Freedom’s not just another word | Salon Books

Current Affairs / General Convention

There’s a review on Salon Books of George Lakoff’s most recent book. Some of Lakoff’s ideas make interesting lenses through which to view the present controversy in the Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion:

“Probably the most resonant of Lakoff’s ideas contrasts conservative and progressive beliefs about how governments relate to their people. These frames are metaphors based on family models. Conservatives, as he sees it, subscribe to a ‘strict father’ ideal, a model in which the leader leads with a moral authority that ‘must not be seriously challenged,’ protecting the family from the very real evils of the outside world. He teaches the children using a demanding system of laws and punishments, instilling in them the self-discipline to succeed in a ruthlessly competitive and morally dangerous world. They learn that if they don’t play by the rules, they will lose out, and deserve it.

Progressives, by contrast, subscribe to the ‘nurturant parent’ model. This concept seems somewhat foggier, ‘authoritative without being authoritarian,’ based on mutual respect and the idea that discussion and explanation, rather than simple decree and force, are the best way to set rules. Adhering to key principles like fairness or kindness according to the situation is more important than following the letter of the law in every circumstance. The reward for behaving well is affection, togetherness and help when you need it. It holds that the ‘citizens care about their community and each other and act responsibly toward their community and each other.’ The nurturant-parent model puts its emphasis on the carrot, while the strict-father model is all about the stick.”

I don’t think that we can simplistically label anyone in the Communion at present as totally coming out of the “strict father” or “nuturant parent” model – but you can sure hear echos of one or the other in much of the rhetoric.

Read the rest here: Freedom’s not just another word | Salon Books

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