Nurturing Parent Model:
Quoted from the Political Mind
[T]wo parents, with equal responsibilities, and no gender constraints - or one parent of either gender. Their job is to nurture their children and raise them to be nurturers of others. Nurturance is empathy, responsibility for oneself and others, and the strength to carry out those responsibilities. This is opposite of indulgence: children are raised to care about others, to take care of themselves and others, and to lead a fulfilling life. Discipline is positive; it comes out of the child's developing sense of care and responsibility. Nuturance requires setting limits, and explaining them. It requires mutual respect - a parent's respect for children, and respect for parents by children must be earned by how the parents behave. Restitution is preferred over punishment - if you do something wrong, do something right to make up for it. The job of parents is protection and empowerment of their children, and a dedication to community life, where people care about and take care of each other.
He goes on to note that this is similarly the cause of many conservatives characterising progressives as 'feminine,' hence the mommy or nanny state. But this isn't a valid criticism since empathy and nurturance are not (and ought not be) gendered. It takes more strength and discipline to lend a helping hand in your community than it does to write off the downtrodden as lazy and burdensome on 'society'. They are a part of society and deserve the basic respect due from one citizen to another, from one human being to another.
Now naturally almost all progressives and conservatives don't completely match up to either the nurturing parent or the strict father model, and I am definitely among them. This is because people are typically not conservative or progressive on every topic, for example there are conservatives who are pro-choice, and progressives who are pro-war. Lakoff calls this biconceptualism and describes it as the brain having the ability to believe incongruent, even opposing, ideas at the same time; which is why the same person can go out Saturday night drinking, gambling, etc, then also be a devout Christian the next day.
It is through biconceptualism that some progressives can intellectually oppose racism, sexism, and classism, but also behave in ways that can be racist, sexist, classist. People are not usually not aware that they possess these contradictions and when confronted with them many feel hurt and/or insulted. And I believe that this is a serious problem in the progressive community (so much so that I started this sentence with a preposition): we need to be progressive not just in how we think about others, but ourselves as well. Progressivism has to be a process of self analysis where one challenges why they believe and do things they way that they do. We need to be unafraid to be wrong and corrected, and be able to base our beliefs on more than just a gut feeling.
I've always been a believer in womens rights and equality for women. However, until I met my girlfriend (now fiancé) I had now idea how sexist some of my actions and presumptions were (and probably to some degree still are). She unapologetically challenged my conservative habit of victim blaming while I was telling her how an acquaintance of mine had been mugged while walking home at 3:00AM drunk, alone, and having turned down a ride from a sober friend. I thought that she had been stupid for taking such a risk, whereas my girlfriend argued that blaming her detracted from the guilt and fault of the muggers. For quite a time I argued that she should have taken steps to be safer: walk with someone, take a cab, whatever; but my GF stood her ground and said that none of these things mattered because the exclusive fault still laid with the muggers since they committed the crime and violated the rights and freedoms of the victim.
Phrased in a way that conservatives may be more willing to accept: should we allow criminals to dictate where or when we can exercise our rights and freedoms? The unequivocal answer is no. The problem rests with people looking to mug others, not with people walking home. Those are the people who's behaviour needs correction and with whom fault and responsibility lie.
So to my fellow progressives, how can we convince conservatives of what we believe if we don't practice it ourselves? Identifying as a progressive doesn't make it okay for us to be racist or make sexist comments. We have to take the grievances and experiences of the underprivileged seriously and question whether our society favours on group over another. I encourage us all to be unafraid to have a good look in the mirror, admit it when you're wrong, and live what we believe.