What are the twelve core values in U.S. society identified by sociologist Robin Williams?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Robin Williams argues that American society has 12 major values that are basic to that society.  They are:

  •  Individualism.  We think that people can and should rise or fall on their own merits.  
  • Achievement and Success.  We think that it is important to succeed and to achieve big things.  It can be important to be more successful than others.
  • Activity and Work.  This is like the Puritan work ethic.  We think work is good for its own sake.
  • Efficiency and Practicality.  We think it is important to do things as efficiently as possible.
  • Science and Technology.  We prefer to use science and technology to solve all of our problems.
  • Progress.  We think everything should constantly get better.
  •  Material Comfort.  We expect to have a very high material standard of living.
  • Humanitarianism.  We think it is important to be kind and helpful to others, particularly those in need.
  • Freedom.  We feel it is important to be able to do whatever we want.
  • Democracy.  We think everyone has the right to be heard and that the majority should rule.
  • Equality.  We think that it is important for everyone to be equal in the eyes of the law.
  • Racism and Group Superiority.  Paradoxically, we think some groups are better than others.
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