Framing for Activists

From George Lakoff and Gil Durán

Our Citizens’ Communication Network is in the start-up phase and is already huge. Until it is officially functioning, you can unofficially join by following me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeLakoffOfficial165643503477608/) and Twitter (@GeorgeLakoff) for regular thoughts and updates.

The basic idea is this: It is free and open to all. We will provide framing suggestions regularly over social media, and whoever receives them can decide how to use them, and whether to share them or retweet them.  The process is bottom up.

We also offer this framing service to activist organizations, media folks, and elected officials and their staffs.

See below for a list of materials to watch, listen to or read.  Click on the description to open them.

First Priority

Watch the Tavis Smiley interview with George

Watch the Second Tavis Smiley interview with George

Read the “Minority President” Article

Read “The President is the Nation:  The Central Metaphor Trump Lives By  

Read “Regulations are Protections

Read “10 Points For Democratic Activists

Read “Two Questions about Trump and Republicans”

See a Taxonomy of Trump’s Strategic Tweets

Read the Berkeleyside Article about underestimating Trump

Understanding Trump’s use of language

Understanding Trump’s name

 

Next Priority:  Whatever interests you most from the following

Watch George’s interview at The Commonwealth Club

Watch George talk about avoiding the oppositions language on MSNBC

Watch George explain how to effectively fact check Trump on CNN 

Read the  wideranging Salon interview   

Listen to George on NPR’s On the Media discussing “tax reform   

Listen to George explain the taxonomy of Trump’s Tweets  

Read the blog piece on what NOT to do  

 

Then turn to the following materials.

On Fake News

Protect the Truth

On Trump’s Wiretap Distraction

On The Women’s Marches and the Politics of Care

The BBC Interview on New Nasty Words

Listen to George on Marketplace’s “Make Me Smart” Podcast

 Read the full conversation with George Lakoff on “your brain on Trump” on “Make Me Smart”

 Why March for Science?

 Watch – Indivisible: Reaching Out to Trump Voters: An Evening with George Lakoff & Arlie Hochschild 

Listen – George Lakoff – “Don’t Think of an Elephant” on the Ralph Nader Radio hour on KPFA

 Watch – George Lakoff: “The Present Political Divide: What To Do Now “

 Read: Disaster Branding: The Importance of Naming

 

Best wishes,

George and Gil

 

 

Charles Fillmore, Discoverer of Frame Semantics, Dies in SF at 84: He Figured Out How Framing Works

Charles J. Fillmore, one of the world’s greatest linguists — ever — died last Thursday, February 13, at the age of 84 in San Francisco. He was the discoverer of frame semantics, who did the essential research on the nature of framing in thought and language. He discovered that we think, largely unconsciously, in terms of conceptual frames — mental structures that organize our thought. Further, he found that every word is mentally defined in terms of frame structures. Our current understanding of “framing” in social and political discourse derives ultimately from his research, whose importance stretches well beyond linguistics to social and political thought — and all of intellectual life. The world has lost a scholar of the greatest significance.

“Chuck,” as he was known throughout the linguistics world, got his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1961 and taught at Ohio State University until 1971, when he came to the University of California at Berkeley. Chuck’s wife of 40 years, Lily Wong Fillmore, put herself through college and then through graduate school at Stanford, winding up as Professor of Education at Berkeley. She was his constant companion, sounding board, alter ego, the greatest cheer in his life, and much more. Continue reading

Systemic Causation and Syria: Obama’s Framing Problem

HuffPo
This is the second of two articles analyzing the mode of thought and the language in public discourse on Syria from the perspective of cognitive science and linguistics.

Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force that has a local effect in place and time. You pick up a glass of water and drink it: direct causation. You bomb a hospital, destroying it and killing those inside: direct causation.

No language in the world has a way in its grammar to express systemic causation. You drill a lot more oil, burn a lot more gas, put a lot more CO2 in the air, the earth’s atmosphere heats up, more moisture evaporates from the oceans yielding bigger storms in certain places and more droughts and fires in other places: systemic causation. The world ecology is a system — like the world economy and the human brain. Continue reading

Obama vs. Romney: The Framing Matchup, Round One

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By George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling

Framing is (or should be) about moral values, deep truths, and the policies that flow from them.
As of their kickoff speeches in Ohio, Romney and Obama have both chosen economics as their major campaign theme. And thus the question of how they frame the economy will be crucial throughout the campaign. Their two speeches could not be more different.

Where Romney talks morality (conservative style), Obama mainly talks policy. Where Romney reframes Obama, Obama does not reframe Romney. In fact, he reinforces Romney’s frames in the first part of his speech by repeating Romney’s language word for word – without spelling out his own values explicitly.

Where Romney’s framing is moral, simple and straightforward, Obama’s is policy-oriented, filled with numbers, details, and so many proposals that they challenge ordinary understanding.

Where Obama talks mainly about economic fairness, Romney reframes it as economic freedom.
Here’s a discussion of Obama’s speech.

Continue reading

Economics and Morality: Paul Krugman’s Framing

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By George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling

In his June 11, 2012 op-ed in the New York Times, Paul Krugman goes beyond economic analysis to bring up the morality and the conceptual framing that determines economic policy. He speaks of “the people the economy is supposed to serve” — “the unemployed,” and “workers”– and “the mentality that sees economic pain as somehow redeeming.”

Krugman is right to bring these matters up. Markets are not provided by nature. They are constructed — by laws, rules, and institutions. All of these have moral bases of one sort or another. Hence, all markets are moral, according to someone’s sense of morality. The only question is, Whose morality? In contemporary America, it is conservative versus progressive morality that governs forms of economic policy. The systems of morality behind economic policies need to be discussed.

Most Democrats, consciously or mostly unconsciously, use a moral view deriving from an idealized notion of nurturant parenting, a morality based on caring about their fellow citizens, and acting responsibly both for themselves and others with what President Obama has called “an ethic of excellence” — doing one’s best not just for oneself, but for one’s family, community, and country, and for the world. Government on this view has two moral missions: to protect and empower everyone equally.

