Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Political Mind

George Lakoff, author of the subject book is a noted linguist, professor at Berkley and a very far left atheist world view. One often hears from the left how "simplistic" the "right" is. Try this on for size:
In this book, I analyze the unconscious values behind what I call "progressive" thought: empathy, responsibility (for oneself and others) and an ethic of excellence (making ones self and the world better). I point out how these political values are tied, metaphorically, to a nuturant conception of the family.
Sounds like some good folks doesn't it? And what evil is it that they are up against?:
You need a strict father because kids are born bad, in the sense that they do what they want to do, and don't know right from wrong.
Imagine that? Kids that need training in order to become productive adults! Pretty evil and strange concept isn't it?
In a strict father family, it is assumed that the father merits his authority, and indeed, throughout conservatism, heirarchies of power and wealth are justified on "merit". Why should CEOs make so much more money than other employees? They deserve it.

Competition is crucial. It builds discipline. Without competition, without the desire to win, no one would have the incentive to be disciplined, and morality would suffer, as well as prosperity. Not everyone can win in a competition, only the most disciplined people, who are also the most morally worthy. Winning is thus a sign of being deserving, of being a good person. It is important to be number one! Strict father families often promote competitive sports and take them very seriously.
Naturally, a lot of these bad Strict Father folks are bad because they believe in an all powerful and all moral God that they can somehow reach through religion -- that is of course another wrong concept. Progressives understand that people are born good, discipline isn't necessary for "excellence" (see, excellence is one of their fundamental values, but there is no need for discipline). Competition is bad, and there isn't any such thing as "merit".

Luckily, George has read a few brain books just as I have, and he has come to a marvelous conclusion.
Yet those Democrats who believe in Enlightenment reason don't thing of themselves as whimpy at all. They see themselves as upholding the Enlightenment democratic ideal as committed to facts, truth, and logic, and to informing those ignorant of the facts. They see facts as nonpartisan and the basis for bipartisan agreement."

Republicans operate under no such constraints and have a better sense of how brains and minds work.
See, the intelligent and excellent Democrats are somehow lacking in an "natural understanding" of how the human brain works -- Democrats are all facts and logic, while Republicans are always appealing to the "emotional side"! Simple! Those darned touch feely Republicans with their "framing the issues", while those intellectual giant Democrats just stick completely to the facts!!
Why do Democratic candidates come out with a list of detailed programs, while Republicans don't?
I'd say that is pretty clear, right? I mean in '94 the Republicans had that long but I guess not "detailed" Contract With America, where in both '06 and '08 the Democrats had a very detailed program of "Change", and in '08 they even included "Hope" and the highly specific "Yes we can!". One doesn't get much more detailed and factual than that, the difference is clear!
Nobody makes a dime in this country without being empowered by our government. There are no self made men or women. It's a myth!

The role of a progressive government is to maximize our freedom--and protection and empowerment do just that. Protection is there to gaurentee freedom from harm, from want and from fear. Empowerment is there to maximize freedom to achieve your goals.
"Freedom from harm, want and fear"! Sort of heaven on earth. Folks have been known to want an awful lot! Since for George, there is no God above, the Government takes that place -- the Government is all powerful, it gives and takes as it sees fit -- Corporations and "the rich" pay whatever it takes for "progressives" and those that they see as deserving to get that "freedom from harm, want and fear." Those that are not fit,  pay the freight!

We can see that George clearly has his head locked on straight, consider how he proves his point on the brain science. People are "risk averse" -- they don't want to lock in a loss, they tend to "throw good money after bad". Republicans, being evil, naturally take advantage of this:
This tendency shows up in Iraq policy, where Bush and the Republicans refuse to cut their losses and get out now, instead clinging to the unlikely hope that if we stay longer things will get better, though staying longer would involve greater losses. The framing is, "We can't lose and we shouldn't cut and run -- attributing to liberal's cowardice rather than a rational choice to cut our losses."

See, this book was written in 2008 when the Surge was already clearly a success. By the general election, the Iraq war wasn't even a major issue and all the candidates were on the same strategy including BO. This makes no difference to Lakoff. A liberal is "intelligent enough" to "courageously run away" at any point -- even when victory is firmly in grasp. "Commitment" is one of those "strict father ideas" that is simply not present in the liberal "nurturant view" -- to spouses, children, soldiers, friends and allies, one can always count on a progressive to "do what they want to do today". Things like "discipline" or "commitment" are for those stodgy "strict Father types". In a world in which you are free from "harm, want and fear", the only thing that makes sense is to do whatever you want on a day by day basis!

Lakoff has it all figured out in a way that I'm not even sure the most fundamentalist Christian thinks they do -- they at least have to count on some room for the actions of a soverign and all mighty God that is not in their control. Lakoff has no such "higher power". As he says as he talks about how it would all be if we could just get everything turned the liberal way.
A New Enlightenment would not be a utopia. It would be understood that conservatives are not going to go away, nor are biconceptual "partial conservatives".
There you have it, even the liberals have their version of Satan -- it is us nasty old conservatives. It is nice of George to say that "we wouldn't go away", but the left has ALWAYS been very good at figuring ways to get rid of the opposition -- gas chambers in Germany, concentration camps and mass starvation under Stalin in the USSR, mass killings and other "cleansing operations" in China under Mao and in Cambodia under Pol Pot.

When the door to paradise is blocked only by the unwillingness of conservatives to "go away", the temptation of even the most "nurturant" to take that step into utopia becomes very strong.