Friday, July 04, 2008

Parade Magazine - What Is Patriotism? (Integral Perspectives Included)

John McCainBarack Obama

Parade asked Barack Obama and John McCain to explain their views on patriotism. Personally, I'd rather live under Obama's version.

Obama: Faith In One Another As Americans
McCain: Putting The Country First

If we want to get all integral on these guys, we can generalize their views on this topic (and this topic alone) in terms of stages of development.

McCain is clearly authoritarian (Wilbewr's Amber stage) in his definition:
Amber (ethnocentric—able to take a 2nd-person perspective): Amber Altitude indicates a worldview that is mythic, and mythic worldviews are always held as absolute (this stage of development is often called absolutistic). Instead of "might makes right," amber ethics are more oriented to the group, but one that extends only to "my" group. Grade school and high school kids usually exhibit amber motivations to "fit in." Amber ethics help to control the impulsiveness and narcissism of red. Culturally, amber worldviews can be seen in fundamentalism (my God is right no matter what); extreme patriotism (my country is right no matter what); and ethnocentrism (my people are right no matter what).
Obama is clearly more pluralistic (Wilber's Green stage):

Green (worldcentric—able to take a 4th-person perspective): Green worldviews are marked by pluralism, or the ability to see that there are multiple ways of seeing reality. If orange sees universal truths ("All men are created equal"), green sees multiple universal truths—different ones for different cultures. Green ethics continue, and radically broaden, the movement to embrace all people. A green statement might read, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, regardless of race, gender, class...." Green ethics have given birth to the civil rights, feminist, and gay rights movements, as well as environmentalism.

The green worldview's multiple perspectives give it room for greater compassion, idealism, and involvement, in its healthy form. Such qualities are seen by organizations such as the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Doctors Without Borders. In its unhealthy form green worldviews can lead to extreme relativism, where all beliefs are seen as relative and equally true, which can in turn lead to the nihilism, narcissism, irony, and meaninglessness exhibited by many of today's intellectuals, academics, and trend-setters.... Not to mention another "lost" generation in students.
It's tempting, of course, to generalize for both men -- to see McCain as straddling the amber/orange divide in his thinking and policies, while Obama would appear to be pretty centered in green, with teal intellectual skills (see this link). None of this means anything to anyone not versed in integralese, so let's break it down a little more clearly.

McCain, as near as I can tell, is highly nationalistic, somewhat ethnocentric, and largely neo-conservative in his fiscal and social views. On the other hand, Obama has a stong faith in a mythic religion, is very comfortable with relativistic social views, seems to desire a more compassionate government, and is apparently capable of thinking in terms of systems within a complex and chaotic world (beyond black, white, or gray).

So, assuming these broad generalizations to be true, their respective definitions of patriotism are very much in line with who they are as people.


JMP said...

hi william!

i just finished reading those two Parade profiles. i thought both were pretty well-written and expressive of two above-average political candidates.

your meme-reading sounds reasonable to me. something tells me though that obama probably wrote more of his op-ed than mccain did of his, so i'm not sure how much of this essay reflects his intellectual skills so much as how he wants to market himself.

p.s.: remember, obama's UCC, definitely green not amber christianity.

JMP said...

p.s.: i posted a blog on your post today

william harryman said...

Thanks Joe -- that was a cool post.


BTW, Glad to see you back in the blogging flow!