Friday, October 21, 2005

Chapter 10: Big Brother

Dr. Lakoff states “The conservatives have figured out their own values, principles, and directions, and have gotten them out in the public mind so effectively over the past thirty years that they can evoke them all with a ten-word philosophy: Strong Defense, Free markets, Lower Taxes, Smaller Government, Family Values. We progressives have a different ten-word philosophy, but it won’t be as meaningful yet because it will take us a while to get our values, principles, and directions out there. My nomination for our ten-word philosophy versus theirs is the following: Stronger America, Broad Prosperity, Better Future, Effective Government, and Mutual Responsibility.

“A Stronger America is not just about defense, but about every dimension of strength, our effectiveness in the world, our economy, our educational system, our health care system, our families, our communities, our environment and so forth”

By his own description, Dr. Lakoff admits A “Stronger America” in effect means a more powerful centralized government that regulates all aspects of American life including the types of communities and families we may live in.

Dr. Lakoff says “Broad Prosperity is the effect that markets are supposed to bring about. But all markets are constructed for someone’s benefit; no markets are completely free. Markets should be constructed for the Broadest possible prosperity, and they haven’t been.”

Thus Dr. Lakoff proposes interjecting 3rd party decision making into our economic system, allowing Progressives to define who should benefit. Thus,  Broad Prosperity means interposing government control between the buyer and seller (the old beneficiaries) in order meet Progressive ideals of what Prosperity should be (typically everyone having equal wealth and opportunities)

“Americans want and deserve a better future – economically, educationally, environmentally, and in all other areas of life—for themselves and for their children. Lowering Taxes, primarily for the super rich elite, has had the effect of defunding programs that would make the future better in all of these areas. The proper goal is a better future for all Americans”.

Therefore a “Better Future” means Higher Taxes and new Government programs to cover “all areas of life” Progressives would like to make “better”

“Smaller government is, in conservative propaganda, supposed to eliminate waste. It is really about eliminating social programs. Effective Government is what we need our government to accomplish to create a better future”

Progressives have never been interested in the actual effectiveness for their programs—the War on Poverty, whose stated goal was to reduce dependence on the Government, in fact increased it. Affirmative action increases inter-race hostility and results in higher failure rates of black students. Dr. Lakoff never refutes this point, or indeed ever discusses the actual benefits of such programs in empirical terms.  However, if one looks carefully at Progressive Policies and programs there is one attribute they all have in common: Creating and promoting Dependency and an expectation of entitlement from the Government:

  • Welfare and other Social Programs prevent provide an incentive to be dependant upon the government, rather than their own abilities.

  • Progressives support policies that weaken Marriage and increase the number of Single Mothers forced onto welfare

  • Progressive support for Universal health Care will undercut free enterpirse medicine and force the entire nation to be dependant upon the Government for Healthcare

  • Progressive support for massive government research programs make researchers and Higher Learning institutions dependant upon the government (Which pressures them to preach Progressive Propaganda)

  • Progressive Environmental laws increase the cost of energy and housing, forcing more people into Welfare and government dependence

  • Progressives promise support for Affirmative Action because it makes certain populations dependant on the government to provide certain opportunities via quotas in jobs and education

  • Progressives support expanding the public school system and other government agencies because these employees become dependant upon the government for their living

  • Progressive support for massive foreign aid is an attempt to make foreign nations dependant upon the U.S. Government Progressives support higher safety standards, and living wage benefits to make it harder for businesses to employ workers, and thus increase the number of people on welfare. .

It is obvious there is only one thing these policies are effective at, and this is the real strategic goal of the Progressive movement.  “Effective Government” means making more people dependant upon the Government. The party that supports government dependence, in effect can buy votes with public funds by promising the continuation or increase of those benefits. Were it not for this payout, the Democrats would receive few votes at all.

