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Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:35 AM

I just watched "Home Alone" again. I don't remember it as being so conservative.

Then again, it has been ages since I watched it. It was before I became political (I guess I was about eleven then...).

The main messages seem to be:

"Christmas miracle fixes dysfunctional families."

"Armed private citizen defends home against burlglars after government fails miserably at doing so."

In addition there are several conservative themes:

"Pant-suit wearing career woman is horrible mother."

"Personal growth through learning self-reliance."

"Cosmopolitan/European-ish upper middle class people are jerks."

And lots and lots of Christian imagery (i.e. the whole choir thing and boy says a prayer before "going to war" against burglars).

I guess if you look beyond politics though it is still kind of entertaining.

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Reply I just watched "Home Alone" again. I don't remember it as being so conservative. (Original post)
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 OP
DreWId Dec 2012 #1
pintobean Dec 2012 #2
Pale Blue Dot Dec 2012 #3
keroro gunsou Dec 2012 #4
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #27
Puzzledtraveller Dec 2012 #35
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #36
Enrique Dec 2012 #45
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #5
Fawke Em Dec 2012 #33
Z_I_Peevey Dec 2012 #40
tabbycat31 Dec 2012 #41
ProfessorGAC Dec 2012 #6
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #21
RZM Dec 2012 #7
zonkers Dec 2012 #8
slampoet Dec 2012 #9
whistler162 Dec 2012 #10
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #11
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #22
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #32
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #34
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #37
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #38
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #42
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #43
Comrade_McKenzie Dec 2012 #12
Dash87 Dec 2012 #13
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2012 #14
lunatica Dec 2012 #15
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #23
PCIntern Dec 2012 #16
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #24
Logical Dec 2012 #17
ShadesOfBlue Dec 2012 #18
bettyellen Dec 2012 #19
H2O Man Dec 2012 #20
SpartanDem Dec 2012 #25
redgreenandblue Dec 2012 #30
KurtNYC Dec 2012 #26
HappyMe Dec 2012 #28
WI_DEM Dec 2012 #29
BarackTheVote Dec 2012 #31
AngryAmish Dec 2012 #39
cthulu2016 Dec 2012 #44

Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 07:57 AM

1. Naw, it's a fun movie

No, it's an early '90s thing, not a conservative thing, but I can see how you could get that confused.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:00 AM

2. What a shame.

Merry Christmas

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:17 AM

3. John Hughes was extremely conservative.

This was well-known. I dare you to watch (or rewatch) his 101 Dalmatians. The explicit message is that good women stay at home and raise children while evil women focus on their careers. This theme appears in many of his movies. Or his last screenwriting credit, Maid in Manhattan, in which the hero is a Republican Senator.

I've never understood the Hughes worship. He was a conservative jerk.

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Response to Pale Blue Dot (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:22 AM

4. probably

because some of us can choose to ignore his political leanings and not let them color our perceptions of his work. rightie or not, he still was a fairly brilliant director/writer/film maker who gave me and my generation a gaggle of films that entertained and spoke to us.

personally, i blame him for my getting into david bowie, thanks to that quote at the start of "the breakfast club."

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Response to Pale Blue Dot (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:40 AM

27. This does not surprise me. I did not in fact know this.

So maybe my analysis is not far off

I guess it "shone through" the movie. I thought the boy saying a prayer and subsequently strapping a rifle over his shoulders was a dead giveaway.

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Response to Pale Blue Dot (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:01 AM

35. You have to consider that he was quite old even during his directing and writing prime

I had read that he grew up in a very suburban Leave it to Beaver world and I think his personal experience comes through. I dont see any political messages in his work. Same for David Lynch, who stays out of the political fray except for his recent admonishing of Romney through a play on words thus supporting Obama. Lynch has often said he came from the perfect childhood where life like that was much the norm.

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Response to Pale Blue Dot (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:02 AM

36. His 'era' was the Reagan era. Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, etc.

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Response to Pale Blue Dot (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:38 PM

45. Ferris Bueller struck me as a conservative

it's been a while since I saw it but I remember seeing that character as a jerk with conservative attitudes. All my friends at the time were conservatives and they quoted John Hughes movies like they were Gospel.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:36 AM

5. The 80s seemed to be the watershed in unified mind control from the media.

 

Wall-to-wall conservacrap in virtually all media. Filmmakers that didn't go along found it hard to get work, television was even worse. The unwritten commandment was thou shalt not criticize Conservative America on pain of poverty.

