Politics5

Take it Back               James Carville and Paul Begala    Oct 2006
Whose Freedom?        George Lakoff                              Oct 2006



Take it Back       James Carville and Paul Begala    Oct 2006

Introduction   "Lord Acton was right. ...'power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'"  The Republicans in Washington today control the White House, the Senate, the House, the federal bureaucracy, the military, the Federal Judiciary, corporate special interest groups, the media, and most of the think tanks.  The only thing they can't control is their lust for power.

This absolute power has corrupted the Republicans.  It has corrupted our democracy, degraded our military, diminished our stature in the world, damaged our environment, bankrupted our Treasury, and indentured our children to foreign debt-handlers.  Why?  Because Democrats let them win it.  The authors go on to describe their plan for the book in more detail and their philosophy in writing it.

They have one paragraph with which I strongly disagree.  They start of by saying that they don't have all the answers, so far so good.  Then they go on to say, "Too many Democrats over-think things.  This is politics, not organic chemistry.  Success has less to do with brains than guts."  I strongly disagree.  Technically they are right in one part, politics is not organic chemistry.  It is also not rocket science, nor nuclear physics, it is a lot harder.  There have been a lot of very bright people working for hundreds of years to make these topics highly precise predictive sciences.  Now we can write computer programs to carry out much of the work in these areas.  In their discussion of health care they suggest that we could save billions by using computerized record keeping in medical care.  I am sure we could save even more by requiring that all policy proposals be carefully modeled using publicly accessible models to predict their costs and benefits in a meaningful (not only financial) way.  As far as the science goes, many bright people are working on that.  George Lakoff is probably the best known theorist in the Democratic camp.  The science of human behavior (politics, etc.) is nowhere near the precision of the previously mentioned areas and won't be for hundreds or thousands of years if ever, but if we don't continue trying it will never bet any better than it is now: politics based on perceived personal interest (or mental illness in the case of some like Hitler).

C1  "Houston, We Have a Problem"  When Jim Lovell uttered those words in Apollo 13, everybody immediately realized that he was right, they did have a problem.  When George Bush stole the election from Al Gore, Democrats blamed Ralph Nader, the Florida election commissioner, etc.  but nobody asked, "How could the incumbent party, in a time of peace and prosperity, make the election close enough for the Republicans to steal?"  Gore wasn't the only good candidate who was beaten by a poor candidate, there were many others who were even more blatant.  What did they have in common?  They were all running as Democrats.  It's the Democrats as a party that are having problems, not the individual candidates.

The authors discuss the geography and the demographics of the recent elections.  Their conclusions: many voters see Democrats as effete snobs, Republicans tell a story and Democrats talk about issues without relating these issues to peoples lives and concerns.  They complain that Democrat politicians haven't been forceful about comparing their ideas with those of Republicans since the 1970's.  Democrats need to be forceful and need to point out the problems with
Republican policies.  Democrats need to make very clear the negative tactics and negative policies of Republicans, they need to stop worrying excessively about negative ads.  To mobilize non-voting Republicans the party found "anger points", they "pissed them off", they instituted (in 2004) a massive and very pointed get-out-the-vote campaign.

