To liberals, aÂ lot of conservative thinking seems like a failure ofÂ logic: why would a conservative be against equal rights forÂ women and yet despise the poor, when to liberate women into the world of work would create more wealth, meaning less poverty? And yet weÂ instinctively understand those as features of the conservative worldview, andÂ rightly so.
The nurturant-family model is theÂ progressive view: in it, the idealsÂ are empathy, interdependence, co-operation, communication, authority that is legitimate and proves its legitimacy with its openness to interrogation. “The world that the nurturant parent seeks to create has exactly the opposite properties,” Lakoff writes inÂ Moral Politics. As progressives identify failures of logic inÂ the conservative position, so it works the other way round (one of Lakoff’s examples: “How can liberals support federal funding for Aids research and treatment, while promoting the spread of Aids by sanctioning sexual behaviour that leads to Aids?”).
Lakoff seems to be arguing that logic is not essential to political disagreement because each side thinks the other to have failed at logic in some way. Â What you need to do is highlight the strengths of your position:
Â It’s about time progressives got out there and said what’s true about themselves, as well as what’s true of the other side. If you have a strong position, let’s hear it.
Point taken (maybe) about the adopting an exclusively critical position, but, I wonder, what sorts of things make your position “strong”? Â Could it be that your position accords with reality, overcomes relevant objections, etc.? Â It’s “logical” in other words?
If I’m not mistaken, Why We Argue has a chapter on this very issue (featuring Lakoff!).