Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ok, George Lakoff is living in an alternate universe

I just went out and read the rest of that article I pointed to in my last post.  It's permeated with progressive self-puffery.  It's actually an instructive study on the fallacy of the progressive worldview.

He makes all kinds of whacky claims, like:
Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work, and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the President has discussed. But deficits are not what really matters to conservatives.
Um... deficits can also be addressed by reducing spending.  And currently, we could close every tax loophole and raise the tax rate on "the rich" to 100% ... and even assuming that wouldn't throw the entire country into a massive depression (or even spark a revolution) -- it wouldn't balance the budget.   Because we spend too much.*

And deficits absolutely matter to conservatives.
Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.
See "projection" in your dictionary of psychology.
In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: Empathy
Funny, I thought it was Liberty.  Go figure.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure you won't find the word "empathy" or any of its synonyms listed in any of our founding documents as a basic principle.  Now at least one of our founders did say that our form of government required a just and moral people, that is true.  Turns out they expected that the just and moral people would take care of any necessary empathy on their own.

Empathy — citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility—acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally.
Um when speaking of the role of government ... protect, yes.  Empower, no.  The role of people?  That's a private matter.   He goes on to say
Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions and empowerment starts with education and infrastructure.
Nice bait-and-switch, but I'm not buying.  Protection can indeed include some of that, but the government is there only to provide limited protection against coercion from others.  And again, empowerment is not the role of the government.

No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one’s fellow citizens.
Are birds free?  They have none of these.  Freedom does not mean guarantees.  Freedom, in this case means freedom from coercive restraint.

And he repeats The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

The only part of that it rejects is that any of it, outside of national defense and defense and recourse against coercion ... is the role of the government.
As a matter of fact, as I mentioned in the previous post, Conservatives are more empathetic and helpful to their fellow citizens than their progressive counterparts.   They just give out of their own pockets instead of first stealing it from others.  As it should be.
The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required.
Sounds like every oligarchic system that ever existed.   Substitute "government" for "father" and "citizens" for family, and you have a dead-on description of the progressive moral system and worldview.   The State is substituted for God, and Church and State are thus one.  In this case, the clique are the "experts" to whom we the ignorant people cede power "for our own good".  Progressives are closet oligarchists.
The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, “Let the market decide” assumes the market itself is The Decider. The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values.
Since the market is the process of free people working out trade amongst themselves, it is indeed natural. And "let the market decide" is more of a directive than a slogan.  The market is the people.  "Ultimate" moral authority?  Most conservatives look elsewhere for that (a lot of them look "up").  On the other hand, it is a great representation  the aggregation of the individual free decisions of the people.  We have laws which discourage coercion -- that is, when people's decisions infringe on the natural rights of others.
In conservative family life, the strict father rules. Fathers and husbands should have control over reproduction; hence, parental and spousal notification laws and opposition to abortion. In conservative religion, God is seen as the strict father, the Lord, who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility in following his Biblical word.
No, the reason for parental and spousal notification laws concerning abortion is due to the fact that in most conservative family households abortion is considered the taking of a human life, and they have a valid argument which progressives willfully ignore.  And in progressive religion, we are all gods and those gods who are in power in the government say what goes, regardless of the religious beliefs of the individual.
Freedom is defined as being your own strict father — with individual not social responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will of course need a gun.
No, freedom is defined as freedom from coercion, freedom to reproduce and raise your family according to your values without the government telling you what those values will be.   Progressives want to replace the parents with a progressive oligarchy so that everyone will be raised as good little progressive sheep.

And of course, as the founders rightly reasoned, we absolutely need a gun to defend that freedom.  Which is why progressives are so keen on taking them away.
Eighty percent of the talking heads on tv are conservatives.
Really?  Examples, please?  Because the Pew Research Center (not exactly a bastion of conservative thought) found pretty much precisely the opposite to be true of journalists in general.   Maybe it's flipped when we just focus on anchors, but somehow I doubt it.
Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like “entitlements” instead of “earnings” and speak of government as providing “services” instead of “necessities.”
In other words, Democrats help conservatives when they tell the truth.  Bravo!
I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work — not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police, and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy — the democracy of caring, of social responsibility, and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.
Marxist claptrap.

