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Leftist Creed - Transience Divine
February 17th, 2005
01:56 am


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Leftist Creed
Life> Walking around with your arm in a sling tends to make passers-by uncomfortable, but walking around with a *metal dowel* and your arm in a sling makes them positively nervous. I think I checked the step of everyone who saw me for about 1/3 seconds, as they tried to figure out what was going on.

Politics> Today, George Lakoff is my hero. The first speech in Don't Think of an Elephant is called Framing 101, and applies powerfully and succinctly a host of ideas I'm interested in (SD, paradigms, cognitive effects of word usage) to exactly the area I wanted them applied to (the next step for the left).

Everyone should read it. The rest of the book might not add much though (still reading).

One of Lakoff's goals is to find the common basis for right-wing thought and for left-wing thought, and he does it through our conceptions of the family (strict father vs. nurturing parent). He does this to try to draw together the left, illuminate our fundamental paradigm, and provide a framework for predicting the right.

Which brings me to my creed. I think Lakoff settles too early, and I think a stronger claim can be made (to dig deeper and generalize beyond the current right-left line to which Lakoff seems wed). My attempt may not be better, but I've been trying to get comments on it, to refine my own thinking if not to make it usable by others. Note that my goal is to describe a subset of the left, but hopefully a broad one (intellectual-ish, world-change-hopefuls).

    Statement of Motivational Principles

    The following is a statement to motivate the formation of a vast left-wing conspiracy; a description of the field that, I believe, supports the intellectual left's many tents, and a rallying point for world change.

    The foundation of our liberalism is a striving for liberating ways of thinking and acting: our goal is to weaken the bonds of ignorance and of injustice, which we believe to have common roots. We believe in celebrating differences, and that understanding begets respect. We share a conviction of the power of open-mindedness, liberation and progress as a path to well-being, and egalitarianism and civil rights as the bedrock of a better future world.

    We believe our fight for people, truth, justice, and a better world is righteous. But built atop our foundational ethic is a network of deep consequentialism, concerned not only with our outcome, but with the implications of our methods, and deference to the incredible complexity of our world. We recognize the awful blindness of wedding ourselves to a single perspective.

    Furthermore, we believe that our effort can move the world, and to that end, that insight and inspiration are as important as sweat and tears. The modern world overflows with opportunity, and through cultivating better understanding, better approaches, better ideas, and better organizations for ourselves and the world, our dream can come true.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:February 18th, 2005 03:19 am (UTC)
statement of motivational principles seems pretty good to me. it also seems like the set of principles an honest, true left-winger would have (maybe because this is because it's also the set of principle an honest, true me would have). but so, how does Lakoff fall short of this, then?
[User Picture]
Date:February 18th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Lakoff just has a very different take on it, and I think from his point of view it's something that's bred into a person rather than chosen. Lakoff's definition is purely descriptive. But I think this *prescriptive* form is more humanly natural and more useful.
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