Family Models and The Market – More on Our Two Political Worldviews

In my previous post, I reviewed the conservative and progressive worldviews from a historical and family model perspective. In this posting, I review these two worldviews according to set of critical factors and how they help define each worldview.

This summary is primarily based on Thinking Points by George Lakoff and The Rockridge Institute. Additional information was taken from The Political Mind.

I have also added a few applicable quotes from President Obama’s inaugural speech.

Before reviewing this table, make a note as to your preferred worldview.

Factor Conservative
Ideal Family/Nation Moral Politics Model Strict Father Nurturant Parents
Moral Basis A male authoritarian parent whose morality is by virtue of his authority and who requires unquestioned obedience to and acceptance of his definition of morality which he enforces through discipline and enforcement of discipline by punishment as severe as necessary. Coequal parents whose morality is based on empathy and responsibility, whose authority is not parent or gender specific and whose enforcement of their morality is through responsibility and caring for oneself and others.

“It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.” – President Obama

Core Values A moral authority that uses strong internal discipline, requires ownership for profit without any restriction – especially by government and deserves to lead by virtue of their moral and meritorious discipline.  A moral authority that protects ‘we the people’ from abuse of institutional powers and empowers ‘we the people’ to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by ensuring freedom, opportunity, fairness, equality, prosperity and community.

“At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.” – President Obama

Core Principles Obedience to any moral authority without regard for self interest;  You’re on your own; The manmade free market institution is morally perfect; A well disciplined citizenry doesn’t need government charity – pull yourself up. The common wealth, funded by and including our taxes, is necessary for the common good (police, military, EMTs, firefighters, banking system, court system, communication systems, transportation systems, preserving common property like parks, water, air, radio/TV spectrum, public health, air traffic control, etc.) which protects and empowers ‘we the people;’ respect for and maximizing the dignity of humanity; respect for and promotion of cultural and resource diversity.

“The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.” – President Obama

Causation – Why _ _it Happens Simple direct causes for good and evil – direct commands from a strict father must result in either an obedient (good) response or direct discipline to punish an evil response Peoples’ situations have both direct and complex indirect causes – empathy promotes sensitivity to both direct effects and “complex situations and contextual factors.” 
Self Identity The strict father model is gendered: male husband, female wife.   Gays and lesbians don’t make sense.   All aspects of sex are male centric including decisions about abortion.  Gender neutral: respect for human dignity and diversity through empathy and a sense of responsibility for others.

“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.” – President Obama

Morality and the Market “The market is an instrument of morality.”  The strict father enforces discipline and discipline leads to morality and prosperity (profits).  If you are poor, the causation is lack of morality, discipline and respect for authority – you deserve your poverty for being immoral.  Regulation, taxes, workers rights, unions, torte lawsuits are immoral because they reduce prosperity.   In this individualistic, “you’re-on-you-own,” worldview, there is no tolerance for the commons (“a common inheritance of all mankind in the natural world”) – it should be privatized for profit. Empathy and responsibility leads to markets and governments, both manmade institutions, that must “serve the common good.” Regulation, taxes, workers rights, unions, torte lawsuits provide fairness and protection against the imperfections of the market and for the common wealth.   The market can’t exist “without massive use of the common wealth” and the market should replenish it through their fair share of taxes.  “Markets can’t thrive and serve the common good without the constructive role of the government.”

“Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous.” – President Obama

Government Governance vs Market Governance Privatization and deregulation of everything except the military is supposed to mean less government. Privatization results in decisions (governance) that adversely affect the common good for the sake of increasing prosperity.   Privatization and deregulation actually result in “less responsible government” as corporations make government decisions about food and drug safety, environmental impacts, etc.   Privatization and deregulation are replacing our democracy with a corporatocracy – a private government with no accountability to or concern for the voters.

“And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.” – President Obama

Profit and Human Dignity There is no safety net in a free market.  Those who lack discipline to be prosperous on their own are immoral and deserve their situation.  Markets, run by empathetic and responsible citizens, “must respect human dignity and serve the common good while pursuing” and sharing prosperity. 

“And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.” – President Obama

Success and Common Wealth for the Common Good Self discipline alone leads to personal prosperity. No one becomes prosperous in this country without the common wealth and the more you gain from the common wealth, the more you should pay to “maintain the common wealth.”

“The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.” – President Obama

After reviewing the above information, has your worldview preference changed any? Either way, add a comment and let me know.



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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

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