I guess you might call me the great synthesizer. All these things seem connected in my brain. It makes me think of the movie A Great Mind, seeing connections everywhere.
Nevertheless, the attitudes people have tend to permeate their thinking about every area of human endeavor. Robert Lane Green’s book You Are What You Speak hits this same theme. I recall the hostility toward processes in the 60s; but then there was a lot of hostility in the 60s. Those who sneered at process preferred static constructs like “poor people”, “minorities”, “crime”, “defense”, “America”, and so on and so on.
Any attempt to treat these static monoliths as processes was rebuffed by charges of airy-fairy thinking, fuzzy-headed thinking, soft-headed thinking, and so many more. Part of the monolith, of course, was the underpinnings, e.g. poor people are poor b/c they lack good moral qualities, minorities cannot fit into decent society b/c they lack good moral qualities or are deeply and permanently different, low-achieving students have unchangeably low IQs, immigrants will not assimilate unless they are already like “us” with “us” equaling WASPs, American means White, religion means Christianity, American power equals justice, American business is free enterprise, and on and on.
It’s easy for me to write these out b/c I was raised with them. This summer I want to compare the six principles of Conservatism as enunciated by Russell Kirk in The Conservative Reader to the principles enunciated in The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and The Federalist Papers. I’ve wanted to read the latter for some time now and this is my chance. It is my contention that these consciously-held and articulated conservative principles do not match those of our foundational documents; neither do the principles I was raised with but they were vague and immediately ran into other principles that contradicted them. And so my dad could espouse the principle of equality while following good business practice by excluding Blacks from his establishment. Not “no problem” but “Yes, problem”, in today’s argot.
Deep down I think George Lakoff does us a service by getting us to articulate our principles, our beliefs, and compare them with the practices of our culture. Lakoff naturally cautions that the idealized Nuturing Parent or Strict Father, two ends of a continuum, may not exist, but they are convenient starting-points for discussion. And the discussion revolves around how we see the world (hence this being posted to my Pat’s World View category).
Let’s discuss this. I’d like to start with the hostility to process.