C2  Moral Values:  God Is a Liberal  Beginning in the mid 1960's Republicans began exploiting the race issue and to a lesser extent the patriotism issue with the Vietnamese War.  The conservative religion issue came up a little later.  The current big three issues are abortion, gun control, and gay rights.
C3  National Security  Democrats are perceived as being weak on national security, and that has been the perception for 40 years.  For much of the 1900's the Democrats were perceived as being the more hawkish party.  Dick Nixon, a naval supply officer in the Pacific, managed to make George McGovern, a B-24 pilot with 35 missions, look like a wimp.  Americans needed someone/thing to blame for the War in Vietnam, and the Republicans were smart enough to place the blame on the Democrats.  After 9/11 Bush managed to use it to increase his power and to push his agenda and his friends.  Generally for Democrats politics stops at the water's edge, Republicans view war is just a political issue.  Iraq has been the biggest disaster for America in a long while, primarily because Bush is viewing it only as a political and religious problem.
  1. Be Strong  Democrats need to follow their convictions.  Many were opposed to the Iraq war but went along to give the president more options.  They should have presented their own proposals and stood up for they thought was right.
  2. Respect the Military  The biggest mistake those who were opposed to the Vietnam War was to confuse the war with the warriors.  The first thing we need to do is to support the men and women in uniform, give them the training, material, weapons, and family support they need.
  3. It's Our Flag, Too  Don't let Republicans take any liberties with the flag or other symbols or our country or military.
  4. Challenge Bush to Win in Iraq  Republicans control the White House, Senate, House, and Pentagon.  They got us into the war, they can get us out.  If they can't get us out - they can get out (resign their offices) and let the Democrats get us out.  It will not be easy, there are problems with every possible solution, but we have got to solve the problem and the Republicans don't seem to be able to do it.
  5. Redefine the War on Terror.  Terror is not a country, terror cannot be defeated using the tactics of WW II or Korea.  Republicans like Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, etc. don't seem to be capable of understanding this.  There are many people, some in the military, some not, who do understand this.  We must at least listen to them.
  6. Call for America to Lead the World Again.  Democrats must fight for a president who can be called the "Leader of the Free World" without generating laughter overseas.  We must support policies that work and policies meet the needs of America and of the other countries of the world.
  7. Be Tough on Terrorism and Tough on the Causes of Terrorism.  We must challenge terrorists at every turn but at the same time look at the reasons why people are pushed into terrorism and try to turn this around.
  8. Provide for the Common Defense.  National Security is only partially about military, Homeland Security under Bush is all about job titles and contracts.  Real security starts at the ports and extends to every hospital, police station, and city in the country.  It must be based on true cooperation and local initiative with national support for major problems.
  9. Be Certain of Victory.  Many countries have defeated terrorism, but they do it with a combination of military, police, political, economic, and diplomatic efforts.  It is not a quick solution but it is the only one that works in democracies.
  10. Help with Military Recruitment.  Invite all the country singers, children of presidents and legislators, College Young Republicans, and all other "supporters" to actually sign up for the military or other federal service.
C4  Don't Just "Clean Up" Washington; Fumigate It  George Bush ran for president pledging to "restore honor and integrity to the White House."  The authors believe that honor and integrity require more than marital fidelity.  They go on to document a number of examples of criminal and immoral behavior of Republicans over the last several years, the CIA leak against Valerie Plame Wilson, lobbyists appointed to top government offices, the K Street project - limiting lobbyists to being Republicans, Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Ray Blunt, Bill Frist, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Enron (etc.), and the latest, Rep. Mark Foley.
  1. Choose Which Side You're On.  Democrats must decide if they are for real reform or just the transfer of sleaze to them from the Republicans.  The authors are all in favor of real reform.
  2. Put the Lobbyists on a Leash.  Congressmen Rahm Emanuel and Marty Meehan have proposed legislation to reduce the power of lobbyists.  They have a number of specific items which need to be supported.
  3. Disclose All Contacts with Lobbyists.  Every conversation longer that a few seconds would need to be reported.
  4. Disclose Pork, Perks, and Loopholes.  Powerful members of congress can easily insert special provisions into bills, require that all of these be included with the members name, the corporations or interest groups who benefit, and the cost.
  5. Radically Reform Campaign Finance  The authors note that most congressmen have to spend many hours working on campaign finances which they should be devoting to the countries business, they have several specific suggestions:
    1. Raise congressional pay from $162,000 to $400,000 but require that none of them can receive anything of value from anyone other than a family member (Christmas gifts, etc.),.
    2. Impose a complete ban on raising campaign funds on current office holders.
    3. Challengers could raise any amount from any party however ALL funds must be reported electronically within 24 hours with the name of the donor and the amount.  This would include gifts of the challengers own money.
    4. Within 24 hours of the report the US treasury deposits a sum (say 80%) of the money to the incumbent.
    5. Any violation would result in removal from the ballot.
    6. If a sitting office holder wants to run for another office the answer is simple, resign their current office.
    As Thomas Jefferson said, "When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property."

C5  A Declaration of Energy Independence  We meed to admit it, we are addicted to oil.  Unfortunately we have used up most of our domestic oil supplies.  Unfortunately for us most of the remaining oil is where people don't like us, perhaps there is a moral here.  Global warming is here, it's getting worse, how much worse is still unknown.  Our oil addiction is bad for us, it threatens our national security, weakens us economically, and it is destroying our planet.  We need to solve the problem.

