Lefty Parent

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Living & parenting without the rule book

Posts Tagged ‘egalitarian’

Moving from Hierarchy to a Circle of Equals

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

When people ask me, “What do you do?” or “What kind of work do you do?”, they generally are asking me what kind of job I do to make a living. And particularly because I am a white male person of some economic and educational privilege (with a head full of gray hair), they often presume that that job is a fairly high-powered one, and a major part of how I define myself. My job is fairly high-powered, I am a “business process consultant” for Kaiser Permanente, specifically the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, which is a not for profit health insurance company. But nowadays, that is not how I answer the question of what I do or even what my “work” is.

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Wrestling to Understand my Adversary

Friday, February 25th, 2011

I am all about promoting what I see as our societal evolution from “patriarchy to partnership”, from an authoritarian power hierarchy of control towards a circle of true equals. To that end I occasionally clash with other progressives who are more supportive than I am of some “social engineering” like state-standardized mandatory public schooling. But more often than not it is key elements of the conservative world view that I find myself at odds with.

Unlike other progressive people I know who think that a “principled conservative” is an oxymoron, I was taught by my mom to “respect your adversary” and “pick your battles” in order to “be effective”. To that end I am always trying to engage the more conservative people I encounter respectfully, and exercising principles of nonviolent communication, try to understand their position and put myself in their shoes.

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It’s the System!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I got feedback from Blanche, my partner Sally’s mom, that the term “patriarchy” does not really resonate with her in terms of describing that model of society and its institutions that I keep referring to in many of my blog pieces. It was interesting that Blanche focused in on that term and made the point to share her thoughts with me. I have been wrestling with the term myself versus various other descriptive words for the same concept (like “hierarchy”, “us and them”, “pecking order” or “pyramid of control”). These to contrast this organizational model with the more egalitarian “circle of equals” (a good descriptive term that I’m more happy with using), which I believe to be the model our human society is evolving into.

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Respecting your Adversary

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

In response to my piece yesterday attempting to call out the dysfunctional rhetoric of both sides in the current Congressional debates, the most incisive criticism I received on the Daily KOS version of my post was essentially that I was making a false equivalency between the critique of conservatism from progressive voices like MSNBC and the critique of progressives from conservatives like Fox News. The former being based on a mostly responsible analysis of the facts while the latter being unprincipled propaganda. In fact the commenter felt that the entire conservative movement over the past thirty years is at its base an unprincipled effort. Another commenter framed it that my frustration with both sides in the current legislative debate was…

Beating the dead horse of false equivalence between radical extremists on the far right and the center-right Democratic party, which constitutes the far-left of allowed US political discourse. Both sides are guilty of something, but not in the way the diarist thinks.

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Winner Take All Governance?

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

I read the title of the on-line CNN piece, “Democrats dismiss GOP health care repeal push”, and had to groan. Here we go again! A fresh new year, but the same old same old in terms of “us and them” thinking in our national governance. As a Unitarian-Universalist, a hardcore egalitarian and a “governance nerd”, it struck me that though I’m used to this kind of rhetoric from our Congressional reps, from the point of view of effective legislating, it is really quite dysfunctional and corrosive to the process.

Washington (CNN) — Top Democrats are dismissing Republicans’ plans to ram a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul through the House of Representatives in the opening days of the new Congress, portraying the move as little more than a hollow nod to the GOP’s conservative base.

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Celebrating the Birth of a Child… Every Child

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

It’s a rainy “winter” day (currently a bone-chilling 57f) here in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles as I sit cozily in my little Perks wi-fi cafe and look out the window at the gray sky and the drops of water making little splashes on the pavement of the strip-mall parking lot full of glistening wet cars. The owner Gayle has told her staff to regale their customers with a satellite radio channel that plays all Christmas songs all the time. Though I enjoy a lot of the songs (some bringing back fond memories of the holidays from my youth) it can wear on you after an hour or so when they start repeating “Jingle Bell Rock”.

One of the schmaltzier classics caught my ear this morning, “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, sung by perhaps Bing Crosby. The specific lyric was…

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold–
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold.”

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My Tentative Embrace of Left-Libertarianism

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Logo of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left

In the profile section of my Facebook page and increasingly in conversation when asked, I’m describing my political orientation as “left-libertarian” rather than “progressive” or “liberal”. I kind of feel like an adolescent experimenting with or trying on for size a persona that they are intrigued with but may not yet be fully comfortable with. Perhaps in wrestling with principles built around the primacy of liberty, I’m trying to rationalize some sort of continuity with ideas that I inherited from my parents. My mom always saying that in terms of parenting principles, that “kids will tell you what they need”, and when it came to education, “teachers should run the schools”. My father (though never explicitly stated as far as I can recall) believing that life at its best is an adventure, with twists and turns and outcomes always in doubt.

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Defining the Circle of Equals

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

For most of recorded history (with some notable exceptions) human societies and the institutions within those societies – political, economic, religious, educational, family, etc. – have been structured on a hierarchical model of governance and control with men ranked above women in status, a structure I refer to often as “patriarchy”. But in the last five centuries of the “Modern Era”, with its focus on the emancipation of the individual, there has been a clear historic trend away from these hierarchical structures toward more egalitarian ones (see “The Long Road to Agency”). These egalitarian structures I like to call “circles of equals”.

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