The Appeal and Function of Values
In the previous pages we have tried to answer the question of how an advanced idea system is constructed. Its very structure reflects the way political ideals have been organized and a general theory has been focused and sharpened into programs and goals. A general philosophy can be contemplated or discussed. However, social change desired by theoreticians and leadership can be achieved once ideas are translated into goals, and further into goal symbols, and become targets of political actions. To move from the level of a theory, a philosophy discussed by few theoreticians, to the level of action and of many, it must be shared by many individuals. Then, if it is shared not necessarily by masses, but by groups (the party) of a critical, effective quantity (which varies since ideas and conditions differ), then they become a motivating social force. Now we may ask the question, What is shared, how, and why?
The extensive philosophy might be entirely unknown to large sections of a group that professes an elaborate ideology, for example, a socialist Marxist one. The appeal is located in value norms, goals, and symbols. Why do they appeal? Because they do correspond to needs, interests, and values structures shared already by the followers. Response to economic programs that in turn represent the interest of the voters is obvious. Here, goals correspond to definite economic needs and interest. Value-goals of national glory or racial superiority may be geared, however, to psychological needs, inferiority complexes, or pent-up hostilities, repressed aggressions. But not all symbols and value-goals are of this nature. Values and symbols of justice, even if they do not appeal to the economic interest of certain groups or individuals, may meet with a supportive response, because they do correspond to a shared ethical order. One may support a program because this is "just"; it is right in terms of his sentiments of justice.
At this point, we may suggest that goals of an idea system may correspond