Twitter thread or blog post about liberals talking to conservatives?
November 16, 2020 7:32 PM   Subscribe

I recently read either a (USian) Twitter thread or a blog post in which someone said they'd spent time on some conservative message boards for years, and discovered that in many cases liberals and conservatives agree on fundamental things, but use completely different terms for it, which is keeping the two sides apart on many things they'd agree upon (like socialized medicine or protecting our natural resources). It had a number of great examples. Does anyone have a link?
posted by rednikki to Law & Government (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm, I’ve definitely heard this discussed before, and heard these thoughts myself.

The resource that come to mind first is:

Which isn’t exactly right.
posted by bbqturtle at 7:38 PM on November 16, 2020

Best answer: This is fairly nested so may not be the start: kendallroy-kendallroy-kendallroy-also-with-all
posted by readinghippo at 7:46 PM on November 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Political framing:
Lakoff argues that the differences in opinions between liberals and conservatives follow from the fact that they subscribe with different strength to two different central metaphors about the relationship of the state to its citizens. Both, he claims, see governance through metaphors of the family. Conservatives would subscribe more strongly and more often to a model that he calls the "strict father model" and has a family structured around a strong, dominant "father" (government), and assumes that the "children" (citizens) need to be disciplined to be made into responsible "adults" (morality, self-financing). Once the "children" are "adults", though, the "father" should not interfere with their lives: the government should stay out of the business of those in society who have proved their responsibility. In contrast, Lakoff argues that liberals place more support in a model of the family, which he calls the "nurturant parent model", based on "nurturant values", where both "mothers" and "fathers" work to keep the essentially good "children" away from "corrupting influences" (pollution, social injustice, poverty, etc.). Lakoff says that most people have a blend of both metaphors applied at different times, and that political speech works primarily by invoking these metaphors and urging the subscription of one over the other.

Lakoff further argues that one of the reasons liberals have had difficulty since the 1980s is that they have not been as aware of their own guiding metaphors, and have too often accepted conservative terminology framed in a way to promote the strict father metaphor.
posted by metabaroque at 8:24 PM on November 16, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Tumblr post readinghippo linked is what immediately sprung to my mind. It came across my dash yesterday.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:05 PM on November 16, 2020

Agree with metabaroque that this sounds a lot like Lakoff’s work around framing. Jonathan Haidt is another academic researcher who does similar work.
posted by forkisbetter at 5:53 AM on November 17, 2020

I can't answer the OP's question, but...

in many cases liberals and conservatives agree on fundamental things, but use completely different terms

I don't think this interpretation of Lakoff addresses this issue at all. I don't even think it's true - it sounds like a conservative talking point to me, easily disproven, said in order to denigrate the Left.

Note that this business about the Strict Father / Nurturing Mother is basic Political Spectrum stuff -- see for example this chart at Information Is Beautiful.
posted by Rash at 8:44 AM on November 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

It reminds me of this recent Twitter thread about a focus group of Trump voters who vehemently rejected the slogan 'defund the police' while supporting a proposal to, er, defund the police:

We are explaining the actual policies behind defund the police. One woman interrupts "that is not what defund the police means, I'm sorry. It means they want to defund the police."

"I didn't like being lied to about this over and over again" says another woman.

"Don't try and tell me words don't mean what they say" she continues. Rest of group nodding heads.

We ask if they support reducing police funding and reallocating it to social services and other agencies to reduce police presence in community conflict. 70% say they support that proposal.

posted by verstegan at 9:52 AM on November 17, 2020

Response by poster: Readinghippo nailed this one! Thank you!
posted by rednikki at 12:46 PM on November 17, 2020

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