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An essay on punditry and the origins of political attitudes

Sep 15th, 2015 | By | Category: Features, Front Page

Click on the link below to view an essay on the origins of our political attitudes.  It was written as an antidote to the somewhat parochial manner in which pundits explain the political affinities of the electorate to us.  It also describes one of the critical features of our life-worlds that guides the development of all of our attitudes, not just the political ones.

The Conservative Grand Narrative

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  1. I was looking around the world (i.e., the internet) today to see if anyone was thinking similarly to the themes expressed in the essay. Jonathan Haidt, evidently a social psychologist with some popular notoriety, has expressed some similar themes. In particular,he talks about the power, the moral gravity, and the non-rationality of the grand narrative. I have not read his work, but from the summaries, it appears that he identifies the genesis of the narratives in biology, something meta-physical, and perhaps a universal requisite for human society.

    The essay presented here did not address some questions that are suggested by the themes in the essay. The most important of these are: what is etiology of the content of the grand narratives (who decides), how is the content selected to become part of the culture and part of personal narratives (what makes content stick), and what causes its differential distribution across the population? Unlike Haidt, I believe that one should look for the answer in the differential distribution of resources within a society. These include both material resources and symbolic resources (control of the use of language and meanings via pure intentional manipulation and by just having more say in the everyday practice of life). The origins of this thought can be found in two sociologists, Alfred Schutze and Pierre Bourdieu, with a little Marx mixed in.

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