Friday, December 26, 2014

Raised by Animals

Dr. Frankenstein's Exit Strategy: Take Highway 61
Psychologists of both the conservative as well as the liberal political realms can agree.

Both are of the professional opinion that the idealized fantasy of "parent" is transported by our subconscious cognition onto our government.

One scholar in particular has studied this closely and has written essays and books on the subject, who, regular readers of Dredd Blog know, has been quoted from time to time in posts here.

Let's cut to the chase by focusing on one such quote:
... a common metaphor, shared by conservatives and liberals alike -- the Nation-as-Family metaphor, in which the nation is seen as a family, the government as a parent and the citizens as children ...

... the nation-as-family metaphor as a precise mapping between the nation and the family: the homeland as home, the citizens as siblings, the government (or the head of government) as parent. The government’s duty is to citizens as a parent’s is to children: provide security (protect us); make laws (tell us what we can and cannot do); run the economy (make sure we have enough money and supplies); provide public schools (educate us).
It’s no accident that our political beliefs are structured by our idealizations of the family. Our earliest experience with being governed is in our families. Our parents “govern” us: They protect us, tell us what we can and cannot do, make sure we have enough money and supplies, educate us, and have us do our part in running the house.

So it is not at all surprising that many nations are metaphorically seen in terms of families: Mother Russia, Mother India, the Fatherland. In America, we have founding fathers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Uncle Sam, and we send our collective sons and daughters to war. In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the voice of the totalitarian state was called Big Brother.

As George Lakoff discussed at length in his 1996 book, Moral Politics, this metaphorical understanding of the nation-as-family directly informs our political worldview. Directly, but not consciously. As with other aspects of framing, the use of this metaphor lies below the level of consciousness.
(Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?). This psychology is most often linked to the notion that only good parenting is done by government.

The father of American spin, of American public relations, and of American propaganda, wrote a book with the following words in the preface:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting Bernays' book Propaganda). But, does anyone in this day and age still think that parents are all good, all kind and caring, all about taking care of the kids, and have these qualities all of the time?

If so, let's shake ourselves out of that trance just for a moment before we continue, by checking out some strange declarations:
Raised by dogs He walked on all fours and exhibited many feral behaviors. A few weeks after arriving at the shelter, Andrei began walking on two legs instead of four.
Protected by wild cats A baby boy in Misiones, Argentina owes his life to eight wild cats that protected him. The abandoned boy was kept alive during cold nights by the cats' warm bodies.
Found in a wolves den In the Kaluga Region of Central Russia, hospital workers came upon a young boy in a wolves den. Reportedly, he exhibited many wolf-like traits.
Raised by goats A small boy was found living among goats by a social worker in the Rostov region of Russia. He was malnourished and he was unable to speak, eat or use a bathroom.
Raised by monkeys Marina Chapman was kidnapped and abandoned in the jungles of Colombia at the age of 5 years old. A group of capuchin monkeys took the young girl in.
Raised by Wolves In 1920 two young girls named Kamala and Amala were discovered in the jungles of Godamuri, India. The two girls were only 3 and 8 years-old.
(Raised by Animals, cf. Wikipedia, Living News). Even if true, those were the lucky ones in the sense that it gets worse:
A USA TODAY examination of more than three decades of FBI homicide data shows that on average, 450 children are killed every year by their parents. Northeastern University criminologists applied statistical models to the records. USA TODAY analyzed the database for a detailed look at who kills, who is killed and how. Several patterns are apparent:
  • The vast majority of child victims – three out of four – are under 5. More than a third of all victims are under a year old.
  • Nearly half of all victims died from physical beatings or other injuries at a parent's hands.
  • Fathers are more likely to kill. Men killed six out 10 children, most often beating or shooting them. Fathers were at fault in 75% of cases when children were shot to death by a parent and in 64% of cases when a child was beaten. "Violence is a masculine pursuit," says Jack Levin, a Northeastern University criminologist.
  • When mothers kill, they are far more likely to kill victims under the age of 1 than children of any other age. Nearly 40% of all children killed by their mothers were less than a year old.
When a parent is accused of killing a child, it dominates headlines and social media.
(Parents Who Do The Unthinkable). Ok, you may be wondering "so how does this apply to the metaphorical government as parent?"

Not every example of that can be presented in one post (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact, 2, 3, 4, 5), so, in today's post let's focus on one example, climate change:
Coastal communities are all too familiar with the catastrophic damage that can result from major storms, storm surge, and flooding, but they have historically seen high tides as routine. Some tides periodically rise higher than the daily average because of the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. Flooding can result, but that has until recent years been infrequent. Today, however, as the reach and effect of the tides is changing as sea levels rise, our thinking about how we live with the tides—indeed, how we live near the sea—must change, too.

To analyze how often flooding now occurs at locations along the East and Gulf Coasts—and the frequency and extent of flooding that communities along these coasts can expect 15 and 30 years from now—we relied on 52 tide gauges from Portland, ME, to Freeport, TX. We limited our analysis to locations where flooding thresholds, defined at the gauges, correlate well with coastal flood advisories issued by the National Weather Service.

Our analysis shows that many East Coast communities now see dozens of tidal floods each year. Some of these communities have seen a fourfold increase in the annual number of days with tidal flooding since 1970.

When tidal floods occur, water can cover coastal roads for hours, making passage risky or impossible. With water on the street, some residents can be effectively trapped in their homes, and homes can be damaged. Entire neighborhoods can be affected, even isolated. In many communities, retail stores, restaurants, other businesses, and public infrastructure are clustered in low-lying waterfront areas, in easy reach of tidal flooding.

No longer an intangible global trend, sea level rise has arrived on the doorstep of communities scattered up and down the East Coast, delivered by the tides.
(Encroaching Tides, Union of Concerned Scientists). It's not your parent's town any more, especially so when we consider all of the other climate change related things going on.

It is not the place you grew up in, in fact, it is not even the same planet (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

Those in the shadow government who Bernays described in the quote up-thread, those who have the hubris and self-righteousness to think that they, the 1%, are wiser, smarter, and better parents than the 99% are, have proven themselves to be insanely wrong (The Peak of Sanity - 3).

They turned the Earth into a nasty place that no longer can remain Mother Earth after having been tortured by Oil-Qaeda for so long.

Mother Earth has begun to morph into Monster Earth, and the fault lies not with the mother or the children, no, it lies with the murderous, suicidal "parent" Oil-Qaeda (Choose Your Trances Carefully - 2).

Dr. G. Lakoff on parental metaphors, etc. ...

Long version:

Music version:


  1. The Pope will make it a moral issue for the Catholic Church: (Link)

  2. Institutionalized torture of children in America: (The search for truth in a graveyard for boys).

    Future archaeologists pouring over the graveyard of Petroleum Civilization will likewise have many questions to assuage their incredulity.