Skip to main content

View Diary: "Twelve Traps to Avoid" By George Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute (197 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Anti-intellectual snobbery (9) (18+ / 0-)

    This is a longstanding problem in the United States and populists, left and right, have been milking it for all they are worth. As an educated 'elitist', I am frustrated with people who decide that their uninformed opinion is just as good as the well-considered and well-informed opinion of a specialist in the area. Progressives have to make it clear to the less informed that they are being conned -- they are the suckers who are being victimized by the populists who are taking advantage of their ignorance.

    Don't attack the poorly informed voters -- just help them understand how the populist politician is taking advantage of them, betraying their trust.

    Democrats: Giving you a government that works.

    by freelunch on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 08:39:03 AM PDT

    •  Nobody likes hearing they've been conned (22+ / 0-)

      it makes them feel dumb. If you merely give them a reason to like you and consider your version of the truth, they'll put 2 and 2 together themselves. I think we progressives/liberals tend to either scold or lecture to voters; we need to make the average, less-educated person feel unintimidated by appealing to their ability to see certain truths clearly. We need to affirm what they know, and then slowly shift the debate to change wht they think they know.

      Resistance is the secret of joy. - Alice Walker

      by benheeha on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 08:46:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A-freakin'-men! (0+ / 0-)

        I'm right there with you. See below.

        -- MXW

        "...hope is not the equivalent of optimism. Its opposite is not pessimism but despair. So I'm always hopeful." William Sloane Coffin

        by mxwing on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:01:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  IMO It Has To Do With Respecting The Person (7+ / 0-)

        Confrontational diaries here at DKos are a good example of what benheeha is saying. How often has a FU Stupid Assholes For Believing This diary changed your position on any issue?  What has been your reaction to even milder versions of diaries that are attacking something that you believe in?  Has your first reaction been Thank You For Telling Me I am stupid or has it been less than receptive even if you are a person (unlike conservatives) that prides themselves in trying to see someone else's POV. These types of diaries quickly deteriorate into attack and counterattack modes that just harden people's opinions.

        Sometimes you have to acknowledge a grain of truth on their side for them to be open to looking at the truth in a different way.

        •  The "party" meme (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MO Blue

          This reminds me of a strategy that appeared on this blog awhile back - you're at a party/gathering where not everyone thinks as you do, you have the urge to shoot down some right wing tripe, so instead of swinging from the heels you take the tack of mentioning how you "heard someone say" (uh oh, there's 'someone' again) and you present the argument as reasonable and well-received at the place you first heard it.  You are selling an idea instead of destroying the right wing propaganda.  It's like you're introducing a "reason" virus into the collective social mind, and it does the work for you.  The wingers do this all the time and watch us progressive yank out our own livers in public to their never-ending glee.

          Larva-tested -- Pupa-approved!

          by Mike E on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:56:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  re: truth (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MO Blue

          so when you say "acknowledge a grain of truth" I wonder if you are talking about absolute or relative truth?

          should think the latter but wouldn't like to presume-

          FWIUnderstand social truths are relative, contested and changing.  The grain may be that that particular truth is one which allows them to understand or manage some aspect of the world they live in.

          How did they come to believe that truth?  How has it shifted their understanding(s)?  What effects has it had?  How could life be made better?  How can change happen?

          Dream a better world through dialogue.

          "There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules." -Josh Marshall

          by grollen on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 10:58:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We have to take this a step further... (5+ / 0-)

      Don't attack the poorly informed voters -- just help them understand how the populist politician is taking advantage of them, betraying their trust.

      We probably can't convince them that their fake-populist politician is taking advantage of them. They need to hear our message and convince themselves.

      We need to invite, win, and keep their trust by expressing ourselves plainly.

      You can't dumb-down the truth, but you can certainly decorate it with enough verbal flourishes to make it unrecognizable.

