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George Lakoff
Published: Sunday 11 September 2011
“A highly memorable event raises one’s judgment of the probability that it will happen to them.”

The Use of 9/11 to Consolidate Conservative Power: Intimidation via Framing

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My wife, Kathleen, and I stood gaping at the TV as we watched the towers fall. Kathleen said to me, “Do you realize what Bush and Cheney are going to do with this?” We both realized very well. Until 9/11, the Bush presidency was weak. On 9/11, Cheney understood that the attack was an opportunity to take control, and take control he did. Colin Powell recommended calling the attack a crime. But Cheney understood that if it were framed as an act of war, then Bush and Cheney would be given war powers. So war it was, a metaphorical “war” on terror. The American people, intimidated by the vision of the towers falling, accepted the framing. Democrats, seeing the reaction of their constituents, went along with the framing. Except for my congresswoman, Barbara Lee. I ran to my computer to be the first to congratulate her on her no vote.

Terror meant everyone should be afraid of terrorists. Throughout the Midwest the predictable happened. A highly memorable event raises one’s judgment of the probability that it will happen to them. All over America people started being afraid of terrorists. Bush asked for and got unlimited war powers and the Patriot Act.

From 9/11 on, the American people have been subject to conservative intimidation by framing. I’ve now written five books explaining how framing works in the brain and what citizens could do about it – Moral Politics, Don’t Think of an Elephant, Whose Freedom?, Thinking Points, and The Political Mind. The books were based on results from the cognitive and brain sciences on how reason about social and political issues really works — primarily in terms of morally-based frames, metaphors, and narratives, and only secondarily, if at all, in terms of policy, facts, and logic. Those books were widely used by Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections — and they helped.

But since the 2008 election, conservative intimidation of the electorate via framing has come back big time, with no adequate Democratic defense against it. With a Democratic president in office, Democrats, both citizens and office-holders, turned their attention to policy and logical, fact-based arguments for the policies. In response to the president’s health care policies, conservatives attacked on the moral front, choosing two moral values from their value system: freedom (“government takeover”) and life (“death panels”). Knowing well that morality trumps lists of policy details, lists of facts, and logic, conservatives won that framing encounter, and have kept winning. Why? Because people, using their real reason, normally think unconsciously in terms of morally based systems of frames, metaphors, and narratives.

Since the 2008 election, America has returned to post-9/11 conservative intimidation by framing. The intimidation does not use violence. It uses media. When conservatives, using their moral system, are able to frame the main values that define public discourse, the media follows suit, because that is how “mainstream” public discourse has been defined. The media, encountering more conservative language, picks up on that language and uses it. Since conservative language evokes conservative frames and values, which are carried with it, the media (liberal or not) winds up helping conservatives. Even arguing against conservatives, liberal pundits in the media first quote what they say. Liberals in the media help the conservatives by quoting their language, even to argue against it.

In the post-2008 return to 9/11 style intimidation by framing, conservatives have been winning. They have protected banks from financial regulation, health insurance companies from government insurance, and corporations from serious environmental regulation. They have successfully attacked the very idea of the public — public education, employees, unions, parks, housing, and safety nets.

Here’s how public intimidation by framing works.

The mechanism of intimidation is framing, not just the use of words or slogans, but rather the changing of what voters take as right as a matter of principle. Framing is much more than mere language or messaging. A frame is a conceptual structure used to think with. Frames come in hierarchies. At the top of the hierarchies are moral frames. All politics is moral. Politicians support policies because they are right, not wrong. The problem is that there is more than one conception of what is moral. Moreover, voters tend to vote their morality, since it is what defines their identity. Poor conservatives vote against their material interests, but for their moral identity.

All language activates frames in the brain. Conservative language activates conservative frames, which activate conservative moral worldviews in the brains of those who hear the language. The more those frames are activated, the stronger the conservative moral views get in people’s brains.

When Democrats are intimidated into using conservative language, they help conservatives, even if they are arguing against them. Here’s why. The main voters you want to affect are the bi-conceptuals, those who are conservative on some issues and progressive on others; that is, those who have both conservative and progressive moral worldviews, but on different issues. They are sometimes misnamed as “the center,” “independents,” or “moderates.” But they do not have any single overriding worldview. Instead they have two. Given the way brains work, the activation of one worldview will inhibit the other worldview. The more one is activated, the stronger it gets and the weaker the opposite one gets. The worldview that is most activated by the public discourse they hear will most likely govern how they will vote. What activates one worldview versus another? Framing. Conservative language activates conservative frames, which activate conservative worldviews. If Democrats use conservative language, even to argue against it, they are just helping conservatives.

