Sunday, July 22, 2018

Lakoff on how to frame specific issues

Excerpts from Lakoff's The Little Blue Book (2012).

Chapter 10: The public

Here is what to say:

American democracy is built on the ethic of citizens caring about other citizens. Its moral mission is to protect and empower everyone equally by the provision of public resources.

The Public is the foundation for the Private—for decent private lives and for private enterprise that works.

No one makes it on his or her own without the Public. People who are wealthy haven’t built their own roads and schools, educated their own knowledgeable employees, or done their own basic research, nor are they fully protected by their own army and police, and nor do they maintain their own clean food supply.

Dismantling the Public destroys the sanctity and safety of American private life and the basis of most businesses.

“Smaller government” really means total corporate government and the dismantling of our nation as we know it, love it, and need it to be.

Chapter 11: The shift from public to private government

Here is what to say:

Privatization is the replacement of elected governments with unelected corporate governments, which run more and more aspects of American life for their own profit, not for the public good.
Wealth disparity is power disparity. Extreme wealth results in political power that ordinary citizens don’t have.

As more of the Public is eliminated and privatized, corporations make more money, though ordinary people do not. Moreover ordinary people lose what the Public gives them: the means for a decent life.
Corporations have extraordinary political power, the power to give unlimited money to organizations that fund candidates in elections. This power is being used by corporations to shift the governing structure of the country to themselves. This is undemocratic.
Conservative officeholders who refuse to raise taxes as a matter of conservative principle are creating deficits.

The Public and the Corporate need each other and need to be in balance. Honest business has been the American way for a long time, supported by the Public, regulated by the government, and producing goods, services, and well-paying jobs for citizens.

Chapter 12: Corporations govern your life

Here is what to say:

This debate is about liberty from corporate government and corporate meddling in our lives.

Corporations govern our lives with almost no accountability. Due to a lack of regulations, corporations are in many cases free and even encouraged to run our lives in ways that are intrusive, oppressive, and even tyrannical.

Corporations intrude on our personal lives, collecting private information about us and snooping on the way we use our computers.

We all have only one precious life, and our lifetime is a valuable good. Corporations use our lifetime to maximize their profits.

Health insurance companies make decisions about your health and your life. Their decisions are governed by their own interest in maximizing profit. If health insurance companies are not regulated and if health care remains in private hands, you become a bystander while others decide how healthy you will be and whether you will live.

On a daily basis, Americans face corporate nuisance, intrusiveness, invasion, control, interference, oppression, theft, and even tyranny. The massive control of corporations over our lives impinges on our most basic freedoms. To protect ourselves from this imposition, we need regulations.

The laissez-fair market limits your personal liberty. Government—that is, people who work for you and are accountable to you—work to protect your liberty.

Corporations govern you for their profit and benefit, not yours. They are transparent about it only if government requires them to be through regulation.

The struggle over adequate regulations is between corporations’ interest in making maximal profit at your expense and the government’s interest in protecting your life and your liberty.

Government regulations limit corporations’ ability to inflict harm on you in order to make a profit.

Note: Replace the word 'regulation' with the word 'protection.'

Chapter 13: Predatory privatization

Here is what to say:

Government has a moral duty to protect and empower its people. Private corporations have no such duty to citizens, which is why maintaining a robust Public is absolutely necessary to ensure everyone’s well-being, prosperity, and safety.

Privatization is the transfer of public property, public functions, and public institutions into private hands. Often privatization works well. But where people’s basic protection and empowerment are concerned, it is the government’s duty to preserve the freedom of citizens.

Privatization can be predatory and downright immoral when, for the sake of profit, it removes or prevents the protection and empowerment of the public, whether by handing our kids’ education over to corporations or putting our water supply in corporate hands.

Privatization makes the life of citizens more expensive: corporations work to maximize profit with no moral obligation to customers. They offer services and goods at the price the market will bear. Basic protections and empowerments often cost more when they are put in the hands of corporations rather than left in the hands of the public, which is not concerned with making a profit.

Conservatives arguing for “smaller government” know full well that protection and empowerment functions—education, military protection, and clean drinking water—are needed by the American people. “Smaller government” means making the public good secondary and abandoning the sacred moral missions of the government.