Continue reading

How to Frame Yourself: A Framing Memo for Occupy Wall Street

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By George Lakoff

I was asked weeks ago by some in the Occupy Wall Street movement to make suggestions for how to frame the movement. I have hesitated so far, because I think the movement should be framing itself. It’s a general principle: Unless you frame yourself, others will frame you — the media, your enemies, your competitors, your well-meaning friends. I have so far hesitated to offer suggestions. But the movement appears to maturing and entering a critical time when small framing errors could have large negative consequences. So I thought it might be helpful to accept the invitation and start a discussion of how the movement might think about framing itself.

About framing: It’s normal. Everybody engages in it all the time. Frames are just structures of thought that we use every day. All words in all languages are defined in terms of frame-circuits in the brain. But, ultimately, framing is about ideas, about how we see the world, which determines how we act.

In politics, frames are part of competing moral systems that are used in political discourse and in charting political action. In short, framing is a moral enterprise: it says what the character of a movement is. All politics is moral. Political figures and movements always make policy recommendations claiming they are the right things to do. No political figure ever says, do what I say because it’s wrong! Or because it doesn’t matter! Some moral principles or other lie behind every political policy agenda.

Two Moral Framing Systems in Politics

Conservatives have figured out their moral basis and you see it on Wall Street: It includes: The primacy of self-interest. Individual responsibility, but not social responsibility. Hierarchical authority based on wealth or other forms of power. A moral hierarchy of who is “deserving,” defined by success. And the highest principle is the primacy of this moral system itself, which goes beyond Wall Street and the economy to other arenas: family life, social life, religion, foreign policy, and especially government. Conservative “democracy” is seen as a system of governance and elections that fits this model.
Continue reading

The Power of Positive Persistence

Strategies to flip negative attacks by Republicans into positive progress for Americans

Like some foreign dictator, the Republican in the White House will launch a planned attack on the free press today. But he’s been in an ongoing campaign against the truth since Day One.

It’s alarming because presidents don’t act this way. Dictators do. And there’s evidence to suggest that the Republican president’s constant attacks on the news media have encouraged dictators in other countries to continue their repression of journalists.

In a previous post, I laid out an idea to creatively undermine this pre-planned assault on the free press (see chart below). The main idea: Do the opposite of what the Republican president wants. That is: Express support for good journalism and great reporters without accepting the frame of his fake ceremony. Defeat him by celebrating the truthful, powerful stories that may take down this corrupt presidency. Deprive him of the power to focus attention on his messages.

That’s one idea. But the general concept here is more important than any specific tactic. This is about framing, and our need to get a better grasp on how framing works in politics and the media.

Framing is about reclaiming our power to decide what’s important. Framing is about making sure WE set the terms of the debate, using our language and our ideas. Conservatives have beaten progressives at this for decades. It’s time for a change.

Back to today: Let today inspire an ongoing campaign to #ProtectTheTruth. We need a long-term strategy for positive persistence. Positive persistence beats negative resistance. And while words are important, action prevails.

There’s a place for angry response and outrage. That’s only human. But we also need strategic action to make sure every passing day fuels positive action towards progress.

We must avoid the mistake of the 2016 election, when many thought Trump’s outrageous antics would naturally bring him down. They didn’t.

So if this ongoing attack on the truth offends your sense of what it means to be American, here are a few more ideas of how to convert the Republican president’s negative actions into positive progress for truth, freedom, and democracy:

  • Subscribe. Whether it’s your local paper or a national publication, SUBSCRIBE! Show that you value truthful journalism and will pay for it. Become a supporter of public radio or an independent outlet like Mother Jones.
  • Fund Victory. If we all gave 50 cents to candidates like Randy Bryce (@IronStache), Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA), and Andrew Janze (@JanzforCongress)every time Trump tweeted, we’d have more than a #BlueWave2018. We’d have a tsunami! Fund victory! Pick a candidate in a tough race. Pledge 50 cents per tweet!
  • Support CPJ: Journalists around the world live under daily threat from dictators, criminals, and corrupt regimes. The Committee to Protect Journalists has their back. Follow them, fund them, and help!
  • Talk to People. Turn off the computer or phone and TALK to people — your friends, your family, your neighbors — about what’s happening in our country right now. Make sure they’re paying attention, and make sure they plan to vote in November!

       #ProtectTheTruth

ProtectTheTruth

A Modest Proposal: #ProtectTheTruth

America’s tweeter-in-chief plans to attack the free press next week. He desperately needs your help to succeed.

You can help him by repeating his words and lies. You can help him by focusing outraged attention on his antics.

Or we can work together to redirect the energy, counteract rather than react, and reframe the conversation.

Here’s a way: rather than argue against him directly or waste time refuting his attacks, let’s ignore his antics and make a positive, proactive argument. While he assails the free press, let’s use our voices to honor the essential work reporters are doing in this dangerous era. Let’s have a conversation about why the free press is more crucial than ever.

Reporters are guardians of freedom. Their job is to pursue the truth. We may disagree with them sometimes. We may wish some of them would do a better job. But the press is a pillar of a free society. Democracy falls without it.

That’s why authoritarian leaders always attack the press. They seek to deny and distract from the truth, and this requires undermining those who tell it. Corrupt regimes always seek to replace truth with lies that increase and preserve their power. The Digital Age makes this easier than ever.

Information travels fast, but that’s a double-edged sword. It’s great when a true story travels the globe instantly and results in inspirational action. Yet we live in an age of weaponized information, where nefarious memes and false narratives of dubious origin can also travel far.

These can become dangerous when repeated millions of times. As I wrote in the 2004 book Don’t Think of An Elephant, repetition strengthens the synapses in the neural circuits that people use to think. First, repetition strengthens the synapses in the brain’s circuitry. Second, “framing first” provides an advantage. Third, negating a frame by saying it’s “not” true activates and strengthens the frame. That’s just how our brains work.

Unfortunately, many intelligent people — including Democrats and journalists — ignore the findings of the cognitive and brain sciences. They put their faith in the outdated idea of Enlightenment Reason, which dates back to the 1650s. As a result, they miss the often-implicit frames, metaphors and narratives that structure morally important truths. They wrongly believe that bare facts and logic alone win the moral debates.

The same cannot be said of the professional troll armies prowling on the other side of our computer screens. A recent study of the strategies used by Russian and terrorist trolls online found that they have a strong grasp of basic brain science.

