George Lakoff makes plain how the words used by politicians translate to the public's support for various political issues. Language matters - especially when it comes to politics.
A founder of the field of cognitive science, Lakoff takes an in-depth look at the ways in which our brains understand politics, breaking down the politics of language.
George P. Lakoff
George P. Lakoff is a professor of linguistics (in particular, cognitive linguistics) at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972.
Although some of his research involves questions traditionally pursued by linguists, such as the conditions under which a certain linguistic construction is grammatically viable, he is most famous for his ideas about the centrality of metaphor to human thinking, political behavior and society.
He is particularly famous for his concept of the "embodied mind" which he has written about in relation to mathematics. In recent years he has applied his work to the realm of politics, and founded a progressive think tank, the Rockridge Institute.
Joseph S. Tuman is Professor of Political and Legal Communications in the Department of Communication Studies at San Francisco State University, where he has taught and researched for twenty years.
Having published extensively in the field of political and legal communications, his work includes books such as the critically acclaimed Communicating Terror: The Rhetorical Dimensions of Terrorism (Sage Publications, 2003), and Freedom of Speech in the Marketplace of Ideas (St. Martin's Press, 1997, co-authored with Doug Fraleigh), as well as a large number of articles published in national and international scholarly journals. His newest book is Political Communications in American Campaigns (Sage).
George Lakoff divides conservative and progressive views on government by analogies to two types of families: the strict father model, in which there is no moral authority above the father, and the nurturing parent model, which is based on empathy, protection, and empowerment.
Study of the nature and structure of language. It traditionally encompasses semantics, syntax, and phonology. Synchronic linguistic studies aim to describe a language as it exists at a given time; diachronic studies trace a language's historical development. Greek philosophers in the 5th century BC who debated the origins of human language were the first in the West to be concerned with linguistic theory. The first complete Greek grammar, written by Dionysus Thrax in the 1st century BC, was a model for Roman grammarians, whose work led to the medieval and Renaissance vernacular grammars.
It's painful to watch this man sit there and speak his agenda with a straight face.
He laments the conservative communications machine's supposed power, yet it is so obvious to anyone with half a brain how successful the Left has been at language-bending.
The Left have masterfully tinted leftist ideas a rosy shade in practically every mass medium. Multiculturalism is said to bring vibrancy and diversity and cultural enrichment. Liberal politicians talk every day about fairness and the virtues of not being "greedy" as a way to increase spending for their redistributionist programs. In order to get more government control of practically everything, "public safety" is lauded. I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the picture.
Similarly, Leftists have succeeded in creating negative imagery, through words (often created from thin air), for positions they don't like. A few examples of these new words are Islamophobia (seriously, wtf?), transphobia, and heteronormativity (another gem). Oh, and don't forget anti-Semitism that is so liberally applied on anyone who is even mildly critical of Jews and/or their state in the Middle East. Even the word "racism" came out of Trotskyism.
Give me a fucking break! The Right has been in decline in the West for ages.
George Lakeoff essentially said that the cause of the budget crisis is the fact that state legislators need to get 2/3 vote in order to get anything passed. This makes no sense whatsoever. Most of the bills that get passed involve spending money or raising taxes. THis makes the defecit worse. Spending money obviously increases the defecit and raising taxes in copunterproductive because it shrinks the taxable income. Also every state has a certain amount of checks and balances. Why is this problem only effecting California. The reason for the budget problems is that there are too many government employees and their salaries are out of control. Its not that difficult. Does Lakeoff honestly beleive that giving more power to the democratic majority will fix this problem? Their the ones in the pocket of the unions. Their the ones who are the big spenders.
1. So the Strict Father is judge and jailer who prepares children for life with discipline and the Nurturing Parent is protector and encourager who empowers children to live life. It seems to me that a parent should adhere to the Strict Father role when the child is being bad, that is harming itself or others, and Nurturing Parent when the child is being good, that is using their talents and skills to benefit itself and others. It's a balance, not a dichotomy.
2. There IS a liberal media. However, there is also a conservative media that does indeed seem to be controlling the conversation by provoking liberals into complaining about the conservative agenda rather than championing the liberal agenda.
3. American politics is fixated on these two polarized identities of conservative and liberal, which is a misuse of the terms. "Conservative" (meaning conserving the status quo) falls between "reactionary" (meaning changing things back to the way they were) and "progressive" (meaning changing things to a new way). "Liberal" (meaning allowing people to have freedom) is the opposite of "restrictive" (meaning restricting access). These terms are all in reference to positions on issues, for instance people who call themselves liberals tend to be reactionary on environmental policies and so-called conservatives tend to be liberal on gun ownership.