First of all, we don't want a "real" democracy.  "Real" democracies are doomed to failure.  We want a democratic republic.  The rules of the republic include rules that keep mob rule at bay.

And besides, we Tea Partiers have been doing a little street flooding of our own.  It gets largely ignored by all of those "conservative" talking heads on TV, because they don't like it.  It doesn't fit their narrative.

* Update and clarification. Morgan points out that if we took our entire GDP for a year (which means 100% tax on EVERYBODY, not just the rich as I originally stated), it would about pay off our current debt. Of course, that would mean a 100% tax rate on everyone, meaning everyone with a mortgage would lose their homes, but that wouldn't matter because we'd all starve to death anyway because we'd have no money for food, and current government social programs do not have the capacity to feed everyone.  Or buy their heating fuel.  That would cost more money, meaning, of course, the 14 Trillion wouldn't cover it.  But the real problem is (as if that wasn't enough) is that it doesn't even begin to address our $130 Trillion in unfunded liabilities.


Whitehawk said...

The aristocratic aire with which these people speak is intollerable.

I continue to hear this suggestion that taxes will have to be raised and loopholes closed. There was a recent commission on our national debt and the state of the economy that stated the same thing. They have all the credibility of an alcoholic gambler who comes home to his family and thoughtfully tells them they are all going to have to get a third so he can continue to provide a home for them. It would be funny if it weren't so scarry.

Good work out in the Batting Cage!

Whitehawk said...

Sorry. Typo in last post. The alcoholic gambler tells his family they all have to get a third JOB.

At some point it has to be acknowledged that the person who is supposed to be responsible is not.

Severian said...

Lakoff is the perfect illustration of Orwell's remark about "ideas so stupid, only an intellectual could believe them." I especially love his assertion about 80% of tv pundits being conservative. Hell, 80% of the pundits on Fox are liberals....

...but not, I guess, if you buy into Lakoff's pet theory of "frames," which is basically a clunkier word-salad version of "he who controls the discourse controls reality," which is a tarted-up version the old adage not to argue with those who buy ink by the barrel.

Lakoff and his ilk have in spades the common failing of most all leftists -- they can't see the difference between their own personal opinions and objective reality. I'm sure that, to George Lakoff, 80% of pundits seem conservative -- hell, 100% of them probably do -- because Lakoff, a Berkeley professor, is to the left of Karl Marx. But since he's secure in his little ivy-covered bubble, he'll never have to face-to-face with earth logic. His "frames" idea, for instance, seems to (if I understand it correctly) imply that things will literally become so if you simply assert that they are so longly and loudly and effectively enough. It takes a whole lot of brainpower (and time and money) to be that dumb....

philmon said...

"His "frames" idea, for instance, seems to (if I understand it correctly) imply that things will literally become so if you simply assert that they are so longly and loudly and effectively enough."

Well that would certainly explain a lot. He's doing an awful lot of asserting there. From what you say (frankly I had no idea who this guy is) these are the things he wants to be true.

Severian said...

I recall him vaguely from the 2004 election run-up, arguing that defeating the eeeeevil conservatives would be easy if we just look at our "frames" -- "frames" being the way items are presented first to the public, and then to the mind.

He seemed to have some kind of larger epistemological point -- a big deal was made of the fact that he's a philosopher of language (I think) at Berkeley (ditto) -- but stripped of all the academic squid ink, it was yet another lament that eeeevil conservatives have some how set the terms of the debate in such a way that all the wonderful, beneficial, caring, lovely ideas of poor put-upon liberals have no way of being heard in a far-right-dominated media culture.

[for the record, yes, I was able to type that all without a ten minute ROFL break... but I work around perfessers and am used to hearing such things. He might actually be worth a Google search, for a larf if nothing else -- I don't know about you, but I get a kick out of hearing liberals whine about how they can never get their message past the troglodyte cultural gatekeepers of Hollywood, the media, the music industry, etc.]

Cylarz said...

I don't know about you, but I get a kick out of hearing liberals whine about how they can never get their message past the troglodyte cultural gatekeepers of Hollywood, the media, the music industry, etc.

I always want to tell those people, "Funny, we conservatives seem to have the same problem." We can't seem to get our message out through that corporate, capitalist, right-wing-dominated media-entertainment complex either.