“In this article, Mr. Lakoff doesn't discuss a topic of which he is probably well informed, and that is the collapse of male authority in families in the USA. There are many reasons. The increase in divorce, single-parent (i.e. mother-only) families, women becoming breadwinners, and economics are just a few. In Europe, male authority very suddenly collapsed during and after the War, and this change shaped Europeans politics for generations since. In the years of and after the war, it was the women who were resourceful and courageous (e.g. the "brick dust women of Berlin") and held together their families and communities. They were the leaders. Today, the kind of stern father meme described in this article has no currency there. I think there is evidence that paternalism is declining here as well, but much more gradually, and over a period of generations. So for Mr. Lakoff to advise Democrats to use moralistic language seems to run counter to the inherent pragmatism of a maternalistic society, which is what we are becoming.”
irichmond on Apr 2, 2012 at 22:15:16
“First of all, since the 1950's, American society has moved from male-dominated to more-or-less gender-equal (with some battles still to be won on the gender-equality front). I believe in gender equality and hope we continue to move toward it. Equality is a core American value and it's only fair that women should have all the same powers as men in our society.
Secondly, women are perfectly capable of being moral. I affirm the progressive nurturant parent model of morality. I see both parents as having the role of empowering their children and teaching them empathy. Empathy is necessary for morality. Similarly, I see important roles in our government as being empowering the American people to succeed and extending empathy to those who started out with less opportunity than others and, indeed, to all those who suffer.
Equal opportunity is another core American value. Someone who just turned 18 who grew up in the hood clearly has less opportunity than someone who just turned 18 and has rich parents. It's only fair that our government should even the playing field and give the 18 year old from the hood an even chance.
“"Today, the kind of stern father meme described in this article has no currency there."
What about Italy's Berlusconi and Bossi, France's Le Pen and Sarkozy, Austria's Haider, or even Blocher and colleagues here in Switzerland? All of them are perfect examples of politicians representing a strict father model, with local variations. Their political impact on the masses prove that Prof. Lakoff is absolutely right in his analysis. I cannot see them as victims of their mothers, nor can I see a decline of paternalistic structures around Western Europe, let alone in the east.”
justagirl on Mar 13, 2012 at 10:41:25
“After WWII German women had to clean up Berlin because the men were dead. The real power in the U.S. is still wielded by men, this is no maternalistic society. With the current conservative overreach I can only hope for a renewed womens liberation movement.”