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View Diary: Stop using Social Security and the 'P' Word Together (26 comments)

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  •  Lakoff on frame negation (0+ / 0-)

    From page 3 of Lakoff's book, Don't think of an elephant:

    ...  The word is defined relative to that frame.  When we negate a frame we evoke the frame.

    Richard Nixon found that out the hard wqy.  While under pressure to resign during the watergate scandal, Nixon addressed the nation on TV.  He stood before the nation and said, "I am not a crook."  And everybody thought about him as a crook.

    Also, from page 124 of the same book(sorry, can't get a link to google books.  I own the book on my kindle so I'm just typing from it)

    Avoid the usual mistakes.  Remember, don't just negate the other person's claims; reframe.  The facts unframed will not set you free.  You cannot win just by stating the true facts and showing that they contradict your opponent's claims.  Frames trump facts.  His frames will stay and the facts will bounce off.  Always reframe.  If you remember nothing else about framing, remember this:  Once your frame is accepted into the discourse, everything you say is just common sense.

    I don't know what Lakoff or his colleagues would say about this argument.  I will concede that you're right that we need to show why the attack is false, but it needs to start with a moral reframing of the question.  Then back it up with facts.

    In any case, hundreds of articles and news reports have now been generated with headlines like is SS a Ponzi? or from it's defenders saying "SS is not a Ponzi".  Even if everyone of those articles is as well written as yours, the number of mentions of social security and ponzi alone is going to start affecting people's thinking.

    Our Dime Understanding the U.S. Budget

    by maddogg on Tue Sep 20, 2011 at 05:34:07 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  What if Lakoff's wrong? (0+ / 0-)

      "...  The word is defined relative to that frame.  When we negate a frame we evoke the frame.
      Richard Nixon found that out the hard wqy.  While under pressure to resign during the watergate scandal, Nixon addressed the nation on TV.  He stood before the nation and said, "I am not a crook."  And everybody thought about him as a crook."

      1. I agree about evoking the frame when we negate it; but I think that doesn't necessarily mean that we re-inforce the frame

      2. Take SS. it is itself a "frame." And that frame evokes a very strong positive emotional response. When Perry say SS is a ponzi scheme, he's putting forth not just a frame but a theory with a moral dimension. The theory contradicts the SS frame itself and tries to redefine of reframe SS within that larger frame. The first reaction of most people is not neutral. It is that's BS, I reject that re-framing. But if we ignore "SS is a ponzi scheme" and don't negate it, then Perry the ponzi schemer repeats it and every shill for the Rs repeats it and years go by with more and more repetition and the SS frame gradually does change. I'm telling you that to stop that we have to kill the re-framing before it gets entrenched. Yes the SS/ponzi reframing will be evoked; but it will also be negatively, rather than positively reinforced, and it will be killed.

      The Nixon example is a very bad one. He said he wasn't a crook because people already thought of him as a crook and a criminal at the time. He probably did positively re-inforce that framing, but that was because his denial was blatantly false. He was a crook and everyone knew it.

      Next:

      "Avoid the usual mistakes.  Remember, don't just negate the other person's claims; reframe.  The facts unframed will not set you free.  You cannot win just by stating the true facts and showing that they contradict your opponent's claims.  Frames trump facts.  His frames will stay and the facts will bounce off.  Always reframe.  If you remember nothing else about framing, remember this:  Once your frame is accepted into the discourse, everything you say is just common sense."

      The paragraph begins by assuming that his views on frames are true, i.e. "avoid the usual mistakes." But that's what we're disputing here.

      I agree that we should always present an alternative frame to the one we oppose. I pointed out that I did that in my post. Consider frames to be theories, at least broadly. We know that alternative theories are always necessary to learn something. We also know that the alternatives in the context of facts help people to choose the better alternative. Again I did that in my post.

      But going further Lakoff's assertion that unframed facts will not set you free is wrong; simply because there's no such thing as an unframed fact. Every factual statement uses concepts that are networked to others associated with frames. His framing of this issue is improper. Improperly framed facts will not set you free. Such facts will bounce off opposing frames But unframed facts, don't even exist, as a constructivist like Lakoff should know.

      I agree that: "Once your frame is accepted into the discourse, everything you say is just common sense." That's why I think we should be merciless towards the SS/ponzi frame. That's why I called the framers "ponzi schemers."

      Finally, what if Lakoff is wrong in his advice? Why do you so easily assume that he is right? You don't cite empirical evidence in the context of his hypotheses, but just apply his advice and tell us what we should do. You're essentially saying when someone asserts an obnoxious moral framing; don't mention it. Fight it by asserting alternative moral framings in the context of facts. But what if we humans need more than alternatives? What if we also need critical evaluation of alternative framings to learn well? I think we do and that's why I think Lakoff is wrong and that his advice, as you've interpreted it may be dangerous for us to follow in the long run.

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