63 Proposition of Policy

A proposition of policy is one that includes a statement calling for an action. The action is examined to determine whether such an action would be desirable or undesirable. For example, proposing that students should spend more time on homework is a proposition of policy calling for a specific action. While the proposition is based on some value premise, the focus of the discussion is not necessarily on this underlying premise but more on the desirability and ability to act. It is important to note that policies do not lead to values; values lead to policies.

  • Fact claim: Smoking marijuana is less harmful to one’s health than smoking cigarettes.
  • Value claim: The prejudices about the social conditions that led to current marijuana legislation are outdated.
  • Policy claim: Because the social conditions that gave rise to current marijuana legislation no longer exist and because of the potential medical and financial benefits of its decriminalization, lawmakers should reconsider the legal status of cannabis.

Examples from the right might include:

  • Fact claim: Public school performance in the United States has plummeted over the past twenty years.
  • Value claim: It is unfair to force taxpayers to contribute to a school system that does not serve them.
  • Policy claim: Following the Canadian system, Congress should form a system for public funding of religious schools for families that opt out of the public school system.


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