|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Leadership analysis Political science Books Cognitive development|
The book Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff fall within the domain of science and cognitive linguistics. In the book, Lakoff looks at the political divide in American politics using different moral models: the Nurturant parent model and strict father model (Van Wymeersch 193). These political models show moral division in both the progressives and conservatives. Lakoff seems to call for civic debate between the conservatives and the progressives and see why they need to reframe their issues. Reframing is based on his moral models, and he believes that it cannot happen overnight but advises the readers on how to apply his ethical models in daily life (Van Wymeersch 194). Lakoff helps people to understand why reframing is essential and how it should be done. Therefore, a vital precept in Lakoff's work is that with framing, each word is defined according to its conceptual framework as he employs this principle in Don't Think of an Elephant very successful.
Lakoff states that individuals only understand what the brain allows them. The frame is essential in politics because they are mental structures that shape our world interpretation. Framing affects how people think about policies. Lakoff states that framing is based on the Nurturant parent model and the strict father model. He describes that people have both models in their brain, but one model is commonly activated compared to the other (Lakoff 13). Having the two models are considered bi-conceptualism because it can lead to political change. Besides, understanding the world using framing means that facts cannot set you free because it cannot be accepted if they are not aligned with other people's frames.
The concept of framing is answered in chapter one of the book. Lakoff advises the reader on critical guidelines that can help in the public discourse. He describes that the public discourse s overruled by the conservatives because they own media language, which gives them the ability to read and frame people's mind (Van Wymeersch 194). The progressives can only stop this. However since the conservatives hold the Strict father model, they see the world as dangerous and link morality with prosperity. A self-interested person and discipline can become prosperous quickly. Based on the moral hierarchy, rich are considered moral and should be given a chance to rule to help the world to become a better place (Van Wymeersch 195). Progressives hold onto the Nurturant parent model that considers the responsibility and empathy of others. This means that the government should be tasked with the responsibility to protect opportunities and freedom of its people (Van Wymeersch 193). This difference between the progressives and conservatives forces Lakoff to offer the Unite glasses to help the two groups unite and cooperate. Conservatives understand the importance of unity, and they are able to frame their issues through the media, government, and research. The progressives, however, have much belief in facts, which sometimes does not work. Therefore facts cannot set people free because people vote for identity and not their self-interest. Progressives also have to deal with issues of biconceptual voters and hypocognition (Lakoff 39). They lack simple frames, and they must start thinking in a more proactive way than a reactive manner. Lakoff recommends that progressives and conservatives should integrate their morals and values in strategic initiatives. The major criticism of this part of the book is that Lakoff jump from one idea to another and the points are not smoothly connected.
The second part of the book looks at the mechanisms and concepts linked with framing. Most ideas in chapter one are repeated. For example, hypocognition cannot be overcome through slogans but only through discussions that give framing a chance (Van Wymeersch 193). Lakoff brings in the concept of reflexivity to help reframe the world and understanding of ourselves in chapter three. In chapter four, he addresses the issue of systematic causation, which needs to be learned repeatedly before it can be understood. Therefore, systematic causation cannot easily enter the public discourse because of the relationship between personhood and politics (Van Wymeersch 196). Lakoff considers this relationship and links them through morality because all politics is moral. He links personhood to reflexibility and describes that personhood can change and reframe overtime and its relationship with politics affects America's political views. Thus, conservatives can quickly unite because of their ability to frame public discourse as freedom is something they understand.
In summary, Lakoff as a progressive scientist tries to give progressives and conservatives advice on the things they do wrong. Lakoff knowledge and insight is based on the Nurturant parent model" and the "Strict father model" to help understand the political divide in America. He believes that the models help people to frame and reframe the world. Understanding the difference between the models helps one to understand the division between conservatives and progressives. He understands that conservatives are not dumped as believed by the progressives. Although the progressives look for the country' good course, they should not frame conservatives based on their moral decisions. The progressives should reframe their issues using the virtues that exist in Lakoff's moral system.
Lakoff, George. The all new don't think of an elephant!: Know your values and frame the debate.
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.
Van Wymeersch, Jana. "The All-New Don't Think of an Elephant." Politics, Culture and
Socialization Vol.7, no.1-2, 2016, pp.193-199.
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