RE: [lpsf-discuss] Lakoff interview


I actually agree with Lakoff's analysis, partly because I thought of it first :-). What you're missing, I think, is the significance of the word _parent_. I agree with Lakoff that liberals and conservatives alike see the State as the parent and citizens as _children_. If you keep in mind also how our whole society sees children--as something more like pets, to be owned, trained, controlled, protected--I think it all fits. The thing that _Lakoff_ misses, amazingly, is the possibility of any social arrangement that doesn't see the citizens as children. (I've been working on an article on this for _Liberty_.)

I'm also surprised, in a minor way, at Lakoff's claims about the superior rhetoric of the right in this interview. He may be right to feel threatened by the recent resurgence of the right in the last two decades, but I think he's discounting the enormously influential rhetoric of the left throughout the 20th century--precisely the rhetoric of nurturance and compassion, which is still extremely influential.

As for the strategic use of language, I might disagree with Marcy. It may be true now that every use of the word "anarchy" costs us one vote. The same may also be true of "abolishing the IRS," "ending Social Security," "ending the drug war," and so on for our entire platform. In the 30-year history of the LP, however, I think the persistent use of these terms is just what has made them perceptibly less scary over the last 30 years. What was totally lunatic fringe at the time the Party was started is now debated and talked about at the highest levels. None of these proposals has yet won, but they're all being taken seriously. Don't forget: If we focus on getting votes today, we'll never be able to change the country. Of necessity, we have to be advocating something different from what most people want today; otherwise, we'll just get more of the same.