Fuzzy Rainbows

Monday, July 16, 2007

Science reveals: Democracy dead

I just finished reading George Lakoff's book "Whose Freedom." I highly recommend checking it out, it opened my eyes to how people think (at least a theory that is much more plausible than rationalism). The basic idea is that people form thoughts based on an unconscious metaphors which define how they are able to reason about a situation. Lackoff applies this theory to politics, and speaks specifically about the neo-cons attempt to redefine the language (and hence the political metaphors which control the debate) surrounding the word "freedom."

He finishes up with a real knockout punch, a nytimes article
which describes an MRI study in which they asked conservatives and liberals to take part in. The study consists of testing what parts of the brain are activated when facts are given which contradict the persons political ideology. What they found out was that when a fact was given which contradicts your frame or metaphor, you discard of it in a largely emotional process and don't consider it whatsoever.

The conservatives have discovered this some time ago, by saying one thing and doing another, and appealing to the conservative metaphors. The democrats are beginning to catch on, and they must attempt to reframe debates and stop using language which supports the conservative metaphors. But even if they succeed, is this democracy? How can we have a democracy where it matters not what you say, but how you say it?

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