Over at the Principles Project, there is a discussion on the difference between Progressives and Conservatives.
Here were my general observations:
1. Lakoff is spot on when he locates one major difference between the two POVs in each's image of God, and their imitation thereof.Conservatives tend to think of a Strict Father, Liberals and Progressives tend to think of a Nurturing Parent -- certainly less sexist right from the start. And their umbrella metaphor covers nearly aspect of each's worldview.
2. A second distinction cuts across the egoism/ego-transcendence spectrum, or egoism/altrusm. It has been my experience that people who are involved in, or who have transcended the Ego...tend toward the Progressive side of the dial. Same with altruists.
3. Creative vs Reactive. Bob Fritz wrote eloquently about these competing worldviews. Artists and other creative types tend to be progressives, while those who react against their creations are the Conservatives.
4. Conscious vs Mechanical. As DH Lawrence says, "Death is not evil, Evil is mechanical." Well so is War and so much else. As Gurdjieff says, humans are asleep. Mechanical automatons in the main. Consciousness is the way out. Progressives are not afraid of being conscious, living life authentically, not mechanically nodding the head to every bloviation that comes their way.
5. Fear vs Love. Conservatives are moved and motivated by fear, Progressives by love, its antonym.
6. Visionary vs Rote. Progressives dare to dream big, GOOD dreams. Not PNAC-grade malevolence. We know that vision is a reality, so to speak, and that visionaries, not just echatologistic armageddonists are to be valued and heard.
7. The world is our oyster. Progressives can draw from the wisdom of the ancients and the east, or wherever it is to be found. Conservatives tend to shun universities, professors, yogis, gurus, sages, seers...if they don't fit into their little box of acceptable reading. We can read Darwin AND the Bible...AND the Bhagavad-Gita, AND the Tao te Ching...
8. When money is no longer the summom bonum, and human capital, wisdom, intellect, creativity, goodness make their overdue rise...tides will turn, tipping points will be reached, and bright outcomes can once again be anticipated.
9. Racism. At least down here in the South, there is the racial component which cannot be underestimated. Some folks are Conservatives just to be among white folk, and many Progressives are so in order to stand in solidarity with non-whites, knowing among other things, that there is still gross inequities and injustices that need addressing.
10. Deference vs Autonomy. Conservatives tend to toe the party line, and defer to those they perceive as more powerful. Progressives are less likely to do this, especially when facing untruths or bad behavior.
11. Competition vs Cooperation. Consider the relationship between sports and competition, sports and war, war and competition. They are interrelated. Libs and Progressives tend more toward diplomacy, cooperation. And speaking of which...every Progressive should read "The Evolution of Cooperation", as it will will help build a better organization, society and citizenry.
Not comprehensive, but a start...
So...which is the most important distinction? Take the poll!