According to cyberwarfare expert Haroon Ullah: “Recent research into both the Russians’ and the Islamic State’s models of propaganda, as well as interviews with defectors, unveil that: 1) people tend to believe something when it is repeated, 2) Russia and Islamic State fanboys gain the advantage when they get to make the first impression and 3) subsequent rebuttals may actually work to reinforce the original misinformation, rather than dissipate it.”

Sound familiar?

Yet there’s a way to beat the troll strategy: “the key is to direct a ‘stream’ of pro-active, accurate messaging at the targeted audience.”

In other words, reframe to undermine the opposition’s frame, and repeat. #ProtectTheTruth

So when the president attacks the press on Wednesday, don’t take the bait. Instead, focus on truth and its moral context. Truth is under attack. Let’s protect it, and express our appreciation for those brave journalists whose job is to spotlight it.

Some ground rules:

  • Don’t use any of his terms, images, or hashtags.
  • Ignore his antics — if you retweet it you can’t defeat it, and when you embed it you spread it. Deny him the virality he craves. Ignore his antics.
  • Shift the frame to focus on powerful, truthful reporting.

Excellent examples include Mother Jones’ heroic “The Russian Connection”series with its groundbreaking focus on the foreign ties that may bring down a presidency; Rachel Maddow’s steely-eyed focus on the Republican Party’s culpability in this mess and the need to hold them accountable; and Mark Hertsgaard’s fierce dedication to covering the climate crisis while exposing those who profit from it.

And let’s not forget the amazing newspaper competition currently unfolding between the New York Times and the Washington Post — a race to do the best job at telling the most truth.

Name the reporters, editors, and outlets — including state and local publications — doing important work that affects YOUR life. Link to their stories. Say why they matter. Say “thank you” to those who tell the truth for a living!

This is about more than Twitter. This is about ideas and language in our politics, and who controls them. This about more than just one president — it’s about the Republican Party and authoritarians everywhere who seek to destroy the truth and attack the public good.

It’s time to reclaim our power and frame the debate. To start, let’s disregard next week’s ceremonial attack on the press and #ProtectTheTruth instead.

Success!

Normally I would never post a link to a story in Reason, a right-wing magazine. But I consider this particular story a tribute to the power of your voices and your actions.

The writer of this piece is upset that we are reframing regulations as protections. He’s upset because he even sees regulations being framed as protections in the pages of the newspapers.

He attributes this to the work we have done to raise awareness among journalists, elected officials, and our fellow citizens that, from the Public viewpoint, regulations are protections. And most regulations come into existence to protect the public from harm by irresponsible or unscrupulous corporations.

Specifically, the author references an essay I posted in January — aptly titled “Regulations Are Protections.” He does a great job of repeating all of our arguments in an effort to negate them. In other words, he’s saying: Don’t think of protections!

Please read the piece, then come back and leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter. I want to know what other ideas you think need reframing from the Public viewpoint. We have lots of important work to do!

Thank you for reading.

Trump’s Twitter Distraction

The net has been drawing closer around Trump’s Russian connections. His unwavering support for America’s major enemy has raised a question: Is Treason the Reason?

The Tax Return issue has become a treason issue. The tax returns could show if Trump is deeply in debt to Russians or if he is involved in illegal financial activity. He might clear suspicions by releasing the returns.

The longer he refuses to do so, the greater the suspicion gets. Jeff Sessions’ recusal made Trump furious because it meant that Sessions could no longer protect him from an independent Justice Department investigation, if there were to be one. If Sessions is forced to resign, the net gets that much tighter. Of course, in addition to releasing the tax returns, Trump should support a full and independent investigation to clear up all questions about his Russia contacts.

In the midst of this, Trump created a distraction: accusing Obama of wiretapping the Trump Tower, with no evidence. Faced with the biggest scandal in American history – presidential treason – Trump, with a tweet, accuses Obama of a scandal bigger than Watergate.

Trump’s tweets are strategic. I analyzed the tweets on NPR’s On the Media, and a diagram has been shared widely on social media and also appeared in the Washington Post.

Trump’s tweet is a doozy. It is an example of all four of Trump’s strategies.

Pre-emptive Framing: He frames first. He creates a new presidential scandal – Obama’s wiretapping — an accusation without evidence, and with all evidence against it.

Deflection: He puts the onus on his squeaky-clean predecessor.

Diversion: The press bit and the diversion worked. It generated headlines questioning whether Obama, rather than Trump, had committed wrongdoing.
The diversion worked, at least temporarily.

Trial Balloon: Will the public accept it, or listen to a discussion of it long enough to distract the press and the public from the treason issue?

The media is still focused on the false accusation, not on the investigation of Trump’s Russian connections and the treason issue.  (Of course, the growing nature of the scandal is making it harder and harder for Trump to pivot away from his Russia problem)

Pretty effective tweet.  But it gets more effective.

It put the press and those from the Obama administration in the position of denying the accusation — of repeating the accusation by questioning it and negating it — like saying Obama is not a crook. The more the press discusses it, the more Obama is associated with the idea of wiretapping Trump, thus strengthening Trump’s claim in the minds of the public by denying the claim, or asking for evidence of the claim. Meanwhile, Trump’s minions are associating Obama with Watergate by repeating “What did he know and when did he know it?” This question is what brought Nixon down. They can keep this up for a long time.

And worse: This is not just a diversion from the treason issue. It’s also a diversion from what Trump’s cabinet, with the help of Paul Ryan, is doing under the cover of the diversion: denying healthcare to millions, taking away public protections we have all depended on by defunding the EPA, allowing drugs to go on the market without being tested for safety and efficacy, taking away protections from investors, and on and on.

The wiretap tweet was not crazy or manic – it was strategic. And when the press treats tweets as “breaking news” it just plays out the Trump strategy.

#ProtectTheTruth

Journalists are bravely standing up to Trump’s attacks on the free press, as they should. Yet one way in which they’re expressing their solidarity and resistance shows how little most journalists know about political framing and messaging.

Case in point: Trump has labeled journalists as “enemies.” So, journalists have responded by labeling themselves “#NotTheEnemy.” This hashtag is currently trending on Twitter, which is unfortunate. Adopting this slogan is a big mistake that helps Trump.

