Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens. All thought is physical. You think with your brain. You have no alternative. Brain circuitry strengthens with repeated activation. And language, far from being neutral, activates complex brain circuitry that is rooted in conservative and liberal moral systems. Conservative language, even when argued against, activates and strengthens conservative brain circuitry. This is extremely important for so-called "independents," who actually have both conservative and liberal moral systems in their brains and can shift back and forth. The more they hear conservative language over the next eight months, the more their conservative brain circuitry will be strengthened.
The radical conservative discourse of the Republican presidential race has the same purpose, and conservative Republicans are luring Democrats into making the same mistakes. Santorum, the purest radical conservative, is the best example. From the perspective of conservative moral values, he is making sense and arguing logically, making his moral values clear and coming across as straightforward and authentic, as Reagan did.
Lakoff goes on to describe the differences between the Progressive moral worldview and the Conservative one. It's very much worth reading as a whole, particularly when he shows how the Democrats may be missing the point and, even if they win the Presidency this year, may lose other office elections and the overall, long-term war. And he lays out the Conservative "logic" that leads to the decimation of critical governmental programs and safeguards that actually help Americans:
It's war. On who is a great question -- because it isn't just women, no matter how much they are the target at the moment. If these GOoPers get in, kiss all the advances from the Affordable Care Act goodbye.
Here's how that logic goes.
- The strict father determines what happens in the family, including reproduction. Thus reproduction is the province of male authority.
- The strict father does not condone moral weakness and self-indulgence without moral consequences. Sex without reproductive consequences is thus seen as immoral.
- If the nation supports birth control for unmarried women, then the nation supports immoral behavior.
- The conservative stress on individual responsibility means that you and no one else should have to pay for your birth control -- not your employer, your HMO, or the taxpayers.
- Having to pay for your birth control also has a metaphorical religious value -- paying for your sins.
- This is a classical slippery slope narrative. If no one else should have to pay for your birth control, the next step is that no one else should have to pay for any of your health care.
- And the step after that is that no one else should be forced to pay for anyone else. This is, everything should be privatized -- no public education, safety nets, parks, or any public institutions or services.
It's shaping up to be the most pivotal election of our era.