George Lakoff

American linguist

George P. Lakoff (born 24 May 1941) is a professor of cognitive linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. In recent years he has applied his work to the realm of politics.

The progressive-liberal values are America's values, and we need to go back to them.


  • We know that someone who has channeled his anger into something constructive has not had a cow. How do we know these things?
    • Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1987)
  • Do we really think that the United States will have the protection of innocent Afghans in mind if it rains terror down on the Afghan infrastructure? We are supposedly fighting them because they immorally killed innocent civilians. That made them evil. If we do the same, are we any less immoral?
  • The Democrats had begun to use the basics of framing issues in terms of their own values and principles... Had they continued to argue with unity on the difference between 911 and Iraq, and on the fact that George Bush betrayed our troops and is weakening our country, they might have made it impossible for Bush to once again link Iraq with 911.
    Then they lost it. Karl Rove outsmarted the Democrats again. And he used the most basic trick in the book to do it... This time John Kerry stepped in to help Bush, basically supporting the president’s position but offering policy-wonk modifications. The message: Bush is basically right, except for some minor twiddles.
  • The moral of Katrina is mostly being missed. It is not just a failure of execution (William Kristol), or that bad things just happen (Laura Bush). It was not just indifference by the President, or a lack of accountability, or a failure of federal-state communication, or corrupt appointments in FEMA, or the cutting of budgets for fixing levees, or the inexcusable absence of the National Guard off in Iraq. It was all of these and more, but they are the effects, not the cause.
    The cause was political through and through — a matter of values and principles. The progressive-liberal values are America's values, and we need to go back to them. The heart of progressive-liberal values is simple: empathy (caring about and for people) and responsibility (acting responsibly on that empathy). These values translate into a simple principle: Use the common wealth for the common good to better all our lives. In short, promoting the common good is the central role of government.
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