"Strict Father, Nurturant Mother"

I left a comment over at DailyKos, in the discussion of Lakoff’s “Strict Father, Nurturant Mother” description of politics. This is being discussed by Digby and Body and Soul. Please go take a look at what they’re writing and discussing.

My comment:

“Lakoff is a linguist, and he studies how people think about new concepts. His research shows that people use metaphors to understand new conecpts. For example, if you are familiar with cars, and then see a bus for the first time, you’ll think ‘big car,’ using the car as a model for your metaphor for understanding and categorizing what you are looking at. And when you see an airplane you’ll think ‘bus with wings that flys.’ This is how our minds work.

Lakoff has done research into the metaphors that people use to understand the concepts of nations and politics. His research has shown that people think in terms of a family when formulating an understanding of politics, and his research has shown that this thinking breaks down into two basic metaphors. He has described them as strict father and nurturing parent because that is what his research has shown. He has put together an excellent model describing how condservatives and liberals see politics and why they are so different.

Please read his book ‘Moral Politics’ to understand this better. I think this book is essential for understanding what is going on in politics. It is also essential because the Right has also been doing this research, and clearly has these concepts nailed, and they are using them skillfully.

Lakoff is DEscribing. You might not like WHAT he is describing, but don’t blame Lakoff. If you look at this with an open mind, you’ll realize that ‘strict father’ and ‘nurturing parent’ ARE the metaphors that people use.”

I advise everyone to read Lakoff’s book, Moral Politics.