Anyone who has read my books or taken my classes at Berkeley will immediately understand why. For those new to political framing and messaging, I’ll explain briefly here.

Quick: Don’t think of an elephant!

Now, what do you see? The bulkiness, the grayness, the trunkiness of an elephant. You can’t block the picture – the frame – from being accessed by your unconscious mind. As a professor in the cognitive and brain sciences, this is the first lesson in framing I have given my students for decades. It’s also the title of my book on the science of framing political debates.

The key lesson: when we negate a frame, we evoke the frame.

When President Richard Nixon addressed the country during Watergate and used the phrase “I am not a crook,” he coupled his image with that of a crook.

He established what he was denying by repeating his opponents’ message.

This illustrates a key principle of framing: avoid the language of the attacker because it evokes their frame and helps make their case.

Why? Because, in order to negate a frame, you have to activate it. Frames, like all other ideas, are constituted by neural circuitry in the brain. Every time a circuit is activated, its synapses get stronger. When you negate a frame, you help the other side.

Avoid repeating the charges! Instead, use your own words and values to reframe the conversation. When journalists protest that they are “Not The Enemy,” they should remember how well “I am not a crook” worked for Nixon.

The important frame here is Truth. Donald Trump despises journalists because the duty of a good journalist is to tell the truth and inform the public. Trump doesn’t like the truth – or an informed public – because the success of his anti-democratic agenda depends on lies and distractions.

This is why he has labeled journalists as “enemies.” Because Trump is an enemy of truth, and you can’t have democracy without truth.

Journalists are the courageous people we trust to #ProtectTheTruth.

Ten points for Democracy Activists

1 – To understand the basic issues, read “A Minority President”: https://georgelakoff.com/2016/11/22/a-minority-president-why-the-polls-failed-and-what-the-majority-can-do

2 – Know the difference between framing and propaganda: Frames are mental structures used in thought; every thought uses frames. Every word in every language is defined relative to a mental structure — a frame. Frames, in themselves, are unavoidable and neutral. Honest framing is the use of frames you believe and that are used to express truths. Propaganda expresses lies that propagandists know are lies for the sake of political or social advantage.

3 – Hold Republicans accountable. Trump is dominating the media, partly to establish his authority, but mainly to divert attention and provide cover to Republican leaders. Keep focused on Republican actions. Minimize publicizing Trump — his image, his name, his tweets.

4 – Focus attention on substance, not sideshows. Trump’s attacks on freedom, democracy, and the innocent matter more than his tweets. Positively and strongly reframe his pre-emptive framing (see tweet diagram).

5 – Focus on democracy and freedom. In a government by, for, and of the people, there is, or should be, no distinction between the public and the government. The consequences are:

  • Empathy: government should care about, and for, the public;
  • Transparency: government should inform the public truthfully;
  • Freedom and Opportunity: the private depends on public resources, both for private enterprise and private life. For example, if you’re not educated, you’re not free. If you have no health care, you’re not free. If you’re impoverished, you lack opportunity.

Republicans are destroying all of these by:

  • Removing “regulations,” which are public protections;
  • Imposing gag rules and budget cuts on government agencies removes transparency;
  • Privatizing education, protection, communication, infrastructure, nature; etc. are attacks on freedom)

6 – Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it out, on the “big four” non-partisan political fact-checkers—PolitifactFactcheck.org, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, and Snopes.com. Subscribe to real news!

7 – Understand the brain’s politics: All ideas are physical, embodied in neural circuitry. The more the circuitry is activated, the stronger the circuitry gets and the more deeply the ideas are held. Worldviews are complex neural circuits fixed in the brain. People can only understand what fits the neural circuitry in their brains. Real facts can be filtered out by worldviews. “Alternative facts” are lies — falsehoods that follow from ideologies that are fixed, that define one’s identity and so are taken as ‘higher truths.”

8 – Remember: We’re the POWERFUL American Majority. No more helpless/hopeless talk. Anger, fear and cynicism benefit Trump’s GOP. Remember: Don’t think of an elephant! Don’t use Republican language, or repeat their positions, even to negate them. Frame using ideas you believe and real facts that are contextualized and morally framed. Avoid isolated facts and numbers. The best resistance is positive persistence.

9- Be positive: frame all issues from a progressive moral viewpoint. Take the viewpoint of the public good, not corporate profiteering. Take the viewpoint of the impoverished and weak, not the rich and powerful. Take the viewpoint of preservation, not the destruction of nature.

10 – Join the Citizens’ Communication Network: until it is officially functioning, you can unofficially join by following me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/George-Lakoff-Official-165643503477608/) and Twitter (@GeorgeLakoff) for regular thoughts and updates.

Highly recommended background reading:

The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!

and Moral Politics, 3rd edition.

The Women’s Marches and the Politics of Care: The Best Response to Trump’s Inaugural Address

The Women’s Marches across America and the world were peaceful, family-oriented, and cooperative. They required energy and effort, along with the devotion to travel, gather, and march.

The marches had a single, overwhelmingly positive focus: care. Care is the hallmark of what women give to their families day after day. Not that men don’t, but it is care that we rightfully associate with taking care of a family. The women who marched understood instinctively that America is their family and that the world is their community.

America was founded on the idea that citizens care about their fellow citizens, that they contribute through their government to provide resources for the benefit and fulfillment of all. Democracy is more than voting. Democracy and citizenship require us to care about each other.

Kamala Harris said it well: the issues were not about one constituency, because women’s rights are human rights. And women’s issues are all issues — from economy to ecology and from equality to fulfillment. Diversity is strength, and international cooperation is national security. Every issue voiced in the march was ultimately about care.

The intensity of the marches was stoked by the inaugural address on Friday of
the least-popular President in US history, the loser of the popular vote by nearly three million votes. After taking the Oath of Office, he proceeded to give an inaugural speech that showed that he intended to turn America into a version of himself:

• Trump first is to become America first.
• Trump’s interests are to become America’s interests.
• Trump’s lack of empathy, his lack of care about others, is to become
America’s lack of empathy, America’s lack of care about others.
• Trump’s view of worth as money is to become America’s view of worth as
money.

It is the antithesis of care – and the antithesis of the most fundamental American values.

