Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lakoff's advise to progressives

Continuing from the last post Lakoff's recent Huff Post piece offers a similar analysis and offers some advice. He agrees that conservatives tend toward the the ideal of the strict and authoritarian father who one must accept without challenge. This gets externalized to institutions like the Church and the Market and expresses politically as "democracy is about liberty, individual responsibility and self-reliance -- the freedom to seek one's own self-interest with minimal or no commitment to the interests of others. This implies a minimal public and a maximal private." For liberals it is more about a balance between self and other, given the familial balance of power between the father and mother. This gets externalized as follows:

"This leads to a view of government as having certain moral obligations: providing protection and empowerment for everyone equally. This requires a vibrant commitment to the public -- public infrastructure (roads, buildings, sewers), public education, public health, and so on. No private business can prosper at all without such public provisions. The private depends on the public."

Again we see that liberal and conservative views are not equal and opposite but that conservative is unbalanced and liberal balanced between such basic and primary compliments as father/mother, which then get projected onto political ideology. And yet conservatives seem much better at communicating and reinforcing their ideology than liberals.

Lakoff uses Santorum's strategy as a jumping off point. He disabuses the Enlightenment notion in an unbiased reason, noting its bodily and emotional basis and that repetition is key to reinforcing beliefs. He also recognizes, per above, that some beliefs are much closer to a social balance but if not framed properly such balance will not reach the ideological predisposed. To do so requires not countering conservative beliefs with evidence contrary to their beliefs, because in so doing one negatively reinforces those beliefs. This is a  hard pill for liberals to swallow, given their own Enlightenment bias. Instead a liberal strategy must focus on its own positive moral values and highlight them as American values, and reinforce them repeatedly and often.

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