1.2. Ch2.PoliticalUnconscious - Lakoff, The Political Mind...

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Lakoff, The Political Mind The Political Unconscious Chapter 2 The Political Unconscious “Freedom is about Authority” Rudy Giuliani Though the Old Enlightenment mischaracterized the human mind, Enlightenment values nevertheless wrought the foundations of American democracy. A New Enlightenment should likewise articulate America’s original values, both conscious and unconscious, and extend them further in the same direction. America was founded and developed as a progressive country, and it is crucial that its values be reclaimed and extended to fit the needs of our century. Conservatives have excelled at articulating their values and ideas. It is time for progressives to do the same. My job here is to unlock the cognitive unconscious, to take progressive thought off the leash and to draw an accurate picture of conservative thought for the sake of comparison. Radical conservatives have also excelled at carrying out hidden objectives that fit their values. Allowing hidden objectives to be seen is another benefit of cognitive science. Conservatives and progressives have very different modes of thought. Neither mode of thought is obvious. The political mind has to be probed in depth to be understood. What we shall see is complexity: Many Americans make use of both conservative and progressive modes of thought in their politics — but apply them to different areas in different ways. There are regularities, but there is no scale from Left to Right. There are no moderates — that is, there is no moderate worldview, no one set of ideas that characterizes a “center” or “moderation.” People who are called “moderates” 02 - 41
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Lakoff, The Political Mind The Political Unconscious use conservative thought in some issue areas and progressive thought in other issue areas, without falling on any linear left-to-right scale. Indeed, many so-called “moderates” have no moderation at all, and are quite passionate about both their conservative and their progressive views. For example, consider Chuck Hagel, an anti-war conservative, and Joe Lieberman, a pro-war liberal. But are called “moderates” — but they have few beliefs in common and certainly do not share a single worldview. The Left-to-Right scale that political pundits love is an inaccurate metaphor — and a dangerous one, for two reasons. First, it posits a political “mainstream” — a population with a unified political worldview — that does not exist. Because radical conservatives have so dominated political discourse in America over the past thirty years, conservative ideas are being passed off as “mainstream” ideas, which they are not, while progressive ideas are being characterized as “leftist” and “extremist,” which they are not. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed to the Court as a
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This note was uploaded on 10/03/2011 for the course LINGUISTIC 101 taught by Professor Lakoff during the Spring '09 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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1.2. Ch2.PoliticalUnconscious - Lakoff, The Political Mind...

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