Thursday, February 02, 2017

Don't think of an elephant


I read Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff.

In a way, Lakoff says what I was failing to say in Why I hate the Left, which is that the Left is fucking garbage at communicating its message. It's not just the Justice Democrats, well, it's me. As I said, referencing my previous post back at the beginning of this paragraph.

Everyone on the Left who feels they could and should be out there communicating politics should read this book. First of all, he goes about explaining how the Left falls into cutting off their own arguments by allowing the Right to frame the argument and then trying to defend their own position within that frame, which continues to get no traction with any listener, because they're still thinking within the Right's frame. This is the central metaphor of not thinking of an elephant.

He also goes on to explain how the central logic of American Conservatism's positions is a Strict father model, while the central logic of American Liberalism's positions is a Nurturant parent model. It makes a tremendous amount of sense in explaining how both of these sets of positions make sense, when they so often seem not to have a common rationale outside the fact that we simply accept them to be outside that.

It also explains why I'm fucking garbage at communicating. Literal and metaphorical strict fathers turn me into a blathering rage machine, see Politics-schmolitics and the rise of American authoritarianism. I'd love to think I could put his ideas of reframing issues into good use. Someone needs to.

But I'll be sticking with "Go fuck yourself!"

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