The 80s gave birth to the resurgence of racism, sexism, militarism, and the American Taliban.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:48 AM

33. And, as a result, my age group (the 40-55s) is the most conservative.

Even more so than older Americans. Check the stats.

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:09 AM

40. That's pretty much the thesis of David Sirota's book

Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now--Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything

which I highly recommend, BTW.

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Response to Z_I_Peevey (Reply #40)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:32 AM

41. thanks for the recommendation

I found it in my parents' library system (but not my own) so I'm going to have them get it for me.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:37 AM

6. I Don't See Some of The Things You See

The "pants suit wearing career woman" thing, for instance. I don't remember anything in that movie regarding her career. I thought they were rich people and always figured she was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom.

And, how is learning self-reliance a conservative value? That's just evolutionary, i'd say. I know not everyone has the same opportunities, and that needs continuous improvement, but it's not conservative on its face.

And how is christian imagery in a christmas movie conservative? It's a christmas movie! There are lots of liberals who celebrate christmas as a religious holiday. I'm not one of them, but there are lots and lots of them.

I think you may be reading too much into a comedy.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:31 AM

21. The moms career is not mentioned explicitly.

She does however appear to fulfill a certain stereotype. The way she dresses, talks on the phone, orders people around.

The whole movie seems to scream "had only there been a loaded weapon in the house".

I am not saying the director intentionally did this, but the fact that others have mentioned in this thread, that the director is a conservative, does not surprise me. I wasn't aware of it, but it does make sense.

As for the christian imagery, well, it is hard to put ones finger on it, but the movie does present a sort of idealized christianity.

"you are always welcome in church" said the old man. Really? I'll show you quite a few churches for which this is not true.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:07 AM

7. I actually think it's based on an old German children's story

 

Called 'Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten' (The Bremen Town Musicians).

In it, a group of farm animals decide to move to Bremen to become musicians. On the way, they stop at a farmhouse, which a group of thieves also have their eye on. The animals outwit the bumbling thieves through trickery and such. At the end, they drive them off and live happily ever after.

So it's basically the plot of Home Alone, but with animals instead of Macauley Culkin.

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Response to RZM (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:27 AM

8. Interesting. Thanks.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:30 AM

9. Well it is one of those "Rich People Problems" movies.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:30 AM

10. I thought it had a pro birth control message...

since it showed a family with many kids losing track of one of them.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:34 AM

11. I think you're analyzing it way too much.

It's just a funny movie about a kid being left home alone, and some burglars. You can read into it anything you want, but sometimes a movie is just a movie.

About the woman thing, that is a common premise in many movies, even supposedly liberal ones. Notice Baby Boom and others: successful single career woman bad; woman after inheriting baby and gets a husband becomes good and fulfilled. That is neither liberal nor conservative. That is, IMO, because men run Hollywood, and that is their view. Fatal Attraction - single woman crazy; married loyal wife good. Over an over again you will see that.

Notice how in Miracle on 34th Street, Maureen O'Hara is a career woman with a child, and is not a bad person. We haven't come very far in 70 years, as regards women in movies.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:33 AM

22. I have come to the point of view that no movie, book or story exists in a vacuum.

Every story carries a message, whether intentional or unintentional. It reveals something about the person telling it and the societal context in which it came to be. The writer *always* has an agenda, whether they know about it or not.

Consider the effect that this movie has on kids. How many boys, after watching this movie, are thinking "when the robbers come I will be prepared"?

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:48 AM

32. That's a good thing, right?

That a kid will want to be prepared in a potentially dangerous situation?

But seriously, it's make believe.

At least that's what people in this forum tell me when I say I think violent video games have an effect on minors. They have no effect whatsoever, is what "they" say. Even though most studies say they do. So...either movies and video games have an effect on impressionable minors, or they don't. Which is it?

In this case, I don't see anything objectionable in the movie. The kid is found in a dangerous situation, but instead of melting into a mass of tears, he sets about getting thru it and protecting his home. He's creative, thinks outside the box, and has a can-do attitude, while having fun. I see nothing at all wrong with the movie.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:59 AM

34. I'm not saying it is wrong.

I'm saying that the movie carries themes that are associated with "traditional" conservatism.

