Thom's online class in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming).
Week 1: Rapport, modalities: visual, auditory, kinesthetic (feeling). Anchoring.
Thom Hartmann NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) class week 1
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Thom Hartmann program, 16 November 2004
And welcome back, 27 minutes before the hour, Thom Hartmann here with you.
We're going to do something here that to the best of my knowledge has never been done before on radio and we'll see if it works. We're going to try it for a couple of weeks in this segment. There's a 17 minute segment here in the 2nd hour of our Tuesday program and we're just going to try this out. I'm going to do an on air online training as it were about neurolinguistic programming.
Neurolinguistic programming has been described by some, PlacitasRoy in our chat room in fact just a few minutes ago said it very well, "the conscious use of language to produce unconscious change" and, but there are so many, you know, dimensions to it, and pieces to it, it's really interesting. There are a series of assumptions of NLP and there are 16 main ones; different lists from different people. The two that I want to talk about first today. Uh, and I'm not going to take calls during this.
The first is respect for other peoples' models of their world. In other words, understanding that everyone actually experiences the world differently. Just, you know, one of the main mistakes that we make in life is think that everybody thinks the way we do and that everybody experiences the world we do. Ain't true. And number 2, that all behaviour has a positive intent. Dale Carnegie in his "How to win friends and influence people" talks about Two Gun Crowley, you know, this notorious criminal back in the 30s and he lay dying, this guy, a bankrobber, a famous bankrobber, and mobster. He says, "All I ever wanted to do was help people". You know, every behaviour has a positive intent behind it, no matter how functional or disfunctional it may be or may not be.
So, the first thing that I wanted to talk about is rapport. Rapport is stepping into another person's world or allowing them to step into yours. You know again based on the fact that everybody models the world differently. Everybody understands the world differently.
Here's an example of really very powerful rapport, the establishing of it. Milton Erickson was one of the guys that was modelled when they developed NLP. NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Neurolinguistic programming is what it stands for. And basically they modelled it after the work of Fritz Perls (Gestalt Therapy), Milton Erickson, the famous hypnotist, psychiatrist, medical hypnotist, and Virginia Satir (child and family therapist).
And there's a story about how Milton Erickson had been slammed by the president of one of the psychiatric, I believe it was the American Psychiatric Association and he came to the annual meeting, he'd been slammed in an op-ed piece. So he comes to the annual meeting and Erickson was an old man at this point and he was in a wheelchair. This is in the late 50s, and he'd had polio as a child, so he meant much of his life actually in a wheelchair, and he wheels his chair up to the front door of the APA meeting. And here's the president standing shaking peoples' hands as they go in and Erickson goes up and shakes his hand and as he does so he places his index finger on the guy's wrist, so he can get his pulse. He's noticing how the guy is breathing. He's noticing his eyeblinks, and as he's shaking this man's hand and pacing his words to go along with this man's physiology at the most subtle levels, following his breathing, his eyeblinking, all these physiological cues. He's putting him into a trance by pacing his words like this and he essentially says "You know, do you notice that you are feeling very relaxed", and the guy says, "yes", you know, and this guy had written this editorial saying medical hypnosis was nonsense. And he says, "You know you're in a light hypnotic trance right now" and the guy goes "Oh that's very interesting" he says, "and you can see how this would be therapeutic". And the guy goes "Yeah, you're right, you know this is very relaxing". And he says "Maybe, I wonder if you would like to share that with everybody here at the meeting, how good you would feel if you did that". And the guy walked up to the front of the room and says, "You know, I would like to share with all my friends, you know, an apology to Milton Erickson" and then somehow kind of wakes up. This "O, my god!" moment, you know. That's called the handshake induction and it's become part of the lore around Milton Erickson.
