Cognitive linguist George Lakoff, a far left academic (but I repeat myself), advises his partisan political brethren to build public opposition to the President’s regulation reform efforts by changing the word that we use to describe regulations:
President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?
The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public.
Imagine our minority President saying out loud that he intends to get rid of 75% of public protections. Imagine the press reporting that. Imagine the NY Times, or even the USA Today headline: Trump to Eliminate 75% of Public Protections. Imagine the media listing, day after day, the protections to be eliminated and the harms to be faced by the public.
Lakoff’s tactic is remarkable in its transparency. Increasingly, the Left has relied on misleading the public by injecting euphemisms and what I call “cover phrases” into policy debates and news reports to obscure the undesirable aspects of a favored measure, including its unethical nature, such as restricting individual rights. Thus abortion, which involves trade-offs between two human lives and sets of rights, is referred to as “choice,” eliminating the life-taking aspect of the problem from the discussion entirely. Thanks to the efforts of Democrats with the cooperation of the communications media, race-based admission to educational institutions and hiring that may discriminate against whites and Asian-Americans are covered by the benign-sounding term, “affirmative action.” The most brazen of these linguistic cheats is the widespread practice of referring to illegal immigrants as immigrants, thus allowing advocates of unrestrained lawbreaking by uninvited aliens to tar good faith opponents of open border and amnesty policies as xenophobes and racists.
Lakoff continues his cynical instruction for aspiring Big Brothers:
- Take the Public’s viewpoint instead of the corporate viewpoint.
- Shift the frame: always say “protections” instead of “regulations.
- “Protections” is a more simple and accurate description.
- Remember that “regulations” represent the corporate viewpoint. It is not a neutral term, and it does not represent the public viewpoint.
“Regulations” describe what the measures are, just as “laws” describes laws. That’s just not a corporate viewpoint; regulations affect, as in regulate, human liberty and autonomy as well as corporate conduct. The term is accurate and descriptive: words should say what things are, not distort them to appeal to “viewpoints.” It is a completely neutral term. The fact that corporations make it clear that they hate regulations does not make the term itself misleading.
“Protections” in contrast, does not describe what regulations do, but rather what their proponents claim they achieve. It is certainly not a “more simple and accurate description.” It does signal the current orientation of Lakoff’s Left, in which personal liberty is deemed less important than “protections,” as in “safety,” “insulation from fears” (all the better to encourage fearmongering!) and cultural denigration of personal responsibility and responsibility.
Lakoff falsely implies, and wants his new label to imply, that regulations “protect” an amorphous public. Some do, but many, many do not. Bloggress Amy Alkon provides an all-too-typical example:
We eat only Kerrygold butter, which Gregg buys at Trader Joe’s. It’s from grassfed cows, and it’s delicious. Sorry, Wisconsinites! None for you! Not without a big-ass trip! From Fox News:
“Wisconsinites are trekking across state lines to get the butter that is now illegal to sell within their state: According to a Wisconsin law enacted in the 1970s, the state only allows Grade A milk products to be distributed within its borders, reports Milwaukee Magazine. But Kerrygold, the number-one imported butter brand in the U.S., isn’t issued a letter grade like American-made dairy products. Wisconsin has since banned the sale of the gold-and-silver foiled butter but Kerrygold is legal in all other states.
“Under Wisconsin legislation, retail butter for sale in Wisconsin must bear either a Wisconsin or federal grade mark,” explained Kerrygold’s parent company, Ornua North America, in a statement issued to the Irish Farmers Journal. “This effectively excludes Kerrygold butter being sold in Wisconsin because Kerrygold butter is graded, produced and packaged in Ireland.”
Lisa Miller, the marketing director at Ornua, adds that while Kerrygold’s inspection process is a “little bit different from the process here, the standards are universally very high.”
Still, Wisconsin dairy distributors who violate the law could face fines of $1000 or more– and up to six months in jail. Yes, grass-fed butter is now a “controlled substance” (of sorts) in Wisconsin.
Of course, it isn’t the public, but only Wisconsin dairy farmers who are being “protected”—protected from having to compete with a superior product.
The other obvious deception in Lakoff’s Orwelliam scheme is that it adopts the Left’s favorite delusion that costs don’t matter; as long as it’s “protection,” cost benefit considerations don’t apply.
It is foolish and dangerous to trust people who advocate using language to confuse and deceive, and we also shouldn’t trust the organizations and ideologies that support them.
Source: Advice Goddess Blog