In the early days of this blog, we published a series of posts on George Lakoff’s views on wars between values and nations; we revisit some of those posts today.
Lakoff is an activist cognitive psychologist/linguist who devotes great attention to the conflict in values between liberals and conservatives, and the ways in which the family values communicated to children can play themselves out in the readiness of adults to make love or war.
For example, in his book Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Lakoff argues that while conservatives value a “strict father” morality (using punishment to establish respect for authority), liberals value a “nurturant family” morality emphasizing empathy and democratic forms of conflict resolution.
Lakoff also emphasizes the role of metaphor in the decisions people reach regarding political issues. Many judgments are propelled by a “nation-as-person” or “nation-as-family” metaphor in which industrial nations are viewed as “mature” and knowledgeable while other nations are seen as “primitive,” “backward,” and needing to be taught a lesson.
In his book, The Political Mind, Lakoff explains that ideas with a strong emotional component (e.g., regarding the extent to which wars are considered necessary and winnable) are influenced not just by information but by how they are framed, the language in which they are embedded, and the effects of that language on the brain.
To learn more about Lakoff’s views on the ways in which family values connect with major political philosophies and behavior read this article and tell us what you think.