George Lakoff talks about Whose Freedom: How the Right is Stealing Our Most Precious Idea and What We Can Do About It. An advisor to the Democratic party, Lakoff states that the conservative revolution has remade freedom in its own image and deployed it as a central weapon on the front lines of everything from the war on terror to the battles over religion in the classroom and abortion.
Lakoff is Professor of Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley.
George P. Lakoff
George P. Lakoff is a professor of linguistics (in particular, cognitive linguistics) at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972.
Although some of his research involves questions traditionally pursued by linguists, such as the conditions under which a certain linguistic construction is grammatically viable, he is most famous for his ideas about the centrality of metaphor to human thinking, political behavior and society.
He is particularly famous for his concept of the "embodied mind" which he has written about in relation to mathematics. In recent years he has applied his work to the realm of politics, and founded a progressive think tank, the Rockridge Institute.
I disagree that nature is not included in freedom and I believe its either a case of subversion of the word freedom or a lack of a real essence of understanding of the idea. One risks giving credence to a broad range of crafty domineering forces by recognizing many methodologies and doctrines as having anything to do with freedom.
If you read his book you clearly understand that the majority of Americans can be influenced by both models. I am a very liberal person (so liberal I would never call myself a staunch democrat). I definitely see the nurturing model in me and it influencing my politics. With that, in my own family I would lean more towards the strict father. Lakoff is very clear in his book that very few people fall into a totally nurturing parent or strict father.
Lakoff has a warped view of freedom himself, influenced by FDR's second bill of rights, the strong positive freedom tradition whereby I am free to conscript and expropriate others because I have needs. But no one's needs imposes a duty on others apart from parents but they freely committed themselvs to become providers. Being generous to those in need does not mean the needy are entitled to the generosity. Lakoff tries to continue the ruse of transforming what is important or valuable to people into something they have rights to. That only produces an array of conflicting pseudo-rights from which some dictator or tyrant will have the cherry pick the ones he or she likes to secure via the force of law.
Frankly, I find Lakoff's conflicting worldviews theory absolutely dead-on. The Strict Father / Nuturing Parent models may be based on generalizations, but I think there's a lot of truth to what he's saying. At any rate, I can see how these theories would be useful tools for both groups to understand each other's respective positions.
I also agree that the first half-hour or so of this clip is a little dry.
I found Prof. Lakoff particularly interesting because he really tries to understand and explain the differences in conservative and liberal modes of thinkingÃ¢â‚¬â€something which few others have done and which is all the more important given the ever-widening chasm between the Republican and Democratic parties.