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Posted on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 6 a.m.

5th Anniversary of OurValues: After 1,300 columns, what's next?

By Wayne Baker


AMERICA THE LAND OF EVER GROWING DIVERSITY: This map shows the largest minority group in each state of the U.S. (Color code is: GREEN African American, RED American Indian and Alaska Native, BROWN Asian, BLUE Hispanic or Latino of any race. Based on U.S. Census reporting.)

Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week Dr. Baker is discussing the fifth anniversary of

The fifth anniversary of concludes with my enthusiastic note to all of you: Thank you for being part of this experiment in showing the nation that civil dialogue is possible, even when we confront controversial issues. Readership has grown every year, and we now have many, many thousands of regular and new readers in the U.S. and from around the globe.

Five years and 1,300 columns later, what’s next?

The core idea behind OurValues—common ground—will remain the same. Common ground means that Americans share 10 Core Values: symbolic patriotism, respect for others, freedom, security, self-reliance, equal opportunity, getting ahead, pursuit of happiness, universalism and critical patriotism. The evidence for these core values comes from four national surveys that I conducted.

What these values mean and how we should apply them is a perennial challenge, as we’ve seen the diversity of subjects covered on This diversity can be seen in the most popular columns we reproduce this week: How Lincoln’s depression or “melancholy” fueled his greatness, Germany and its role of a post-nuclear world, America’s sometimes mediocre educational system, and the phenomena of paying it forward. Looking ahead, we’ll continue to cover contemporary events and breaking news—but always with an eye toward America’s common ground.

And there’s a new book that will be published later this year: The Values that Unite US. Each chapter focuses on one of the 10 core values. In each chapter you will find topics to contemplate and discuss, along with questions that will stimulate reflection and respectful discussion about a value, what it means, and the challenges of applying it.

As always, I invite you to read and share the columns, comment on the posts, and participate in our online experiment.

What topics would you like to see covered on OurValues?

What do you foresee as the pressing problems about values and ethics in America?

Wayne Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at or on Facebook.



Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

How about long-term preservation of our world as a good place for humans? I hope that my grandchildren and their descendants get to enjoy this place, with its lush vegetation and productive agricultural crops, and without rising oceans and excess extreme weather events.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

What other statistic could possibly connect Vermont and Hawaii as the only two states with a common factor?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

"The core idea behind OurValues—common ground—will remain the same." - Proof of "common ground" is demonstrated by Baker's handy race-based map of the United States. LOL! (Irony mode) But the map IS handy: showing as it does the "success" of politicians' efforts to stop illegal immigration by "hispanics." His map gives a whole new meaning to "Go Blue!," doesn't it? ;-) "What topics would you like to see covered on OurValues?" - How about, Whatever happened to intellectual integrity? Oh but wait - to get a proper answer to that question, we'd have to find someone who actually knows anything about the subject. ;-)