I just finished watching this movie called "Gone, Baby, Gone," which ended up being profound and moving. (Interestingly, i think it was directed by Ben Affleck -- the guy is a mediocre actor, but has done a good job with directing translations of novels.)

If you haven't seen the movie, maybe you want to avoid this discussion since there are some reveals. I can Spoiler them I suppose, but the movie was a perfect example of competing truths and what is "right" to do.

So in this case we get a situation where there are competing values -- particularly, individual happiness of most of the people involved or at least the most "innocent" of the people involved, vs upholding a promise that one person made to another and reinforcing the established order of things, whether it is the social familial expectation or the legal process involved.

How does one actually compare these two things which are like apples and oranges? Such as a parent's claim to a child vs the happiness of the child? (I've seen this in other situations, where for example a foster kid is sent back to the bio parents despite the foster situation being FAR better for the child in the long term, at least in the most obvious ways.) Or perhaps expecting an older and not adept employee to retire so that someone younger and more knowledgeable could take their place, vs respecting someone's long commitment to a particular company? Or providing government medical care to an older but habitually ill person, vs providing financial relief to younger people who are footing the bill? (Or Social Security in the USA, for that matter?)

Is there any fair and rational way of proceeding where there are conflicting values, or do we simply have to prioritize one over the other?