The Republicans passed an Energy Bill, it gave $80.8 billion to the energy interests, the oil companies reported profits of $96 billion not counting the federal support.  The benefits the Saudis got are not so easy to exactly quantify.
  1. A Declaration of Energy Independence.  Democrats need a policy of energy conservation and energy independence, we need to end our total dependence on imported oil.
  2. Greenhouse Gases:  Deal with Them or Die.  We need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere immediately.  
  3. Set Priorities.  We must set priorities, we will loose some battles, the only ones we can afford to loose are global warming and energy independence.
  4. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.  We can never beat the Chinese and other third world countries in terms of cheap labor.  With a serious commitment to reducing global warming and energy independence we would create many millions of jobs and lots of customers overseas.
  5. Increase Fuel Economy for Cars and Trucks.  
  6. Conservation:  More Than Just a Sign of "Personal Virtue".  Conservation is not just nice, it makes good business sense.  During the Arab oil embargo in the 1970's we cut energy use by 17%, reduced total oil imports by 50% (Persian Gulf imports by 87%), and our GDP grew by 27%.
  7. Natural Gas:  It's Not Something You Get from a Bean Burrito, Mr. President.  America has huge supplies of natural gas, our cleanest fossil fuel.  Instead of importing it we need to build the infrastructure to use our own.
  8. Make a Real Commitment to Alternative Fuels.  
  9. Be People-Environmentalists, Not Species-Environmentalists.  Environmentalists have been criticized for worrying more about other species than humans.  In many cases the polluters that the Democrats which to clean up their smokestacks are killing thousands of people per year.  We need to make this point very clearly.
  10. Reach Out to the "Hook-and-Bullet" Crowd.  The right has often accused Democrats worried about the environment as elitist.  If you are rich you can afford to buy your own private ranch and hunt on it.  If your river is polluted you can afford to dig your own lake to fish in.  Democrats need to convince hunters, fishermen, and just enjoyers of nature that environmentalism is in their best interest.
  11. Praise the Lord and Protect the Environment.  Environmentalism is mentioned many times in the bible (Psalm 104:24-25, 30, Deu. 20:19-20, Numb. 35:33-34, Math. 10:29).  Republic environmental policies are not only a "crime against nature"; they're a sin against God.
  12. Tax Windfall Oil Profits, Invest in Energy Independence.  Place a 50% tax on the sale of oil over $40 a barrel (as well as their subsidies) and put the money into energy independence and energy conservation.
C6  Work the Refs  Many Republicans have made a career of bashing the "left-wing media".  Many books have been written and they sell well, with careful presentation many of their ideas have been accepted by media producers.  They describe several examples where this has happened.
  1. Work the Refs Yourself.  When you notice an inaccurate statement being made by a news organization jump on it, circulate your letter to your like minded friends and have them write letters or sign yours, it works.  Take a pro-active stance with the press, if they don't report your position accurately make sure that they are informed, forcefully.
  2. Support the Watchdogs.  There are several watchdog groups, www.mediamatters.org, Eric Alterman What Liberal Media? and in The Nation and his blog on MSNBC.com, and www.dailyhowler.com
  3. Be a Populist, Not an Elitist.  Use local media and the internet.  They recommend Daily Kos, Buzzflash, and Talking Points Memo.  Officeholders and candidates should use websites to receive information.  It can't be obviously written by an uptight twenty-two-year-old straight out of the Ivy League.  It should be written by the politician.  It must be informal, folksy, and accessible
  4. Engage on the Battlefield of Ideas.  To influence the media you need to influence those to whom the media turns for information, advice, and commentary.  Republicans have turned the Think Tank into an art form.  A Democratic version is The Center for American Progress founded by John Podesta.  They have a Progress Report and a daily blog, Think Progress.  
  5. Develop Our Own Echo Chamber.  Liberal talk shows are growing in popularity.  MoveOn.org and Cindy Sheehan's web sites are useful.
  6. Challenge Corporate Concentration of the Media.  Concentration of power in corporations is a Republican gold mine.
  7. Attack the Real Biases in Media.  The media is biased and always has been, but not like the right would have you believe.
The "Balance Bias".  The media likes to believe that they are "Balanced", they present both sides of the issue.  Unfortunately in many matters there is only one side, the correct side and the incorrect side.  The press should feel an obligation to determine which side is correct.  When two people disagree on matters of opinion all it takes is to report both sides however when there are objective facts or overwhelming consensus among experts the press should report that.

C7  The Meeting  They go through a typical Democratic campaign meeting.  Then they go back over the meeting and describe why most of it couldn't be better designed to elect a Republican.  They don't like meetings and the resultant "group think".