The speech was carefully crafted to deceive, which is a nice way of saying that it was framed to sound like the opposite of his intentions, to make lies sound nice.
It was also an excellent example of extreme conservative framing. The author of the speech, Stephen K. Bannon, is an expert propagandist. Every word and idea contained in the speech was chosen for a specific reason.

The speech was centered on a single Big Lie: that Trump is a populist, a “messenger” of the popular will.

Trump’s speechwriters laced the speech with populist rhetoric. They tried to position Trump as a man of the people who would lead the charge against wealthy elites who have amassed too much power. The speechwriters attacked the “establishment” and promised to remember the “forgotten” people. These parts of the speech sounded more like Bernie Sanders or Robert Reich than Donald Trump. It sounds nice until you remember who Trump really is: a businessman infamous for making money on bankruptcies, for ripping off small business people and refusing to pay workers on his projects. Trump is a billionaire who wants to lower wages for working Americans.

His actions as President-elect revealed an agenda that is the exact opposite of returning power to the people. He’s filling his Cabinet with corporate establishment billionaires who have nothing in common with American families. After losing the majority vote by 3 million, the minority president is handing our government over to Wall Street. He’s chosen people who have always, and will always, serve corporate interests. For instance, Trump nominated Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. And he nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — who famously hates the EPA — to head the EPA. The aim is to use governmental authority to destroy all aspects of governmental care.

What does Trump mean when he talks about “forgotten people”? He’s talking to his base. He’s talking to angry white males who felt uncomfortable in a country with a black President. He’s talking to people who want to blame immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community and people of color for everything they don’t like. If he can keep their anger focused on innocent people, it may take them a while to notice that Wall Street is (once again) pillaging our nation.

Trump’s attempt to speak for “the people” also underscored his central anxiety: he lost the popular vote by an historic margin. He’s a loser — and, deep down, he knows it.

To understand why Trump represents the antithesis of care, we need to understand the Strict Father view of the world.

Trump is a textbook example of Strict Father Morality. In a Strict Father family the father is the ultimate authority. Father knows best. He gets his authority from the claim to know right from wrong, and what he says is by definition always right. His word is law and needs to be strictly enforced through strength — swift painful punishment. Even a show is disrespect deserves to be punished.

There is a Strict Father logic: Discipline needs to be imposed. Children need to learn not to do what feels good (like “feel-good liberals”), but to do what they are told. If they do, they will become disciplined and go out into the world and become prosperous. What if they are not prosperous? That just shows that they are not disciplined, which means they cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. In short, the poor are poor because they’re lazy and so it’s their own fault. Responsibility is individual responsibility. There is no social responsibility.

This logic is taken as a matter of nature. It imposes a natural ‘moral’ hierarchy, of who is better than whom. By nature, the winners have deserved to win. The hierarchy goes like this: God above man, man above nature (it’s there for us to plunder), the strong above the weak, the rich above the poor, employers above employees, adults above children, Western culture above nonwestern culture, America above other countries. Then the hierarchy extends naturally to: men above women, whites above nonwhites, Christians above non-Christians, straights above gays.

All of the policies of the far right follow from this hierarchy. When taken to extreme, you get Trump’s worldview, the worldview of the ‘alt-right.’ There is a reason that Bannon is now in the White House.

All of this is reflected in the details of the Inaugural Address.

“I will never, ever let you down,” he said, describing a completely hierarchical world in which America always comes first, and where the “winning” will never stop. In this parallel universe, Strict Father Trump will give the orders, the good will be rewarded, the bad will be punished, and victory (and jobs) will grow on trees. No American company will dare create jobs in other countries because Father Trump has commanded them otherwise.

Of course, this is a lie. Trump’s own trademark red hats are manufactured in China, Bangladesh and Vietnam. When it comes to putting “America First,” he has already betrayed the trust of his followers. There is no way he can keep the promises he’s made, and Trump supporters have already started to realize that he thinks nothing of breaking his word.

Trump wants to be seen as a Strict Father, but he’s breaking the cardinal rules of the Strict Father: he is a betrayer of trust. A Strict Father cannot be a betrayer of trust.

When Trump says to ordinary Americans that he’ll never let you down, here’s what he really means: I’m already letting you down. I will always let you down. But he means it literally when addressing rich conservatives.

The most memorable phrase of his speech was “American Carnage,” which he blames on liberals and on government officials in previous administrations. He is using it both literally and metaphorically. Literally, it means, as Merriam-Webster lists, “great and usually bloody slaughter or injury (as in battle).” Its synonyms are “butchery,” “bloodbath,” “massacre,” “death,” “holocaust,” and “slaughter.” He is using it literally to frame gun deaths in big cities. Metaphorically, he is using it to blame liberals and Washington bureaucrats for the loss of jobs and income among white working people, for inadequate public education, for failing infrastructure. Of course, in his universe, none of this had anything to do with corporate greed or Republican policies over the years.

But “carnage” is exactly what a large number of Americans fear will happen during Trump’s Presidency. That’s why millions of Americans have taken to the streets to make it clear they’ll stand up for democracy, freedom and civil rights. If we wish to prevent Trump’s visions of carnage, these marches must be the beginning of our movement, a movement centered on the politics of care. When citizens care about other citizens, and manage to use their government for public resources, America benefits because Americans benefit.

Persistence is the best resistance — moving from the marches to the everyday politics of care on all levels. Communicate care. Teach care. Pressure your existing officials. Send emails. Make phone calls. Tweet. Elect officials who care at all levels. Run for office. Work in campaigns. Be positive. Positive.

Fortunately, not all conservatives are total conservatives — by no means. Many are “moderate,” which means that they have some progressive views. Many conservatives show in-group care: care for their own church members, or military units, or community groups, or neighbors. When you talk with conservatives, as you should, find out where they express their care — what they are most proud of for helping others selflessly. And then keep talking with them about arenas where they are committed to a life of care. They are your fellow citizens after all.

How to Help Trump

Without knowing it, many Democrats, progressives and members of the news media help Donald Trump every day. The way they help him is simple: they spread his message.