To a large extent, Democrats don’t understand this. They think that language is neutral and that reason works by logic. If you just tell people the facts and reason logically, everyone should be convinced. But they aren’t, because language works by framing and by brain mechanisms. Framing is just the normal way people think and talk. Conservatives tend to understand this. They avoid using liberal language. They frame issues very carefully to fit their goals. Democrats need to do the same — avoid using conservative frames and instead frame the issues with their own values.

This takes a lot more than just a list of policies. Appropriate policies are vital, but lists of policies in the absence of a clear moral basis for them will always be ineffective in public discourse. Progressive have a clear moral basis for their policies, but they fail to discuss it. Democracy is defined by a simple morality: We Americans care about our fellow citizens, we act on that care and build trust, and we do our best not just for ourselves, our families, and our friends and neighbors, but for our country. Americans are called upon to share an equal responsibility to work together to secure a safe and prosperous future for their families and nation.

The conservative consolidation of power violates this most basic of democratic principles. It replaces social and personal responsibility with personal responsibility alone. It approves of the government over our lives by corporations for their own profit, and hence sees government by, of and for the people as immoral and to be eliminated.

The conservative move to defund government is a means not an end. What conservatives really want is to run the country and the world on conservative principles: to control reproduction (no abortion); to control what is taught (no public education); to control religion (conservative Christianity); to control race and language (mass deportation of Hispanic immigrants); to guarantee cheap labor (no unions); to continue white domination (no affirmative action); to continue straight domination (no gay marriage); to control markets (eliminate regulation, taxation, unions, worker rights, and tort cases); to control transportation (privatize freeways); to control elections (institute bars to voting).

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible for Democrats to learn how frames, narratives, and brains really work. It is possible to take moral stands, with all policies backed up by a single moral vision. It is possible to awaken and strengthen the progressive worldview already present in swing voters who are partly progressive as partly conservative (called “independents,” “moderates,” and “the center”). It is possible for Democrats to say what they believe and win, without giving in to intimidation tactics.

But the longer we wait, the more damage the conservatives do. Ten years is already too long. It is time to end the era of conservative intimidation that 



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ABOUT George Lakoff

George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. He previously taught at Harvard (1965-69) and the University of Michigan (1969-1972). He graduated from MIT in 1962 (in Mathematics and Literature) and received his PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University in 1966.

 

the argument for framing here

the argument for framing here is put in a way that polarizes one political party against another. that saddens and disheartens me. What we are doing is not working and simply changing our "frame" and not our hearts will not do. Our children are dying. In our military, on our school campuses and on our streets. "Framing" our political debate is hogwash. It suggests manipulation, not an effort towards rooting out the truth of those who are dying. We need to do something drastically different. We need to gather together and care.

Hey Rick W. What's so hard

Hey Rick W. What's so hard to believe? Any of us who, before 9/11, were aware of who was advising Bush on matters of defense, as well as the existence and writings of PNAC, had similar thoughts upon seeing the towers fall.

If being a "schmuck" means not being a political ignoramus, then I guess I'm a schmuck too. My familiarity with the phrase "new Pearl Harbor", as well as what I knew about Cheney and people like Richard Perl, made me think along lines similar to that of George and Kathleen upon seeing the towers blown down.

Just because someone is not as stupid as you, it doesn't make them a "schmuck".

I've caught on to this

I've caught on to this recently wondering why the GOP has been able to control the nation's political narritive so well. Now I refuse to use their key words in debates, such as "entitlements" a word they use to degrade our FICA "benefits" (the word I use), which we have already paid for! With the concept of framing in mind I'll be even more ever vigilant to such use of mind tricking propaganda...

George, aren't we lucky to

George, aren't we lucky to have Barbara Lee represent us?

