I posted recently on Luntz's recommendations to GOP governors on conservative framing of the debate wrt to Occupy in Frank Luntz and the new GOP talking points. Now George Lakoff advises Occupy and progressives in general how to counter.
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.
What the Occupy movement can't stand is the opposite "moral" view, that democracy provides the freedom to seek one's self-interest and ignore what is good for other Americans and others in the world. That view lies behind the Wall Street ethic of the Greedy Market, as opposed to a Market for All, a market that should maximize the well-being of most Americans. This view leads to a hierarchical view of society, where success is always deserved and lack of success is moral failure. The rich are the moral, and they not only deserve their wealth, they also deserve the power it brings. This is the view that Luntz is defending....
But Luntz is not just addressing his remarks to Republicans. He is also looking to take Democrats for suckers. How? By choosing his frames carefully, and getting Democrats to do the opposite of what he tells Republicans. There is a basic truth about framing. If you accept the other guy's frame, you lose....
Unfortunately, Luntz is still ahead of most progressives responding to him. Progressives need to learn how framing works. Bashing Luntz, bashing Fox News, bashing the right-wing pundits and leaders using their frames and arguing against their positions just keeps their frames in play.
Progressives have a basic morality, which is largely unspoken. It has to be spoken, over and over, in every corner of our country. Progressives need to be both thinking and talking about their view of a moral democracy, about how a robust pubic is necessary for private success, about all that the public gives us, about the benefits of health, about a Market for All not a Greed Market, about regulation as protection, about revenue and investment, about corporations that keep wages low when profits are high, about how most of the rich earn a lot of their money without making anything or serving anyone, about how corporations govern your life for their profit not yours, about real food, about corporate and military waste, about the moral and social role of unions, about how global warming causes the increasingly monstrous effects of weather disasters, about how to save and preserve nature.Read the whole post at The Huffington Post
Words That Don't Work
by George Lakoff(also posted at AlterNet — h/t Kevin Fathi)
Unfortunately, Prof. Lakoff does not understand MMT so his economic framing is way off. But he has the basic moral divide correct and progressives need to avoid reinforcing their opponents framing by using it.
Even MMT proponents presume that "full employment and price stability" are generally agreed upon as chief criteria for effective economic policy. Blog discussions reveal that this is hardly the case, and them many conservatives and Libertarians regard emphasizing full employment as socialist, as is "providing for the general welfare" even though it is explicitly state in the Preamble. They also deny that there are public goods. So this really is a battle for hearts and minds, and it is as much a moral conflict as an economic one.