I was in, when I was trained by Richard Bandler a couple of years ago, not a couple, a decade ago, in England for my NLP trainer training there were, I don't know, 150 people in the room or so. There were 7 of us who actually ended up getting licenses out of this experience and there was this guy in the front row. I was about 5 or 6 rows back. There was this guy in the front row who on the very first hour of the very first day of this, of this what was, you know, ten or twelve hours a day as I recall of it of a 14 day program kept finishing Bandler's sentences for him and Richard was sitting up on the stage and he was about 20 or 30 feet away from this guy sitting on this bar stool and this guy kept finishing his sentences for him 'cause Bandler would occasionally pause to think and the first couple of times Bandler just shot him a dirty look, and by the 3rd or 4th time that this guy did this Bandler gets up off his chair and starts very slowly walking toward him.
I noted there was this peculiar jerkiness to the way that Richard was moving. And he was saying, and he was pacing his words in a particular way and it all of a sudden hit me - he is tracking this guy's physiology. He is tracking his breathing, his eyeblinks his body motions, and he is pacing his words to this, and creating such powerful rapport that he is basically entering this guy's world. And as he's doing this, Richard, as he is walking across the stage towards this guy he's saying "You know, it's not very polite to erupt like that. I'm not sure that I would just, you know, burst out like that, it seems kinda rash behaviour, don't you think?" And this guy, and while Richard is saying this, he's scratching the tops of his own arms with his fingers, and this guy sitting in his chair... We're all like, you know, horrified, why should this happen, and the guy in the chair starts scratching his own arms.
You notice when people are in rapport they imitate each other's body language and Bandler continues as he is walking towards the end of the stage continues with his dogma, "This is fairly rash behaviour, these eruptions like this" and within ... it couldn't have been more than 2 and a half minutes. By the time Richard reached the edge of the stage this guy was on the floor writhing, scratching himself hysterically, thinking that he was, you know, breaking out with a rash and then Richard, you know, snaps him out of this thing, tells him he is going to sit quietly for the rest of the session, he's going to learn more than he ever learned in his life, he's going to have a great time, and the guy did!
Now, those are extreme examples of the power of establishing rapport, but by the time I finish this, in about 9 minutes, I'm going to tell you how George W Bush did essentially the exact same thing in this last election. And here's how he did it. First of all, you'd have to understand, that in order to establish rapport that you are operating at the level below the cortex, below the thinking brain, you're operating at the level of the limbic brain and the reptilian brain. The mammalian brain, the brain that we share with all mammals and the brain that we share with reptiles: the lower function of the brain. This is where we process emotions and feelings. It's not where we process intellectual stuff.
Now, there are 3 ways; 3 primary ways, what are called modalities, 3 primary ways that people share information with each other, that they represent the world. And also, in these 3 primary ways, the people primarily experience the world. And these are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic or feeling, and people who are primarily visual mostly see the world. Their experience of the world is mostly seeved? and their language reflects that. They will say things like, "I see what you are talking about". Well, how can you see what somebody is talking about? Do you imagine their words as type running across the screen? No, but they somehow do, they actually do. They say, "Well that's very clear to me, yes I see your point. Hey, it's great to see you! I'll see you later." In fact, they'll say on the telephone, you know, things like, you know, "I'll see you later". And, wait a minute, we were talking, weren't we?
And, in our culture, about 70% more or less of people live primarily in a visual world and the way that you can spot this, if you're visual, or you can hear it if you are auditory, you can get a sense of it if you're kinesthetic, the way that you can notice this is by listening carefully to how they speak. Visual people will use mostly visual metaphors. Like I just said. "Yes, I see what you are talking about. They also tend to stand up straighter than auditory and kinesthetic people. They also tend to be more concerned about how things look. Very often their own appearance as well. And when you're watching somebody's eyes while they are speaking, you'll find that visual people, because they store a lot of information in visual memory, tend to be looking up a lot. They are looking up at where they stashed memories. So that's visual folks.
Auditory folks make up maybe 10 or 15% of our population. Auditory folks are more likely to be listening to the radio than watching television, for example. Auditory people live in a sea of sound. It's their primary way of experiencing the world. Now all of us have all of these things by the way and all of us are capable of all these things. But most people have one primary one that they just kind of hang on. Auditory people say things like, "I hear what you are saying. That sounds good to me. I like the sound of that. Hey! It's great hearing your voice again. I'll talk to you later. And when you hear language from somebody that is using primarily auditory metaphor, auditory predicates, you know that you're speaking to somebody that has the auditory, the hearing sense as their primary way of sensing, interpreting, and understanding, filtering the world.