Sir: You do your readers a

Sir:

You do your readers a grave disservice by undermining an otherwise reasonable and trenchant piece with an agglomeration of "principles" that clouds the real motivations of "the framers":

"The conservative move to defund government is a means not an end. What conservatives really want is to run the country and the world on conservative principles: to control reproduction (no abortion); to control what is taught (no public education); to control religion (conservative Christianity); to control race and language (mass deportation of Hispanic immigrants); to guarantee cheap labor (no unions); to continue white domination (no affirmative action); to continue straight domination (no gay marriage); to control markets (eliminate regulation, taxation, unions, worker rights, and tort cases); to control transportation (privatize freeways); to control elections (institute bars to voting)."

Ironically, by doing so, you perpetuate a different but equally dishonest frame.

In order for us to move forward with change in this nation, we need to be able to separate true motives from tropes meant to merely lead the weak-minded or misinformed - or thoroughly appalled - astray.

What [not "conservatives" but oligarchs] want is to run the country and the world: to control what is taught (no public education); to guarantee cheap labor (no unions); to control markets (eliminate regulation, taxation, unions, worker rights, and tort cases); to control transportation (privatize freeways); to control elections (institute bars to voting).

What they are HOPING is that we spin our wheels on the following ruses: to control reproduction (no abortion); to control religion (conservative Christianity); to control race and language (mass deportation of Hispanic immigrants); to continue white domination (no affirmative action); to continue straight domination (no gay marriage).

The former are true motivations; the latter merely devices used to whip up people emotionally so that their critical faculties are disengaged. Oligarchs regularly engage in abortion (when convenient), are hardly true believers in even the sham version of Christianity that "conservatives" tout, use illegal immigration to keep labor costs low, don't care what the race of anyone who can make them money is (um, China, anyone?) and are completely and egregiously indifferent to sexual orientation (the number of gay conservative mouthpieces and puppets who mouth homophobic cant yet take junkets with homosexual lovers is legion).

But such distractions serve their cause well, both by getting the emotional non-thinkers whipped up and allied to their "cause" (of which very, very few really understand what is going on) AND, EQUALLY IMPORTANT, by getting people who should know better incensed about these "culture wars" issues, getting us to spin our wheels, punch ourselves out and dilute our power, chasing stupid things.

Penn and Teller did a show on Broadway about 20 years ago. The theme of the show was to demonstrate how absolutely childlike and gullible we the audience are, even "sophisticated New Yorkers", in the face of what are incredibly stupid and obvious tricks. One in particular stood out to me. Teller walks on stage with a pair of shopping bags, stage right. In center stage a ladder teeters. Teller puts the bags down where he entered and moves to the center of the stage, attempting to stabilize the ladder. After much drama, he fails, and the ladder falls with a lusty ker-FLAP, stage left. Then Penn points out - the bags have disappeared!

After sneering at our stupidity, they rerun the routine - this time with orders given to the audience to keep our eyes on the bags no matter what. The scene unfolds, just as it had. But at the point of the ker-FLAP stage left, a stagehand - headset and all! - calmly walks out IN PLAIN VIEW and picks up the bags, transporting them off stage right. We had been distracted by the activity and loud noise stage left, while the bags were calmly carted off stage right, and IN PLAIN VIEW.

A key reason why framing works so well is it allows us all to take our eye off stage right. The more we focus on the head fakes and feints, the more energy, attention and focus we will squander - which plays directly into their hands.

I appreciate the analysis and

I appreciate the analysis and examples given by Prof.Lakoff. I have tried to get the DNC, DCCC, DSCC to stop mailing out 3-4 page donation letters to supporters. The wordiness ends up watering down any isssue or concern they are pointing out, wastes the reader's time and kills more trees than needed. The goal of getting people to agree with your ideas and support Democratic candidates is buried under a hill of words. It's sad....

All commentators should take

All commentators should take a bow for having even read Lakoff. Every Democrat, every progressive, every liberal should read Lakoff. Might I suggest Drew Westen's brilliant "The Political Brain" for answering several questions raised by readers about what to do next. Wonderful anecdotal history (if not painful) of how since Goldwater was crushed in 1964 and especially since conservatives elected Reagan in 1980, the right wing, fueled by the self-styled oligarchs and their money, have been reframing political discourse to achieve their goal ... complete control of all of the levers of power in our society.