      As an educated 'elitist', I am frustrated with people who decide that their uninformed opinion is just as good as the well-considered and well-informed opinion of a specialist in the area.

      These people are trusting their "common sense", which is what they believe have. We have to use common sense arguments with them, or they'll never hear us. Maybe we shouldn't even argue with them. Maybe we should just put our positions out there plainly, and keep them visible enough so the "common sense" person just sort of incorporates them into his or her everyday thinking.

      "...hope is not the equivalent of optimism. Its opposite is not pessimism but despair. So I'm always hopeful." William Sloane Coffin

      by mxwing on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 08:59:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also need to invite them to express themselves (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mxwing

        and really listen.  Listen especially for any nuggets you can agree with.  Always agree with something first before you say either BUT or NO.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:27:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  good points (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Swopa, ferg, mftalbot

        A key with these people, I think, is to focus on money.

        Most people understand money, even if they don't pay attention to politics.

        That GOP tax cuts favor the very rich at the expense of the rest of us, and that GOP deficits put our kids behind the 8-ball and put us in hock to China, are concepts that most people should be able to relate to.

        Just keep harping on a few themes till they get through:

        GOP are irresponsible spenders

        GOP are teenagers with credit cards

        GOP spending is a tax on our kids

        GOP helps their rich friends at the expense of regular working people

        and so on.

        an ambulance can only go so fast - neil young

        by mightymouse on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:27:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I so agree with the examples (0+ / 0-)

          GOP are irresponsible spenders

          GOP are teenagers with credit cards

          GOP spending is a tax on our kids

          GOP helps their rich friends at the expense of regular working people

          and so on.

          Yep. GOP helps their rich friends at the expense of regular working people is an especially effective attack, because it counters the Republican "liberal elitist" meme.

          Dear World: Sorry: we tried our best -- Half of America

          by mftalbot on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:38:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You could make it a joke (0+ / 0-)

            We sometimes think you're stupid, and want to help you learn. The rethugs think you're stupid, tell you you're smart, and steal your wallet.

            We're a teacher, they're a con man.

            •  "We" sometimes think "you're"... (0+ / 0-)

              I don't really like this exression (no diss on your main point, understand...)

              I think it's better to say "We're hurting, and the Republicans are too busy helping their rich friends"

              --"We're" us, the Republicans are "them" - see? Identify with the people you want to represent.

              Dear World: Sorry: we tried our best -- Half of America

              by mftalbot on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 10:23:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Getting beyond the bigger brain vs penis debate (0+ / 0-)

      requires better shoes.

      WIN ELECTIONS or Buy Guns.

      by Robert Davies on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:11:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Umm.. (0+ / 0-)

      I believe you just fell for trap #8.

      -3.13, -2.13, and trying to swim back to the center

      by Tuscarora on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:22:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm trying to respond to this comment (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      philgoblue, mmacdDE, Tuscarora, buddabelly

      But I don't really want to start a big argument or something, but ...

      1. you called them suckers
      1. you called them ignorant
      1. you called them too stupid to know when they are being conned
      1. you implied that your education makes you smart and them dumb so they should defer all thinking to you

      Look, man, if you've ever known a real farmer, you would know they are not ignorant.

      You might become grateful for having food for the energy to do your desk work.

      In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

      by yet another liberal on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:36:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Know what you know, know what you don't (0+ / 0-)

        When it comes to farming, my opinion is not very valuable, but I know that. If I started telling a modern farmer how to farm based on my knowledge of state of the art farming from forty years ago, I would be foolish and he would know it.

        When it comes to building things, I'll trust the standards that have been developed by engineers rather than my 'common sense' or yours, and I'll expect them to keep to high standards.

        Societies that don't respect knowledge and wisdom are eventually destroyed by that lack of respect for such values.

        Democrats: Giving you a government that works.

        by freelunch on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 10:28:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jfadden

          The way neocons and right-wingers try to undermine experts (i.e. science) is a major problem.

