The Political Unconsciousness

Chapter 2

George Lakoff, The Political Mind [1]


"Conservatives and progressives do not just have different goals and values. They have very different modes of thought.

"There is no moderate worldview."

p. 44.

"Behind every progressive policy lies a single moral value: empathy, together with the responsibility and strength to act on that empathy."

"You have to be strong to care, and act on that care with success."

p. 47.

"The role of progressive government is to maximize our freedom"and protection and empowerment do just that. Protection is there to guarantee freedom from harm, from want, from fear. Empowerment is there to maximize freedom to achieve your goals."

"governmental budgets are moral documents."

"The government is supposed to ensure that food and drugs and drinking water are safe, to maintain roads and bridges, to provide education."

p. 48.

"Neoliberal thought embraces the Old Enlightenment view of reason: it is conscious, logical, literal, universal, unemotional, disembodied, with the function of serving the interests, one"s own or of others."

"The Implicit moral intuition seems to be that empathy defines what counts as market success and failure."

p. 51.

"But the concepts of empathy and market failure are never discussed overtly. Indeed there is no discussion in public discourse of what market failure or success is.. . and what to do about it."

p. 52.

The insufficiency of empathy without emotive strength needed to overcome the cool rationality that fails to achieve the policy goals of neoliberalism.

p. 53




1.    [1] George Lakoff, The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist"s Guide to your Brain and Politics. Penguin, (2008-2009).


Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Susan Sontag. Regarding the Pain of Others

William Greider, Come Home, America