The Political Mind
It is abundantly clear that if you control language, terms such as, war on terror, partial birth abortion, and death tax, you can shape ideas and dominate the discourse. You can put your opponents on the defensive. And once you do that, they are always reacting to your initiatives. People on the right have understood this dynamic very well. And they’ve done something about it. First, they built up a network of well-funded think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Then they created their own media such as Fox and Rush Limbaugh. Then they developed a golden rolodex of experts, attached to their think tanks, who constantly appear in the media to advance their ideological agenda. On the other side of the conventional political spectrum, it is not clear whether liberals sufficiently grasp the urgency of the issue.
George Lakoff is Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute where he applies cognitive linguistics to the study of politics, especially the framing of public political debate. He is the author of Don’t Think of An Elephant and The Political Mind.