Think about it: every time Trump issues a mean tweet or utters a shocking statement, millions of people begin to obsess over his words. Reporters make it the top headline. Cable TV panels talk about it for hours. Horrified Democrats and progressives share the stories online, making sure to repeat the nastiest statements in order to refute them. While this response is understandable, it works in favor of Trump.

When you repeat Trump, you help Trump. You do this by spreading his message wide and far.

Nobody knows this better than Trump. Trump, as a media master, knows how to frame a debate. When he picks a fight, he does so deliberately. He tweets or says outrageous things, knowing they will be repeated millions and millions of times. When the news media and Democrats repeat Trump’s frames, they are strengthening those frames by ensuring that tens of millions of Americans hear them repeated over and over again.

Quick: don’t think of an elephant. Now, what do you see? The bulkiness, the grayness, the trunkiness of an elephant. You can’t block the picture – the frame – from being accessed by your unconscious mind. As a professor of brain science, this is the first lesson I give my students. It’s also the title of my book on the science of framing political debates.

The key lesson: when we negate a frame, we evoke the frame. When President Richard Nixon addressed the country during Watergate and used the phrase “I am not a crook,” he coupled his image with that of a crook. He established what he was denying by repeating his opponents’ message.

This illustrates one of the most important principles of framing a debate: When arguing against the other side, don’t use their language because it evokes their frame and not the frame you seek to establish. Never repeat their charges! Instead, use your own words and values to reframe the conversation.

When you repeat Trump, you help Trump.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll use this space to provide simple, practical advice on how Democrats, progressives and conscientious journalists can use the principles of effective framing to expose and undermine Trump’s propaganda. Knowledge is power! We must arm ourselves with the fundamentals of effective political communication. We must know our values and frame the debate – and avoid helping Trump.

When you repeat Trump, you help Trump.

A Minority President: Why the Polls Failed, And What the Majority Can Do

By George Lakoff

  1. The American Majority

Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year’s presidential election.

The loser, for the majority of voters, will now be a minority president-elect. Don’t let anyone forget it. Keep referring to Trump as the minority president, Mr. Minority and the overall Loser. Constant repetition, with discussion in the media and over social media, questions the legitimacy of the minority president to ignore the values of the majority. The majority, at the very least, needs to keep its values in the public eye and view the minority president’s action through majority American values.

The polls failed and the nation needs to know why. The pollsters and pundits have not given a satisfactory answer.

I will argue that the nature of mind is not a mere technical issue for the cognitive and brain sciences, but that it had everything to do with the outcome of the 2016 election — and the failure of the pollsters, the media, and Democrats to predict it. They were not alone. The public needs to understand better how the human mind works in general — but especially in politics. There is a lot to know. Let us go step by step.

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Understanding Trump’s Use of Language

Note: This is a follow-up to my previous piece, ‘Understanding Trump’. Please read that piece first.

The Responsible Reporter’s Problem

Responsible reporters in the media normally transcribe political speeches so that they can accurately report them. But Donald Trump’s discourse style has stumped a number of reporters. Dan Libit, CNBC’s excellent analyst is one of them. Libit writes:

His unscripted speaking style, with its spasmodic, self-interrupting sentence structure, has increasingly come to overwhelm the human brains and tape recorders attempting to quote him.
Trump is, simply put, a transcriptionist’s worst nightmare: severely unintelligible, and yet, incredibly important to understand.
Given how dramatically recent polls have turned on his controversial public utterances, it is not hyperbolic to say that the very fate of the nation, indeed human civilization, appears destined to come down to one man’s application of the English language — and the public’s comprehension of it. It has turned the rote job of transcribing into a high-stakes calling.

Trump’s crimes against clarity are multifarious: He often speaks in long, run-on sentences, with frequent asides. He pauses after subordinate clauses. He frequently quotes people saying things that aren’t actual quotes. And he repeats words and phrases, sometimes with slight variations, in the same sentence.

Some in the media (Washington Post, Salon, Slate, Think Progress, etc.) have called Trump’s speeches “word salad.” Some commentators have even attributed his language use to “early Alzheimer’s,” citing “erratic behavior” and “little regards for social conventions.” I don’t believe it.

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Understanding Trump

Understanding Trump

By George Lakoff

There is a lot being written and spoken about Trump by intelligent and articulate commentators whose insights I respect. But as a longtime researcher in cognitive science and linguistics, I bring a perspective from these sciences to an understanding of the Trump phenomenon. This perspective is hardly unknown. More than half a million people have read my books, and Google Scholar reports that scholars writing in scholarly journals have cited my works well over 100,000 times.

Yet you will probably not read what I have to say in the NY Times, nor hear it from your favorite political commentators. You will also not hear it from Democratic candidates or party strategists. There are reasons, and we will discuss them later I this piece. I am writing it because I think it is right and it is needed, even though it comes from the cognitive and brain sciences, not from the normal political sources. I think it is imperative to bring these considerations into public political discourse. But it cannot be done in a 650-word op-ed. My apologies. It is untweetable.

I will begin with an updated version of an earlier piece on who is supporting Trump and why — and why policy details are irrelevant to them. I then move to a section on how Trump uses your brain against you. I finish up discussing how Democratic campaigns could do better, and why they need to do better if we are to avert a Trump presidency.

Who Supports Trump and Why

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Daily Kos Article: Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here’s an alternative.

Find article online here.

It is time to shine a light on the strategies used by Democrats, and on the Democratic infrastructure that uses those strategies.

Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block.  The strategists also keep suggesting a move to right.  This has left no room for the Democrats to have an overriding authentic moral identity that Americans can recognize.

Those strategists form an infrastructure that all Democrats have come to depend on; not just the candidates, but also the elected officials, Democrats in government, and citizens who either do, or might, find progressive policies morally and practically right. The strategic infrastructure includes PR firms, pollsters, consultants, researchers, trainers, communication specialists, speechwriters, and their funders.

It is an important and powerful infrastructure and we all depend on it. I believe it is vital to separate this infrastructure from the strategies it has been using. I believe the strategies can be greatly improved so as to give a true, deep, and moral picture of what progressive politics is about — one whose content and authenticity will resonate with, and inspire,  a majority of Americans.
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George Lakoff: In Politics, Progressives Need to Frame Their Values

Interview online here.

