The Three Pillars
I believe that the three fundamental characteristics of a society I would want to live in are found in how it deals with the following three concepts:
I. Property Rights
II. The Rule Of Law
III. Education of the Young
[Yes, derivative of P.j. O'Rourke - don't know where he got it, but he only steals from the best...]
Note that you can have a wide variety of governmental structures that handle all of these admirably - and that no form of government guarantees that any of them will be handled well.