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Profiling for the Big Debate About Government's Role

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Self-Image: Sees himself or herself as Alienated

Interpersonal Attitude: Distrustful

Manifested in Behavior: Avoidant

(7) Archetype: Lover passive "shadow" form (The Impotent Lover)

Self-Image: Sees himself or herself as Inadequate

Interpersonal Attitude: Compliant

Manifested in Behavior: Submissive

(8) Archetype: Lover active "shadow" form (The Addicted Lover)

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Self-Image: Sees himself or herself as Sociable

Interpersonal Attitude: Seductive

Manifested in behavior: Gregarious

Next, I want to borrow Moore 's thumbnail characterizations of the self-image involved in each of the eight above "shadow" forms as numbered in the above list to construct the profiles of the typical Reagan fans and the typical Obama fans.

In Moore 's terms about self-image, the typical Reagan fans see themselves as (2) assertive, (4) discontented, (6) alienated, and (7) inadequate. Moore's thumbnail descriptions of how people with these "shadow" forms see themselves correspond respectively to Millon's (ii) active-independence, (iii) active-ambivalence, (v) active-detachment, and (vii) passive-dependence.

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By contrast, the typical Obama fans see themselves as (1) admirable, (3) conscientious, (5) complacent, and (8) sociable. Moore 's thumbnail descriptions here correspond respectively to Millon's (i) passive-independence, (iii) passive-ambivalence, (v) passive-detachment, and (viii) active-dependence.

In short, as I have profiled them here, the typical Reagan fans and the typical Obama fans are bipolar opposites. No wonder they have basically different views about the role of government.

Finally, I want to turn to the most important question in my estimate: Can our national debate between the typical Reagan fans and the typical Obama fans as I have profiled them respectively here possibly lead to anything but a sparring match and a standoff? For example, could our national debate in any way help at least some of the participants move toward learning how to access and embody one or more of the optimal forms of the archetypes of maturity that Moore discusses? If there are already enough Americans who embody one or more of the optimal forms, they should step forward in this debate, because their ability to embody and exemplify one or more of the optimal forms could serve as an animating force to help the rest of us learn how to access and embody one or more of the optimal forms.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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Writing in the American jeremiad tradition, Jungia... by Thomas Farrell on Thursday, Jan 24, 2013 at 6:29:39 PM