Friday, November 19, 2004

The fog is lofting from my eyes

Madman from Liberal Street Fighter describes his problem with the Lakoff frame of "Nurturant Parent" to describe progressives:

[...] I am deeply uncomfortable with identifying the left with the “nurturant parent” description. I think it works against us. In the right’s worldview, nurturing is the job of the mother, and they successfully use their twisted stereotypes of women to attack the left.

I also am uncomfortable with the "Nurturant" label for pretty much the same reason.. I've talked previously about how "Loving Parent" might be a better frame, but I'm not sold on that either because it still seems to squishy a response to the frame of "Strict Father" morality.

Madman points out that the problem with all these frames may be the whole "Family" frame itself. Lakoff warns against adopting a negation of the opposition's frame because doing so just re-affirms that frame (e.g., who wants to be considered against Tax Relief?) However, the same problem is manifest when you only adopt a variation on the opposition's frame.

Lakoff, by pushing the "Nurturant Parent" frame, is still pushing the idea that political activity should be based on "The Family". The problem is that the Republicans have a more fully fleshed model for "The Family" than have the Democrats. So, when Lakoff talks about the "Nurturant Parent", he is giving moral weight to the "Strict Father" model.

Madman suggests an alternative political frame based on the "Politics as Partnership" frame. It's a good frame if for no other reason then it leaves the whole "Family" frame on the floor.


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