Values, n. [singular, 'value', generally not used] A term/usage chosen
by postmodern philosophers such as Nietzche embodying all of the
genius of 1984's Newspeak.
The term designates religious or moral beliefs, but, like a great many
words, means far more than it designates. The meaning of the word is
that one makes a category mistake in actually regarding such beliefs
as corresponding or not corresponding to an external reality; they are
rather a strictly internal state, like a person's emotional state. One
does not speak of right or wrong values; one rather speaks of a
person's values, just as one speaks of a person's tastes and
preferences, as an arbitrary and subjective attribute of that
individual person. The word places such beliefs within that basic
Thus, from the outset, any discussion is biased -- no, worse than
biased; a bias presents a difficulty to surmount, while 'values'
presents a closed door -- against a meaningful consideration of God,
or of the moral structure of the universe. Even the term 'atheism'
does not quite contain what this does to the discussion; atheism says,
"There is an ultimate reality to which beliefs do or do not
correspond; God does not exist; beliefs in God are false." -- and this
facet of postmodernism, in its definition of values, can't go far
enough to say that a belief does or does not correspond to reality.
Words such as 'good', 'evil', 'right', 'wrong' 'heroism', 'adultery',
'honesty', 'theft', and so on aren't even allowed to be wrong in what
they describe; they describe not an external moral reality, but only a
person's internal state.
It can at least be said that a part of this usage's proper meaning is
dropped by some speakers, who perhaps do not think far enough to
cringe at hearing the words, "our values." But even then -- this
lexicographer cannot recall a single instance of someone referring to
values as being right or wrong.
All things considered, a most disagreeable word.
- -- Hayward's Unabridged Dictionary