Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 33203
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2020/07/16 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2004/8/29 [Politics/Domestic/Abortion, Politics/Domestic/911] UID:33203 Activity:nil
8/28    For those of you who are wondering why conservitives tend to
        assume liberals hate america, go down and check out the
        magazines at Berkeley Bowl.  The articles all have titles like,

        "The Evils of Capitalism" and "Why the American Empire can't
        last" etc.  They sound exactly like islamic terrorists.  You
        could do a word replace script on a statement of Bin Laden's,
        replacing [America will be destroyed because they] "Don't follow
        the teachings of Allah" with "Don't follow the teachings of
        Nature/Mother Earth/Pychology/Sociology/etc" and get an article
        for one of these mags.
        \_ Speaking of hateful rants...
        \_ Not everyone on the left is a liberal.
        \_ Smart liberals know that dumb liberals are what makes conservatives
           \_ If you listen to Herr Lakoff, what makes conservatives
              conservative is their dominant metaphor:
              If you listen to me, what makes a conservative is what makes
              anybody else -- a choice of a moral system. -- ilyas
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About the Author We may not always know it, but we think in metaphor. A large proportion of our most commonplace thoughts make use of an extensive, but unconscious, system of metaphorical concepts, that is, concepts from a typically concrete realm of thought that are used to comprehend another, completely different domain. Such concepts are often reflected in everyday language, but their most dramatic effect comes in ordinary reasoning. Because so much of our social and political reasoning makes use of this system of metaphorical concepts, any adequate appreciation of even the most mundane social and political thought requires an understanding of this system. But unless one knows that the system exists, one may miss it altogether and be mystified by its effects. For me, one of the most poignant effects of the ignorance of metaphorical thought is the mystification of liberals concerning the recent electoral successes of conservatives. Conservatives regularly chide liberals for not understanding them, and they are right. Liberals don't understand how anti-abortion "right-to-life" activists can favor the death penalty and oppose reducing infant morality through prenatal care programs. They don't understand why budget-cutting conservatives should spare no public expense to build prison after prison to house even non-violent offenders, or why they are willing to spend extra money to take children away from their mothers and put them in orphanages --- in the name of family values. They don't understand why conservatives attack violence in the media while promoting the right to own machine guns. Liberals tend not to understand the logic of conservatism; they don't understand what form of morality makes conservative positions moral or what conservative family values have to do with the rest of conservative politics. The reason at bottom is that liberals do not understand the form of metaphorical thought that unifies and makes sense of the full range of conservative values. To understand what metaphor has to do with conservative politics, we must begin with that part of our metaphor system that is used to conceptualize morality -- a system of roughly two dozen metaphors. To illustrate how the system works, let us begin with one of the most prominent metaphors in the system -- the metaphor by which morality is conceptualized in terms of accounting. Keeping the Moral Books We all conceptualize well-being as wealth. We understand an increase in well-being as a "gain" and a decrease of well-being as a "loss" or a "cost." This is combined with a very general metaphor for causal action in which causation is seen as giving an effect to an affected party (as in "The noise gave me a headache"). When two people interact causally with each other, they are commonly conceptualized as engaging in a transaction, each transferring an effect to the other. Thus moral action is conceptualized in terms of financial transaction. Just as literal bookkeeping is vital to economic functioning, so moral bookkeeping is vital to social functioning. And just as it is important that the financial books be balanced, so it is important that the moral books be balanced. Of course, the "source domain" of the metaphor, the domain of financial transaction, itself has a morality: It is moral to pay your debts and immoral not to. When moral action is understood metaphorically in terms of financial transaction, financial morality is carried over to morality in general: There is a moral imperative not only to pay one's financial debts, but also one's moral debts. The Moral Accounting Schemes The general metaphor of Moral Accounting is realized in a small number of basic moral schemes: Reciprocation, Retribution, Restitution, Revenge, Altruism, etc. Each of these moral schemes is defined using the metaphor of Moral Accounting, but the schemes differ as how they use this metaphor, that is, they differ as to their inherent logics. If I do something equally good for you, then I have "repaid " you and we are even. We know there is a metaphor at work here partly because financial reasoning is used to think about morality, and partly because financial words like "owe," "debt," and "repay" are used to speak of morality. Even in this simple case, there are two principles of moral action. Thus, when you did something good for me, you engaged in the first form of moral action. When I did something equally good for you, I engaged in both forms of moral action. The complications arise because moral accounting is governed by a moral version of the arithmetic of keeping accounts, in which gaining a credit is equivalent to losing a debit and gaining a debit is equivalent to losing a credit. Then, by Well-Being is Wealth, I have given you something of negative value. By moral arithmetic, giving something negative is equivalent to taking something positive. By harming you, I have taken something of value from you. By harming you, I have placed you in a potential moral dilemma with respect to the first and second principles of moral accounting. Here are the horns of dilemma: + The first horn: If you now do something equally harmful to me, you have done something with two moral interpretations. By the first principle, you have acted immorally since you did something harmful to me. ") By the second principle, you have acted morally, since you have paid your moral debts. But you would have acted immorally by the second principle: in "letting me get away with it" you would not have done your moral duty, which is to make "make me pay " for what I have done. No matter what you do, you violate one of the two principles. Such a choice gives two different versions of moral accounting: The Morality of Absolute Goodness puts the first principle first. The Morality of Retribution puts the second principle first. As might be expected, different people and different subcultures have different solutions to this dilemma, some preferring retribution, others preferring absolute goodness. In debates over the death penalty, liberals rank Absolute Goodness over Retribution, while conservatives tend to prefer Retribution: a life for a life. Moral arithmetic presents an alternative to retribution. By moral arithmetic, you have taken something of positive value from me by harming me. If I take something of equal positive value back from you, I have taken "revenge." Revenge is the moral equivalent of retribution, another way of balancing the moral books. I can therefore make restitution -- make up for what I have done -- by paying you back with something of equal positive value. Of course, in many cases, full restitution is impossible, but partial restitution may be possible. An interesting advantage of restitution is that it does not place you in a moral dilemma with respect to the first and second principles. You do not have to do any harm, nor is there any moral debt for you to pay, since full restitution, where possible, cancels all debts. In altruism, I cancel the debt, since I don't want anything in return. You either allow me to harm you further or, perhaps, you even do something good for me. By moral accounting, either harming you further or accepting something good from you would incur an even further debt: by turning the other cheek, you make me even more morally indebted to you. If you have a conscience, then you should feel even more guilty. Turning the other cheek involves the rejection of retribution and revenge and the acceptance of basic goodness -- and when it works, it works via the mechanism of moral accounting. This example illustrates what a cognitive scientist means when he speaks of "conceptual metaphor." It is an unconscious, automatic mechanism for using inference patterns and language from a source domain (in this case, the financial domain) to think and talk about another domain (in this case, the moral domain). It also shows that a mode of metaphorical thought need not be limited to a single culture. Cultures in many parts of the world conceptualize morality in terms of accounting. Moreover, it shows that the same metaphor can be used in different forms by conservatives and liberals. Conservatives...