Log in

No account? Create an account

some interesting left/right political thoughts

Inspired by this post...

The article Red Family, Blue Family discusses how right-wing and left-wing people both view the nation as a giant family, but they have very different notions of what a "family" is or should be.

One writer draws a dichotomy between the "Strict Father" family (in which it is dad's job to protect the family from the dangers of a basically evil world, but to be tough on them so they learn by experience to overcome adversity, thus growing up strong and self-reliant and able to make it without him in that hostile world) and the "Nurturant Parent" family (in which the job of the parent(s) is to encourage their children to explore a world that is basically good, try to understand the viewpoints of other different-but-basically-good people in that world, and make the world even better through responsible actions). Obviously, the claim is that "conservatives" follow the former model and "liberals" the latter.

Another writer, studying the same issue, finds a slightly different dichotomy: between the "Inherited Obligation" family (in which you have lots of unbreakable obligations to people whom you didn't choose, e.g. your blood family, but that's OK because you can depend in turn on other people who have unbreakable obligations to you) and the "Negotiated Contract" family (in which your relationships and obligations are what you say they are, and the loyalty and friendship of others is earned in kind rather than given or demanded). Again, the claim is that "conservatives" follow the former model and "liberals" the latter.

Commenter nancylebov suggested that "environmentalists are trying to deliberately add an Inherited Obligation to the more usual localized set." Which would be ironic, since environmental protection is normally associated with the political left, and hence with the "negotiated contract" model. But she's quite right (whether it's "deliberate" or not). Environmentalism is an inherited obligation. Dealing with the ecological environment is like marriage before divorce was socially acceptable: you've got to make it work, because there isn't a backup plan(et). Failure isn't an option.

To much of the political right, OTOH, dealing with the environment is more like dealing with inherited wealth: the former owner is dead, and while it might be a "nice gesture"* to leave some of it for the next generation, you're under no obligation to do so; you might as well spend it on yourself, and let the next generation fend for themselves. If anything, you have a moral obligation to spend it on yourself, so as not to pamper and spoil your children with too easy a life.

* I'm reminded of Dick Cheney talking about how energy conservation might be a "nice" or "moral" thing to do, but it wasn't realistic. Presumably he felt that adding up an infinite series of increasing positive numbers and getting a finite total was "realistic".