Black3 has been making the point that the “progressives” and their titular leader, President Obama, have been following a pattern developed by Alinsky and others…last night after I got home from Barcelona, I read this post by Professor William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection (a very fine blog) regarding how the method of communication dovetails perfectly with the theories of George Lakoff, the Berkeley linguistics professor that Black3 wrote about on July 9th:
This narrative is cribbed almost verbatim from the narrative of George Lakoff, a progressive linguistics activist and Professor at Berkeley. Like Warren, Lakoff was one of the academics who helped frame how the Occupy Wall Street movement presented itself. Lakoff’s writings andtheories seek to transform progressive politics and he is a frequent speaker on how progressives can reframe the political debate.
Lakoff developed a linguistic narrative that progressives needed to counter conservatives by focusing on the role of government in enabling individual success, a narrative in which no person became successful on his or her own:
Nobody makes a dollar in this country in business without using the common wealth…. The idea that there’s a self-made man, that’s there’s a self-made millionaire is false, it is absolutely false, and that is the thing that Obama missed…. Without this you don’t have those roads, you don’t have that internet, you don’t have the banking system, etc.
Read how Lakoff framed the issue in a publication several years ago, then listen to the Obama and Warren speeches, they are not identical but very close substantively and linguistically (emphasis mine):
There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every businessman has used the vast American infrastructure, which the taxpayers paid for, to make his money. He did not make his money alone. He used taxpayer infrastructure. He got rich on what other taxpayers had paid for: the banking system, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and the judicial system, where nine-tenths of cases involve corporate law. These taxpayer investments support companies and wealthy investors. There are no self-made men! They wealthy have gotten rich using what previous taxpayers have paid for. They owe the taxpayers of this country a great deal and should be paying it back.
The Professor has been hot on the heels of Liz “Fauxcahontas” Warren, the self proclaimed mommy sow of the OWS “movement”, and her claims to be part Native American. We captured Fauxcahontas’ version of a “you didn’t build this” rant in September of last year. He has comparative video at the link above of the speeches.
The sole purpose of this narrative is to create a false history where individuals have never been successful without the collective, that America has always been a collectivist nation – so what’s wrong with a little more sweet, sweet collectivism? Lakoff’s hypothesis is that it is the message that matters – not the facts – and all it will take for “progressive” ideas to succeed is for “progressives” to simply ignore ideas from the other side of the political spectrum – don’t engage or otherwise recognize that there is even another position, just keep talking as if there are no dissenting voices. You can see that in practice when Obama talks about how “successful” his economic programs are – no matter how bad the data is, the policies are always “working”… except that they aren’t.
Obama didn’t think this. Somebody thought that for him.