George Lakoff


October 2004

By James Verini

When he’s not a professor—mandarin may be a better word—at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches cognitive linguistics, George Lakoff turns out books at a prodigious rate and serves as an unofficial aide-de-campe to the John Kerry campaign. He thinks a lot about how conservatives and progressives speak, and why conservatives are so much better at peddling their strict-father model of society, as he puts it, than progressives are at pushing their nurturing-parent outlook. (See Lakoff, George, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Second Edition, 2002.) So concerned has he become with the subject, indeed, that he’s started the Rockridge Institute, a think-tank whose mission it is to help progressives catch up. Can they? Sure, says Lakoff, by effectively framing—using novel terminology and calling on unconscious metaphors to make their points (it’s simpler than it sounds). See Full Story