Wednesday, August 09, 2006

T & A!

That’s truculent and self-absorbed. What? Isn’t that what you thought Spotty meant? Shame on you.

A couple of days ago, Spot put up a post, Farting into the wind, wherein Spot criticized third-party movements, especially the Greens in Edina for running a candidate, Julie Risser, who could submarine the first chance in memory, or maybe ever, for the DFL to take the state senate seat with its candidate, Andrew Borene. (Thanks, boys and girls, for sticking it out to the end of that sentence!) At the end of the post, Spot suggested that the Greens might just be progressive authoritarians: inflexible, doctrinaire, and unwilling to compromise. Like the right wing, only with different ends. It was kind of a toss off.

A reader pointed out to Spot that George Lakoff makes a similar point in his recent book, Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea. Lakoff, you may remember boys and girls, is also the author of two recent books, Moral Politics and Don’t Think of the Elephant, which touched off the “issue framing” discussion. Lakoff calls these progressive authoritarians militant progressives.

According to Lakoff, a militant progressive uses “strict-father means” to obtain nurturing ends. In his earlier books, Lakoff uses the strict father/nurturing parent metaphor to explain the difference in the mind sets of liberals and conservatives. Spot believes that the strict father side of the metaphor is just a gentler way of saying authoritarian personality. Isn’t it?

Getting back to cases, Julie and her pal Carol Overland think they have the exclusive ability to tell people what the most important item on the progressive agenda is. If you don’t agree, they say you aren’t a progressive. Do you hear the bell ringing, Gs and Gettes?

When you think about it, it seems like it is always the authoritarians who split off from a major party to form a third-party movement. Vy do ze do zis? Sorry. Why do they do this? Spot says it is because they believe they have the answers and know what is good for everybody else. The difference between the conservative authoritarians and the liberal authoritarians is that the conservative variety is ascendant in its major party at the present time. But both kinds are anti-democratic.

Incidentally, the same reader who told Spot about the Lakoff book recommended this website to see how well you line up with il Duce. Spot had to try a couple of times to get it to load, so be persistent.

Tags: ,

No comments: