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Morrison morphs into ‘Strict Father’ mode

By Ad astra  

Back in 2013, I wrote a piece with the curious title: The myth of political sameness. Its purpose was to debunk the commonly held view that ‘politicians are all the same’.

I drew on the comprehensive work of George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist and philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley, best known for his thesis that the lives of individuals are significantly influenced by the central metaphors they use to explain complex phenomena. He explained his thesis in a Penguin book: The Political Mind.

The essence of his thesis rests on a central metaphor: ‘Nation as Family’. He elaborates on this as follows:

The Nation is a Family.
The Government is a Parent.
The Citizens are the Children.

Building on the ‘Nation as Family’ metaphor, Lakoff identifies two types of family based upon two distinct styles of parenting, which he assigns to conservatives and progressives respectively. (Note that in our system of government, these terms apply to the Coalition and Labor respectively). When applied to the ‘Nation as Family’ metaphor, they result in vastly different behaviours.

The two parenting styles are:
The Strict Father model, and
The Nurturant Parent model.

The Strict Father model is at the centre of the conservative worldview. The progressive worldview centres on a very different ideal for family life, the Nurturant Parent model, which encompasses both parents.

Lakoff asserts that the Strict Father model is a metaphorical version of an economic idea. He explains:

It is based on a folk version of Adam Smith’s economics: If each person seeks to maximize his own wealth, then, by an invisible hand, the wealth of all will be maximized. Applying the common metaphor that ‘Well-Being Is Wealth’ to this folk version of free-market economics, we get: If each person tries to maximize his own well-being (or self-interest), the well-being of all will be maximized. Thus, seeking one’s own self-interest is actually a positive, moral act, one that contributes to the well-being of all.

Does that remind you of Scott Morrison’s interpretation of his Pentecostal beliefs, namely that wealth is good?

Lakoff goes on to cite some words and phrases used over and again in conservative discourse, words that reflect the Strict Father model:

Character, virtue, discipline, tough it out, get tough, tough love, strong, self-reliance, individual responsibility, backbone, standards, authority, heritage, competition, earn, hard work, enterprise, property rights, reward, freedom, intrusion, interference, meddling, punishment, human nature, traditional, common sense, dependency, self-indulgent, elite, quotas, breakdown, corrupt, decay, rot, degenerate, deviant, lifestyle.

How many times have you heard Morrison and other Coalition members use words such as these?

If in your mind you’re questioning the proposition that Morrison is now behaving as the ‘Strict Father’, reflect on some of his utterances over recent times: ‘Just do it’, or ‘Don’t do it – is that plain enough?’ Or simply ‘Stop it’ – it’s ridiculous!’ Recall how many times he has lectured the electorate on what he regards as acceptable, and what is not. I’m sure you will have no difficulty bringing such instances to mind; the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many. Nor will you forget his dictatorial attitude in giving us such directives. Even media commentators are now characterising Morrison as ‘an angry father.’

Some of you will accept this behaviour as reasonable and appropriate. That’s fine, so long as you realize what sort of national leader we have. While this behaviour might be acceptable to some, I suspect even they would have a caveat: so long as he’s right!

In accepting Morrison’s ‘Strict Father’ behaviour, we are also accepting his judgement, which in turn is predicated on his political ideologies and his belief system. To expect the electorate to accept unthinkingly his decisions on this basis is a big call.

What are you prepared to accept from our national leader?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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13 comments

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  1. Carol Taylor

    The basis of the Strict Father is lack of trust. This is obvious in the way Morrison dwells on those who might not do the right thing, not be part of Team Australia – those on this team do what the coach tells them or they’re not on the team. There are also dole bludgers, another set of people Morrison does not trust – people will bludge if they’re not ‘forced’ back out from under the doona. However, Morrison’s lack of trust in others doesn’t stop at working classes, private schools were also threatened with withdrawal of Commonwealth funding if they closed with the additional threat that there was no turning back once they had reopened. Is this a strict father or an abusive one?

  2. Phil

    That this man and I use that loosely, Scott Morrison, is even discussed as a father figure is to be quite frank, laughable. He is a rank opportunist, barely qualified to be a Pox Doctors Clerk much less the P.M. of this once great country. He is the greatest con job ever perpetrated on the Australian people. He has the worst case of inferiority complex I have ever witnessed. He was that kid we all knew in school, the teachers pet who would bring in the teacher an Apple and dob the other kids in, who were experiencing with their new found hormones and experimenting their fantasies behind the school shed. Only old Scott wasn’t invited, because he was a creep. Father figure? Give me strength.

  3. Gangey1959

    Please don’t let scottyfromadvertising come to my house and tuck me in at night.
    The thought of our scummo as fatherofthenation makes me want to vomit.
    At some point even the best, most well meaning parent has to use the word “NO”. Positive instruction does not work all of the time.
    There is also a point in parenting at which stern becomes authoritative, overbearing, dictatorial, then abusive and then hades is the limit.

    Let’s just hope that eden-monaro see through the smoke and mirrors next saturday.

  4. Peter Bromley

    A real parent natures his children by modelling self responsibility and above all being honest about his actions and the consequences of his behaviours. This hollow man is a chameleon adjusting conveniently to his surroundings to become evasive .

  5. andy56

    He epitomises the 17th century protestant to a T. He has no obvious sense of self awareness. The father who went on holiday only to leave the ten year old in charge. Yea right. No respect from this observer. How do you cover up your inadequacies? You talk big.

  6. Max Gross

    Sideshow Scott is a Paymecostalist

  7. MrFlibble4747

    MadDadMo both angry and crazy!

  8. Vikingduk

    What’s 300mm long and hangs in front of an arsehole . . . Morrison’s tie. If CNN reports are to be believed, the smirking jerk’s phone calls with bunkerbitch are a mixture of abuse and whining, ego driven rants. Though the liar from the shire hasn’t resorted to parroting the fake news line, how many questions does this shit from the south not accept the premise of or refuse to countenance. And still this fraudulent, corrupt fake enjoys the approval of the braindead. Welcome to democracy 2020. Incompetent, incredibly dangerous, lying, corrupt turds ruling a large part of the planet, all enabled by a coterie of suckholes and an evil goblin, repulsive rupert.

    Will we sink further into the mire? Does this virus have more viciousness in store? What of global warming? Whichever way a person views this shitshow, for me, the facts say we are mouth deep in the shit, floundering. As with any infection it is necessary to eradicate the cause before we can hope for a return to health. One little virus, one enormous climate change. Does the universe, nature, this planet have another little something waiting in the wings?

    This house of cards, this toxic construct is on its last legs. And we are all responsible for this current reality. Have we left it too late to change? Will further time be granted? Is it too late to wake the fuck up?

  9. Dave G.

    The history of this man,failed tourist marketing executive in New Zealand for reasons not made entirely clear,ditto for tourism Australia once again reasons never made clear,dirty dealings to gain preselection in Cook with News Media co-operation.A very dubious role in the rolling of Turnbull,it all adds up to a rather unattractive,untrustworthy gentleman.Yet he still won the election with some of the most appalling candidates & Clives preferences plus the phony daggy dad act.It’s enough to make you cry.

  10. Tiger

    Remember Morrison at the last fed election seen canvassing in hotels sipping a beer, I doubt you will see him doing the same in the lead up to the Eden Monaro election I think he would most likely be thrown out of the establishment on his ear.

  11. Jamie

    What are you prepared to accept from our national leader?

    Let’s ask a few q’s bout this query. First, ‘our’. Possessive plural for ‘we’. Hmmmm. You mean we gots some ownership in aloha boy? And ‘national’?! The corporate bandit penal invasion colony is actually a ‘nation’? Phew. Then there is ‘leader’. Goodness gracious. The so-called ‘nation’ burns and aloha boy secretly scapes to Hawaii, Cook’s last stop. That’s a ‘leader’?

    Lastly, I ain’t ‘prepared’ to cept nuttin from this pompous, disgusting, revolting, slogan-slinging racist 2-bit sham disgrace!

  12. Bruce Winchester

    Father? I’d rather be an orphan.

  13. Arnd

    Who’s your daddy?

    From Wikipedia:

    “Who’s your daddy? is a slang expression that, in one use, takes the form of a rhetorical question. It is commonly used as a boastful claim of dominance over the intended listener. It may also be a part of role play between consenting adults or as a claim of sexual dominance.”

    Plausible enough, considering how daddy ScoMo is fucking over the whole country.

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