Getting our heads around political times with George Lakoff

We are living in an era where politics is in our faces and full of spin. Regardless of how you feel about it, if you’re in the business of caring (healthcare, aged care, social care, whatever) your work is inherently linked to politics. Therefore, my view is that if you want to be advanced in your practice it includes an awareness of politics and dealing with people of all political persuasions.

I’ve been thinking about this from the angle of worldview and empathetic understanding. Trying to understand how it is people buy into points of view that I disagree with. And I’ve come across some work from a guy called George Lakoff that I’ve found really interesting and I figure others might too. The one’s I’m sharing here are not present day, but the principles carry through.

This interview with him in 2003 talks about how conservatives position themselves as ‘strict father type’ while progressives position themselves as ‘nurturing parent’ and how this carries through to their language and framing of issues

This article from 2011 describes how we all hold conservative and progressive views within our brains, but some of them may remain passively in the background most of the time, which he calls biconceptualism. He points out how this is different from being ‘moderate’ and that being moderate is an intentional act to take a position in the middle (if this interests you Paul Graham wrote a great essay on it recently)

And in this radio interview from 2017 (it’s only the first 5 minutes or so) Lakoff explores the reasons behind Trump’s success in the 2016 election and how there is method behind his raving lunatic tweet madness.

As I said, I found these interesting to think through the principles and figure others might too. I don’t buy into the idea that politics shouldn’t be discussed openly, so if you want to talk about it further here feel free!