WG Week 2 and Progressive Politics

For the second week of the Weekly Geeks challenge the idea is to try, going forward at least, to link to other people's reviews when you review a book that is the same. I feel like I am making it sound more complicated than it is. So I am announcing I intend to do this but I don't know how much I really will be able to. I tend to read on my own sort of whims, incorporating a lot of older stuff and not necessarily the newest best sellers or most raved about blogosphere books. I read a lot of politically progressive books as well as other non-fiction which doesn't seem to be as popular to write about.

Soooo, speaking of progressive non-fiction, i finished George Lakoff's Whose Freedom this morning at work. It is a 7. It discusses the differences between what liberals and conservatives are saying when we speak of freedom. At only 266 pages, not counting the suggested reading and endnotes, it manages to perfectly articulate the progressive mindset. It shows what we think and outlines the base framework as to WHY we think what we do. In short: progressives/liberals believe in a nurturant parent model for the family, the basis of which is empathy, and apply this model to their political decisions. We also have a more innate grasp of big pictures, systemic causation and complex systems. The book also breaks down conservative thought, which is based on the strict father model. In this model the father is the boss, must be obeyed and must protect the family himself. This model is an "every family/person for themselves" type, which gives credence only to direct causation and discounts complex causes.

The second section of the book describes how Republicans specifically and evangelical conservatives have applied their models to the country. It gives a wonderful breakdown of the Bush presidency's decisions and how they work with the model. It really gives great explanations as to why conservatives are threatened by homosexuality, evolution, science in general, and non-Christian religion (or no religion).

I cannot recommend this one more highly. If you are liberal it is a great way to be able to explain your own mind to others. If you are conservative but concerned about the way the country is going this book walks you through why you may be more supportive of progressive policies if you view them in a "big picture" way.

I've also read Moral Politics and Don't Think of an Elephant by this author. Moral Politics is more scholarly and longer but still good, while Elephant is more about changing the debate and setting up progressive frames to replace conservative ones.

On another note, signed up for another challenge. This is the 1% Well-Read Challenge. The idea is to get through 10 of the 1001 Books list by end of February, 2009. No list for this one either, i am just going to wing it. I am working, though not too diligently, on the list and am at 81. WooHoo!


  1. I read lots of progressive stuff, too, so maybe our work will cross paths since I'm a WG participant, too. Look for posts on Common Wealth and JavaTrekkers, soon.

  2. Cool. I always wonder if there are blogs that are reviewing more political books that i am not seeing. or if i want that i need to be reading the more straight up political blogs. if i ever end up hosting a challenge it will probably be some kind of non-fiction one because there are so many fewer of them.

  3. This sounds fascinating. It would be a good one to read even for non-Americans, I think. It's always good to have help explaining yourself a little more eloquently!


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