Now the third type of person are kinesthetics. People who are primarily, uh, live in their feelings, hang out in their feelings, understand their world through their feelings. Kinesthetics will say, and this is maybe 5%, it's a relatively small percentage, maybe 5 or 10% of our population in, you know, modern civilization. Kinesthetics will say things like, "Yeah, I can get my hands around that. That's a good, solid idea. I like the feel of that. You know, I have a good sense for this. Hey, it's great to be in touch. Stay in touch. I'll catch you later." And they say things like that. And it's their way of expressing their experience of the world.
Now, what's interesting about this is that first of all, if you want to establish - actually there's a couple of things interesting about this. The first is if you want to establish rapport with somebody, if you want to step into their world, use the kind of predicates that they use. Start listening to how people speak and feeding back to them their language even if it's not your language, and you'll discover suddenly that you are communicating with them in ways that you weren't before.
I'll give you an example from my family, I don't think my kids will mind. It's an interesting story. It's you know, kind of one of these non-judgmental things. My wife is very visual, I'm very auditory. We have 3 kids. The oldest is primarily visual, the middle one is very kinesthetic and the youngest is pretty auditory. It's really interesting, interesting family. And we were sitting around 2 Christmases ago and we were going to go to a movie and we were trying to decide which movie to go to. And Louise, who's very visual, says well let's see which movie we should go see. Right, of course, "Let's see". Right? Here's the visual content. And the visual daughter says, "Well, you know, I'd like to go see that one" and she points to a particular movie in a newspaper - we had a paper out on the table.
And, you know, we have this conversation, and the kinesthetic kid - you know, I'm not going to identify them, the kinesthetic kid, you know, the question was asked, "Which movie do you want to go to? And he was, like, well, you know, I'm not really sure. And, the visual one says, well which one looks best to you? And he goes, "I don't know". And the auditory one goes, "Well, you know, which one do you think will be a better story, more entertaining? "I don't know." And all of a sudden I realized what was going on and so I said to him, "Which one feels right to you? And he says, "Well, that one!" And he pointed to one of the movies.
So, once I asked him in his world model, he knew! I mean he knew what he felt, but he couldn't explain it in a visual sense or an auditory sense. This is a very common thing. In fact, this is one of the reasons why kids who are highly kinesthetic in many cases have difficulties in public schools, because our teaching systems are primarily auditory and visual. And kinesthetic generally have to do things in order to learn them.
Now here's where we take it a step beyond this. Well, first of all, here's your homework for the next week and in fact you can call into the show and let us know how it work out. I want you to listen to how people speak, and get a sense of whether they are auditory, visual or kinesthetic and start using those metaphors when you speak back to them. Somebody says, "This looks great to me," and your tendency would be to say, "Yeah, I have a good sense about that, a good feeling", try saying, "Yeah, looks good to me too". And, you know, try using their predicates.
Now, here's the thing though, that's most important. People generally make decisions based on feelings. They organize their logic to agree with their feelings more often than they organize their feelings to agree with their logic. And this is what the Bush campaign did brilliantly. They came up with a campaign that had slogans that were essentially kinesthetic. They had to do with feelings. "Strong. Stand up straight. Move forward. Don't cut and run." I mean, you know, the vast majority of the metaphors absolutely consistent. "Steady". And then, in using auditory and visual metaphor they were all over the map as to policy.
Kerry never really in my opinion captured a good kinesthetic sense, and so what happened was people would hear Bush over over and again talking kinesthetically and they would get a feeling for him out of his kinesthesia 'cause Bush is actually a very kinesthetic guy. That's why he didn't do well in school I think in some part. And so he could pretty much say anything he wanted about policy and it didn't matter because they had a feeling, because the one consistent message in the campaign had been kinesthetic.
