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Moral Politics : How Liberals and Conservatives Think Second Edition Edition
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George Lakoff updates may be followed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Find these links, a complete bibliography, and more at http://georgelakoff.com
Top Customer Reviews
The "Strict Father" model of family morality that conservatives subscribe to is based on the hierarchical authority of the father who sets and enforces rules of behavior. Children are expected to learn self-discipline, self-reliance, and respect for legitimate authority. Obedience is emphasized; questioning of authority is little tolerated. Governmental social programs are seen by conservatives as rewarding a lack of self-discipline, of failing to becoming self-reliant. However, spending for the preservation of the moral order, for protection of the "nation as family," whether it is for defense or for building more prisons, is morally required.
Liberals, on the other hand, subscribe to a "Nurturant Parent" model. Children become responsible, self-disciplined, and self-reliant through being cared for, respected, and, in turn, caring for others. Open communications is emphasized; even the questioning of authority by children is seen as positive. Desired behavior is not obtained through punishment. Empathy and a regard for fair treatment are priorities in this model. Social programs are seen by liberals as helping both individuals and the greater society. The maintenance of fairness is a priority for government.Read more ›
First off, it must be said that Lakoff is liberal, notes that it introduces bias into his research, and works hard to keep that bias out of his book (until the end and he warns you it's coming). At its core, he seems to have succeeded in building two frameworks that are largely accurate, the Strict Father (conservative) and Nurturing Mother (liberal) moral foundations. Since I fall closer to the conservative framework, I can only say that I find his explanation of the liberal approach insightful and interesting. Since our national debate so rarely addresses these fundamental beliefs, it has always been difficult to understand the differing perspectives among groups of Americans. Lakoff has helped bring light to this side of the debate.
Unfortunately, Lakoff could not completely overcome his bias. He goes so far as to assert that the conservative moral system necessarily requires stern corporal punishment (using brutally violent allusions) and is, by definition, sexist and racist. I find this characterization insulting and more importantly inaccurate. Despite this inaccuracy, I have to give the book an excellent rating (4) because it is so groundbreaking in its attempt to communicate these very different frameworks.
If you decide to read the book, let me offer a slight refinement of his view which may help a liberal reader better understand the broader conservative perspective and a conservative reader get past his bias.Read more ›
Lakoff posits first that we often think of our country as a family, secondly that conservatives think of the ideal family as one with a Strong Father (stressing authority and obedience) and that liberals think of the ideal family as having Nurturant Parents (stressing communication and self-reliance), and contends furthermore that people extend these attitudes about family and government to their political philosophy. He goes on to explain and predict liberal and conservative thinking, sometimes even contradictory thinking, on the death penalty, corporate welfare, conservation, abortion, gun control, fiscal responsibility, minority rights and other contemporary issues.
Lakoff writes clearly and makes coherent points. I thought this was an interesting and predictive way of discussing current political differences. A self-declared liberal who nevertheless maintains a reasonably objective authorial stance, Lakoff advises liberals to couch their political arguments in the same moral terms that conservatives have been using successfully for years. Liberals are neither immoral nor amoral, as often depicted by Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich and other extremist conservative; they need to make that known and enter the political discussion on those terms.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a requirement for a class I am currently taking and I am glad it was. Lakoff has opened my eyes to how Liberals and Conservatives think. Read morePublished 3 months ago by keith caquelin
This book has great insight into how people who support a conservative ideology differ from those who maintain a liberal ideology. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jen Hlavacek, Ph.D.
This freshy book with crispy pages arrived when they said it should THANKS!Published 5 months ago by clemika young
An interesting interpretation of Fascism and Pacifism, but unfortunately Lakoff conflates the two as Conservatism and Liberalism. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Hermes Trismestigus
A wonderful insight on how people of different political groups think. It gave me great ideas on how to improve my advocacy for a national single-payer health program.Published 7 months ago by Arthur J. Sutherland
A cumbersome read, but worth it. Cumbersome in that the author works hard to make his points, and finally does make them.Published 10 months ago by Strathbogie
Moral Politics is quite simply an indispensable book for anyone interested in politics, especially those who consider themselves liberals and progressives. Read morePublished 11 months ago by James M. Denson