George Lakoff Materials
Biography, Publications

From George Lakoff, The Political Mind (2008), pp. 47-48
[Boldface added for emphasis by editor]

     Behind every progressive policy lies a single moral value: empathy, together with the responsibility and strength to act on that empathy. Never forget "responsibility and strength," because there is no true empathy without them.
     During the conservative reign we have seen what Barack Obama has called an empathy deficit—a failure to care, both about others and each other. Caring is not just feeling empathy; it is taking responsibility, acting powerfully and courageously. You have to be strong to care, and to act on that care with success.
     The ethics of care shapes government. Care requires that government have two intertwined roles: protection and empowerment.
     Protection is more than just the army, police, and fire department. It means social security, disease control and public health, safe food, disaster relief, health care, consumer and worker protection, environmental protection.
     Empowerment by the government is everywhere: highways and bridges, so you can go where you want to go and ship products; the Internet and satellite communications, to keep you in contact with the world; public education, to open the world up to you and to provide skilled workers to business; the banking system, to allow bank loans, whether you're buying a house or your company is buying another company; the SEC, to allow the stock market to function; the court system, to enforce contracts and protect patents. Nobody makes a dime in this country without being empowered by our government. There are no self-made men or women. It's a myth!
     The role of progressive government is to maximize our freedom—and protection and empowerment do just that. Protection is there to guarantee freedom from harm, from want, and from fear. Empowerment is there to maximize freedom to achieve your goals.
     Progressive government is, or should rightly be through protection and empowerment, the guarantor of liberty. That is what a life-affirming government is about.
Articles, selected

NEW!  [Below] "It is time to shine a light on the perpetually losing strategies used by Democrats, and particularly on the Democratic infrastructure that promotes those strategies."

"Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here’s Why and How to Fix It." By George Lakoff, November 13, 2014

[Below] "Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force that has a local effect in place and time....

"No language in the world has a way in its grammar to express systemic causation....

"From infanthood on we experience simple, direct causation. We see direct causation all around us: if we push a toy, it topples over; if our mother turns a knob on the oven, flames emerge. And so on. The same is not true of systemic causation. Systemic causation cannot be experienced directly. It has to be learned, its cases studied, and repeated communication is necessary before it can be widely understood."

"Systemic Causation and Syria: Obama's Framing Problem." By George Lakoff, Reader Supported News, September 13, 2013

[Below] Lakoff examines President Obama's State of the Union speech as an example of framing -- progressive framing (my bold type):

"This turn in discourse started working last year. Empathy and social responsibility as central American values reappeared in spades in the 2012 campaign right after Mitt Romney made his 47 percent gaff, that 47 percent of Americans were not succeeding because they were not talking personal responsibility for their lives. This allowed Obama to reframe people out of work, sick, injured, or retired as hard working and responsible and very much part of the American ideal, evoking empathy for them from most other Americans. It allowed him to meld the hard working and struggling Americans with the hard working and just getting by Americans into a progressive stereotype of hard working Americans in general who need help to overcome external forces holding them back. It is a patriotic stereotype that joins economic opportunity with equality, freedom and civil rights: 'if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.'

"It is an all-American vision:

"'It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.'"

"Speaking Out Is at the Heart of Being a Citizen." By George Lakoff, Reader Supported News, February 16, 2013

[Below] "The Santorum Strategy is not just about Santorum. It is about pounding the most radical conservative ideas into the public mind by constant repetition during the Republican presidential campaign, whether by Santorum himself, by Gingrich or Ron Paul, by an intimidated Romney, or by the Republican House majority. The Republican presidential campaign is about a lot more than the campaign for the presidency. It is about guaranteeing a radical conservative future for America....

"...No matter who gets the Republican nomination for president, the Santorum Strategy will have succeeded unless Democrats dramatically change their communication strategy as soon as possible....

"The Santorum Strategy." By George Lakoff, March 12, 2012

"Words That Don't Work: Frank Luntz's Trap for Progressives." By George Lakoff, Truthout | Op-Ed, December 7, 2011

"How Obama Got It Right." By George Lakoff and Glenn W. Smith, September 9, 2011 (Transcript of President Obama's "jobs" speech)

"Lakoff: How to Rescue the American Dream from the GOP's Nightmare." By George Lakoff, July 28, 2011

"Obama Returns to His Moral Vision: Democrats Read Carefully!" By George Lakoff, April 18, 2011

"The Dems' Tepid Approach to What's at Stake in Wisc. Is Helping Conservatives Destroy Unions, Defund the Democratic Party and Take over the Country." By George Lakoff, February 26, 2011

"What Conservatives Really Want." By George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed, February 19, 2011

"The New Obama Narrative." By George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis, January 28, 2011

"The 'New Centrism' and Its Discontents." By George Lakoff, January 25, 2011

"Untellable Truths." By George Lakoff, December 10, 2010

"Why the Democrat's Response to the Pledge Has Been Inadequate." By George Lakoff, September 27, 2010

"The Cry for Democratic Moral Leadership and Effective Communication." By George Lakoff, September 2, 2010

"Why Conservative Lies Spread and What Progressives Can Do to Fight Them." By George Lakoff, July 9, 2010

"Disaster Messaging." By George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed, July 8, 2010

"It's Not Enough to Criticize Obama: Citizens Need to Take Action." By George Lakoff, January 25, 2010

"The Policy-Speak Disaster for Health Care." By George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | Perspective, August 20, 2009

"Empathy, Sotomayor, and Democracy: The Conservative Stealth Strategy." By George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | Perspective, May 31, 2009

"The Obama Code." By George Lakoff, February 24, 2009

"The Palin Choice and the Reality of the Political Mind." By George Lakoff, September 1, 2008

Thinking Points
Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision. George Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute. 2006