So, in a political campaign the first and most important thing to do is to identify the primary feeling, what's called in psychology the state, or in NLP the state. What is the state you want to convey to people? What is the feeling you want to convey? And then you craft all your messages around that. And so I would suggest, you know, for example, progressives, one of our primary states should be compassion or understanding. A lot we can do with this. Ten minutes before the hour.
adverts (www.progressive.org, The Last Hours, Healin-hollers herbs), African Americans story, show theme music ...
song (Into The Mystic): "We were born before the wind, Also younger than the sun" And welcome back. "Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic" That's a marvelous kinesthetic song for you, right? Full of kinesthetic metaphor. "Hark, now hear the sailors cry" Ah, now there's the auditory part. "Smell the sea and feel the sky" And we're back to kinesthetic. "Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic" Ah, remarkable. Van Morrison, a brilliant songwriter.
And that's - one of the interesting things about if you're going to communicate with a - just to wrap this stuff up - if you're going to communicate with a group of people, with more than one person, you can't obviously establish rapport and track a group of people as easily as you can one person at a time. So what you want to do is try to craft your message in such a way that it touches all 3 of these sensory modalities so that you are talking in a way that those people who primarily see the world see what you are saying. You know, they're clear about what you are trying to communicate. And the people who hear the world get it, and the people who feel the world also get a solid sense of it. The people who hear the world hear it.
And one of the most powerful ways to do this is with story. Story is the most powerful teaching tool there is bar none. And this is, just to wrap this thing up, and what's interesting is that story at its surface isn't really where the power is. When you go to a movie, it's not the main ark of the movie where you suddenly shake yourself and go "Oh my god, I'm in a movie, I totally forgot". It's not the main ark of a novel where you get so lost in it that you are turning pages, you know, so fast, or you're crying or laughing out loud or whatever, it's when you go 2 or 3 levels deep into the story. When you interrupt the main ark of the story and start a subplot. And then the subplot gets interrupted and you get into another subplot, you know, and when you go 2 or 3 levels deep, then basically the person - your or I - then basically we are in a trance. It's a learning kind of trance, but it is a trance. And that's where you embed the information, so it's so important when crafting a message, whatever that message be, that you build it around a story, or you build it around a story it, but you use metaphor for it.
You know, unfortunately the dark side of the force is people using stories that are just made up. For example, the campaign to end the estate tax. Frank Lunz, NLP genius, said, "Well, let's call this the death tax, number one, and number 2, let's say that people are losing small farms". Actually, a number of people have looked for this. There's a great book about this by Bill Gate senior. They can't find anybody who has lost a small farm as a result, a family farm, as a result of the estate tax. Nobody! It just doesn't happen! But, it's the story that gets promoted and that's what people remember. So build a story.
You've been listening to...", emergence of the teachers tape ad, "... This is the Thom Hartmann program", Workers Independent News service stories, spend money with local businesses (AIBA), wails of despair... (Jim Hightower), Sam's club ad (xmas shopping), refinancing (College Loan Corporation), show music ... "He's the man who uncovered corporate lies and exposed political corruption and has a clear vision of what America could become. Here's Thom Hartmann."
And welcome back my friends, Thom Hartmann here with you for the 3rd hour of our program.
We just finished our online on air neurolinguistic programming and progressive activism class and a couple of questions were raised in the chat room I thought I'd just very quickly answer.
How do you prevent this kind of stuff from affecting you? And the easiest way of course is to notice it. If you are aware that somebody is trying to influence you and you are aware of the tools that they are using to try and influence you then you can use cognitive processes; you can use thinking, you can use that realization to basically short-circuit it.
In fact, this is the strategy that so many parents have learned to effectively use with their kids with regard to advertising on television. And the kids are sitting there watching TV with their parents and an ad comes on that basically says to a kid that they won't be cool if they don't wear a certain kind of tennis shoes or whatever, you know, that you've got to have white teeth, or whatever it may be in order to be popular and the parent simply points out, "Oh, that's interesting, they're trying to make people believe that they are less than complete if they don't have this, or that they won't fit in if they don't have that, or, and just, you know, make clear what the subtle message of the ad is, and it immunizes the children against the advertising. So, just, you know, an example.