As a libertarian, you may be interested in reading a recent post at Small Business Against Big Government about this very topic of words libertarians should use when talking about Government.
Actually, Dale, I don't think you are quite cynical enough. I think it is very naive to trust all of the government officials in our various federal departments with the amount of power they now have, and very unwise to want to increase the number of these people, and to give them even more power. I think "big government" is a pretty neutral description. If you just look at the number of federal employees we have today, (which also increased under Bush-- I'm not being particularly partisan here), and it will be plain that the size of government has increased relative to the population over the last 200 years-- and with it, of course, the size of our tax bills.
I'm not a conservative-- more of a libertarian. I agree with you that neither party has in mind the best interests of this country. And I don't think I'm knee-jerk anything. I used to think socialism was the best kind of system, but then I started learning a lot more about economics. It's a shame economics is such a boring discipline, because it really opens your eyes. If more people took the time to learn about the economic value of freedom, how true economic freedom (not Reagan's "trickle down" tactics of cutting taxes a bit here, doing away with a few regulations there, but rather true free market capitalism) DOES raise all boats.
It's not about noblesse oblige. In a free market economy, there is high employment, wages that rise due to competition for workers, and prices that match what people can afford, so few people need charity. There is also plenty of good will in every community for people who are truly incapable of providing for themselves. I think that charity, and the spirit of charity, will tend to decrease as taxes rise-- if I were rich, and paying over $100 000 a year in taxes, I might feel like enough of my money was going to help others, and I might decide to give less to charity than I otherwise would. Not only that, I might consider that it was the government's responsibility, and not mine, to help the disadvantaged.
Call me cynical, Claire, but I just can't see the return of noblesse oblige really raising all boats the way you expect it to. You tip your hand with your "Obama=big government" and "welfare state" conservative knee jerking, you should be cautious of that when portraying yourself as the voice of reason. The way I see it, many people of wealth don't seem to share a strong sense of community (look where they live, where they send their kids to school), a passion to help those who, for whatever reason, have not reached their station in life. In fact, it's been my experience that the poor tend to be far more generous with their assets and time than the wealthy. I'm neither Republic nor Democrat, but I do think the point of us being a country is to help each other out, that we're only as strong as our weakest members, and theoretically at least, government is the instrument for how we do this most effectively. If the gov't isn't being effective, it's because of a two-party system that creates a Monday Night Football contest for power between two teams that can only end with one "winner"—and it's not the country.
Majority vs. minority rule? Talk about framing the debate in a dishonest way! This country is not based on majority OR minority rule, but on the RULE OF LAW. Our founders specifically tried to design a government that did NOT allow majority rule. That is why the USA is a republic, and not an outright democracy. Our founders understood that very often the majority might vote to take property from the minority, and that in order to protect the right to property there had to be checks against the power of majorities, and constitutional rights guaranteed to individuals. Imagine if the majority of Californians voted to confiscate 3/4 of the wealth of the top 10 richest people in California, and use that money to pay for public services... it could very well happen that a majority of Californians would vote for this-- but it would be wrong for the government to enforce that kind of arbitrary theft, wouldn't it? Those people from whom the money would be taken have a constitutional right to their own property, don't they? If you disagree with this, then I believe that you don't understand what is special and great about America.
All this is obvious to me, both rationally and emotionally. I do believe in helping the truly disadvantaged, but if I am going to give my money, effort and time to help people I want to be able to do it voluntarily-- to help those I want to help, and to help them in the measure that I think they need it. I believe that is everyone could keep their tax dollars that are currently being taken and redistributed by government, and to decide for themselves how to help the disadvantaged in their communities with that money, we would all be much better off. Obama hates this idea, which is why he is undermining private charity from every angle. He prefers for people to depend on big government than on each other, voluntarily, in their own communities. The welfare state is directly at odds with voluntary civic institutions and private charities, because the welfare state thrives on people who depend on government for their livelihood. This is not what America is supposed to be, and if we keep going in this direction it will ruin us.
Confirms a recent experience of mine.
I sent out an email to friends, liberal and conservative, in which I compared the number of lives that have been lost under our present private health care system with the 2,974 deaths from 9/11. Pointed out that we could deal with an external enemy who takes lives and label them terrorists, but we fail to see our own internal enemy that kills Americans. I put the health care debate into the bottom line: saving American lives. Conservatives emailed me back that I should stop sending them emails which they could not enjoy. Liberals thanked me.
I did not understand this reaction. Like many, I always believed that truth would lead to understanding. Now I get it!