Went to an excellent presentation on the book Moral Politics. The presentation was given by Cleveland’s Dick Weber, who is a social worker. Mr. Weber said the basic theme of the book is that there is a “conceptual link between politics and morality in our country.” What’s more, this dynamic is often shaped, to one degree or another, by a person’s upbringing. He said the book explains two basic family models that the author believes are on different ends of the continuum. Those are: “athoritarian male model vs nurturing mother model.” And how these get extrapolated into the nation, is people growing up in the authoritarian male dominated family lean toward a more structured society based on “conservative priorities” like: moral strength (enforced, for instance, by militarism); moral purity (social movements like feminism and environmentalism are often considered outside the lines of this, so to speak); moral order (male dominated society)… Meanwhile, the assertion is those who have grown up with the nurturing mother model, lean more toward such “liberal priorities” as: moral nurturance (a tendency toward more empathy and less structure); nurturance of social ties (making sacrifices — philisophically and otherwise — to keep community together); moral growth (open mindedness to alternatives to a solely male dominated society)… In the discussion afterward, my wife Liz said these explanations were quite helpful in seeing some of the underlying psycho-social dynamics in our nation. However, she was concerned that describing these models in — in polar ends of the continuum — may be: ‘polarizing.’ What’s more, she said seldom is this as black and white as the author seems to present. That is, in raising our eight-year-old boy, healthy parenting calls for a combination. That is, because he doesn’t have (as most eight-year-olds don’t) strong internal control, he needs a regular degree of authoritarian, parental guidance. Likewise, for healthy support in the developmental stages, he also needs regular, empathetic nurturance. Liz’s point is most families display some of each, to one degree or another. And extrapolated out into society, many peoples’ politics are a mix — from issue to issue. (The conundrum is being limited, basically, to a two party system that is often perceived as: “either/or” on many issues.) Liz’s last point that night was that we need to look for “common ground” in all this and to keep dialogue going — so the best of each orientation emerges and is blended into the best society we can have — all for the common good.