Yeah, willingness to defend one's home is a good thing. "Conservative" doesn't automatically mean "objectional" outside of a highly polarized political sphere. Back in the 80s I suppose things weren't as polarized as they are today.

Notice how in the movie every "buerocrat", be it a cop or any person "behind a desk" is portrayed as incompetent or without compassion?

It is just many fragments which, taken together, make up for a conservative vibe. Like in "Ghostbusters". Doesn't mean it is a bad movie.

Edit: As for the video games, of course they have an influence, but that doesn't mean there is a direct cause-and-effect relation between shootings and GTA. Most video games are in fact "classical" tales of heroism.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:17 AM

37. I just disagree, I guess. It's necessary for the cops to be incompetent....

or they would rescue him, and there would be no movie.

I think the message is....all the grownups are incompetent. We kids have the answers. It's not that it's COPS that are goofs; it's that they are grownups.

The parents and older siblings are goofs, the cops, the criminals...everyone but the kid. Because he's the hero.

Even in the TV movie "The Christmas Story" that is played every year...the parents are goofs and stupid, easily fooled and maniuplated. That's a common theme among comedies for kids.

That's the way I see it.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:20 AM

38. I guess at the end of the day it is unnecessary to filter everything through a political lense.

And yet, learning from the replies in this thread that the director is a conservative did not surprise me.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 11:45 AM

42. It's the writer, not the director, who's responsible for the content.

But you are right in that the WRITER was apparently conservative. Here's what rightwing P J O'Rourke said about Hughes:

I asked O'Rourke whether conservatism made it into Hughes's films and he said, "It's there for those who care to see it. 'Home Alone' is all abut self sufficiency, freedom and responsibility, basically. The kid eats all the junk food in the house then watches all the terrible movies and then he has to bring himself together." So "Home Alone" was an allegory of American history from the Woodstock generation all the way to Reaganism? Who knew?

Read more: John Hughes, conservative Republican http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/movies/john_hughes_conservative_republican_EqtAi9xchvZL1XsVD729xI#ixzz2GGs8dysa


John Hughes is also quoted as saying, "I don't see kids as a lower form of life."

So I don't think making the cops stupid is part of it. I do think it is the fact that the KID is the hero and much better than the adults at handling the situation. And he does find, as is the case in some kid comedy movies, that having all you want is not as fulfilling as you think (being able to eat all the candy you want, for instance...you'll get sick).

But you are right that the guys a conservative. You pegged that right. He also wrote and directed Uncle Buck and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, two very funny movies and among my favorites.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #42)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:32 PM

43. :) I make it a habit to think about an authors motives.

I think it is true with books, and to perhaps a much larger degree with films, that if something is obviously the result of highly competent craftsmanship (which I think "Home Alone" certainly is) then it is reasonable to assume that a huge amount of time and effort went into crafting every little detail of it. Every angle, every cut, every piece of decoration is the result of a conscious decision made by someone. Thus I think it is always valid to ask oneself why a decision was made the way it was. What is the "tone" of this scene? Why is this scene necessary? What function does it fulfill? Would I have made it differently? Why is that poster on that wall?

I am not saying that every author consciously attempts to write propaganda. I just think that a person's biases and experiences may enter into their works, in particular into the works into which they have put lots of effort. And sometimes things go beyond that and are in fact propaganda. What is the function of "Walter Peck" in Ghostbusters other than to "show" that "environmentalist regulators" are trash? I cannot think of one.

In one scene that is guaranteed to produce goose-bumps in every eleven year old boy, Kevin solemnly proclaims "This is MY house, and I've got to defend it!". If this scene does not project the ideal of the rugged masculine individualist nothing does. The church scene is also extremely powerful, way beyond much of what is done in many movies that "officially" wear a Christian label.

Granted, I watched "Home Alone" many many times when I was a kid. When I watched it again recently I remembered pretty much every scene and could tell what comes next.

On edit:

I think another possible observation here is that conservatism was a different animal in the 80s and 90s than it is now. I'd say there was more legitimacy to it then than there is now. Thanks to the Palins, Shrubs, Teabaggers and so on, conservatism is indeed in bad bad shape.