For those who confuse this modern form of mind control with vanilla flavored propaganda (often associated with physical intimidation) ... it is not the same. This new form is much more subtle and IMHO much more potent. The comprehensiveness of their themes is impressive. Why is the right wing so furiously anti-intellectual and anti-science ... because intellectuals discuss all reasonable possibilities and science gives facts and the truth a frightening legitimacy that simply can't be allowed to infect the brainwashed dupes and dittoheads amongst us.

I don't think some commentors

I don't think some commentors read the article. When progressives start talking about the national debt, that is the wrong strategy. When you talk about the education system we need for tomorrow, you're closer. When you have a story about one little girl or boy who needs Federal grant money to fix the rotting school building, or whatever, that gets through to people. It works far better than explaining to them logically why the deficit, which was higher under Bush, is a red herring to demolish Obama's presidency by economic suicide. Logic, for the most part, is not the primary way to influence people's voting preferences.

A very good expose' of

A very good expose' of Illuminati mind control methods they have developed over centuries of honing mind control methods in their desire to enslave the world. But they have been thwarted in their New World Order attempt. And although some powerful pockets remain who still think they can be successful,they have been defeated by the new energy of the Golden Now. Actually, this use of control by language reveals a weakness that will be quickly overcome by the new energies so in ascendancy. Although the situation appears hopeless to many there is tremendous hope for the future. The future is bright indeed -- after we survive the tremendous bumps in the road.Raphael Egger

Lakoff prescribed the

Lakoff prescribed the progressive framing himself. He says it is basing our morality on the interests of the people, the men, women, and children of the nation, their fundamental needs and rights; that is, government of, by, and for the people, not of, by, and for the corporations. This is not a difficult concept. Also, it is eminently valid. In fact, progressives often frame in this way, because it is the conceptual basis of the traditional American value system. I'm not at all sure that Lakoff is correct that the progressives do not typically oppose conservative (read reactionary) framing with this moral framing. I believe they do when they support, for example, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Unemployment Insurance.

I've often wondered. Are

I've often wondered. Are there any photos of the plane acutually hitting the Pentagon? I have seen a pic of an explosion and a wall with no plane. You'd think the Penta would have lots of security cameras all around.

I've read 2 of George

I've read 2 of George Lakoff's books. His work is ground-breaking and brilliant. For those who are interested, I highly recommend The Political Mind, in which he not only explains what is going on, but also gives valuable practical suggestions as to how to change the framing used by conservatives. And I will promise you, it's way harder than it sounds! Almost like learning a new language! But this is something that progressives ignore at our peril. Give it a shot!

A very good expose' of

A very good expose' of Illuminati mind control methods they have developed over centuries of honing mind control methods in their desire to enslave the world. But they have been thwarted in their New World Order attempt. And although some powerful pockets remain who still think they can be successful,they have been defeated by the new energy of the Golden Now. Actually, this use of control by language reveals a weakness that will be quickly overcome by the new energies so in ascendancy. Although the situation appears hopeless to many there is tremendous hope for the future. The future is bright indeed -- after we survive the tremendous bumps in the road.Raphael Egger

A very good expose' of

A very good expose' of Illuminati mind control methods they have developed over centuries of honing mind control methods in their desire to enslave the world. But they have been thwarted in their New World Order attempt. And although some powerful pockets remain who still think they can be successful,they have been defeated by the new energy of the Golden Now. Actually, this use of control by language reveals a weakness that will be quickly overcome by the new energies so in ascendancy. Although the situation appears hopeless to many there is tremendous hope for the future. The future is bright indeed -- after we survive the tremendous bumps in the road.Raphael Egger

The reason conservative

The reason conservative Republicans can outframe the Democrats is because they actually believe in something, albeit something looney. The Dems, on the other hand, and, especially Obama, apparently think that the system in place is just fine except for a few small problems that need tinkering and fine tuning. Well, you don't rouse the masses and storm the Bastille with tinkering and fine tuning. Let me "frame" it this way: Neither tinkering nor fine tuning e'er won a fair maiden.