          We'll need leadership to get out of this mess.  Presently, our leaders are feeding everybody bullshit.

          And I did understand and agree with that aspect of your original post.

          In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

          by yet another liberal on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 10:34:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  not respecting ... (0+ / 0-)

          say like indigenous sustainable agriculture techniques?

          chuck it in for mass manufacture, feed lots petrochem fertilizers and insecticides, soil depletion foot and mouth, prion diseaese etc etc

          I wonder why you chose to denote modern agriculture specifically?

          "There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules." -Josh Marshall

          by grollen on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 11:05:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I knew something about it (0+ / 0-)

            When I was a kid, I learned a lot about modern, mechanical agriculture from my dad. Though he hadn't farmed since he had gone off to college to learn ag education, he had taught it for a couple of decades. I had learned about modern farming procedures in the late '60s and early '70s, back when Farm Journal was impressed with the few farmers who were managing to get 100 bushel/acre corn. Now, those farmers are probably getting 250-300 bushels/acre and the average is about 150 bu/acre.

            Democrats: Giving you a government that works.

            by freelunch on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 12:15:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  re: point 9 (0+ / 0-)

      being proactive means coming up with radical ideas and making REPUBLICANS be on the defensive. For instance:

      Ending the drug war: it's expensive, ineffective, a persecution of minorities, a harsh limit on personal liberties and an ecological disaster (re: Plan Colombia)

      Making voting day a national holiday, enacting wide hard hitting voter enfranchisement programs: anything else is a limit on democracy, and is ellitist.

      Statehood for the District of Columbia: otherwise, it is taxation without representation

      High standards in foreign aid: only give aid to governments and organizations that conform to high moral standards with regards to : religious freedom, political freedom, treatment of women, treatment of labour and environmental policies. Not having high standards for aid is what led the US to help people like Hussein and Osama bin Laden, as well as the Sah of Iran or Batista (whose reigns led to anti-US revolts and two currently anti-US countries).

      Third party reform: it is democratic to do so. The republicans win by dividing and conquering the electorate, and painting the world in a manichean good vs evil way. This ends with viable third parties.

      touche pas à mon pote!, -7.63, -6.56

      by Mr Bula on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 09:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is an area where style and attitude matters (4+ / 0-)

      There is indeed a long history of anti-intellectualism in America, well documented by my personal favorite Richard Hofstadter.
      Widespread contempt for knowledge bodes ill for our future as a good society.

      However, I have personally had the infuriating experience of being told that I am "not entitled to an opinion" because I am not credentialed enough. I am not entitled to speak about economic issues because I lack an MBA or Phd in econ, can't speak to the environment because I don't have a PhD in natural science, can't talk about politics, etc. etc. etc.  You get the picture. (I am also well-educated and hold a graduate degree--but alas, not in ALL areas.)

      The minute you show condescension, you're lost.
      You've made an enemy, and they're going to hate you and hate whatever point you're trying to make.

      Frankly, one reason I so detest conservatives is because of their hateful rhetorical style, which I dislike more than their ideas. We need to avoid this trap ourselves.

      One would like to see a certain level of deference to expertise, but the American experiment of democracy is supposed to allow for the participation and voices of the non-expert as well.

      And just because Paul Wolfowitz has more degrees than I do will not ever convince me to agree with him!

    •  tempts you into Rationalism trap (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freelunch

      Nobody will buy your story if you argue for a self-interest policy that contradicts their deep values.  You have to being by finding the common values. If you succeed there, you can perhaps move to show how a particular policy or politician is violating that value.

    •  In the long run: education (0+ / 0-)

      Progressives have been terribly negligent when it comes to educational issues. Education is our only hope to get out of the anti-intellectualist trap that America is in.

      This is one of the reasons that standardized testing is so horrible.

      Today "balance in the media" means a balance between political fact and conservative ideology.

      by Joe B on Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 12:43:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site