But I don't want to belabor that, we're going to keep this as our Tuesday afternoon segment here for a couple of weeks. We'll see how it works out, what kind of feedback we get, how, you know, what you think of it and please, you know, let me know, hopefully somebody presumably will start a thread over on our message board and, you know, let us know. Discussion about it, see where we go with it. I think it's going to be a useful and fun thing. I'm having fun with this and I hope you will. Anyhow, back to the news....
Thom Hartmann program, 17 November 2004
... We had out NLP class yesterday, by the way, got a couple of questions on that I want to answer. We're talking about George Lakoff. ...
... "Most people I know who voted for Bush did so", Elwyn sends me a note, "because they trusted him, not because of any logical reason. Does this trust have anything to do with kinesthetics, I'm not sure what that means?" We were talking yesterday about people being visual, auditory, and kinesthetic and that if you are going to create a political campaign your main message has to be anchored in the kinesthetic language, that is in the language that speaks to feelings. "Straight ahead, on point, solid, steady, resolve". Things like that. And that's what Bush did so well in this last campaign. Yes, that was my point, that it has nothing to do with logic, it anchors into the limbic brain, the mammalian brain, which is a non-verbal part of the brain where our, you know, our raw feelings are, and if you can anchor into that part of the brain you can cause a person to vote completely against their own logic. Ten minutes before the hour. ...
... Ah, welcome back. Van Morrison, incredible, just an incredible musician.
"Thom, I'm very interested in what you call NLP, I believe", writes Mr Lynn, "Where can I learn more about this, I would like to study." We did our NLP training yesterday, we did, in this segment of the program, a 17 minute chunk on the various submodalities that people use. Anyhow, Mr. Lynn writes in, and how to anchor them, and says "I'd like to study books, traditional school settings, home study and practice it. I only get to hear you sporadically but I'll listen as much as possible. Maybe you should write a book on this subject if you ever have time for such a project."
OK. A couple of quick answers to that. Number one, I did write a book on NLP, and my publisher - it was basically a primer, or primer [pronounced primmer - ed.] depending what part of the country you are from, on NLP, you know, describing the basic stuff about it, and my publisher said, this was 5 years ago, 6 years, 7 years ago, at that time ADHD was really hot and my ADD books were selling really well. And the publisher said, "You know, you've got to put an ADD hook into this thing in order to make it sell, otherwise it's just going to be another text book." And so I went back through and rewrote it as, you know, kind of, NLP in the context of ADHD. But it's still, I think, a pretty good introduction to neurolinguistic programming, which is what NLP stands for. And that book is called "Healing ADD" and it's still in print; you can find it in bookstores, you can get it online. And in fact, Richard Bandler, the co-founder of NLP, wrote the foreword for it. Richard is a friend, and the fellow who trained me as an NLP trainer.
So, anyhow, and slowly, I am working on a book on NLP and politics and activism, and in fact these classes that we are doing on the air, that we are going to be doing over the next few months, are sort of, you know, tracking that. The other resource that I would refer you to, I'd say that there are no books, there are no good books I know about that are comprehensive about neurolinguistic programming and politics. There is a, and in fact really nobody other than on the right has gotten into this, and even on the right they don't call it NLP, they, you know, a lot of people do NLP stuff and they don't call it NLP. They give it other names. In the therapy field it's called "Solution Based Therapy" or "Fast Therapy" or "Rapid Therapy" or, you know, "Emotional Freedom technique" or whatever, these are all variations of things that came out of NLP originally.
Ah, but on the web probably the 2 best resources for NLP are either pureNLP.com which is run by John La Valle who's the president of the society for NLP and a friend and a good guy. pureNLP.com is really about NLP in business. They have a system called design, persuasion, and, you know, all this stuff, like that. And then therapeutic NLP, probably the best site is NLPanchorpoint.com, anchor spelt a n c h o r point, and anchorpoint is a term in NLP that we'll get to in a future class but http://www.NLPanchorpoint.com all one word dot com and that gets you to Anchor Point magazine. In fact, if you toss "Anchor Point" into Google™ it's the first thing that comes up. And Anchor Point magazine is the main magazine in the NLP field. And the institute that publishes it also does trainings, and certifications and all kinds of stuff, so for those people who want more information.