C8  Taxes:  The Heiress Versus the Waitress  They introduce the issue by describing a part of the tax bill of Sept. 23, 2004.  This bill did several things, it raised $146 billion, it extended the middle-class provisions of the 2001 tax cut, it gave $13 billion in tax breaks to big corporations and took away the child tax credit to 4 million impoverished families with 9.2 million children.  Families raising children whose incomes were $10,750 a year or less evidently didn't need this tax credit.  The credit was $1000 per year for each child.  Republicans evidently believe in cutting taxes for the very richest in this country but taxing the poorest at a higher rate.  
C9  When You've Got Your Health . . .  When Toyota announced it was building a new manufacturing plant in North America they choose Canada.  Why?  Health care.  Every GM car made in the US comes equipped with a cost of $1,500 paid for workers health insurance.  15% of our economy is dedicated to health spending.  Even while spending more money on health care than any other country we rank 37th in the world in health system effectiveness.  The Republicans don't seem to worry about this at all, perhaps its because they can afford health insurance.
  1. When you're uninsured, you don't get preventive care.  When you don't get preventive care and your illnesses are more expensive and you are more likely to die.
  2. When you don't have insurance, you put of getting the care you need until you end up in the hospital unnecessarily.  
  3. When you're uninsured, you're more likely to die.  
  4. Medical care costs more for the uninsured than for the insured.  Major insurers negotiate big discounts with hospitals.  Unpaid medical bills is the second leading cause of personal bankruptcy.
  5. When you're uninsured, going to the doctor means going to the emergency room.  Uninsured people are 4 to 5 times as likely as insured to use emergency room.  Hospitals provide $35 billion in uncompensated care every year.
How to Take Back Health Care  
  1. Be Not Afraid.  America's health care problems will get worse and worse until somebody does something about it.  It will be better for Democrats to be on the winning side even though it will be a bruising battle with a lot of casualties.
  2. Make Health Care a Values Issue.  Don't lamely accept the Republican definition of values.  Health care is a moral issue.  If Republicans attack us for being "too liberal", inform them that God is a liberal.
  3. Keep It Simple.  The more pages in the plan, the more opportunities for attack.
  4. Build on What Works to Get Everyone Covered.  Make everyone eligible for the insurance plan the Members of Congress have.  Expand Medicaid to cover all children and working poor.  Require that they enroll and if they don't have the money to pay the premiums, help them.
  5. Focus on Prevention.  We need a national prevention agenda.  It will save us trillions in the long run.
  6. Bring Down Costs.  Drug companies that patent a drug should keep their profits until they have recuped their research costs plus a reasonable cost, then they should loose their exclusive patent.  Require much more computereization of patient records, and reward hospitals for achieving good outcomes.
  7. Improve Quality.  Improve record keeping, computerization, and education so that we know what works, what doesn't, and how to increase the "works" side of treatment.
C10  The Flood: "Mr. Bill was Better Informed Than Mr. Bush"  On September 1, 2005, three days after Katrina, Bush was interviewed by Diane Sawyer.  The question, "Given the fact that everyone anticipated a hurricane [of category] 5, a possible hurricane five, hitting shore, are you satisfied with the pace at which this [help] is arriving?"  The answer from Bush, "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."  The authors document a few of the many warnings of a disaster in New Orleans that were publicized before the storm.  Even Mr. Bill, the clay figure from Saturday Night Live made a public service announcement.  After the 1995 flood Clinton and the Republican Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project.  Bush systematically reduced the funding for this project and sent the money to Iraq.  Clinton staffed FEMA with experienced managers, Bush staffed it with political operatives.  The authors give a time line of what happened and who did or said what during the disaster.
  1. It's About Class, Not Race. The policies of the Bush presidency do nothing to help poor people, everything to help rich people. 
  2. Bold, Persistent Experimentation, Not Failed Right-Wing Quackery.  In an attempt to solve New Orleans' problems the Republicans brought out their old standbys. suspension of wage supports, school vouchers, deregulation, abandoning environmental regulations, and tax cuts.  We need new approaches that might have a chance of working.  These could be offering low- or no-interest morgages to police officers, firefighters, teachers, displaced residents and local companies get first crack at rebuilding jobs, offer on-site job-training programs helping rebuild.  After the 1900 hurricane Galveston, Texas raised the level of the city and built a new seawall that still stands.  After a flood in the Netherlands in 1953 the Dutch people spent $8 billion over 50 years and now have a hydraulic seawall 130 feet high and 6 miles long which is 150 times stronger than the New Orleans seawall was.
  3. It's About Environmental Protection.  The best protection against floods are extensive wetlands we need to stop building on them and destroying them.  With global warning the hurricanes are going to be getting bigger and more frequent.  Our problems are going to get worse, not simpler.
  4. Get Rid of the Culture of Corruption.  Republicans see disasters as opportunities to help themselves and provide their friends with no-bid contracts.  For rebuilding we need competative bids, for immediate disaster relief we need to send in governmental employees and volunteers, no big contracts.
C11  Progressive Patriotism  Americans don't like what Republicans stand for but they don't know what the Democrats stand for.  This book is an effort to correct that problem.  Both Republicans and Democrats are the heirs of a rich political tradition.  The Democrats have forgotten theirs.  The Republicans have rejected theirs, mocked it, and disgraced it.  President Bush has presided over the greatest decline in the nations history.  Some of the details are listed here and many more elsewhere.  One of the oldest and most persistent question in human history comes to us in the story of the first person born on earth.  Cain, the eldest son was jealous that God preferred his younger brothers sacrifice, a firstborn lamb to Cain's fruit of the fields.  So Cain murdered Able.  God asked Cain where Able was.  The answer, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9).  The Republicans seem to want to be the party of Cain, Democrats will be the party of our brother's keepers.  Those dead white men who wrote our constitution said things we should also remember.  The first three words were, "We, the People.", they also gave us a motto, E Plurius Unum, From many, one.  Neither the Bible or the founding fathers told us to build our nation on selfishness, We are Americans because we share values, and two of these are unity and community.  America is faced with options that are pretty limited, and pretty scary.