 Dr. Lakoff asserts: “Conservative Family values are those of a strict father—authoritarian, hierarchical, every man for himself, based around discipline and punishment. Progressives live by the best values of both families and communities: mutual responsibility, which is authoritative, equal two-way, and based around caring, responsibility (both individual and social) and strength”

Therefore, Mutual responsibility refers to an arrangement where each individual has equal authority over everyone else (children excepted of course) that can be applied in any direction and at any time. Equal authority in effect is only Personal Authority, without any sort of external standard and no external authority. Somehow Lakoff seems to believe Millions of autonomous individuals following “nurturant” morality will arrive at a set of compatible moral standards. However, without a higher authority, there can be no accountability to others. Even if some general standard is arrived at, someone breaking the general standard can do so by their claim to individual authority, and expect others to simply abide by it, regardless of the effects. Standards are just suggestions if no one abides by them and they can’t be enforced. Thus “Mutual Responsibility” really means a lack of universal moral standards and therefore a resultant lack of accountability for those in authority and a lack of responsibility for those they care for (the children- or any adult that “needs help” in their eyes) A good example of this principle in action is the Public School System – According to Dr. Lakoff, the teachers are not accountable for their performance as educators, and the students are not responsible for their failure to learn.

Dr. Lakoff says “Hypo-cognition [is] the lack of ideas you need, the lack of a relatively simple fixed frame that can be evoked in a word or two…Progressives are suffering from massive hypo-cognition.” In fact, the opposite it true, and the Progressive ideas and frames Lakoff is discussing have been around a long time. The problem is really that Progressives and the public don’t like the sound of the short phrases that actually evoke the Progressive Ideas being discussed: The real philosophy proposed by Dr. Lakoff can be summed up as: Totalitarianism, Socialism, Higher Taxes, Welfare State, and Moral Anarchy. All of these are concepts which are widely understood, and also widely rejected by Americans. Contrary to Dr. Lakoff’s thesis, Democrats do not loose elections because they suffer from Hypo-cognition, or that “nurturant” frames aren’t commonly used or understood. They loose because it is understood all too well what the consequences of those frames are from empirical experience. This isn’t to say that Progressives don’t suffer from Hypo-Cognition in other areas. There are fundamental concepts that they lack, or find so abhorrent that they refuse to think about them:

1) Progressives don’t have the concept of a common objective reality. They are unwilling to investigate the incentives and effects of their own policies over time, or measure the effectiveness of a policy against its publicly stated goals. This is due to an unconscious tendency to value emotion over reason, and their own personal feelings of moral superiority over the real world results of their actions.  Instead they tend to think that there is no empirical truth and everything is a matter of opinion. This leads naturally to multiculturalism and moral relativism because no one set of ideas or opinions can be more valid than anyone else’s (unless that person is an “evil” believer in strict-father morality)
2) Progressives don’t have the concept of a Trade-off. They believe all of their policies and moral principles operate in isolation and do not interact. (Say Environmental Protection vs. Affordable housing or Fuel for the poor, Or a “living Wage” vs. unemployment)  Consequently, Dr Lakoff ascribes many Conservative beliefs and positions to a moral imperative or absolute when they in fact they are derived from a practical consideration of the trade-offs imposed by real world constraints.

3) Progressives don’t have the concept of individual freedom or understand that such freedom leads to variances (in intelligence, athletic ability, work ethic, etc) This is why they expect equal results for any given group of people, even when each individual is allowed to decide their own moral code. The Progressive concept of Freedom is the ability to make the world conform to their internal picture of how it should be, rather than dealing with the empirical reality of what it is, and what is actually possible.

4) Progressives don’t have the concept of limited human capability or knowledge. Consequently they believe that wars can be planned from start to finish, they can judge and smooth out inequities of birth and coincidence , and that all risks engendered by individual decisions (saving for retirement, unemployment or health care, smoking, riding without a helmet, etc) must be overridden with their superior decisions and God-like knowledge.

Dr. Lakoff’s approach to voicing Progressives issues via Framing may fool the inattentive, but will not succeed in occluding the real issues or in pre-empting discussion of them. Dr Lakoff is really only proposing the use of framing to initiate a Goebbels-like program of propaganda, using Orwellian New Speak to hide the true meaning of the agenda proposed. The Hypo-Cognitive areas defined above will prevent Progressives from realizing their mistake in using this approach. In effect, Dr. Lakoff is proposing that victory can only be achieved by deliberately hiding the facts and real effects of their agenda behind redefined words, and this should clearly demonstrate how intellectually bankrupt the Democratic Party has become. The repackaging of old ideas so that they appear new will not result in their renewed acceptance. A Bitter pill is still bitter no matter how much sugar you coat it with.  The American people will continue to reject any platform that calls for a Big Brother to come and watch over them, especially when the actions of that Big Brother will be in the control of a few self-appointed, self-important intellectual elites who feel they alone have the ability to guide the Society and mold it into a paradise of their own imagining.


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