Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lakoff: What should progressives make of the "new centrism?"

George Lakoff:
First, they have to recognize the reality of bi-conceptualism. Adopting conservative language helps conservatism. Adopting conservative programs makes the world more conservative and so helps drive empathy from the world, and that is disastrous.

Second, progressives should recognize that the business of America is business - that there are successful businesses and businesspeople with progressive values, and they should be praised and courted - and separated from radical conservatives.

Third, progressives have to organize around a single morality, centered on empathy, both personal and social responsibility, and excellence - being the best person you can be, not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your family, community, and nation. All politics is moral; it is about the right things to do. Get your morality straight, learn to talk about it, then work on policy. It is patriotic to be progressive.

Fourth, progressives must understand the critical need for a communication system that rivals the conservative system: An overall understanding of conservatism, effective framing of progressive beliefs and real facts, training centers on understanding and articulating progressive thought, systems of spokespeople on call, booking agencies to book speakers on radio and tv, and in local venues like schools, churches, and clubs.

Fifth, it is progressive to be firm, articulate, and gentle. You can stand up for what you believe, while being gentlemanly and ladylike.

Sixth, progressives have to get over the idea that conservatives are either stupid, or mean, or greedy - or all three. Conservatives are mostly people who have a different moral system from progressives.

A new centrism that makes sense ought to be one that unifies progressives under a single moral system centered on empathy; that recognizes, and shows respect for, the progressive side of biconceptuals; that respects the intelligence of conservatives; that allies with progressive businesspeople as well as with unions; that builds a communication system that brings it in touch with most Americans; that calls upon the love of nature; that is gentle and firm; and that refuses to move to the right, either in language or action.

If you start adopting conservative language and/or positions, you become conservative-lite, or worse. MORE...

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