We have several major tasks ahead of us, we must reject the Bush-era ethic of selfishness, we must rebuild the military, we must reclaim self-government, we must declare a truce in the culture wars at home - we must respect all of our people even if we disagree with them on specific issues, we must have big, bold ideas which can change our nation and the world for the benefit of all the peoples in the world.  We must be optimists, we must find our voice again and we can take back our country.

There are 35 pages of notes, many of them are web sites which contain links to the original documents.
Web site: http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/05/02/int05008.html
Web site: http://www.sojo.net/
Web site:  http://www.horsesass.org  WA state politics from David Goldstein (Seattle)

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Whose Freedom?      George Lakoff                              Oct 2006

The Battle over America's Most Important Idea  

Introduction:  In the Name of Freedom.  Ideas matter, and the idea that matters most to Americans is Freedom.  There are two different views of freedom in America today arising from two very different moral and political worldviews.  The traditional idea of freedom is progressive and the most treasured freedoms for Americans are:
Progress in making these expansions has not been linear and it has not been perfect but the trend has always been there.  However the expansion of radical conservatism in America is threatening to reverse these trends.  Many of these freedoms are being eliminated.  Radical conservatives don't want to curtail freedom, they want to change its direction.  They want to go back to the freedoms that existed before and progressive freedoms were started.  They want to go back to the original readings of the Constitution, its letter, not it's spirit.  The book asks three questions:
  1. How are radical conservatives achieving their reversal of freedom?
  2. Why do they want to reverse traditional freedoms?
  3. What do they mean by "freedom"?
By constantly using and re-using the terms freedom, free, liberty, democracy, and their opposites, tyranny, dictatorship, slavery, etc. and gradually excluding specific items they want to, and are, slowly changing the definitions of these terms.  Many progressives cannot believe that this is taking place and it totally leaves them at a loss.  How does Lakoff mean to study this?  He comes from the perspective of cognitive science.  He approaches it in a step-by-step manner.
Lakoff has two roles in the book, the first is a scientist explaining how our mind works and the second is as an advocate.  He sees freedom under attack and wants to provide readers with the tools to evaluate the threat and to counter it.  Most members of the religious right are not greedy and mean, they are just using a different morality.  We just need the tools to counter it.

Part I:  Uncontested Freedom  
C1  Freedom Is Freedom Is Freedom
     Words, concepts, and ideas have meaning, but this meaning is shaped by other words, concept, and ideas and they are unique to the mind they are contained in.  Words, concepts, and ideas may have similar meanings for different people but not necessarily.  He would violently disagree with Plato's concept of ideal forms if you are into ancient philosophy.  Most people have a simple understanding of freedom, freedom is being able to do what you want to when you want to do it.  Unfortunately when we get into the discussion of political freedom and responsibility, etc. it gets complicated.

C2  Why Freedom is Visceral
   Freedom starts with physical freedom.  Most young children react violently when they are restrained against their will.  This freedom is inherent in being an animal.  Maturing is a process of learning what freedoms we have, living within their limitations, and maximizing our desires within limitations.  Progress as a civilization is measured in our ability to overcome limitations.  Humans have been fantasizing about overcoming gravity for millenia, Icarus failed but we persevered and now have 747's and the Space Station.  More complex freedoms, like political freedom are much more difficult to quantify.  