The following is a Truthout interview with Professor George Lakoff about his latest effort, THE ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!, to convince progressives to “frame” their political language and appeals based on deep-seated and active values. These are positions and actions that most of the public supports, but absent appropriate “framing” often vote their fears instead of progressive beliefs. It is necessary to ground a nurturing politics for the common good and core values in language and a moral foundation that appeals – rhetorically and emotionally – to the better selves of voters.

Mark Karlin: Before we get into the new edition of Don’t Think of an Elephant!, THE ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!, I wanted to ask you a bit more about something you said to me in a conversation at your home awhile back. You noted that it’s not surprising that Republicans are more persuasive than Democrats because they are more skilled at selling and marketing. Does this also relate to the prevalence of consumer advertising in the US that convinces people to buy things that they don’t need or want?

George Lakoff: The marketing profession uses knowledge about the mind, the brain, language, imagery, emotions, the framing of experiences and products, personal and social identity, and normal modes of thought that lead to action and that change brains over time. Marketing professors in business schools study results in these areas and teach courses on how to market most effectively. Again, they study normal modes of thought – the way people really reason. It would be strange to call such modes of thought “irrational” since they are the forms of reason that we have evolved to get us through life.
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New Book! – The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

New Book! – The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

PRESS RELEASE: The Elephant! Returns: “The Father of Framing” Offers Bold New Strategies Ten years after writing the definitive and bestselling book on political debate and messaging, George Lakoff returns with new strategies about how to frame the key political issues being debated today: climate change, inequality, immigration, education, personhood, abortion, marriage, healthcare, and more.

The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate picks up where the original book left off, but delving deeper into:

    How framing works;
    How to frame an integrated progressive worldview covering all issues;
    How framing your values makes facts, policies, and deep truths come alive;
    How framing on key political issues—from taxes and spending to healthcare and gay marriage—has evolved over the past decade;
    How to counter propaganda and slogans using positive frames;
    How to speak to “biconceptuals”—people with elements of both progressive and conservative worldviews; and,
    How to think about complex issues like climate and the increasing wealth gap.

This book is the essential progressive guide for the issues that define our future: climate, inequality, immigration, health care, and more. (preorder your copy today, books ship in early-mid September) Continue reading

The NY Times Uncovers Conservative Attacks and Then Prints One; Both Are On The Front Page

The NY Times has many virtues and some important flaws. Both were evident on the paper’s front page this week and there is a lot to be learned by what did and did not appear there.

For decades, Republican conservatives have constructed and carried out extensive, well-planned, long-term communication campaigns to change public discourse and the way the public thinks. It has been done very effectively and, for the most part, not secretly. The NY Times finally began reporting on this effort on Thursday, November 21, 2013 in a fine piece by Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

The Times reported on the House Republicans’ memo on how to attack the Affordable Care Act through a “multilayered sequence assault,” gathering stories “through social media letters from constituents, or meeting back home” and a new GOP website. The Times also reported on the “closed door” strategy sessions, going back to last year. Continue reading

Obama Reframes Syria: Metaphor and War Revisited

HuffPo
President Obama has reframed his position on Syria, adjusting the Red Line metaphor: It wasn’t his Red Line, not his responsibility for drawing it. It was the Red Line drawn by the world, by the international community — both legally by international treaty, and morally by universal revulsion against the use of poison gas by Assad. It was also America’s Red Line, imposed by America’s commitment to live up to such treaties. Continue reading

This semester, Fall 2014, George is teaching:

The Brain’s Politics: How the Framing of Issues Works — Linguistics (LINGUIS) 51 [3 units]
Description: The ways in which knowledge about the brain, mind, and language illuminates politics. Covers political topics of current interest.

Metaphor — Linguistics (LINGUIS) 106 [4 units]
Description: The role of metaphor in structuring our everyday language, conceptual system, and world view. Topics include cross-cultural differences, literary metaphor, sound symbolism, and related theoretical issues in philosophy, linguistics, psychology and anthropology.

Michigan’s New Corporate Servitude Law: It Takes Away Worker Rights

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By George Lakoff

Michigan has just passed a corporate servitude law. It is designed to take away many of the worker rights that unions have conferred throughout their history: the right to a living wage. The right to equal pay for women. The right to deferred payments in the form of pensions. The right to negotiate workplace standards and working conditions. The right to overtime pay. Continue reading

The Wisconsin Blues

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By George Lakoff and Elisabeth Wehling

In taking over the framing of just about every major issue, conservatives have hidden major truths. Democrats need to speak those truths from their own moral perspective. To show how, we have just published The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide for Thinking and Talking Democratic. Here is how the book applies to the Wisconsin Recall:

The Wisconsin recall vote should be put in a larger context. What happened in Wisconsin started well before Scott Walker became governor and will continue as long as progressives let it continue. The general issues transcend unions, teachers, pensions, deficits, and even wealthy conservatives and Citizens United.
Where progressives argued policy — the right to collective bargaining and the importance of public education — conservatives argued morality from their perspective, and many working people who shared their moral views voted with them and against their own interests. Why? Because morality is central to identity, and hence trumps policy.

Progressive morality fits a nurturant family: parents are equal, the values are empathy, responsibility for oneself and others, and cooperation. That is taught to children. Parents protect and empower their children, and listen to them. Authority comes through an ethic of excellence and living by what you say, rather than by enforcing rules.

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Words That Don’t Work

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By George Lakoff

Progressives had some fun last week with Frank Luntz, who told the Republican Governors’ Association that he was scared to death of the Occupy movement and recommended language to combat what the movement had achieved. But the progressive critics mostly just laughed, said his language wouldn’t work, and assumed that if Luntz was scared, everything was hunky-dory. Just keep on saying the words Luntz doesn’t like: capitalism, tax the rich, etc.

It’s a trap.

When Luntz says he is “scared to death,” he means that the Republicans who hire him are scared to death and he can profit from that fear by offering them new language. Luntz is clever. Yes, Republicans are scared. But there needs to be a serious discussion of both Luntz’s remarks and the progressive non-response.

