George Lakoff, the language genius behind the progressive movement, has some stunningly brilliant advice he’s pushing at liberals.
Lakoff’s prior brilliance has been mainly telling liberals to stop talking about “tax relief” because it makes taxes sound bad…or something. So…people won’t know that it’s difficult to pay their taxes unless you use the term “relief” after it?
But it gets so much more brillianter. In today’s HuffPo he tells liberals to stop using the term “abortion.” Because…well…you just have to read it yourself. It’s sooooo brilliant that it’s hard to summarize.
Here’s what progressives need to do: Never use the Cells Are People metaphor, even in arguing against conservative policy. Never use the term baby or unborn child to refer to a blastocyst, embryo, or fetus.
Stop using the term abortion. It has misleading properties. When we speak of “aborting a mission,” the mission was intentional and planned, and the original idea was to bring it to an end state. What happens with an unwelcome pregnancy is nothing like this. The pregnancy was not intentional, not planned, and there was never any intention of bringing it to an end state. Rather, what is desired is development prevention, keeping any development from happening. That development can be prevented at many stages, from unfertilized cells (via morning-after pills), to blastocyst to embryo, from embryo to fetus, from fetus to a non-fully-formed-human, to an unviable human (one that can’t live outside the womb). The earlier the development prevention, the better for the woman.
Never use the expression partial birth abortion. It’s a conservative political tool, not a medical reality. Here’s the Texas GOP in its 2012 platform: “We oppose partial birth abortion.” The term was invented by a hired, conservative language professional. The image is grisly, and that was the point. But no such thing exists. The medical condition it is supposed to represent is one where a potential child cannot survive, either because it has no brain, or because of some other equally awful condition. And usually, the mother’s life is at risk. This has nothing to do with either giving birth or with more common reasons for preventing development.
Whenever possible, avoid the term morning-after pill. It evokes a prototypical frame of immoral behavior, bad decision-making, the inability to “just say no” at a party or during a date. It excludes the fact that the treatment can help rape victims prevent development, be used in cases where other birth control methods failed, and so on.
Never evoke the Consumer Frame. It has been introduced to the debate by the term Pro-Choice, and is now used everywhere. For example, in the GOP’s 2012 platform, where a decision for development prevention is labeled as a woman ordering an abortion, as if she were shopping. The frame hides the fact that such decisions are never made easily and are commonly made by men and women, and often their families, together.
So liberals can’t talk about high taxes and abortion???!!!! What else do they ever talk about?
Seriously. Is this really a new thing? Remember when “taxes” became investment? Liberals never say what they really mean. Remember “safe, legal, and rare.” That meant we’re going to fund abortion with your money!!! Remember Obama vowed not to raise taxes on the middle class? Well that just depends on how you define taxes.
Polls indicate that the majority of the country is now pro-life so progressives don’t want to use the term “abortion” anymore. It’s sleight of hand politics. It’s Orwellian is what it is.
Lakoff is only saying what progressives have known for years. They can’t win if they tell the truth. They won’t. So that’s why we have to.