Thursday, December 23, 2004

Strict Father or Authoritarian?

Lakoff Frames - this started the year and is more important than ever.

I like Lakoff except there is a bit of a problem using "strict father" vs. "nurturing parents."

The natural opposite of "strict father" is "weak mother" which is what some people think when you start talking about Republicans having "strict father" values. Their response is everyone knows the Democrats are "weak mothers!"

I am sorry he doesn't use the phrase "authoritarian families." The word authoritarian or authoritarianism has a long history and a lot of political, sociological and psychological studies behind it and means really the same thing. It also emphasizes some dangers that "strict father" doesn't. Mainly that in times of trouble and war politicians move to more authoritarian messages and that most Americans are more willing than most of us like to acknowledge to follow authority figures.

Perhaps Aurthoritarian is too hi-faluting college level but the opposite of authoritarian is Democratic or Nurturing or Liberal or Permissive. Synonyms of authoritarian are autocratic, despotic, tyrannical, dictatorial, oppressive, moralistic, domineering, etc.

I really like Lakoff's ideas but as others have also noted he sometimes has a bit of problem with placing the right names or right examples on his reframing.

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