George Lakoff on "frames", "disaster messaging", and the importance of framing the debate and reinforcing your values

"Progressive framing is about saying what you believe, telling the truth, and activating the progressive worldview already present in the minds of those who are partly conservative and partly progressive."

  Thus writes left-wing strategist George Lakoff in the article below. He adds,

"Framing is, of course, about policy, more than about messaging. What you say should go hand-in-hand with what you think and do."

  To anyone accustomed to reading my posts about the importance of Libertarians approaching the voters with integrity, saying what we believe, and putting substance over image, or who has been thinking in similar terms themselves, some of that should sound vaguely familiar (just substitute "libertarian" for "progressive" and "statist" for "conservative"). But Lakoff provides an interesting conceptual framework for these ideas, which are relevant no matter which point of view you are seeking to advance.

  In Lakoffian terms, one might say that Libertarians have long been engaging in "disaster messaging" in response to the growth of government. Realizing that statists control the most common ("mainstream") way of thinking and talking about particular issues, Libertarian "reformers" panic and start thinking short-term, which causes them to move toward the State. Paraphrasing Lakoff,

"When Libertarians use statist language, they activate more than the statist framing on the given issue. They also activate and strengthen the high level, deep statist moral frames. This tends to make voters more statist overall -- and leads them to choose the real statist position on the given issue, rather than the sort of statist version provided by the Libertarians. Disaster framing is a disaster."

  Which higher-level frames are Libertarians strengthening with our communications? Are we consistently working to strengthen the higher-level libertarian frames of "Freedom is good" and "Aggression is wrong?" Or are we sometimes strengthening frames based on other values such as "People should obey the law," "National security is important," and "Productive people are more deserving than non-productive people" which superficially "fit" with lower-level libertarian frames such as "The U.S. government should stop violating the Constitution", "Self defense is moral", and "Public policy should not punish entrepreneurship and reward laziness", but in the long run work to inhibit our higher-level frames?

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))