"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
– Margaret Mead
What are civic values?
In general, a value is a belief that the proposition “X is good (valuable, desirable, productive of satisfaction, well-being, etc.)” is (to a sufficient degree) true, justified, confirmed, supported, demonstrated, etc. Values are typically accompanied by a positive attitude and a disposition to act in a way that will realize the value. Civic values are values that seek good for a community or society as a whole. They take the form of normative statements such as:
- We bear collective responsibility for our quality of life—we are stewards of the world we inhabit.
- We therefore have an obligation to participate in the arena where members of our community and society identify problems, examine their nature and sources, deliberate concerning the options open to us for responding, and decide what actions to take.
- Collective problems/issues are a collective responsibility and should be solved/ resolved collectively.
- Collective problems/issues should be solved/resolved democratically.
- Democratic problem-solving/decision-making should be inclusive and equalitarian.
- Conflict should be resolved cooperatively and consensually.
- Decision-making should be deliberative, with the goal of reaching a sound, broadly accepted judgment.
- Deliberation should be characterized by open-minded inquiry, not debating that seeks rhetorical advantage.
- A pre-requisite for successful democratic deliberation is dialogue: the effort to understand and appreciate other perspectives and the values, priorities, experiences, concerns, needs, aspirations, and beliefs that make up those perspectives.
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