Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Don't Think of an Elephant

Like a lot of people on the left, I find myself confused when faced with certain neocon positions. I listen to them talk about things like this war in Iraq or about education or marriage and I cant fathom where their views come from. That a good number of people in this country share their views scares me.

I was commenting at work to a co-worker about how I just couldn’t get these neocons and my co-worker lent me a book that had some pretty interesting ideas in it. The book is Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff. It is the first book I have read that has a plausible sounding explanation for the world view of the neocons. Some of it was new to be but some of it was a reinforcement of what I already believed.

Lakoff talks a lot about how people think and about how people think in frames. It turns out that people will reject information that doesn’t fit their frame (and I am sure we progressives do this too). He also talks a lot about how language helps us form our frames and how today’s conservatives have become very good at presenting their ideas in frames that a lot of people can relate to.

Lakoff says that our frames come from how we view the world. That people have frames based upon how they view the nation as a family metaphor. Progressives come from a nurturing parent point of view and neocons come from a strict father point of view. All of this is explained really well at the Rockridge Institute’s webpage about the nation as a family

All in all, it is a good read.

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