Sunday, December 26, 2010

Liberals – Art part IX 115

Morality within the Art of Modern Liberalism


According to cognitive linguist George Lakoff, liberal philosophy is based on five basic categories of morality. The first, the promotion of fairness, is generally described as an emphasis on empathy as a desirable trait. With this social contract based on the Golden Rule comes the rationale for many liberal positions. The second category is assistance to those who cannot assist themselves. A nurturing spirit is one that is considered good in liberal philosophy. This leads to the third category, the desire to protect those who cannot defend themselves. The fourth category is the importance of fulfilling one's life; allowing a person to experience all that they can. The fifth and final category is the importance of caring for oneself, since only thus can one act to help others.

The morality described above may be a sound summary for progressive Christians (as opposed to the Christian conservatives discussed earlier on this blog). But this kind of liberalism has not been demonstrated by Imogen Clark in her autobiographical Saving Jessie. There's another liberalism out there, one that asks for magic to deal with a hostile universe, one that can quell the fear of being inauthentic, a liberalism that makes one feel properly adjusted and thus able to maximize relationships.

Imogen feels unfairly treated because the shame of being the mother of an addict has landed on her. Her desire to preserve her reputation is more important than assisting her daughter, who can't cure her own addiction or defend herself. Imogen has no idea how to help her troubled daughter fulfill her own life, but she will buy this off by using book proceeds to help pay for her daughter's acting lessons. She will also support treatment centers which teach addicts the importance of caring for oneself, which mysteriously seems to be missing from Jessie's upbringing.

It is the blog author's observation that Geraldine Page's Eve from Interiors is a twin of Imogen Clark, the addict's mother. If this is correct and Allan Bloom's analysis of Woody Allen's moieties and philosophical values is correct, then a platoon of philosophical ghosts marches and refuses to halt.

Imogen's first two children are raised to get along, and they do, as well as Leonard Zelig in the 1983 Woody Allen film. It's the third child, Jessie, who doesn't take direction well without self-medication. It is Imogen who is part of Reisman's Lonely Crowd, and Jessie either can't or won't be ambitious out that quest as she becomes a teenager. And who is German philosopher Martin Heidegger, and what does he have to do with liberalism or not having an identity?

Similar to the great schism between democratic socialists and street revolutionaries, there is a break between progressive Christian liberals and liberals who import German philosophy and psychology.

So this blog will shift the discussion to a review the philosophy of modern liberalism.

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