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Understanding Trump

This is a very brief summary of a talk by George Lakoff on Jan 29, 2017 and a link to a very long article that goes into much greater depth.

George Lakoff – author of Don’t Think of an Elephant and numerous other books  – spoke to an overflowing crowd at Vintage House yesterday in Sonoma, CA. Lakoff has recently retired as distinguished professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley and is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society

The talk was titled “Freedom and Understanding.” Lakoff  focused largely on explaining how the new president and conservatives use certain words to convey ideas and use a “strict father model” to assert authority.

George Lakoff's Strict Father Moral Hierarchy
George Lakoff’s Strict Father Moral Hierarchy

Words like “freedom” and “liberty” have been taken over by the right. The circuitry for ideas and language gets stronger the more they are activated. This is why repetition matters. Language heard regularly activates ideas regularly, so what is said in public discourse matters – think cable news, network news, printed and social media.

The conservatives want us to believe that government and regulations are odious and oppressive. Lakoff reframes the “public worldview” and says that “regulations are protections,” that “employees are profit creators,” and that “benefits (health care and pensions) are earnings, not gifts.”

He went on to say that many  products and services that form huge industries in the private sector were born out of research in the public sector. Computer science came out of the National Science Foundation, the internet and gps came from the Defense Department and that healthcare came from the National Institute of Health. All were paid for by taxpayers. “Private enterprise depends on public institutions” and Lakoff says that the real Trump and conservative agenda is to dismantle 75% of public protections and privatize public resources and institutions.

He said we must reframe the conversation, focus on TRUTH and FACTS,  focus much less on Trump and EXPOSE THE REAL AGENDA before it’s too late.

Professor Lakoff is starting the Citizens Communication Network and will roll it out initially on Facebook and Twitter.