Traditional values

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He knew about concerned citizens. Wherever they were, they all spoke the same private language, where "traditional values" meant "hang someone."
Terry Pratchett, The Truth

In general, if someone's main argument in favor of their propositions/ideas is "traditional values", this means there actually isn't any other rational argument worthy of attention. For example, "caring about children" is a very, very old traditional value, yet people speaking up against child abuse usually don't resort to this rhetoric, instead choosing more practical and immediate arguments. A return to traditional values is an oft-spoken desire of conservatives. It's part of fundamentalist psychology.

Traditional values include, but are not limited to, the many ideals listed here.

Commonly spoken of[edit]

Not so commonly spoken of[edit]

Probably because those who trumpet "traditional values" the loudest do not actually adhere to them.

  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Charity
  • Modesty
  • Work ethic (only when it does not involve whoever is speaking of it)
  • Family values (the real kind, not their redefined sort)

Skeletons in the closet[edit]

Morris Dancing[edit]

On the other hand, Morris Dancing is also a traditional value, and nothing's better than dressing up silly, getting drunk, and dancing in public, to say nothing of the redeeming social value of learning to deal with the symbolism of grown men shaking their jingly bells and swatting their big, thick, knotty sticks together in a mature, responsible fashion.

Values Party[edit]

Unsurprisingly, the Values Party[1], a political movement operating in New Zealand from 1972 to 1990, achieved no notable electoral success before it morphed into the local Green Party.[2]

Graphic arts[edit]

Graphic artists formerly recognised three traditional values: dark, light, and mid-tone. Societies where graven images are frowned upon generally make do with line and colour, rather than skate too close to realistic rendering with all those shades of grey. Noted home scholar Ansel Adams, being dissatisfied with just three zones of value, used some larger prime number, perhaps nine.

See also[edit]


  1. It must be noted that this does not include any time before "pre-uterine expulsion"
  2. Where 'heretic' is defined in the broader sense as "people who don't play nice with their local church leader", or in the narrower sense, "Anyone the local church leader doesn't like."
  3. Where 'sexual deviancy' is defined as "Anything remotely sexual that isn't a married man and his chattel woman women trying to make one or more babies in the missionary position."
  4. This is the only place where we find the metric system to be better.
  5. The argument being that rational free men will be less willing to work for employers who have a bad safety record, thus solving all related problems.
  6. Though, that doesn't mean we recognize evolution, generally.
  7. Again, that doesn't mean we recognize evolution generally.