Sunday, July 02, 2006

Whose freedom?

In the new book, Whose Freedom?, Democratic guru George Lakoff argues that liberals and conservatives see the republic's core ideal differently.
Conservatives, he argues, believe in a "strict father" morality in which the male parent has unquestioned authority over dependent children, while liberals believe in the "nurturant parent" model, in which a less hierarchical parental authority allows for more empathy, more caring, fewer orders.

With regard to freedom, these two thought-habits lead their adherents toward very different conclusions. To progressives, freedom means the expansion of rights and opportunities; it includes not just freedom to do positive things but freedom from certain negative aspects of life (want and fear, as Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said in 1941).

Conservative freedom, in contrast, is dispensed by the father figure, and it cannot survive without morality and order -- that is, immorality and disorder threaten society so profoundly that freedom cannot be maintained in the face of them. From the conservative point of view, writes Lakoff, abortion and gay marriage "represent threats to the very idea of a strict father family -- and threats to their idea of freedom."

While we believe there are more views than those of liberals and conservatives, we think this looks likes a good read. You can read the rest of the book review here.