C3  The Logic of Simple Freedom  
Part II:  Contested Freedom  
C4  The Nation-as-Family Metaphor
     Our first experience of an organization is that of a family.  The experiences and rules learned there effect all of our contacts with organizations later in life.  In America here are two different models of the family, the strict father family and the nurturant parent family.  For more complete descriptions, see elsewhere in his writings.  Some things to keep in mind as we proceed:
  1. These family models are idealized and applied metaphorically.
  2. Real families are more complex than the ideal models, there are many variations.
  3. Some subcultures have somewhat different models for raising children, these models may be more appropriate for political life.
  4. When these models are used metaphorically - not literally - they organize moral and political worldviews.
  5. They are descriptive, not prescriptive - they describe how people think, not how they should think.
  6. In neither model are citizens literally treated as children.  The values that determine how people are treated are what the model predicts.
  7. These idealized models are mostly unconscious, used but often below our awareness.
  8. Almost all Americans have both models engrained in their brains, we can understand both models.
What Laykoff finds scary is that the radical right is trying to move the whole country towards its strict father model.

C5  Progressive Freedom:  The Basics  Progressive freedom is the original American freedom, it is dynamic and it moves forward.  The great ideas of our founders were expandable freedoms.  Progressives do not see freedom as an idea frozen in time.  Progressive freedom is simple freedom with the vague parts filled in by the progressive worldview.  This worldview is is organized around the nurturant parent model of the family.  Freedom is necessary for fulfillment in life, freedom requires opportunity (FDR's freedom from want), security is required for freedom (FDR's freedom from fear).  The nurturant family uses its resources for the good of the family as a whole - for the common good - so that each member can have the freedom to pursue his or her individual goals.  From the beginning America has a similar principle.  The common wealth of the nation us used to provide the resources so that each individual can pursue their individual goals.  This is the origin of the names of the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Virginia.  Government provides services for all and restricts those who would violate the freedoms of others.  He discusses how simple freedoms give rise to progressive freedom in more complex cases.  Empathy forms the basis for the progressive worldview.  Freedom didn't arise full blown, it has evolved since the earliest days.  It was not a smooth and regular progression, it arose in specific moments, for example: the War for Independence, freeing the slaves, womens votes, the labor movement, defeat of fascism, the New Deal, freedom movements of the 1960's and 1970's, environmental freedom.  Progressives differ in therms of the types of freedoms that they support: socioeconomic, identity politics, environmental, civil liberties, spiritual, and antiauthoritarian.  Progressives also differ in terms of their attitudes: idealists, pragmatists, real-world pragmatists, political pragmatists, and militants.  Progressives tend to focus on their differences, conservatives have learned to cooperate much better, or at least they are easier to lead.

C6  Conservative Freedom: The Basics  Republicans use the words "freedom", "liberty" and others so much because because they realize the traditional definitions of these terms are the definitions the progressives use.  If everybody agreed with their version they wouldn't have to use the words so much.  They assume they are oppressed, by whom?  By the vast majority of Americans who view these concepts as they always have.

The radical right or "conservative" view of freedom is defined by the strict father model of the family.  See Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant.  Many political conservatives like to live in nurturant conservative communities.  To get in you have to display your conservative credentials, money, politics, etc., but when you do get in you are treated in a nurturant manner by the other residents.  The fundamental frames of conservatism are based on individualism and opposition to the commonwealth principle: individual initiative made this country great, the unfettered free market is the engine of American prosperity, everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps - all responsibility is individual, government just gets in the way, its your money - nobody can make a better decision than you. Government can mess up the free market in three ways: government regulations, taxation, and allowing lawsuits.

How does the strict father model fill in the blanks of simple freedom to arrive at conservative freedom?
There are several types of conservatives:
Financial conservatives:  Their primary emphasis is on money, they like a free market, they oppose communism, socialism, the New Deal, and labor unions.  The primary goal of a citizen is to become a stockholder, they believe in fiscal discipline.
Libertarians:  They are radical financial conservatives, they are against all government control except for the military and police.  Competition is the basis of the free market and it separates winners from losers.  Losers should just get out of the way of winners.
Social conservatives:  Their emphasis is on the family, the strict father family, homosexuality, reproductive rights, and gun control are threats to the father's control.  social programs are immoral, patriotism lies in maintaining the moral authority of this nation over other nations.
Fundamentalists:  This starts with the idea that God is a strict father.  Christ gives you a second chance but you must be reborn before you die if you wish to escape hell.  The fathers word is the law in the family and God's word - the Bible - should be law on earth.  The ultimate freedom is going to heaven, everything, including politics, should be subservient to that goal.  Freedom of religion means freedom to practice their religion, not for you to practice yours or to not practice religion.
Neoconservatives:  They are concerned with applying strict father morality to foreign policy.  The US is the moral authority of the world and it is our responsibility to use military and economic power to maximize American interests which are the best interests of other countries even though they might not recognize it yet.  They are for free elections, checks and balances, civil liberties, civilian control of the military, and a free press.  All of these are necessary to maximize the opportunities for business interests.