Heard an excellent, holy

Heard an excellent, holy homily this morning from a Black Priest who had been in Uganda at the time of 9/11, ten years ago. He was speaking on today’s Gospel message of Jesus teaching on forgiveness! Peter offers to forgive 7x7, thinking from his culture of an “eye for an eye”. Where we seem to still be! But Jesus said no matter how good and forgiving we think we are, we need to forgive at least ten times more.! * Matthew 18 This Priest mentioned, how shocked he and his people were, that such a thing could happen. The destruction of so many lives, from such an act of violence. Now ten years later, what a difference it would have made if we had acted as a Christian nation by giving our enemies and the world a great moral lesson, instead of acting in violence. By doing the wiser and better thing of forgiving. How many more lives would have NOT been lost in the wars since, and that still continue from our “getting even” that have only made us even more like the dreaded Roman Empire of Jesus time. Many live now in fear, because of this violence and destruction, from America reacting negatively to their negative hatred of our East/West political policies, which is what they claim and most likely did cause their revenge actions in 9/11. Forgiveness and seeking understanding and reconciliation for such hatred would have been the Godly way. It was my thoughts we have been outsmarted by the spirit of evil (very intelligent) who stole the election though control of humans, from the then Senator Al Gore, a known Southern belt Christian, who did believe in forgiveness and reconciliation, and most likely would not have reacted in our retaliation or revenge. What a safer place this world would be for us Americans now, who in the past have been so admired and looked up too, in most parts of the world, but who now are in danger where ever we go, and even in our own country, because of our response. Who also, because of this widespread retaliation and fear, have lost most of our cherished privacy freedoms, through the passage of the Patriot Act, taking away freedoms that once made our country envied, by all other nations, that were not dedicated to Fascism and inequality. We now face bankruptcy. Plus continued control and financial drain,by the most military/industrial complex we have ever had, even though we were warned about this danger, from President Eisenhower, a former general, as he left office. Have we, can we, learn the better “Way”, the art of forgiveness, for our own souls sake, and to have the hope to live eternally? As well as for our present health, safety, and prosperity in this world? As the Angels said at the birth of Jesus “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!” Let us commit our personal actions and our government towards the best we know how to be.www.equality4peace.org

Whoa now, there Ferris Big

Whoa now, there Ferris Big Wheel. Why so critical? What George Lakoff outlined for you was the underpinnings of propaganda. I have wondered for years why seemingly sane, intelligent people vote against their own best interests, and thanks to this article, I now have a better understanding. Propaganda is important in the equation, but it's not the whole story.

GWB's first hundred days did

GWB's first hundred days did not show weakness and, in fact, he presented proposals on the environment, education, law, charity, among others. And, the framing you discuss is no more or less that any president has done as they attempt to move the country in their political direction. And , like others use reason, logic, fairness, verfiable facts and hard-core truth (so well put by DB) asall do.

Karl Rove caught on to

Karl Rove caught on to framing while he was in college... He is the conservatives professor on the topic.

First thing you do is get rid

First thing you do is get rid of the Neo-Liberal leadership who have had a death grip on the control of the DNC for decades. These people all came from the D.L.C. (Democrat Leadership Council) that has always been essentially Conservative light with ultra Conservative billionaire backers like George Soros. Read about the D.L.C. at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Leadership_Council

This article clarifies what

This article clarifies what I've been thinking for several years - ever since I discovered Frank Luntz. As a pollster, Luntz tests out a variety of scenarios on likely voters - preselected by their values, religion, money and morality - to find the right trigger words and concepts.
Luntz is said to have created the terms "Clear Skies" which allows for more pollution and "Healthy Forests" to permit more logging,
He creates frames that work on a visceral level, like a punch in the gut, while progressives stumble around wondering why more voters don't have the "Ah-Ha! Moment," that brings them to the understanding of what is best for themselves.
The greatest crime the right wing has committed is convincing voters that anyone who disagrees with the "conservative" dogma, is a wacko or a conspiracy nut.
The right also neuters democrats by forcing them to argue against a negative - to prove that they are not nut jobs or loonies.
Since it's almost impossible to prove a negative, every argument reinforces the right wing's positions.
I'd sure like to see people like Mr. Lakoff find a way to counter attack these successful frames.

Conservatives are suicidal.

Conservatives are suicidal. They act against the interest of citizens and their country. They actually want to die. Look at Hitler and Mussolini. Look at Germany, Japan and Italy. They destroyed citizens, their countries and still haven't learned the lessons of morality of The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said it best when he called them hypocrites. Remember it was the orthodox or fanatical jews that killed Jesus. Just like the conservatives are destroying the Christian religion with their wars. Thou shall not kill has been replaced with Thou shall kill. Hypocrisy!

