The Difference Between Values And Principles

April 17, 2002

by Dennis Lombard

George W. Bush is a good Christian man who has good values, but that is proving less than adequate in our unprecedented world situation right now. The deeper we get into this Mid-East quagmire, the more I understand the misgivings I had at election time 2000. I had no doubt he was a competent politician and good man – but I felt we needed more than that in times such as this. We needed a statesman.

But what is the difference, you may ask - between values and principles, between politician and statesman?

For example, you may love good classical music - that’s a value. You may be a world-class violinist who has devoted your life to your music. Your values become a principle you live by, would “even die for.”

You may love thrash rock music, that is a value, not a very good one, and far from being a principle that you live by. Well, you may become so addicted to thrash that you would “die for it,” and that looks like principle but is only borderline insanity. You may be a lover of fine wines, as the telemarketer who keeps calling me says. That can be a value - unless you love wine so much that your life becomes unmanageable. Then you’re ready to call the AA phone number.

Let’s play that game in international politics. Let’s ask some “values” questions:

Does Israel have a right to exist in peace? Our American freedom values say yes, emphatically yes. And that freedom and peace is something Israelis are willing to die for. We Americans have been ready to die for freedom and peace many times in our history - and we are being called upon to do so now in 2002. Thus freedom and peace become principles we live by; any nation truly seeking freedom and peace has a right to it, and has a duty to fight and die for it.

It is also a matter of principle that we defend israel’s right to exist in peace - such a principle is world­wide and universal - but we are not doing it. We relate in our values to their struggle, and we do not overtly oppose them. But because we lack principle then we prevaricate, we wax and wane under Arab pressure to get the Israelis to back off from their freedom fight.

Is terrorism right or wrong? We don’t like it; that’s a value. It hit us directly, and we rallied our forces to fight it worldwide; that’s principle. A times goes by, we may let our principles wane and give in to ease or convenience. If for example Iraq cuts off 9% of our oil supply, we (and especially our media) wring our hands about higher gas prices. Do we scarcely remember the giant hole in Manhattan? The thousands of mutilated bodies? If we don’t - our principles die too!

Is Arafat a good guy or bad guy? Our enemy or potential ally? He lies, he cheats, he kills, he manipulates, and he is no different than the plane-bombers who destroyed the Word Trade Center. His hero is Adolph Hitler and he has openly wished Hitler had “finished the job.” Does that answer your question? Should we negotiate with him? We already answered that question. Let’s have some principle here: We don’t negotiate with lying, murdering, 21st Century Hitlers.

Are the other Arabs on Arafat’s side? Of course they are. King Hussein says without apology that we must not touch Arafat, that he is “the only leader the Palestinians have.” That’s not good enough for us and our principles. Most of the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, another of our “allies.” Their values are the same as Arafat; they support terrorism. And George W. Bush said anybody who supports terrorism is a terrorist and our enemy...

That is a principle, an excellent principle - but we are backing away from it. The sight of blood and relentless Mid-East propaganda, supported by our anti-Israel press, has weakened our resolve. We are in a war, folks, a worldwide war against terrorism, and we want to treat it as a mere diplomatic maneuver.

Same question: Do we have any allies in the Mid-East? Only Israel. Does Israel have any allies in the Mid-East? Only us. The principle: We’re in this together, their fight is our fight, our fight is their fight, their enemies are our enemies and our enemies are their enemies.

Let us pray for our troubled president. He’s a good Christian man with good values – and he needs wisdom and courage and principle beyond himself. If we pray, God will help him be the statesman that these times need, God’s man for the hour.

Prayer is a principle I will stake my life on.


© 2002 Home Times Family Newspaper

Dennis Lombard has been a community newspaper editor since 1972, and is currently editor and publisher of Home Times Family Newspaper, a traditional conservative monthly which he founded in 1990. He resides in Lake Worth, Florida with his wife, Mary, and they have seven children, 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Home Times, soon going weekly, serves Palm Beach and Martin Counties in Florida and the nation by mail subscription, covering world, national, and local people and issues, home and family, arts and entertainment, and religion, all with a traditional conservative worldview. For a free copy call toll-free: 888-439-3509 or go to

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For more of Dennis' articles, visit his archives.

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