By the way, I recently watched "Wreck it Ralph". I think it is a liberal movie ("friendship is more important than status", "look beyond people's flaws", "treat everyone with equal respect regardless of their background" ....). It is also quite entertaining for a person who grew up in the 80s.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:35 AM

12. I don't watch comedies with politics in mind... nt

 

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:39 AM

13. Not much conservative, as

sticking to the 90's cliches of the time. I thought it was a good movie, though.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:47 AM

14. I never really got that sort of vibe from that movie (or any of his movies for that matter)

At least I never noticed anyway. Most of his movies were just...........fun.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:47 AM

15. It's probably just a sign of the times and not a deliberate message

The premise of the movie is that the kid is left behind to fend for himself against robbers. In order to set up that premise the parents and the rest of the family must 'forget' him. It's just the plot.

It actually makes all adults look like idiots who can be outwitted by a little kid. It's just a movie based on the impossible and it makes people laugh. It's actually much harder on men than on women.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:35 AM

23. I'm not saying it is deliberate.

To avoid repetitive posts with the same content, here my thoughts on the subject:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2078619

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:48 AM

16. You know what I thought was interesting...

They had by far the nicest, most idyllic house on the block. Remember how the place was spotless even after they rushed to get up to make it to the airport. All the beds were made, the kitchen cleaned, no issues anywhere. The whole thing was set up as fantasy much like the Harry Potter stories are the imagination of what we used to call attic children, a game of the mind wherein the kid who is an orphan, doomed to live in his evil aunt and uncle's home, dreams of a world and as school where he is all-powerfuland magical, although always haunted by the evil specter.

Of course none of this happened...they're all movies...I know this.

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Response to PCIntern (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:37 AM

24. I took the condition of the house at the end as being part of the "christmas miracle".

Weird how I didn't pick up on that when watching the movie as a kid, which I did repeatedly.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:52 AM

17. Wow, really? Merry Xmas Scrooge!

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:34 PM

18. As one poster already wrote....

John Hughes was very conservative, at least by Hollywood standards. His view of America matches those of GOP members to some extent. For example just look at the issue of race. Almost all of his films were set in or around Chicago but you won't find too many (if any) minorities in his flicks. Yeah, suburban Chicago wasn't the most desegregated corner of America but still his films are extremely "white bread" if you know what I mean. His characters can have posters of Michael Jordan or do a Michael Jackson dance, but that's about as far as they go in terms of experiencing diversity. There was some literature/articles written about this aspect of Hughes' films in the past so it wasn't any secret. These characteristics just went unnoticed back then by the vast majority of moviegoers. That being said I still enjoyed or loved many of his films even though I'm African American.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:46 PM

19. In Sixteen Candles, the boy she likes is a "good guy" because he declines fuck a passed out girl but

he then offers he up for another guy- enouraging him to have a go at her all because it's inconvienient for he himself to get her home.
That's the GOOD guy, or so teens in the 80's were told.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:47 PM

20. gosh

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:39 AM

25. Your tin foil is on a little too tight

if you're looking for subliminal messages in freaking Home Alone.

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Response to SpartanDem (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:43 AM

30. The director is a hard-core conservative.

I wasn't aware of this, but considering this fact, I guess I was not so far off the mark by picking up a conservative vibe from the movie.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:40 AM

26. The movie wass released right at the beginning of "Desert Storm"

aka the first Iraq war. I think it somehow played on the fears of children as TV screens were filled with images from smart bombs going down chimneys at Christmas time.

Siskel and Ebert gave it 2 thumbs down but revised their ratings after it was a hit.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:41 AM

28. Oh ffs!

I think you are over-thinking here.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:41 AM

29. Oh brother!

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:46 AM

31. Oh, heaven forefend, a Christmas movie has CHRISTIAN THEMES :O

And I always thought Maureen O'Hara's mother was great. She ended her vacation and travelled thousands of miles on a single-minded quest to make sure her son was safe. Yes, she forgot him in the first place, but I feel like that was more a commentary (maybe) on how the rush and hubub of Christmas makes us lose sight of what's important. But she's also the first one that realizes what's wrong.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:21 AM

39. The director is a pretty conservative guy

Catholic and still has his first wife. He used to put his extended family in his movies.

Fun fact: His brother-in-law is the Bailiff on Judge Mathis.

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Response to redgreenandblue (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 02:35 PM

44. I hope "Personal growth through learning self-reliance" is not a RW theme

That seems to accept the RW frame that the two parties are individualists versus collectivists, which is not true.

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