1.3. Ch3.FamilyValues

1.3. Ch3.FamilyValues - Lakoff, The Political Mind The...

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Lakoff, The Political Mind The Brain’s Role in Family Values Chapter 3 The Brain’s Role in Family Values Why do certain people, most of them conservatives, find certain acts of love — premarital, extramarital, or homosexual — more sinful than war or torture? Why should a conservative living in the Midwest find it personally threatening when gays get married in San Francisco or Massachusetts? Why doesn’t a conservative government take better care of its veterans, and why don’t veterans and their families rebel en masse? Why do many progressives object to the death penalty on moral grounds, while not being opposed to abortion on the same grounds? Why do progressives feel a sense of responsibility for righting the wrongs of past generations? And why should we find progressive and conservative values and modes of thought outside of politics proper — in kindergartens, little league coaching, churches, summer camps, and so on? Why should political values and modes of thought pervade our society? The analysis of chapter two — the politics of empathy and authority — did not go far enough. That analysis could not answer the questions above. To answer these and many others, we need to move to the study of family values. Some of the answers come from the research I did in my book Moral Politics , and we will discuss those briefly. But other answers come from research on the workings of the brain done since Moral Politics was written. 03 - 76
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Lakoff, The Political Mind The Brain’s Role in Family Values I was drawn into the study of politics back in 1994 by a basic puzzle. As a progressive, I could not understand how the main conservative positions fit together: What does being for cutting taxes have to do being against gun control? What does being against abortion have to do with being against environmental regulation? What does advocating for tort reform have to do with shunning gay marriage? What makes these positions fit together sensibly? I have opposing positions on all these issues. How do my views fit together? The 18 th Century view of the mind doesn’t help here. But all these questions have straightforward answers when one looks at how the mind really works. What I discovered, back when I wrote Moral Politics in 1996, was that family values are absolutely central to American politics. But not in a direct literal fashion. In chapter 2, I argued that American politics is based on an opposition of empathy and authority. That was a literal description, an oversimplified one that I had stripped of deeper content. The content is metaphorical at a deeper level. We all think with a largely unconscious metaphor: The Nation As a Family. Every third grader knows that George Washington was the Father of his Country. Nobody questions it. We all speak of the Founding Fathers. We send our sons and daughters to war, even if they are not our sons and daughters. We speak of Daughters of the American Revolution. We have Homeland Security. And conservatives complain that progressives
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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 Berkeley.

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1.3. Ch3.FamilyValues - Lakoff, The Political Mind The...

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