Framelab Podcast: Why Defund The Police Failed As A Political Frame

George Lakoff is a retired Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society ( Click here for a list of books including Thinking Points: Communicating our American Values and Vision.

In Thinking Points, George Lakoff  offers a deep understanding of  the progressive worldview, but also reveals the nature of the so-called political center… and why the most effective way to appeal to those who identify themselves as moderates is to remain true to core progressive values.”  Download Thinking Points free here

I hope you have time to listen to this fascinating podcast where George Lakoff discusses why framing is so important to the political discourse and why Republicans are more committed to it than Democrats and progressives. He says that to Republicans, selling ideas is seen as being in their self interest; progressives see policy ideas as in the public interest.  Framing is a tricky concept for most people according to Lakoff because frames are unconscious structures in the brain.  You don’t know when you’re adopting a frame, you just pick it up.

From the Framelab podcast page:

“In Ep. 20, George and Gil discuss the press’ need to take the authoritarian threat to democracy more seriously. They also discuss how hate groups help frame the discussion around immigration in the press. And they analyze why “defund the police” failed as a political frame. (Recorded on 12/13/21)”

Here is an excerpt:

“There’s a lack of an important part of democracy in the public media which is that democracy depends on empathy. The whole point of democracy is about caring about what other people feel, what their interests are and that their interests are represented.

In general Republicans don’t care about that. They don’t have that sense of empathy, caring what most people in the country care about or if they are represented. They have a sense of what is right and what is wrong and they want to impose it. They think that since it’s right and not wrong from their point of view that’s what they should be doing. But it’s a very different view from a view that has to do with empathy. And democracy is based on empathy so that in a sense if they are not talking about empathy they’re not talking about democracy. They’re talking about imposing their will through the mechanisms that are allowed to them through our democracy but not what is empathic toward people. It’s a very different view of what democracy gives and a view that ignores the fundamental aspect of democracy, that it’s about empathy.” – George Lakoff

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