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mattbrowne's avatar

Do most people who disagree with you have fundamentally different values?

Asked by mattbrowne (31735points) May 8th, 2009

From Wikipedia: A value system is a set of consistent ethic values and measures used for the purpose of ethical or ideological integrity. A well defined value system is a moral code.

It’s my experience that people who disagree with me on certain subjects still share most of their fundamental values with me. Examples are: compassion, respect, honesty, trust, dignity, dedication, cooperation, keeping promises, accountability, caring about feelings and so forth.

What is your view? Your experience?

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16 Answers

GAMBIT's avatar

Preconcieved notions are the locks on the door to wisdom. -Merry Browne

I think a lot has to do with perception and perception comes from what we view as facts taken from our own experiences in life. Yet if we are open and truly listen to others we do not have to go through our entire life thinking a certain way.

Your examples seem to stem on morality issues and what you hold dear. I stay away from those who do not demonstrate these very basic human traits.

spresto's avatar

What subjects do you mean?

_bob's avatar

If being right is considered a value, yes.

cookieman's avatar


My wife and I share extremely similar values yet we disagree on many things.
Same goal. Different way of getting there is all.

dynamicduo's avatar

My experience is that I don’t associate with people who disagree with me to a point where the disagreement would dominate our relationship. Most of the people I do associate with tend to be good people who demonstrate many of the traits on your list, as well as many traits not on your list. Comparing two people in that group, you’ll certainly find some who don’t have equal values regarding some of your listed values.

At the same time, my current partner and I share radically different fundamental views regarding many of the things listed on your example list. We get along fine, but we have headbutts from time to time.

That said, I don’t think there’s enough data to reliably identify any type of trend. Not to mention this type of thing is subjective and very hard to quantify and analyze.

spresto's avatar

Kind of like God right?

mattbrowne's avatar

@spresto – Hundreds of subjects. Should we have stimulus packages or not? Should doctors prescribe heroin for addicts? Should we have merit pay for teachers? Should Fluther be moderated or not? Should we introduce a carbon tax to deal with climate change?

Fundamentally different values? Usually not, at least in my experience.

Of course there are other examples. Should all girls’ schools in Pakistan be burned to the ground? Yes, fundamentally different values indeed.

CMaz's avatar

No one wants to look in the mirror at themselves. So we create an Ideal or perception that avoids conflict. Because of that, we develop our own opinion. Breaking it down to its simple form, we will all agree to what the color red looks like. Hid that color in a shoe box and everyone will have their own take on it. But in the end, all road lead to the same place.
The question is do we want the truth or do we want to feel like an individual. Me personally, I know everything.

ubersiren's avatar

I think so. If you’re passionate about your position, it’s usually because your beliefs are deeply seeded and your values are very important to you.

Jeruba's avatar

My husband and I share the same fundamental values and many of the same superficial ones. Given the depth and breadth of our capacity for disagreement within a bond of loving commitment, I would have to say shared values are no guarantee of agreement.

As to your exact question, there’s nothing I can say about most people who disagree with me. That would be a population numbering in the millions, starting with political and religions divides and going from there, and there’s no way to generalize about them. But I would also venture to say that among them could be found many who agree with me on certain things, such as good literature and music. Frankly, I’m afraid your question as written is too broad for a sensible answer.

Now, if you wanted to reverse it and narrow it to something like “Do you tend to agree on political matters with most people who share your political values?” I would say the answer is a pretty self-evident yes.

Garebo's avatar

No, I think people get caught up in certain persona’s that allows them to feel empowered through disagreement and discention, a power or ego thing. A coworker, friend, who is most of the time on my wavelength, but I know at times, he will get this side to him that likes to disagree no matter what. I know a lot of people like him including myself at times. I just think it is a persona that gets internal ego gratification through disagreement. I always wonder what I did, said, or triggers defiance in others. Once you know its fun to get them wound up.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Jeruba – I meant people who you know personally (online contacts included for the sake of argument) and who disagree with you on certain subjects. That would narrow it down to hundreds or perhaps thousands, but probably not millions. It’s my experience that when you share a lot of things it’s easier to disagree while maintaining respect. The members of the Fluther community for example share a lot of fundamental values and there’s plenty of disagreement which makes everything all the more interesting.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmm. Even then, @mattbrowne, I don’t think I could generalize very well. Each person is a webwork of knowledge, opinions, biases, experience, and emotions. If what you’re asking is “Is there a high degree of correlation between your level of agreement with people and your sense of shared values with those same people?,” the answer again would be a self-evident yes. But I don’t know any two people who agree on everything, and maybe not even on most things.

Maybe I am taking your question too literally, but I don’t see a way to a simple answer. The wording of your question makes “people who disagree with you” the major category, and it is hard to think meaningfully about a group of people in those terms and then talk about their attributes. Everyone would disagree on some things and agree on others. I would think “people who share your values” and “people who don’t” would be the major categories.

However, this might be the answer you’re looking for. In finding fellowship with others, I gravitate toward and connect with those with whom I have fundamental human values in common and who have a compatible spirit and intellect. Within that framework there is a huge amount of room for differing views and conclusions without imperiling the relationship. I am assuming that by “disagreement” you mean “differing views,” not “conflict.”

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I think a large part if the situation is the difference of definition.

When you tell someone you value honor, and your conversational counterpart says they do as well. but their definitions of such may differ from yours. Honor to you, may encompass other things such as trust, gentlemanly behaviour, etc. But to them, honour may stay exsclusive to masculinity. I feel it’s slight differences between in one’s definitions that is the key seperation between arguements.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Jeruba – Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I meant differing views (perhaps some bordering on conflict).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

They don’t have to have fundamentally different values at all. Many of parents that I disagree with are all about bringing happiness to their kids and raising them well but we might disagree on what they should be exposed to

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