Thursday, May 04, 2017
Regulations are Protections, Taxes are Investments
George Lakoff is right - conservatives and liberals each have a compelling worldview, but conservatives have been better at framing theirs to appeal to the emotions of more Americans. Worse, liberals have let conservatives reframe the liberal worldview in an unflattering way.
Fighting back with reasoned argument alone misses the basic fact that we are emotional creatures first.
Lakoff names these contrasting worldviews as "strict father" vs. "nurturant parent." These differences apply to family life and government equally. The different gender politics are also contained in the deliberate asymmetry between "father" and "parent."
At the government level, the liberal worldview sees regulations as protections, and taxes as investments. This is the kind of care for the whole that any good nurturing parent would do. The whole that is envisioned by liberals is all of the people in the nation, together.
Conservatives, by contrast, see regulations as limitations on freedom, and taxes as theft. They want to toughen up each person under their charge to be personally responsible. The whole they envision is just us - our tribe, our kind, against all others. The others are constantly trying to infiltrate our tribe, so we must be vigilant in punishing and expelling them, as well as any traitors who help the infiltrators.
There is a real difference in worldview, and each rests on a different metaphysic. Worldviews grip us through our emotional stories first and most.