Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Red/Blue, Strict/Nurturing Families, and Inherited vs. Negotiated Commitments

I know that I read Red Fam­i­ly, Blue Fam­i­ly: Mak­ing sense of the val­ues issue by Doug Mud­er sev­er­al years ago.1 I clear­ly remem­ber post­ing a link to it in Suzette Haden Elgin’s blog, and hav­ing her pick it up and pass it on enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly.

A friend post­ed a link to it again this week, and I re-read it today. I don’t know why, but it made even more sense this time around. Mud­er uses the work of George Lakoff (Moral Pol­i­tics : How Lib­er­als and Con­ser­v­a­tives Think and Don’t Think of an Ele­phant: Know Your Val­ues and Frame the Debate–The Essen­tial Guide for Pro­gres­sives) and James Ault (Spir­it and Flesh: Life in a Fun­da­men­tal­ist Bap­tist Church) to explain things that have pre­vi­ous­ly seemed inex­plic­a­ble.

Why do peo­ple like my father and Sam’s father feel so strong­ly about the val­ue of lib­er­ty that they risked their lives in the Marines to pro­tect it, yet feel just as strong­ly that women must not be per­mit­ted to con­trol their own bod­ies? How can an intel­li­gent woman like my moth­er acknowl­edge that my rela­tion­ship with a woman had absolute­ly no effect on her mar­riage, or that of any­one else, and still insist that it was com­plete­ly wrong, a threat to “real” mar­riages, and that same-sex mar­riage must not be legal­ized? (Let’s not even get into the fact that I had a con­cur­rent rela­tion­ship with Sam, because legal­ly rec­og­niz­ing polyamorous rela­tion­ships is some­thing she can’t even begin to dis­cuss.)

Mud­er quotes Lakoff:

What does oppo­si­tion to abor­tion have to do with oppo­si­tion to envi­ron­men­tal­ism? What does either have to do with oppo­si­tion to affir­ma­tive action or gun con­trol or the min­i­mum wage? A mod­el of the con­ser­v­a­tive mind ought to answer these ques­tions, just as a mod­el of the lib­er­al mind ought to explain why lib­er­als tend to have the clus­ter of oppos­ing polit­i­cal stands.

Then he goes on to answer those ques­tions, far bet­ter than I can sum­ma­rize.

I still don’t know how it is Sam and I could come so far from our fam­i­lies of ori­gin in so many ways. There are so many ver­boten top­ics between me and my fam­i­ly that, while we love each oth­er, we can hard­ly have a con­ver­sa­tion!

I have a ridicu­lous urge to print out the entire arti­cle, dou­ble-space, in a big, easy-to-read type­face, and snail mail it to Dad­dy (he’d nev­er read it on a screen). I want to send the link to every fam­i­ly mem­ber for whom I have an email address. But I won’t.

Because the oth­er thing I still don’t under­stand, but that I absolute­ly know, is that they don’t waste any time con­tem­plat­ing these issues. As far as they’re con­cerned, they’re right, and we’re wrong. Dia­log is not valu­able. As I don’t think I’ve ever had even one tru­ly ratio­nal con­ver­sa­tion with any blood rel­a­tive,2 I have to agree with them regard­ing the lack of val­ue in try­ing to open this kind of dis­cus­sion.

Maybe I’ll under­stand the rest bet­ter when I read Lakoff and Ault’s books. They’re cer­tain­ly going on my “to read” list, and clos­er to the top than the bot­tom.


1 The web serv­er is hav­ing issues at the moment, but there’s a PDF of the arti­cle that you can still get to.

2 Our dear friend James is the sole excep­tion, and he’s a very dis­tant blood rel­a­tive!

2 comments to Red/Blue, Strict/Nurturing Families, and Inherited vs. Negotiated Commitments

  • Precious

    I still don’t know how it is Sam and I could come so far from our fam­i­lies of ori­gin in so many ways. There are so many ver­boten top­ics between me and my fam­i­ly that, while we love each oth­er, we can hard­ly have a con­ver­sa­tion!”

    Boy, I feel you there.

    Because the oth­er thing I still don’t under­stand, but that I absolute­ly know, is that they don’t waste any time con­tem­plat­ing these issues. As far as they’re con­cerned, they’re right, and we’re wrong. Dia­log is not valu­able.”

    *nods

    Boy, do I relate again.

  • cyn

    I thought you’d under­stand 🙂