George Lakoff: Framing progressive values and language to win the next election

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On April 18 in Toronto, American cognitive linguist and author of Don’t Think of an Elephant George Lakoff spoke to a crowd in Toronto about how conservative values have come to dominate public discourse. Accomplishing this, he said, has been as much about the construction of metaphors as it has been about policies. Conservatives in the US and Canada have crafted a worldview and adjusted politics to fit with the framework; progressives have yet to figure this out. When the progressive response is primarily criticism, said Lakoff, the debate is still framed in conservative terms. Progressives won’t reclaim politics until they shift the conversation.

Around the world, and in Canada, progressives are fighting simply to hang on to hard-fought wins, while struggling to communicate progressive values in a political sphere largely dominated by successful conservative messages.

Why are conservatives so successful in communicating their messages? What do progressives need to do to communicate their values to large populations?

It's a big year for Canadian politics and electorally the stakes have never been higher.

Over the course of an hour, Lakoff discussed the effect of political metaphors on individual identity, how progressive views can be communicated in a political sphere dominated by conservative messages, and how these lessons can be applied to the upcoming federal election. 

Sponsored by and our partnersCanadian Dimension Magazine.


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