Chapter 14: Workers are profit creators

Here is what to say:
Workers are profit creators. Corporations can profit only if people work for them.

Health care benefits and pensions are part of the pay earned by workers. They are deferred payments for work done.

Health care benefits and pensions benefit the workers and the companies that provide them.

Health care benefits and pensions add to profits. They buy loyalty so that companies can avoid the costs of recruiting and training new employees as well as the costs of operating with untrained employees.

Corporations have an ethical responsibility to pay in full for work done. That includes benefits and pensions.

Companies are ethically responsible for setting aside funds for workers’ deferred payments and not using them for anything else. Spending those funds—on capital investment, stockholder dividends, or payments and bonuses to top managers—is unethical.

Chapter 15: Public education benefits all and protects freedom

Here is what to say:

Public education is necessary for a democracy and a vibrant economy. You can be free only if you live in a free society, and no society can be free without freethinking people and freedom of access to knowledge.

Democratic freedom requires education. You are not free if you don’t know what is possible for you, what affects you, and how to do things you care about.

We all benefit from our educational system, whether or not we as individuals happen to have the knowledge we need. Indeed no one of us can have all the knowledge we need to get through life. We need others to be knowledgeable. Whether or not we happen to be in school, we are using the educational system.

The more education is limited to an elite, the more it will cost to access the knowledge education offers. Highly specialized and skilled experts command high fees. The more critical knowledge is monopolized by privatized higher education, the more expensive it becomes.

A democratic society requires education that is both widespread and deep. Every day we depend on others being educated, both for practical things and for our political freedom. In a democracy, knowledge needs to be democratized, and the democratization of knowledge can come only through public education.

Chapter 16: Rethinking food

Here is what to say:

The Farm Bill should promote and subsidize healthy food and discourage, ban, or at least not subsidize harmful food.

We shouldn’t give public money to mostly corporate agriculture that puts profit ahead of safe and healthy food.

Sun food is food grown organically and locally. Oil food is grown with petroleum-based pesticides and insecticides or uses a lot of oil to be shipped long distances. Most funding goes to oil food and almost nothing to sun food. That should be reversed.

Farm Bill funds should feed people. Food stamps prevent hunger, if not starvation.

Poisons should be removed from food. That includes pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and toxic fertilizers, especially those with radioactive waste.

Crop insurance is profit insurance. Taxpayers shouldn’t be wasting food money on it.

Chapter 17: Systematic effects in nature and economics

Here is what to say:

Dirty energy industries—oil, coal, and natural gas—make a lot of their money by not cleaning up. They profit by not paying the full costs of doing business and instead placing those costs on the public.

Nature is never free. Taking or destroying it places costs elsewhere.
When corporations take “free” water for fracking, “free” boreal forests for tar oil, and our “free” air and water to dump their pollution, we bear the cost.

Surreptitiously transferring costs and risks to the public is the economic and moral equivalent of theft.

Chapter 18: An infrastructure for eternal energy

Here is what to say:

It is time to phase out the old polluting energies—coal, gas, and oil—as soon as possible and replace them with energy sources that are eternally present, clean, and free: the sun, wind, water, and soil energies.

We need to clean up our energy.

Phase out dirty energy. Don’t prolong it with subsidies.

Sun, wind, water, and soil are eternal energy sources.

Eternal energy is the future. It’s here now; it’s free; it’s clean.

Nuclear power is a nuclear threat. Look at Japan.
So-called nuclear waste is highly radioactive and will stay that way for over ten thousand years. It can leak or be stolen and kill. There is nothing clean about it. Radiation pollution is the worst form of pollution.

Energy is fungible. The more we save, the less we need to use. The more we use, the less we save. Just as a penny saved is a penny earned, so energy saved is energy produced. Conservation does as much for us as production. Save, don’t drill.

Good soil feeds us forever. In the long run, a farm’s soil is worth more than the oil underneath. Don’t drill.

In terms of energy alone, conservation is equivalent to drilling. But drilling destroys, while conserving saves. Conservation, not drilling, should be subsidized.

For citizens, conservation wins. For oil companies, drilling wins. Which matters more to you?
Preventing conservation is wasting energy.

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