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View Diary: Book Review: George Lakoff's "Whose Freedom?" (185 comments)

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  •  Yeah - I'll pass on 'nurturant parent' too (7+ / 0-)

    It's pretty much the sum total of every negative smear the right plasters us with: touchy-feely PC emotional goody bag nanny state socialist-lite lead blanket of good intentions run amok.

    I'm very interested in Lakoff's idea about defining freedom; there's something powerful and illuminating in trying to devise contrasting definitions of the term as used by both constituencies. Here's an example:

    Driving around the other day, I flip on the radio and discover a religious broadcast is on and before I can switch it off I notice the sermon is being given with a British accent. Unusual. So I leave it on for a while, see what the guy's got to say.

    We are slaves to Christ. We call him Lord willingly, and subjugate ourselves to the Master.

    You get the idea. And so for this group, "freedom" is only the ability to act in accord with Biblical and church dictates. Definitely "freedom from." A world where anything but piety is proscribed.

    And that's a component of right-wing freedom, too. Freedom from terrorists means walls and checkpoints and ID cards and watch lists and spying and no-fly databases and enhanced interrogatio - aw heck: torture.

    They want freedom from gay people, foreigners, liberals, secular perspectives, so that the entire country becomes one big tent revival of shining white faces and anybody else better stay on their side of the tracks. In science, they demand freedom from facts, particularly those that contradict the bible and the government.

    The last bit there is the most troubling. I sense that movement conservatives would actually prefer that the government lie to them. They would choose, given the option, that the Pentagon just make up feel-good stories about Iraq that are totally fabricated, if it would rally public opinion behind the and the chimpanzee-in-chief.

    It's a very weird idea about freedom.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Sun May 20, 2007 at 09:13:40 AM PDT

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    •  Well Said (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven, Allogenes, gatordem

      Your opening comments on the nurturing parent frame are spot on.  I agree that Lakoff's discussion of the different views of freedom is far more interesting and useful.

      By the way, have you ever read Isaiah Berlin's famous essay on negative freedom and positive freedom?  I brought it up during a lecture by Eric Foner at our university and he agreed that it's a must read, especially these days.

      "Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote." -- Lord Chesterfield

      by Fatherflot on Sun May 20, 2007 at 09:36:47 AM PDT

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      •  Grazie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet Strange, Allogenes

        I haven't read any Berlin, but I just Googled him and can see that he was a major figure in philosophy. Most of my work is in the philosophy of language and Searle,  Russell, et al., have colored a lot of my thinking.

        Seems that the key work you're referring to is Two Concepts of Liberty (Oxford: 1958). In some commentary, I see this quoted:

        If degrees of freedom were a function of the satisfaction of desires, I could increase freedom as effectively by eliminating desires as by satisfying them; I could render men (including myself) free by conditioning them into losing the original desires which I have decided not to satisfy.

        Interesting stuff! Thanks for pointing me toward it.

        Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

        by The Raven on Sun May 20, 2007 at 09:46:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "It's a very weird idea about freedom" (1+ / 0-)
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      Is it freedom from anxiety that they want?
      Freedom from the labor of thought outside of their own personal or immediate-family bubble?

      -- We are just regular people informed on issues

      by mike101 on Sun May 20, 2007 at 10:25:11 AM PDT

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    •  I agree that the whole nurturant thing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, The Raven, Allogenes

      can and has been used as a negative.  I think Lakoff used the metaphor to explain how we come to the values that define progressives.

      I think the focus should be on the values themselves, not so much on a metaphor used to explain them.

      Florida Kossacks Rock

      Blog Florida Blue

      You can't govern if you can't win.

      by gatordem on Sun May 20, 2007 at 10:32:30 AM PDT

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    •  You're Missing Two Things (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Allogenes, inHI
      First off, the Nurturant Parent frame is not something we chose.  Lakoff is not recommending that we adopt it.  He is saying that it models how we, as progressives, think.  The complete argument for this is presented in Moral Politics.

      Second, he explains that the progressive idea of freedom springs directly from the Nurturant Parent model.  So if you like one, you've got to accept the other.

      Unless, of course, you actually read the book and present a rational counter-argument.

      I never cease to be amazed at how many people reject the Nurturant Parent model because (a) they don't like it (an emotion-based response) and (b) they don't understand it.

      Remember folks, we're supposed to be the reality-based community.  Evidence. Reason. Logic. That sort of stuff.

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