Intellectual pass the parcel

Sometimes ideas can take circuitous routes into the mass media. Back in 2004, I posted on the mummy party/daddy party thesis about the different roles played by political parties, which I sourced to George Lakoff’s 1996 book Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. In late November last year, Andrew Leigh mentioned the idea again, attributing it to my 2004 post. Andrew L’s post prompted Don Arthur to explain the idea further at Club Troppo. Don was the one holding the parcel when the music stopped for the last time, and on Monday got credit for it in the SMH:

One theory, proffered by the commentator Don Arthur, is that the left-right divisions of Australian politics have been replaced. Instead, voters see Labor as the caring and nurturing party, better suited to state issues such as health and education, while the Liberals are seen as the strict father, best put in charge of the nation’s finances and defence and border protection. If such a political climate change has occurred it will tilt the odds of federal success against Labor.

Don’s very good at tracing the sources of ideas, and he gave the history of the mummy party/daddy party thesis in his post. But those who clearly explain ideas can come to own them as much as the people who think of them in the first place.