Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Loco Parentis & Parens Patriae

Psychologists tell us that we transfer the notion of authority from parents to other authority figures.

Parents provide their children with security.

Have you heard the government mention that the number one function of government is to provide you with security?

If we analyse this at a fundamental level, not leaving out the obvious, we can see the direction this is going.

First, lets look at the government's meaning of "security", and where that leads.

George Lakoff, a student of Noam Chomsky at one time, has propounded theories that much of our thinking is metaphorical in nature:
But our conceptual system is not something we are normally aware of. in most of the little things we do every day, we simply think and act more or less automatically along certain lines. Just what these lines are is by no means obvious. One way to find out is by looking at language. Since communication is based on the same conceptual system that we use in thinking and acting, language is an important source of evidence for what that system is like.

Primarily on the basis of linguistic evidence, we have found that most of our ordinary conceptual system is metaphorical in nature.
(The Literary Link). In recent years "security" is a word linked to a metaphorical structure attached to military matters.

This linking of authority figure parental metaphors with protection from violence originating abroad has been paramount in our discourse, eventually becoming the acid test.

This focus on security, not surprisingly, surged beyond the pale during the months and years that followed September 11, 2001.

The government went nuts, evidently trying to show us what a good parental authority figure it is by torturing those who the parent thinks is a threat to us, spying on us to make sure we do the right thing, and increasing military spending up to and beyond the ceiling, while domestic economic conditions tanked into the basement.

The government's world view is that the world is such a dangerous place to us that it had to make us suffer at home while the good parental authority figure put economic focus on the military so it could destroy the envisioned evil axis of power embodied in nations far from us.

Politics at home, of course, has been effected by this maelstrom of militancy.

Two metaphors have appeared in public political discourse, each represented by the word "government".

The picture formed by the neoCon conservative mind, upon hearing the word "government", is a vision of something Ronald Reagan wanted "small enough he could drown it in the bathtub".

His approach to military spending was like the neoCons today, which tells us that he, like our current neoCons, did not include the military in the picture formed in his mind by the word "government", but certainly the military is included when the word "security" is used.

If that were taken to its ultimate end, the only part of the "government" that would remain after Reaganites drowned it, would be the military.

Progressives, on the other hand may not include the military in the picture formed by their mind upon hearing or reading the word "government" either, but the difference is they want "government" to be big enough to do its domestic job to help provide for "the common welfare", as the constitution puts it.

This problem of not including the military in the metaphor has led to the current economic collapse.

Military spending seems to be ignored in economic planning, because it is considered to be magic in the sense it does not need to be "in the budget", or it is sacrosanct, not subject to mere mortal economics.

After all, it is the source of our "security", and we really can't "put a price" on that heavenly realm now can we?

The next post in this series is here.


  1. Gives new meaning to "Daddy Warbucks" doesn't it?

  2. That little weasel John McCain was on Today this morning (Anne Curry was simply GREAT! She took no shit whatsoever from the little cocksucker!) justifying GOP supporters' threats of and actual violence against Dem lawmakers for their support of HCR. If this shit keeps up, MOMCOM's gonna be put in the awkward position of having to designate its own supporters as domestic terrorists and take action. I love it. Civil war can't be far off now. The U.S. beast is gonna consume itself before its all said and done..

  3. disaffected,

    Well, you know that a true ethnic coyote will chew off its own foot to escape from a trap.

    It is more likely, is it not, that MOMCOM will declare supporters to be domestic patriots instead of "domestic terrorists" and take action?

    They are well versed in going door to door from their experience to "bring democracy" to Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Just change the map but use the same orders and people will think there is a new show on TV ... the next wing ... bringing democracy to America.

    Now that would bring the world house down for sure.

    It would be a joke for ages "don't mess with me or I will bring democracy to you" ... ;)

  4. Dredd,

    Yeah, I definitely agree there. Far more likely that they'll declare HCR a domestic terror plot and arrest and torture all the Dems in congress. Its gonna be real fun if/when the GOP regains control of the government. I think the lid's coming off sooner rather than later.

  5. disaffected,

    I have been reading through the bill (2,409 pages in PDF) ... oh mah gah !!! the rednecks are coming ... the rednecks are coming ... ;) ... I noticed that Texas had no violent threats this time ... what up wid dat?

  6. Dredd,

    Re, Texas and violent threats; 1. Statistically speaking, they were bound to be an outlier sooner or later, and 2. Give 'em time. LOL.

    Regarding violence and the coming/current unraveleing of the political center: a co-worker and I were discussing this very matter on one of our daily long walk sabbaticals (unpaid advertisement: long daily walks [1 hr +] are the single best thing you will EVER do for yourself), and we both agreed that the current tenuous center is about to violently explode.

    I found this remarkable, in that she, unlike I, is a relatively "sane" middle of the road "conservative" (in the old fashioned meaning of the word), with all of the traditional extended family and societal connections etc. that I have since forsaken.

    In the end, that will probably be the first "real" sign to most of us that something radically different is afoot (absent radical overnight - possibly catastrophic - change, which is also a distinct possibility).

    In other words, if you're trying to predict the next 8.0 seismic event of whatever nature, stay connected to those who are particularly attuned to the 4.0's to tell you its coming.

  7. disaffected,

    I am acquainted with some of those "old fashioned" conservative types (e.g. Judge John Sirica) who have been pushed into the background by the neoCon elements who seem to have hijacked the GOP, and are now intent on doing the same to the democrats.

    I hope the sane can prevail in both parties, can overthrow the neoCons in the military, big oil, and the media, so as to return us to the "old fashioned" United States that was generally favored in the world.

    The movie "Green Zone" (Matt Damon) reveals the rifts between conservatives and neoCons, between democrats and neoCons, which played out during the Bush II debacle.

    This is the struggle you speak of I think ... it is being discussed on Morning Joe ("Frum was a neoCon" and we have to get rid of them) ... there is a blurried line at this point it seems ...

  8. Where the neoCons have it over their opposition is that they are particularly devoted to and focused on their agenda. While "normal" conservatives and liberals are, for the most part, defending a status quo of sorts, the neoCons fight their "war" like the "insurgents" that they are. That's a huge advantage.

    There's also a heck of a lot of sympathy for their mindset (granted, mostly fear-based) out there in the populace. That's why Obama (assuming he's not downright corrupt or fearful for his life, which is by no means out of the question) has skewed so far right militarily thus far.