Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Leftists' Repetepetepetition Explained!

Once in a great while, some leftist luminary will make it all terribly clear to us in the Right.

Courtesy of Zombie at PJ Media, we have the following:

The 10 Most Important Things Democrats Should Know
By George Lakoff and Elisbeth Wehling
  1. Don't repeat conservative language or ideas, even when arguing against them.
  2. All politics is moral, and morality trumps policy. Talk about the moral bases of your policy positions openly and regularly.
  3. Facts have no meaning outside of frames, metaphors, and moral narratives. Always discuss facts within moral frames, because people do not reason outside of those moral frames.

That little list was sent out by George Lakoff's publicist. Lakoff, if you aren't already aware, is Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at U.C. Berkeley, and an important Democratic tactician. His recent book The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic, is one long argument for the points above. Indeed, he states the matter succinctly in the book itself:

To sum up:
  • Use your own language; never use your opponent's language.
  • Be aware of what you believe and repeat it out loud over and over; never repeat ideas that you don't believe in, even if you are arguing against them.

But wait just a moment: He who is absolutely unwilling to confront his opponents' arguments is not arguing. He's merely repeating his case endlessly, since he's forbidden himself to grapple with objections to it.

Lakoff's thesis, then, amounts to a prescription for "persuasion" through endless repetition -- essentially a mental bludgeon wielded at anyone who allows himself to be subjected to Lakoffian haranguing.

Now, given the behavior of leftists in the mass media, this might strike you as "a blinding flash of the obvious." What makes it significant isn't that the Left's talking heads are already using Lakoff's guidelines, but that they've been formalized and prescribed as such. The Democrat Party is rather hierarchical: the kingmakers and top strategists issue orders to the lower echelons of activists and spokesmen, who can be counted on to follow them...because if they don't, they'll lose access to inner Democrat circles and any possibility of patronage.

But the rhetorical tactic is now a matter of public record, with the signature of a respected Democrat strategist at the bottom. Therefore, it can be used against them: "Why, Mr. Democrat Spokesman, aren't you willing to confront the human cost of your policies? Why won't you admit that crime is worst in legally disarmed states and cities? Why won't you grapple with the lifelong dependency induced by luxuriant welfarism? Why won't you concede that the public schools are failing to educate our kids because they're overloaded with non-scholastic missions? Are you afraid of these facts?"

Of course, it helps if you can cut off Mr. Democrat Spokesman's microphone long enough to get all that out in an audible fashion. But the effort must be made, for a simple reason: When it's permitted to go unchallenged, sanctimonious repetition works.

Food for thought.


Joan of Argghh! said...

I was posting something to this effect on Dan Reihl's site this morning. However, I am skeptical that GOP good ol' boys can get past the stigma of being perceived as stupid. Romney is rather untouchable in that area and the Left knows it. Where he is vulnerable is in still thinking all the chaff thrown at him is about HIM. And he answers accordingly, stupidly forgetting the questions and smears aren't about him, they're about the re-direct.

If he can't focus on the country, if he gets waylaid by the personal and responds to it, he's doomed.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of Colonel Hackworth's words, "You have to out-guerilla the guerrilla."

Mark Alger said...

Several notions:

1) Lakoff, over the years, has demonstrated to me that he is not all that bright. Clever, yes. Glib, yes. But his observations seem to be a tad off the mark. If the Left follows his prescriptions here, they may be in for surprises.

2) I'm more concerned, somewhat tangentially, but nevertheless on this subject, that Leftists -- including hardcore marxist, Van Jones, have taken to throwing the word "liberty" around lately, as if they know what the word means. Remembering what they did to the word "liberal," I'm concerned that one of our key shibboleths may be co-opted by the enemies of liberty. And we should resist it, pointing out that their behavior, tactics, and policies are affronts to liberty and are to be resisted on all fronts. (Yes, steal the terms of the maoists and use them against the. --Gandersauce department.)

3) One way of doing that is, as you did, to refer to the enemy as the Democrat party -- that is, the party made up of soi-disant democrats -- denying them the adjectival form, for neither their behavior AS a political party NOR their public policy prescriptions are democratIC in nature. And, when people ask you, "Why do you call them that? You know they don't like it," take advantage of the opportunity to make the above point.

rickl said...

I heard Glenn Beck flat-out declare on Tuesday that the left is deliberately setting out to co-opt, redefine, and take possession of the word "liberty". So it is a real threat, all right.