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View Diary: Morning Feature: Sticky Narratives, Part I - How Many Are We? (199 comments)

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  •  Further thoughts (5+ / 0-)


    The sense or consciousness of the moral goodness or blameworthiness of one's own conduct, intentions, or character together with a feeling of obligation to do right or be good

    Well, there it is: requires a sense of one's own character.


    Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French considerer, from Latin considerare to observe, think about, from com- + sider-, sidus heavenly body

    A bit more complex, but seems to suggest gazing at distant astonishing entities such as the stars, and contemplating one's place in the universe.

    Your comment about time was also interesting

    Conservatives are, in the main, stuck in the present.

    Puts me in mind of a comment by Orinoco from a few days back, I believe in the context of why we pay taxes, something to the effect that conservatives seem to think that the world sprang into being when they first noticed it, and that all the good things that we accomplish through the medium of government are either automatically there without anybody doing anything, or somehow pay for themselves without them (the conservatives) having to contribute anything. Yet another instance of narcissism, or of lack of awareness of oneself as part of a whole system.

    That lack of awareness of systems seems to characterize a lot of conservative thought. Whether it's the environment, the economy, climate change, or why the terrorists hate America, conservatives just don't seem to get that there are dynamic systems out there, that we are part of those systems, that what we do affects how they operate, and that whatever we are experiencing at a given moment is likely to be greatly impacted by their operation.

    One could go on, but one also has to stop sometime. Just one last thought, about conservatives' sense of time and of self in relation to what we call conservative hypocrisy. First, the definition of hypocrisy:

    A feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

    To be sure, we see enough behavior from conservatives that exactly meets this definition. But we also see cases where conservatives' contradictory statements and/or behavior are separated by some amount of time. For instance, the fellow who bellows about high taxes and big government one day, and then cries out for government help when it's his home that is flooded. For this guy, both positions were true reflections of how he actually felt at the moment, so they are not dishonest in that sense. The contradiction arises from the lack of a sense of the continuity of identity over time.

    •  Great thoughts, both hannah and DBunn. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, JanF, DBunn, addisnana

      Our 'testing' of Big Narratives hinges on something we progressives too often take for granted: a large enough 'we' (in numbers and over time) to be a good sample set. I call it Systems Think, and not everyone does it. Fred usually doesn't, as I noted back in November:

      In terms of being in touch with ordinary people's lives, his "news" is as good as or better than than what he'd get from the media. It's anecdotal, but that's okay with Fred. He's not a systems-and-statistics kind of guy. He takes life one day at a time, one person at a time, and one problem at a time. On the one hand, that means he's pretty grounded; he knew there was something wrong with the economy long before the media were thinking of using the word "recession," because he saw it happening in the lives of his regulars.

      On the other hand, Fred doesn't have a unifying political theory. He'd like to feel more secure in his job and his home, and he'd like to see his regulars happier than they have been for the past few years. He'd like government to help where it can, or at least not make things worse, and that's his political theory. Because Fred is a people person who takes life one day, one person, and one problem at a time - based mostly on personal anecdotes from his own life and the lives of his regulars - he's what George Lakoff calls biconceptual: progressive on some issues, conservative on others, often depending on how the issue is discussed. His core values are mostly progressive values, but he doesn't trust government enough to be a reliably progressive voter.

      That doesn't make Fred "badly informed." It makes him "differently informed." It doesn't mean Fred "reasons badly." It means he "reasons differently" ... one day, one problem, one person at a time.

      The problem that presents for progressives is that many of our Big Narratives are best proven by facts that only apply in Systems Think. So we often won't do well appealing to Fred with Systems Think facts-and-figures. That doesn't mean we can't appeal to Fred. It means we need to appeal to him differently.

      Good afternoon! ::hugggggs::

      •  Agree, of course (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, JanF, NCrissieB, addisnana

        We can't make a case to Fred that depends on him understanding an arcane concept that he is not familiar with. And we really can't get mad at Fred and call him stupid because of that unfamiliarity. Both because that's bad politics, and because Fred really isn't stupid. He just doesn't live inside our brains, thinking all the same stuff that we think.

        Al Gore proved that with his film 'An Inconvenient Truth', where he had two uninterrupted hours to explain climate change in systemic terms. Not too many Fred's left the theater failing to understand, and the overall impact of the film was to completely change the political defaults around the climate change issue.

        Now, we're not often going to have two full hours to explain our systems case, and most of us won't have so well developed an explanation ready to go anyway. But we might be able to talk about relevant, connected parts of a system. Like for instance, the way that our broken, wasteful health care system hurts the economy, so fixing health care is necessary for job creation. If Fred started the conversation worried about jobs, he'll leave it wanting to help Obama fix health care.

        If even a limited systems approach won't work for a particular Fred, then a specific example of how rising insurance costs have resulted in jobs being cut at a local business might do the trick. By illustrating systemic effects, we can activate systemic awareness even if we never use system-type vocabulary like "the economy" or "capitalism".

        Oh, almost forgot-- huggs etc!

    •  I think we forget this sometimes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, DBunn, NCrissieB, addisnana

      the fellow who bellows about high taxes and big government one day, and then cries out for government help when it's his home that is flooded. For this guy, both positions were true reflections of how he actually felt at the moment, so they are not dishonest in that sense. The contradiction arises from the lack of a sense of the continuity of identity over time.

      When we forget this, we start sounding as ridiculous as the teabaggers because it is what leads us to thinking that these people are stupid. They aren't...they really don't get the connection. But some of these people (not all) can be made to see the connection and can be a purple voter trending  blue.

      We sometimes forget that the complaints about "high taxes" and "big government" have been burned into people's brains since 1980 when the Reagan republicans said it so often that it became "the truth". You can't blame people for believing well developed propaganda.

      We can counter it with our own stories and convince some of these people.

      Here is the Orinoco quote (it won a Nuttie™):

      "One of their problems is an episodic view of reality, that the freeways; the houses with electrical outlets on each wall, eight feet apart; the drinking water piped in from a large reservoir, have always been there, will always be there, are just part of the scenery provided for their benefit. They don't get that this stuff was realized because prior generations deliberately decided to do the work."

      Much of life is knowing what to Google

      by JanF on Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 04:38:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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