Sunday, May 3, 2009

Don't Think of an Elephant

George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant is an excellent read in the use of language to frame debates and craft arguments.  Just admit it, you've already been thinking about an elephant in the process of trying not to think of one.  Lakoff point out that similar techniques have been used by the (American) Right to frame debates (e.g., tax cuts / tax relief / tax-and-spend).  Who can be against "tax-relief" especially when we suffer from such a "tax-burden" that it takes the better part of the year to get past "tax freedom day"?  (Do you recall hearing this language, not just from our friends at AIMS and the Fraser Institute, but increasingly in the day-to-day news reports, in newspapers, and popular magazines?)

In this very short book, Lakoff raises awareness, and calls us to action. We have to take back the language, get rid of this "truthiness" and engage people in meaningful debate.

I suggest visiting the Rockridge Institute where you can download another Lakoff book, Thinking Points.

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