Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Republicans won the word battle

In the early 1990s GOPAC, the political action committee of up and coming Republican star politician and current day presidential want-a-be Newt Gingrich, circulated a pamphlet offering advice to other Republican candidates who wanted to “speak like Newt.”   Entitled Language, A Key Mechanism of Control, the booklet encouraged Republican candidates to use certain “positive, governing words” such as “caring,” “choice,” “common sense,” “fair,” “humane,” “principled” and so on when referring to themselves and their ideas.  Likewise they were to use negative words such as “coercion,” “corruption,” “destructive,” “permissive,” “incompetent,” and “liberal” when referring to their opponent’s ideas.  Newt understood that words could make a difference and that certain words served as glittering generalities, so pregnant with meaning that they became a substitute for thought.  Your Republican candidate was “caring” and “principled.” He supported programs and policies that were “fair,” “humane,” and “common sense.”  On the other hand, his opponent was a “corrupt” and “incompetent” “Liberal” who supported “destructive” and “permissive” policies that would “endanger” the country.

In the video below, linguist George Lakoff, explains how Republicans won the word battle using a simple example involving the phrase “tax relief.”  Watch and learn.

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