I Believe Mr. Lakoff’s Wrong About The Greens

In an older article at Bush Greenwatch, word is we have a root cause for why the Greens in America are losing to the Bush Brigade:

Political and social change often comes down to a war of words. And according to a prominent cognitive linguist from California, anti-environmental forces have been winning that war because progressives don’t know how to talk about issues.

So it’s not because the American public is largely pig-ignorant enough to believe that Darwinian evolution is “just a theory” or, worse, “false”? It’s not just because activity on both sides of the partisan political divide is focused on reducing politics to occasional voting, with none of the criticism, dialogue, deliberation, and dissent?

Sure, the left doesn’t know how to criticize the Right in a way that will convert the right. But anyone who thinks anything other than the simple facts laid out in plain view is needed to refute the Right’s environmental policies is missing the point: the people who support those politicians and their policies choose ignorance. This is choosing unsustainability, and climatic havoc, and all kinds of bad things, but unfortunately their original choice, ignorance, makes the impervious to the rest.

If the Greens are going to succeed, they’ll need to stop relying on the Left to come to their aid—for, Lakoff seems to grasp, Green issues are not the same as Left issues. Green might have been partly coopted by the Left, but they’re not the same thing. Greens in America (and worldwide, really) are going to have to abandon hope that the government will fix the problem: it won’t, because the whole political/corporate system is the enemy of the environment. They’re going to just have to find another way to deal with this, whether it’s by private activist groups, private tech implementations, scientific fellowships that break away from corporate or government funding, or any other number of possibilities. As long as you are hanging onto the apron strings of government of business, you’ll never really be able to really, seriously address these problems.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, the head of Shell Oil is “really very worried for the planet”, though it’s still not clear what he’s doing about it.

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