C7  Causation and Freedom Progressives often argue on the basis of systemic causation and conservatives often argue on the basis of direct causation (by a single individual).  Direct causation is simple, one action - one result, no intermediate steps, examples would be flip a light switch - light goes on or overthrow Saddam and win the War on Terror.  Systemic causation is much more complex.  In a complex system if you make one simple change you may or may not get a specific result.  A computer is a complex system.  if one little bit that controls a pixel on the screen fails you can't notice it without a magnifying glass, if a critical bit in the hard drive fails the computer will not boot up.  In complex systems a single failure can usually be compensated by other similar elements.  If one light fails in an auditorium, the others may get a little more electrical power but the light level stays almost constant.  In living system other elements can take over completely, if one tree in a forest falls, other trees quickly fill in the hole in the canopy.  However in complex systems it is possible that one simple change will completely change or destroy the system.  If the power cord is unplugged, the whole computer ceases to operate.

Begin potentially biased comments:  Conservatives tend to look at complex systems, especially complex systems including humans or effecting humans, in terms of specific unrelated elements.  They also tend ignore the possibly that there are any causal factors in human behavior that are not included in their narrow reading of the Bible.  For another take on this check out Bart Ehrman Misquoting Jesus.  Lakoff presents arguments that progressives might make to support their points.  I object to both, the conservative because it is Bible based and takes no account of counter empirical facts, and the progressive because it uses presumed facts which are not supported by empirical data and even if they were before you could make such a conclusion it would be necessary to assign weights to the various factors mentioned.  Perhaps if one were to compare variances produced by each factor in the context of a path analysis or some other technique to yield numeric predictions.  End biased comments.


Part III:  Forms of Freedom  
C8  Personal Freedom and Populism
 Conservatives have made a major effort to identify with "common people" in contrast to the "elites".  They want to appeal to "boys", "good ol' boys", farmboys, cowboys; stereotypes - country music, Nascar, beer, SUV's, jeans, fast food, fundamentalism, cowboy boots.  They use the term "liberal elite" to describe contrasting behaviors.  They use the word "liberty" to mean freedom from restrictions on behavior, especially those imposed by government, and to do whatever you want to do without consideration of others.  The only restrictions on actions are those imposed by a strict father, those internalized by his example, and God as the ultimate strict father.  Lakoff lists 22 specific freedoms that they see are being attacked.  These include absolute control over children and property, restrictions due to environmentalism, and any restrictions on doing business.  This list would be useful if your were to expect an argument.  Progressives are generally less informed about their moral values and where they are being threatened.  Lakoff lists 24 progressive freedoms that he sees are under attack by conservatives, they include freedom of information, freedom from environmental degradation and the effects of pollution, freedom to live in a nurturant society, freedom from governmental and industry wrongdoings.  Biconceptuals are those are those who practice/believe in strict father morality in some cases and nurturant morality in others.  Conservatives have made great progress in convincing biconceptuals to support conservatives.  He lists several areas where progressives can use to convince biconceptuals that their programs are the best.
To win the battle for which moral system will be used in the coming years progressives must convince all progressives and biconceptuals that the liberal view most closely matches the promise of America.

C9  Economic Freedom  Money has a lot to do with freedom, with sufficient money you can do just about anything you want to do, without money you have serious limits on your freedom.  Conservatives who speak of economic freedom are usually concerned with making and keeping money.  Governments only purpose is military, police, and getting out of the way of profits.  Given that empathy is a large part of the worldview of progressives, they are concerned with those who don't have enough money and they want to help - and they think that it is the duty of government to provide this help, the common wealth concept.

The Economic Liberty Myth: the right wing Economic Freedom Story:  Individual initiative combined with free markets drives all economic progress, government is inefficient and it gets in the way of free markets, nature is a resource, discipline and initiative are all that you need for success, lack of these results in failure.  It is wrong to give people things that they haven't earned.