Ivory tower nonsense, George.

Ivory tower nonsense, George. Gobbledygook.

Sure Cheney knew what the act meant - he planned for it's occurance three years in advance of it.

What the right masters is propaganda - the catchword phrasing that's easy to remember, easy to repeat. Target the phrasing at any "they" that can be blamed for an event or a condition, even a fear as you like and the unthinking masses follow along, gaining subscribors as the volume rises.

It's much simpler than you make it out to be, George, but you're forgiven. Everyone's gotta' eat, and you've found that mucking things up in a bombastic smokescreen pays enough to assure that you don't miss any meals.

Whoa now, there Ferris Big

Whoa now, there Ferris Big Wheel...what George Lakoff outlined for you here is the underpinnings of propaganda. I have wondered for years why seemingly intelligent and rational people vote against their own best interests. This article gave me a couple of much appreciated ah-ha moments. For example, it's the moral framework that motivates the conservative voter. Sure, that seems apparent enough. It's not hard to see that the Christian right have their fundamentalist views, but now I see how it is operational in more moderate conservative people. So, as important as propaganda is in controlling the masses, it is an oversimplification to say it is the whole ball of wax. The more we can understand the complexities of framing, the better we can successfully promote a better world view and outcome.

Science or theory? Who

Science or theory? Who cares, that the language concepts and analysis fall inline with the tact and propaganda strategies conservative's repeatedly dole out is enough to take notice. One would have to be intimate with current behavioral sciences and studies to really have a concise opinion, vs. just having an opinion on any scientific validity with concerns to the 'framing' issue in any quantitative form. I suppose Mr. Zig-Zag can stuff that in his pipe and take a hit… ( let me guess…you are a ‘libertarian’ )

That all said, the biggest problem I have, is George stuffing all these democrats into one type category and impact with statements as this:

"When Democrats are intimidated into using conservative language, they help conservatives, even if they are arguing against them"

Sure, we have seen intimidation, and counter productive reactions by the 'liberal' mind set, but just as frequently, and in my estimation much more destructive are the Democratic leaders that readily succumb to conservative policy framing for and at their own convenience, to protect their own interest/groups and political place. As an immediate issue, these status quo politicians have done as much, if not more damage to the progressive agenda. The Obama era is a perfect example of what I am speaking of. Also not mentioned, which I think would somehow easily integrate into the 'framing' concept is the fact that the conservatives readily promote ideology and policy very succinctly, no matter the moral, ethical or factual flaws, if it pushes their political agenda, it becomes the mantra. Liberals, progressives seem to promote individuals with concepts that appear to be of like agenda, rather then ideology… trusting all to each person’s ability to relate the cause, not to mention the foibles of the human condition that easily sidetracks any message (For the most obvious think: Gary Hart, Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton etc. although I only see one ‘progressive’ in that group…) Several writers of political analyses have been kicking this one around lately, it has merit.

benmerc

Iraq war was a huge gift to

Iraq war was a huge gift to AL Quada / Bin laden It created many more enemies of the US for attacking Iraq pre-emptively..without cause. Bush Cheneys ' Smoking gun Mushroom cloud Mission Accomplished' ? ALL lies

Bush Cheney used fear to lie

Bush Cheney used fear to lie us into the unjust

Psychologists may have

Psychologists may have enabled the conservative agenda by studying parents’ responses to 9/11 in a narrow framework of anxiety and coping with terror. In our work we learned that parents did much more than react to their kids’ fears. Rather, this defining moment caused many parents to reflect on the kind of world they wanted their children to live in and the kind of people they wanted their kids to become.Six months after 9/11, we asked nearly 1000 parents of 5th – 12th graders if 9/11 had had any effect on the way they were raising their children. The families lived in six communities, two located near Shanksville, Pennsylvania and New York City. Nearly half of the parents said they thought more deeply about the values their children were learning: Some emphasized greater tolerance, open-mindedness, and respect. Others urged their children to be more vigilant and wary about other people. Still others counseled their children to turn to family and religion. Among parents who mentioned emotional responses, many told their children that fear was not a way to live one’s life.

No science needed. History

No science needed. History proved this theory. Even more cynical than an intellectual with a theory is a conservative president with an imperial agenda.