What has been learned from the brain and cognitive sciences is that words are defined by fixed frames we use in thinking, frames come in hierarchical systems, and political frames are defined in moral terms, where “morality” is very different for conservatives and progressives. What lies behind the Occupy movement is a moral view of democracy: Democracy is about citizens caring about each other and acting responsibly both socially and personally. This requires a robust public empowering and protecting everyone equally. Both private success and personal freedom depend on such a public. Every critique and proposal of the Occupy movement fits this moral view, which happens to be the progressive moral view.
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Why Democracy Is Public: The American Dream Beats the Nightmare

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By George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith

Democracy, in the American tradition, has been defined by a simple morality: We Americans care about our fellow citizens, we act on that care and build trust, and we do our best not just for ourselves, our families, and our friends and neighbors, but for our country, for each other, for people we have never seen and never will see.

American Democracy has, over our history, called upon citizens to share an equal responsibility to work together to secure a safe and prosperous future for their families and nation. This is the central work of our democracy and it is a public enterprise. This, the American Dream, is the dream of a functioning democracy.

Public refers to people, acting together to provide what we all depend on: roads and bridges, public buildings and parks, a system of education, a strong economic system, a system of law and order with a fair and effective judiciary, dams, sewers, and a power grid, agencies to monitor disease, weather, food safety, clean air and water, and on and on. That is what we, as a people who care about each other, have given to each other.

Only a free people can take up the necessary tasks, and only a people who trust and care for one another can get the job done. The American Dream is built upon mutual care and trust.

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Obama Returns To His Moral Vision: Democrats Read Carefully!

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Last week, on April 13, 2011, President Obama gave all Democrats and all progressives a remarkable gift. Most of them barely noticed. They looked at the President’s speech as if it were only about budgetary details. But the speech went well beyond the budget. It went to the heart of progressive thought and the nature of American democracy, and it gave all progressives a model of how to think and talk about every issue.

It was a landmark speech. It should be watched and read carefully and repeatedly by every progressive who cares about our country — whether Democratic office-holder, staffer, writer, or campaign worker — and every progressive blogger, activist and concerned citizen. The speech is a work of art.

The policy topic happened to be the budget, but he called it “The Country We Believe In” for a reason. The real topic was how the progressive moral system defines the democratic ideals America was founded on, and how those ideals apply to specific issues. Obama’s moral vision, which he applied to the budget, is more general: it applies to every issue. And it can be applied everywhere by everyone who shares that moral vision of American democracy.

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What Conservatives Really Want

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—Dedicated to the peaceful protestors in Wisconsin, February 19, 2011

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.

The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women’s rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on.
Budget deficits are a ruse, as we’ve seen in Wisconsin, where the Governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work, and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the President has discussed. But deficits are not what really matters to conservatives.
Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

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Political Biography

Before 1996:

During the 1980’s, George was asked by various institutions to study various social and political questions from a cognitive linguistics perspective. In late 1990, jut before the start of the Gulf War, he wrote “Metaphor and War,” analyzing the metaphors of both George H.W. Bush and Saddam Hussein, revealing a metaphor conflict that ruled out any compromise. He also showed how Bush used a metaphor switch in October 1990 to convince the country to go to war in the Gulf, and outlined the metaphorical narrative under which the war was to be conducted. The paper, which could not be published in the normal media, became the first paper on politics to encircle the globe via the internet.

1996 – 2008:

After conservative Republicans took over Congress in 1994, George realized that the liberal/conservative split in the US was due to inconsistent worldviews, but was not generally understood. He realized that this was a problem for cognitive science, and set about studying it using what had been learned from cognitive linguistics, neuroscience, and the NTL neural computation research. In 1996, he published Moral Politics, which demonstrated that the worldview difference arose from the application of the widespread Nation-as-Family metaphor to two different idealized views of the family — a strict father family for conservatism and a nurturant parent family for liberalism. The basic result was that, from the family-based moral worldviews, one could predict with considerable accuracy not only which policies conservatives and liberals would tend to support, what language would be used, but also what the logic is of apparently “irrational” positions, such as how conservatives could be pro-life and for the death penalty.

Moral Politics was widely read, and led in 1997 to the formation of a small think tank, the Rockridge Institute, in which George joined with seven University of California colleagues in the social sciences. Between 1996 and 2000, George began popularizing the application of morally-based conceptual frames in politics, analyzing why conservatives were outdoing liberals and how they might do better at communicating their moral views and positions on issues. “Framing” meant the using of frame semantics in everyday thought, with the associated language. George proposed using that knowledge to effectively present one’s moral beliefs and their consequences for policy. This has been consistently misunderstood by political figures as PR, just using more effective language to win elections.

In 2002, George published a second edition of Moral Politics, critiquing the Gore campaign of 2000 and analyzing Bush’s success. That edition was used as a guide by Howard Dean in his 2004 campaign for the presidential nomination. Dean publicized the book, which led to George being asked to speak to two Senate Democrats’ retreats, two House retreats, and caucuses of both Senate and House Democrats. It also led to grants for the Rockridge Institute, which put out a large number of framing studies between 2003 and 2008. During that period, George wrote four books on politics: Don’t Think of an Elephant! (2004), Whose Freedom? (2006). Thinking Points (with the Rockridge staff, 2006), and The Political Mind (2008). Those books fleshed out in detail the analysis done in Moral Politics, adding crucial details.

Don’t Think of an Elephant! applied frame semantics to explain in simple terms how framing worked.

Whose Freedom? used the theory of contested concepts that the Strictness vs Nurturance analysis to explain in full detail what different ideas conservatives and liberals have when speak of “freedom?”

Thinking Points focused on “bi-conceptualism” — the discovery that there is no ideology of the “middle,” the “center,” or independents, but rather that many people have both conservative and liberal moral systems applied to different issues. It also explained that elections are not just matters of who has the better policies, but instead focused on values, communication, authenticity, trust, and identity.

Where the other books backgrounded the use of cognitive science and neuroscience, The Political Mind brought it front and center, explaining in readable scientific terms why Enlightenment Reason and the Rational Actor model got in the way of liberalism, and why conservative and progressive moral systems are likely to keep arising throughout history because of the way the neural system gives rise to certain metaphors and not others. The Political Mind also takes up the study of narrative structures, their emotional aspects, and how they are used metaphorically.

2008 – Present:

The Rockridge Institute closed in 2008, having done studies on the framing of a large range of issues, mostly in the years between 2002 and 2008.