The Truths Hidden by the Economic Liberty Myth:  Corporations act more like governments than individuals.  No person or industry could thrive without access to the infrastructure supplied by the government, the common wealth.  There are millions who do not have the strength, the health, the skills, or the social and cultural knowledge to work or get reasonably good jobs.  Because of the structure of our economic system labor is seen as a resource to be minimized or outsourced.  Unions have made major contributions to our freedom.  Markets are constructed, they are not natural - for example the World Trade Organization has hundreds of pages of rules.

The Progressive Work Ethic: If you work for a living, you should earn a living.  Work is a contribution to society in general.  Work deserves to be compensated according to its contribution to society.  Workers provide profits to business owners.  A health society should have useful, fairly compensated work for everyone.  All markets are constructed, they should be designed for the common good.  Inappropriate transfers of the common wealth to individuals or companies should be stopped.  Government powers like regulation should not be transfered to companies.  Conservatives are very big on economic rights, they are less interested in personal responsibility, and say almost nothing about business responsibility.  The economic liberty and ownership society myths are shams.
The Progressive Story of Economic Freedom:  Since the first days of the Commonwealths of Virginia and Massachusetts we have practiced the common wealth concept.  America has always had a progressive work ethic based on fairness.  Education and other essential elements of cultural capital should be available and free to all.  Large corporation should be viewed as governments and all institutions should be accountable to the public.  Wealth should not be restricted to the few.  Markets are constructed and they need to be viewed as moral instruments to serve the common good.

C10  Religion and Freedom  If God is seen as a nurturant parent you get progressive Christianity, if god is seen as a strict father you get fundamentalist christianity.  Even though fundamentalists all a minority of American Christians they have great influence over organizational, political, and media power.  To understand and compete with this power we need to study them.
C11  Foreign Policy and Freedom
The elements of the neoconservative democratic theory states: free-markets (free elections, civilian control of military, balance of power, civil liberties, and a free press) are essential and it assumes the benevolent influence of large corporations and the wealthy.  Sort of a trickle-down democracy theory.  Another part of this is direct causation, it was assumed that the removal of Saddam would solve all of our problems in Iraq.  Rumsfeld was correct in that not many troops were required to remove Saddam, he was not correct in that our problems would be over.  Strict father reasoning has failed, direct causation will not work in complex systems, self-interest democracy makes the mistake of essentialism (it assumes that everyone is the same and they are all motivated by self-interest), free-market freedom ignores the use of common wealth to build infrastructure and it also requires jobs.

The rest of the chapter continues with examples of strict father or faith-based foreign policies and why they don't work.  He concludes with examples of more pragmatic foreign policy initiatives using examples from Clinton's presidency.

Part IV:  Ideas and Action  
C12  Bush's "Freedom"
 Lakoff devotes the entire chapter to a critique of Bush's second inaugural address.  He goes over the speech point by point and shows how it is filled with fundamentalist conservative ideas taken from strict father morality.  Where was Lakoff when the speech was being made and where were the Democrats who should have been asking how come the words in his speech had nothing to do with the Republican legislative agenda.

C13  Taking Back Freedom  Freedom and liberty are progressive ideas, the radical conservatives are trying to take them over and redefine them.  Every progressive issue is basically about freedom, some examples:
Progressives make a lot of mistakes and conservatives love to exploit them.  Lakoff concentrates on the conceptual mistakes.  Some of these are:
Freedom Isn't Free.  Earlier in our history we gained and maintained our freedom by the force of arms, now we have to gain it back from people who say they are loyal Americans.  They are trying to change the meaning of our democracy and we have to gain control over the language and convince the voters that progressive ideas truly are the heritage of America.  We have to learn how the language and frames are manipulated, how to point out manipulation that we find offensive and how to convince voters that we are right.  We have to insure that journalists and other media people are aware of conservative framing techniques and and to guard against them.  We have to insure that universities learn more about and teach their students about the properties of the mind and brain.  To complete this task will take a lot of work over many years.  However if we don't start now we are just postponing the time when people finally realize the problems that the fundamentalist conservatives are leading us into.  We just need to stop them before they cause more disasters like Iraq.

The book does not include specific notes and does not have an index.  It does have a list of WEB sites used and a list of books for further information.

I won't say I enjoyed the book, it's too scary for that.  I did learn from it.  I don't like the way the book was written.  It seemed to skip around and repeat a lot.  I found it difficult to go over a chapter and try to extract a meaning from it without repeating myself numerous times.  Perhaps I am just use to the traditional rationalist form of writing where you state the minimum amount of arguments to support your thesis and then go on to the next.  Maybe Lakoff was just following his preaching and was using a lot of repetition to get some of his ideas into my sometimes thick head.  
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