Wow, Rick W! That's all you

Wow, Rick W! That's all you got? Just some cheap school yard name calling? Why don't you go away and come back when you can bring an intelligent idea with you, if you can?

That's the best explanation

That's the best explanation of poor Republicans I've heard. Thank you.
Democrats do need to learn this technique.

OK I'm must be a schmuck too.

OK I'm must be a schmuck too. My first thought was of so many souls body-less at once, some not knowing, some knowing too well and choosing how o die. The second was fear of what Bush would do with this. And I was right.

I have wondered for years now

I have wondered for years now how the conservatives are able to get their points across, and convince so many to vote against their best interests. There must be something to this framing business, so how do we educate our democratic leaders to inform as convincingly as republicans. How do we "frame" our discussion?

First thing you do is get rid

First thing you do is get rid of the Neo-Liberal leadership who has had a death grip on the control of the DNC for decades. These people all came from the D.L.C. (Democrat Leadership Council) that has always been essentially Conservative light with ultra Conservative billionaire backers like George Soros. Read about the D.L.C. at (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Leadership_Council#Founding_and_...). It’s interesting to note that the D.L.C. was formed in 1988 to bring the Democrat Party back to the principles of FDR and the New Deal. Those early D.L.C. leaders must be in shock now with Obama pushing for the elimination of all the social programs that the FDR administration enacted !
The second thing you do is force Congress to start taking responsibility again and stop ceding it's legislative responsibility to small special committees and twelve member super Congresses. Elected members of Congress love this system because they never have to take responsibility at election time for unpopular legislation that they were not directly responsible for passing. Their total responsibility has become a Yea or Nae vote on the results, a lot of money to pay these people for what could be done by a monkey flipping a coin !

Norman Allen's picture

Sept. 11 was an event that

Sept. 11 was an event that clearly benefited the CONservatives (as opposed to the thinking conservatives who are locked out of the system as are other thinking public) devoid of any ideas except the pursuit of almighty $$$ at any cost, including the destruction of this country. There was no excuse to cut taxes for the wealthiest of our society who are mostly responsible for most of economic woes of our society, to create a massive bureaucracy for trampling our constitutional rights, borrowing money from others to finance wars and intensify the expansion of the military industrial machinery, oilmen getting rich in the process beyond their wildest dreams, while Bush and his DICK were standing in the way of creating an unbiased commission to get to the bottom of the 9/11 event. The report created by the white washed "commission" created more questions than answers and anyone questioning the sanity of the military industrial expansions were branded as unpatriotic. No wonder we have spiraled down to the abyss from which recovery does not seem viable under current conditions.

Sorry get to the meat of the

Sorry get to the meat of the matter - did some trainee cessna camel jockey actually defy the laws of physics and precisely target that part of the Pentagon where the accountants were working on a 2.3 trillion hole in the books, piloting a 767 at a physically impossible speed of 575mph at ground level. The plane would have physically broken up by then, anyway ?!!

You are an intellectual

You are an intellectual schmuck George. is this really what you thought even as the towers fell: "My wife, Kathleen, and I stood gaping at the TV as we watched the towers fall. Kathleen said to me, “Do you realize what Bush and Cheney are going to do with this?” People there is no science at work here only theory. The theory of an intellectual schmuck.

Thank you George. A very

Thank you George. A very clear and concise explanation of your keen observations.

George Walker Bush was never

George Walker Bush was never conservative, or compassionate, or much of a student of Jesus Christ and his doctrine on the Art of Endless War. FRIENDLESS ERRORISM

Well said Now to get rid of

Well said Now to get rid of the Tea evangelicals before they finish off what Bush Cheney GOP started..destruction of our way of life .our kids education, funding for abused, old sick on medicaid..Voucherize SS - so crooked Wall St banks can gamble our hard earned money away ...

Okay, this makes sense...now

Okay, this makes sense...now give us some frames we can start using. Its true that reason, logic, fairness, verfiable facts and hard-core truth seems to elude conservatives, even as they continue to pave the avenues that Progressives steadfastly take. One hates to stoop to another's lower levels, but the public discourse has become so astonishingly perverted that counter-measures need to be of equivalent strength.

Extraordinay scientific

Extraordinay scientific analysis of the negative way conservative thinking impacts democracy not only in the U.S. but also in present world societies

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