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

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  •  Assertion Is Not Argument (2+ / 0-)
    I appreciate your response.  But I still find your understanding of Lakoff to be woefully deficient:
    This point is precisely where Lakoff fails.  His is not a "logic" shared by all progressives,
    This isn't an argument.  It's just an assertion.  Worse still, it's an assertion whose content is utterly opaque.  I have no idea whatsoever what you mean by Lakoff's "logic."  I see no evidence whatsoever that you've read Moral Politics and understand what the logic of his model is.

    Disagreeing with elements of Lakoff doesn't prevent me from admiring his work or from reaching out to progressives with whom I disagree. Disagreement within liberalism is natural, even at the level of first principles.
    But you aren't disagreeing with "elements of Lakoff" in any rational, rigorous, reality-based sense.  You are disagreeing with common mis-interpretations that circulate among people who haven't bothered to actually read his work where he lays out his argument in full.  That sort of disagreement is not productive, and not conducive to anything positive.  It's barely more than intellectual gossip.

    In the 2 1/2 years since Don't Think of An Elephant was published, and awareness of Lakoff skyrocketed in the blogosphere, I have yet to encounter one criticism of the Nurturant Parent model that was based on taking issue with the argument for it as presented in Moral Politics.

    I absolutely concur with your assessment that African-Americans and other minorities do not start at the same starting line. However, that doesn't mean that progressives shouldn't be thinking about a post-affirmative action politics that can achieve both the desired social outcomes an broader political support.
    Why?  Why should we "be thinking about a post-affirmative action politics"?  Because we've allowed crypto-racist movement conservatives to define the terms of the debate.

    What we ought to be discussing is reparations for slavery, and a century-plus afterwards of extreme racial opppression, which continues in somewhat muted form down to this very day.

    If conservatives can build a crusade around passing down all the accumulated wealth from one generation of the super-rich to another, then surely we can do something about the accumulated debt that is owed to those who've been systematically impoverished for four centuries.

    •  Quick Follow Up (1+ / 0-)
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      Just to clarify.  I haven't read Moral Politics, so you're absolutely right to point out my Lakoff deficiency. So, thanks for your patience in our discussion here.

      As for "logic," that wasn't my term, but yours.  I did a copy and paste from your earlier comment.

      And as for "post-affirmative action politics," my critique is a liberal argument, not a conservative one.  It's not just that changing American demographics make the current affirmative action regime more and more difficult politically, but that it cuts to the core of liberal American values about individual rights and privileges.

      For example, consider the following quandary from minority-majority California.  In the case below, were Asian-American parents wrong to act as they did?

      The first battles of competing group preferences are already being fought. In San Francisco, to enable access to the city's best high schools, Asian American parents successfully sued to end a court-ordered desegregation plan that had limited any group (black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc.) to no more than 40% of each school's students.

      Just to clarify, I don't advocate dropping affirmative action any time soon, but to phase it out over time while phasing in new class-based approaches that address continuing disadvantage in American society.

      For some ideas as to how this might work:

      In the New American Bargain, affirmative action would be phased out over time, with preferences in government contracting ending in five years, hiring in 10, and higher education in 15. Ending the affirmative action regime immediately, however, would have socially unacceptable consequences for minority representation, as many institutions, as shown by the California Berkeley law school, would experience a return to de facto segregation. This is all about life chances; as affirmative action is phased out, the hard work of creating opportunity for all Americans would commence with the transition to "Open Opportunity."

      An Open Opportunity program begins with expanded outreach to minority and economically distressed communities. From the promotion of educational opportunities, mortgage assistance, small business loans and "Grameen-style" banks (modeled on small, revolving self-employment loan programs in developing nations), the federal and state governments should substantially increase efforts to recruit and evangelize individuals who could potentially benefit. The difficult and expensive work of public education reform described above is also central. Expanded scholarship programs based on need (family income and wealth) would be essential.  In every case, Open Opportunity benefits would be class-based, and not contingent on race or ethnicity, helping to ensure their universality and broader public support. As Richard Kahlenberg noted in his book The Remedy, while class is not a true proxy for race and could not assure the same numeric outcomes as today's affirmative action regime, it offers the prospect to bridge the cleavages of group preferences over time. Open Opportunity, would, however, mean the end of the divisive affirmative action calculus Michael Kinsley highlighted in choosing between a black doctor's child and the kid of a white Appalachian coal miner.

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