Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lakoff's Lessons In Value Framing


Why is there not already much more pushing by Progressives of George Lakoff's cogent explanation of the source of the differences in the Progressive and Conservative value systems and his urgent plea to Progressives to learn what the Conservatives have learned so well--the art of value framing.

First pointer is that values do not arise in a vacuum. They are a natural fruit of one's largely unconscious conceptual model of the world. The trick is to make your own conceptual model conscious and then see how your values are logical consequences of it. It is also helpful to be able to discern another's conceptual model by observing how they project their values via word and deed.
Second pointer is that all language is rooted in metaphor and it is the metaphors that rule the mind's ability to comprehend its milieu. All perception is funneled through these metaphors before language can be applied to describe it to self and other.

In a nutshell the difference between Progressive and Conservative values is rooted in their two very different models of how the world works, each one based on the metaphor of Family. The Strict Father Model and The Nurturant Parent Model. Guess which is which!

I'm still reading Lakoff's Moral Politics so I'm still not ready to do it justice in a comprehensive review. And that is going to have to wait even longer because I have to return the book to the library and may have to wait in queue for weeks again to get another turn with it.. But I didn't want to wait that long to get the meme out there that there is an important prescription for a future Progressive renaissance: Know your Frame (conceptual model), Claim and then Proclaim your Values, and when replying to Conservative challenge (or denigration) stay within your own Frame--Re-frame by translating the value(s) under discussion into your Frame. Thus can Progressives stop being blindsided and constantly on the defensive appearing confused and divided--not just as a body but in their individual minds.

Seriously Progressives, you must read and comprehend and then proceed to apply the advice from Lakoff's Moral Politics and don't think of an elephant!
It could be the key to our come-back in 06 and 08.

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