, but their definition of family only includes one among various possible models: a dominant husband, a stay-home wife (or one focused far more on home than career, if she does work outside the home), and zero tolerance for divergence from the model.

Well, I see a whole lot of families that don't look like that, but that are loving, secure places for the partners and their children. And I see plenty that do fit the "traditional family values" model where abuse, infidelity, and/or alcoholism seem to rule the day.

Let me be clear: there are, of course, plenty of loving, supportive families with a husband and wife in a heterosexual marriage; I am blessed to live in one. But our family is founded on tolerance, on freedom of self-exploration, and on the firm value of making the world a better place than we found it by helping to break down barriers of bigotry.

So I find it very refreshing, as the author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, a book with a strong values message within a progressive context, to see major publishing houses beginning to publish books like these.


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