Crikey waves the lefty flag. Again.

Taking money to promote goods isn't that big a deal. Businesses advertise to survive. In fact, I've put Google ads on my sidebar to garner the few crumbs left lying around. Some of them appear to be lefty oriented too.

Crikey, Australia's alleged foremost political and business ezine, sent out this daily update with the following ad plastered across the top.


DON'T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT is a compelling linguistic analysis of political campaigning and an effective antidote to the conservatives' stranglehold on political dialogue. Author GEORGE LAKOFF demonstrates how conservatives now dominate politics because they understand the power of political metaphors. Inherently positive terms "family values", "war on terror" make it impossible to argue without sounding foolish, treacherous, or dangerously radical. Lakoff outlines how the centre-left can wrest back power from the conservatives by playing offence, not defense by discarding the conservatives' rhetoric and effectively reframing the issues."

George Lakoff is an American, a Democrat, and a progressive. So what? you say. There's millions of 'em. Well, George is also a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. George understands language. George has a tendency to focus on political terminologies, and how they create or enhance a political discussion and policy. His current bleat is about how conservative political parties (The Right) have allegedly hijacked the English language. Conservatives couch their political spiel in terms, "frames" if you will, that evoke a sense of patriotism and pride in your country, and designed to have people place greater faith in the conservative style of governance versus a progressive style.

And that's just not fair, according to George. Using terms like 'family values' and 'democracy' and 'personal freedoms' always make the conservatives seem much fairer. George would like progressives to move away from answering questions specifically, to 're-frame' the question to reflect a progressive view. There's apparently no point in answering the question. You'll just end up being wrong. Just rephrase the question and go on the attack! I would now like to quote George, and see if you can see where he is heading.

"Conservatives have worked for decades to establish the metaphors of taxation as a burden, an affliction, and an unfair punishment – all of which require "relief." They have also, over decades, built up the frame in which the wealthy create jobs, and giving them more wealth creates more jobs."

Let's 'reframe', shall we? Conservatives, that is, The Right, claim that taxation is a burden, and wealthy people create jobs. How about we reframe to a progressive view then. Would the opposing view sound something like;
'Progressives view taxation as an integral part of socialist wealth redistribution, maintaining fiscal equality for all. Wealthy people have to give more, as they always have more. There is no need to work harder, as the wealthy will pay for your shortfall'. How close did I get?

"The truth is that the wealthy have received more from America than most Americans — not just wealth but the infrastructure that has allowed them to amass their wealth: banks, the Federal Reserve, the stock market, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the legal system, federally-sponsored research, patents, tax supports, the military protection of foreign investments, and much much more. American taxpayers support the infrastructure of wealth accumulation. It is only fair that those who benefit most should pay their fair share."

Gee, not bad for a first effort. See, the wealthy get all the breaks. Access to banks. Lawyers. Tax support. Securities and Exchange Commission. Military protection. The wealthy get it ALL. And the poor? Dirt to eat, and a chance to beg on the golden streets of Wall Street. Finally, I'd like to show you George's methods of getting his point across. As a professor of linguistics, you would expect reasoned arguments and cool rational logic. Perhaps the the Professor could display a plethora of incontrovertible evidence to persuade those around to his point of view. Well, you'd be wrong.

"Reframing is telling the truth as we see it – telling it forcefully, straightforwardly, articulately, with moral conviction and without hesitation. The language must fit the conceptual reframing — a reframing from the perspective of progressive morality. It is not just a matter of words, though the right words do help evoke a progressive frame: paying their fair share, those who have received more, the infrastructure of wealth, and so on."

Incidentally, I'd just like to outline the Progressive Values(TM) that George Lakoff is so detemined to shove down conservative throats.
The fundamental progressive values are:
1. We are empathetic; we care about people.
2. Be responsible.
3. Help, Don't Harm.
4. Protect the powerless.

What can you say to this magnificent creed? No War in Iraq. Sudanese genocide. Serbia. DR Congo. Zimbabwe. etc etc. All examples of progressive values in action.

Cross-posted at Bastards Inc.

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