Skip to comments.George Lakoff is still going(Leftist strategy)
Posted on 07/14/2012 6:46:44 AM PDT by marktwain
I hadn't heard of him since I last debunked him some years back but he is still at the same old stall selling the same old secondhand ideas. He has issued a book called "The Little Blue Book: Quotations from Chairman Lakoff"
Lakoff's central "insight" is that you must use distorted Leftist language to have any hope of promoting Leftist ideas. But telling that to people who already call racism "affirmative action" and abortion "choice" must be one of the most unoriginal ideas ever proposed. George Orwell beat him to that idea by half a century.
I suppose that telling people that what they have always done is right might be encouraging to some but that is about all you can say for it. A few excerpts from a critical review of the book:
George Lakoff, Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley and highly regarded Democratic tactician has just released his playbook for the 2012 election. Titled The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, it purports to be the ultimate insiders guide to liberal messaging and left-wing ideology.
But Lakoff is not just any intellectual celebrity: he is deemed one of the most important contemporary philosophers of progressive thought. You know how whenever Democrats lose an election, they invariably blame their poor messaging and never ever the content of their policies? Lakoff came up with that. Liberals find it very reassuring: We dont need to rethink our ideas we just need to express ourselves more clearly.
As a linguist, Lakoff focuses on the notions of cognitive frames and conceptual metaphors, which refer to the overarching filters through which each person perceives the world. This academic field in and of itself is politically neutral. But on the other hand, Lakoff is also a hardcore leftist, so he decided long ago to overtly combine his academic interest with his personal politics, to use the study of cognitive frames to promote leftist ideology. This is what makes him such a hero to liberals. The Little Blue Book is Lakoffs attempt to transform his high-minded theories into nuts-and-bolts instructions for how all Democrats from the White House to the drum circle and everything in between should speak to conservatives, undecideds and the media....
And yet his new Little Blue Book is supposed to be an instruction manual on how to convert wavering conservatives and undecideds to the liberal worldview even though insults and mockery are an integral component of that worldview. To summarize Lakoffs presentation in one sentence, he essentially says, Hey, you ignorant yet diabolical rubes, shut the hell up and submit to an incessant barrage of our vacuous euphemistic leftist slogans, because youre too stupid and evil for an honest debate.
The eternally vexatious problem which drives Lakoff to distraction and which inspired him to write (along with one of his researchers) The Little Blue Book is that despite their psychological pathologies and awful moral structure, conservatives somehow still manage to occasionally win elections. Lakoff has come to the conclusion that this is due not to the superiority of conservative philosophy, but to superiority in conservative messaging.
Ive designed a little chart to clearly illustrate what I call Lakoffs Paradox: Why is it that conservatives still manage to sometimes win public opinion and elections despite being so vastly inferior? Behold:
Everything is going liberals way until that last step, where they fumble the ball at the goal line: messaging. Conservatives on the other hand are a miserable lot, but somehow manage to uncork a convincing moral frame to hide their distasteful politics. The Little Blue Book really would have benefitted from having such an illustration; but better late than never.
For example, right in the introduction he puts on his scientist hat and gives us a neutral and dispassionate summary of the liberal and conservative political visions, which he will refer back to repeatedly throughout the book. But the language he chooses to use reveals all: the definition of liberalism contains words like caring, decent, moral and fair, while the definition of conservatism contains phrases like self-interest, no commitment, corporate interests, and sink or swim.
Every page, every paragraph, every sentence in the entire book could be unpacked in a similar way, an unending pastiche of partisan linguistic bias masquerading as scientific or impartial verities.
Lakoff is also the reason why liberals and conservatives never seem to be able to communicate with each other. This frustrating problem is no accident, nor a natural result of differing ideologies simply not seeing eye to eye. Rather, its a conscious behavior explicitly recommended by Lakoff over the years, and one which he hammers home repeatedly in The Little Blue Book. Page 43 contains the books core message:
Never use your opponents language .Never repeat ideas that you dont believe in, even if you are arguing against them.
So central is this notion to Lakoffs thesis that his publicist sent out a list of The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know with each review copy, and guess what comes in at #1:
Dont repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them.
And many politicians, pundits and talking heads have taken Lakoffs recommendation to heart. This is why conservatives and liberals cant seem to have the simplest conversation: liberals intentionally refuse to address or even acknowledge what conservatives say. Since (as Lakoff notes) conservatives invariably frame their own statements within their own conservative moral frames, every time a conservative speaks, his liberal opponent will seemingly ignore what was said and instead come back with a reply literally out of left field.
Thus, he is the progenitor of and primary advocate for the main reason why liberalism fails to win the public debate: Because it never directly confronts, disproves or negates conservative notions it simply ignores them.
A prime example of Lakoffs ruinous recommendations can be seen in the debate over abortion, which never seems to get resolved despite a trillion words being expended on it every day. The conservative frame, to use Lakoffs language, is that a fetus is a human being who has not yet been born; thus to abort the fetus is to kill it, which means a human being has been killed, which is tantamount to murder. In response to this frame, Lakoff recommends a recommendation that liberals dutifully follow that those on the left completely ignore the conservative argument, and instead reframe the issue with metaphors like freedom of choice and womens independence and reproductive rights. All those positive words freedom, independence, rights recast the entire debate in a different light, allowing liberals to win the debate by not acknowledging that the opposing side has even made a statement.
And this is Lakoffs fundamental flaw, which unfortunately exactly coincides with his fundamental thesis (in other words, his thesis doesnt have an error it is an error). By intentionally refusing to challenge, disprove, understand or even acknowledge the existence of the other sides argument, you allow that argument to grow in strength and win converts.
This would not be true if the other sides argument were inherently weak or fallacious, which I assume is at the root of Lakoffs blunder; he must assume that conservatives dont have valid arguments or positions, but rather nothing more than sneakily effective ways of misrepresenting erroneous or ridiculous beliefs. In Lakoffs universe, you can extinguish such beliefs by ignoring them completely, thus depriving them of oxygen.
While Lakoffs foolish insistence that liberals never repeat conservative frames means that conservative notions never get directly rebutted, this insistence backfires in other ways as well. Why? Because conservatives take the diametrically opposite strategy: They seize on every utterance that liberals make, and repeat their frames as loudly as possible to demonstrate how deceptive they are. So while liberals studiously avoid analyzing anything conservatives say, conservatives meanwhile are avidly dissecting every single thing liberals say. The end result is that conservatives, to their own satisfaction as least, successfully challenge and de-fang every liberal notion; but liberals never challenge or de-fang conservative notions, instead seeking to snuff them out with a lethal dose of Silent Treatment.
But it gets worse, because it is the very euphemisms and other ludicrous conceptual metaphors recommended by Lakoff which give conservatives so much grist for their mill. Every time a liberal talking head gets up and uncorks another howler in the Lakoff style, conservative fiskers and deconstructionists latch on and tear it to pieces, trumpeting it as further evidence of liberals cluelessness or mendacity. So not only does Lakoff recommend holding fire against conservative frames, the ammunition he saves only ends up being used against the liberals themselves.
And this man is considered their master strategist?
Lakoff's book does have some vague claims to academic respectability so my dissection of his ideas does include a presentation of the academic evidence relevant to his theories
I’ve seen George Whackoff on C-SPAN. He carries this silent, teeth gritted seething rage at an America that has failed to accede to his progressive prescriptions. Kind of like George McGovern, Jimmah Carter, or Bob Beckel.
In other words, a typical arrogant leftie jerk.
For contrast, google “Quotations from Chairman Bill”, a sixties sendup of Mao’s little red book, by the godfather of conservatism William F. Buckley Jr. Priceless.
Yes, they're current tactics, but really the same tactics they've been using since Goldwater. Goldwater was the first politician to spread the message of limited government which resonated with millions of Americans. At least he was the first in my memory. But Goldwater came along at a time when many Americans had jumped on the big government bandwagon. They didn't want to hear arguments about limited government. And naturally, lib intellectuals didn't want to discuss conservative arguments period.
Why should they? They dominated the political atmosphere despite being relentlessly jabbed by conservative gadflies like W.F. Buckley and a few others. Back then there were no conservative talk shows, no internet, and no FOX News. The liberal viewpoint reigned supreme over media, academia, and entertainment. It still thoroughly dominates academia and entertainment, but at least the conservative voice has made gains through the media.
Today, libs still don't want to argue ideological points and simply want to frame arguments (if they have to) in terms of good and evil. And of course, only big government is good, and small government is bad. At some point, libs will to have to come clean and actually argue points on their merits. But that day hasn't arrived, so expect to hear Obama and the Obamamatons still call Romney and Pubbies haters, warmongers, racists, homophobes, sexists, etc. instead of having an honest debate about the proper role of government.
Why would anybody need a book on how to brainwash the mindless?
For those who may not be Rushies, Rush had run into one of his papers back when Clinton (or maybe Bush) was president. Every time he mentioned George’s name it would go something like:
“...and Lackoff, rhymes with, goes on further to say that if the Democrats would concentrate more on the economy, then they would do better in the mid-term elections”.
Funnier than hell. There was one lady with a silly name too, that was hysterical to listen to Rush talk about, but I cannot remember her...but it will come back to me, or one of my kids.
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