But for folks who are looking for NLP information in the context of politics, about the closest we have right now is this book and videotape by George Lakoff. And I wrote a review of this for Buzzflash. We do a book every month on Buzzflash.com. And our book of the month this month, that, you know, Thom Hartmann's "Independent Thinkers" book of the month is what it's called, and you can find it at Buzzflash.com. And this month it's "Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate" is the book and the videotape [DVD? - ed.] "How Democrats and Progressives Can Win" by George Lakoff and like one of the 2 co-founders of NLP, John Grinder, George Lakoff is also a linguistics, a linguistician? [linguist - ed.] I don't know what the ... anyhow, he's a professor of linguistics. And he has written a great book about one dimension of NLP which we will be getting into in future discussions which is called framing. And I just, you know, the points that I made in the review are worthy of touching on.
Back in 1988 was when I first saw this happening, I mean I first got into and studied NLP back in the late seventies when I was the Executive Director of a residential treatment facility for abused kids. And it was, I learnt it in the context of, you know, a therapeutic tool. The main, the psychologist that had we hired to help with our kids was an NLP practitioner and he taught us an awful lot of stuff. Now I just, you know, was fascinated by it.
And a decade later, 1988, in our presidential campaign I remember noticing that there was a series of ads that showed Willie Horton in black and white and, you know, they just kept anchoring that, Willie Horton, black and white, Willie Horton, black and white, and this is what's called submodality anchoring and there was a particular type of music behind it. And after a while you'd kind of see that black and white and that music and that voice, that particular voice, and you'd just think, "Oh my God, it's him, he's going to come and get me", right, because that was how it was presented. This guy was a murderer and a rapist and he really was. And he had been let out of prison in Massachusetts and he'd gone out and killed somebody else, raped and murdered somebody else, and you know, this was a mistake, a mistake in the system, these things happen. Although Dukakis as the governor had signed off on it, as you do on all pardons or releases or whatever, and so, you know, the Bush campaign was holding him personally responsible for it. But anyhow, then I noticed a month or so later another set of commercials in which they had Dukakis's face in black and white with similar music behind it and the same voice. And I thought, "They're anchoring, at an emotional level, Dukakis to Willie Horton." so that whenever people see Dukakis's face they'll feel Willie Horton. And I thought, you know my first thought was, "that's pretty brilliant". You know, this stuff is not a secret, by the way, in ad agencies. This is, you know, I probably, with some embarrassment should confess this, I used to teach this to ad agencies, made a living doing that for a while.
It's no secret, in fact there's a whole industry around it. But it had never in my experience been brought into the political arena. It was just considered too hot, you know, over the top. And in the 1988 Bush campaign, George Herbert Walker Bush, they did this, they Willie Horton-ized Michael Dukakis. And I was, Louise and I were in New York, attending an NLP conference actually, put on by a guy, Joe Riggio, who's just a brilliant NLP trainer and there was another person there who ran one of the major NLP websites and I mentioned to him the Willie Horton ads and he said, "Yeah, so-and-so" and I'm not going to out this person, I'm not going to name him, but, "a mutual acquaintance of ours has gone to work for the republicans". And, you know, I got it that it was no accident. And, of course, you know, Frank Lunz is also the big guy in all this. Not that he's out of the NLP world but what he's using is NLP stuff.
And at the time I was living in Atlanta, actually in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, we lived in Roswell. And which was a district represented by Newt Gingrich; he was my congressman. And I could tell you some wild stories about that - some day we will. But about that time, or just shortly thereafter, actually I think it was the, must have been like '92, I'm not sure what year it was. Anyhow, Newt came out with his, you know when he came out with his 'Contract on America', which was masterfully framed stuff in NLP terms. He also came out with his word list. And it was in a memo, a secret memo, that went out to GOP leaders and frankly I'm not sure that Newt wrote this. You know, he was a good, although he still follows these rules, it's possible he wrote it. But I'm guessing it was my old NLP friend or somebody like him. I'm quoting; the memo was titled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" by Newt Gingrich. