By George Lakoff, 11/25/2013, Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission.
The NY Times has many virtues and some important flaws. Both were evident on the paper's front page this week and there is a lot to be learned by what did and did not appear there.
For decades, Republican conservatives have constructed and carried out extensive, well-planned, long-term communication campaigns to change public discourse and the way the public thinks. It has been done very effectively and, for the most part, not secretly. The NY Times finally began reporting on this effort on Thursday, November 21, 2013 in a fine piece by Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg.
The Times reported on the House Republicans' memo on how to attack the Affordable Care Act through a "multilayered sequence assault," gathering stories "through social media letters from constituents, or meeting back home" and a new GOP website. The Times also reported on the "closed door" strategy sessions, going back to last year.
It's a start, and it's about time. What the Times missed was the far deeper and systematic efforts by conservatives extending back four decades and the nature of the underlying general ideology covering dozens of issues that have been served by these efforts. The Times also missed the reason why the attack on the ACA is more than just anti-Obama politics, but rather part of an attempt to change the idea of what America is about. The Times missed the think tanks, the framing professionals, the training institutes, the booking agencies, the Wednesday morning meetings on both national and state levels, and the role of ALEC in the states -- all set out in the Lewis Powell memo more than four decades ago and carried out since then as part of seamless system directed at changing the brains of Americans.
By George Lakoff and Elizabeth Wehling. Reprinted with permission. Originally published on Huffpost
The New York Times, on June 5, 2012, reported that so-called "morning-after pills" work by preventing women's eggs from being fertilized, and not by preventing fertilized eggs from being implanted in the womb. The latest scientific findings show that "the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming."
In short, morning-after pills do not operate on fertilized eggs at all. Why should this matter? Because many conservative Republicans, as well as the official Catholic Church, believe the metaphor that Fertilized Eggs Are People, and that preventing such egg-people from being implanted in the womb constitutes "abortion," and hence, in their view, baby-killing. The Times article correctly reports that "it turns out that the politically charged debate over morning-after pills and abortion, a divisive issue in this election year, is probably rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work."
That's the truth. Does the truth matter?
By Chuck Watts, Co-founder
Delegates and visitors to the Caring Citizens’ Congress have been discussing the videos found at Caring Brains the last five Mondays. This series is made up of 6 nine minute videos of Dr. George Lakoff addressing environmentalists at a conference. We’re watching the 6th and last video and discussing it tonight. You’re welcome to join us.
One of the ideas expressed in these videos is the idea of how moral metaphors are constituted in our bodies. He used the phrase “Is it better…..” as an example of how to describe simple metaphors that constitute a morality, especially a morality for governing. For example:
- Authority - Is it better to listen to our parents?
- Empathy - Is it better to nurture our children?
I’m reminded of the banking commercial with the man in the suit sitting with kindergartners as he asks that question and fills in the last part. Then we all get to listen to the answers of the children. Very effective.
By Chuck Watts, Co-Founder
We don’t hear much about compassion and human rights from our elected representatives and aides and supporting institutions at any governing level, especially lower levels. That includes our major political parties, major media, and major business. Do you ever wonder why that is?
The Caring Citizens’ Congress, an Empathy Surplus Project, does wonder why. We also seek ways to strengthen the values of compassion and human rights as governing principles, especially public governing.
My perception of our current reality is that the language of business dominates our governing conversations everywhere. It works extremely well where making money is the mission. “Let the market be free or decide” are common refrains. If the market were a family member, it would be a strict father meeting out lessons of discipline and obedience and, of course, rewards. Wealth is the grade equivalent of an A+. Poverty is an F. Both grades are your own responsibility. This is our occupational reality.
For Immediate Release
October 8, 2013
by Mary Thomas Watts
The movie will start at 7 p.m., at the Murphy Theatre, in downtown Wilmington, and the audience will have an opportunity to meet Seaman Cioca following the film.
by Chuck Watts, Caring Citizen Delegate and Co-Founder
What happens when "breaking bad" refers to ethical corporations gone bad? What does that look like. I'm talking about any kind of corporation, for-profit or not-for-profit - S Corps, C Corps, 501(c)3's, 501(c)4's, 527's - you name it. What happens when they go bad?
They beat up their creators, enslave them and their representatives, and steal their money.
That's what's going on now all over our country under the guise of "government shutdown." Breaking bad corporations have privateered the United States of America and stolen our government.
The rest of the world sees talking heads telling them the United States government has shut itself down. What the rest of the world doesn't see is that off camera these thugs have a gun to the head of We the People and our representatives.
This is not those mean old - - - You fill in the blank of your most hated political party - - - shutting the government down. What we have is a multitude of extremely strong breaking bad corporations privateering our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
We can re-write the end of the story.
By Chuck Watts, Co-Founder
In conjunction with Rotary International United Nations Day on October 24, delegates in Caring Citizens’ Congresses, neighborhood think tanks chartered by the Empathy Surplus Project, are invited to celebrate Rotary International’s ongoing promotion of compassion and human rights as part of responsible government.
Dr. George Lakoff, cognitive scientist and linguist, coined an idea in his book Thinking Points called “conservation of governance.” He reminds us that all governance / politics is about decision making, doing the right thing, and therefore about morality. Lakoff writes,
“There are two aspects to policy making: cognitive and material. Material policy is about the nuts and bolts, how things are to work. Cognitive policy is about what the public has to have in its brain / mind in order to fully support the right material policies.”
Rotary promotes the idea that compassion and human rights are basic building blocks in ALL government, both public and private. Rotary focuses on the cognitive side of politics - the core values. Their motto of "Service Above Self" lifts up the belief that if your business or government is not about compassion and human rights, your market or government is broken.
Join us for these upcoming national and Wilmington, Ohio events that celebrate compassion and human rights as governing principles.
Reprinted with permission from our consultant, Joe Brewer, originally published at Think Africa Press. Other authors contributing to this article are Alnoor Ladha and Martin Kirk
It's about time we called out the great myth that mass poverty just is, as if it were a natural part of some universal moral order. Such thinking is both profoundly untrue and disastrously misleading.
Poverty is human-made. It is created – knowingly and with scientific efficiency – by a vastly sophisticated industry that includes private companies, think tanks, media outlets, government policies, and more. This ‘Poverty Creation Industry’ is about the least talked about feature of our global economy and yet it is perhaps the greatest market force in the modern world. Until we acknowledge this startling truth, progress towards global prosperity and sustainability will fall far short of what is possible.
Republished with permission from the author, George Lakoff. We are republishing this article to emphasize the absence of the language of compassion and human rights as governing principles from all parties in the debate over the budget and the debt ceiling. Originally published 02/26/13 in the Huffington Post under the title
Why Ultra-Conservatives Like the Sequester
Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Robert Reich and other major economists have pointed out that the deficit is not an urgent economic problem and that, to the contrary, the economy would be helped by an increase in public investment and harmed by drastic cuts. The Sequester would hurt the economy, millions of people, and the country as a whole.
President Obama has detailed the vast range of harms that the sequester would bring. They are well-known. And they are not necessary. The president sees the sequester, if it happens, as an enormous self-inflicted wound, inflicted on America by a Republican-dominated House elected by Americans.
But pointing out Republican-caused harms to millions of people -- many of them Republicans -- does not sway the ultra-right. Why? Democratic pundits say that Republicans want to hurt the president, to show government doesn't work by making it not work, and to protect "special interests" from higher taxes. All true. But there is an additional and deeper reason.
Ultra-conservatives believe that the sequester is moral, that it is the right thing to do.
By Dr. George Lakoff, Reprinted with permission from the author. Originally appearing in Huffington Post.
This is the second of two articles analyzing the mode of thought and the language in public discourse on Syria from the perspective of cognitive science and linguistics.
Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force that has a local effect in place and time. You pick up a glass of water and drink it: direct causation. You bomb a hospital, destroying it and killing those inside: direct causation.
No language in the world has a way in its grammar to express systemic causation. You drill a lot more oil, burn a lot more gas, put a lot more CO2 in the air, the earth's atmosphere heats up, more moisture evaporates from the oceans yielding bigger storms in certain places and more droughts and fires in other places: systemic causation. The world ecology is a system -- like the world economy and the human brain.
From infanthood on we experience simple, direct causation. We see direct causation all around us: if we push a toy, it topples over; if our mother turns a knob on the oven, flames emerge. And so on. The same is not true of systemic causation. Systemic causation cannot be experienced directly. It has to be learned, its cases studied, and repeated communication is necessary before it can be widely understood.