Home >> Basic Concepts >>Values >> Values conflict

Values conflict with one another

The examples of the right to dissent, conformity, and respect for authority as American values illustrate the point that values frequently are in conflict with one another.

At least in complex societies, there is generally not just one value system but multiple, overlapping, and sometimes opposing ones. In America, for example, the problem is not that they value religions working over personal gratification or vice versa, but that they value them both at the same time; along with the achievement of status, the accumulation of wealth, and a host of other values.

These potentially conflicting values are so pervasive that it is virtually impossible to pursue some of them without violating others. Societies probably differ in the extent to which their value systems are internally consistent and in small homogeneous societies than in large heterogeneous ones. American society has long had the reputation of embracing many and deep value conflicts.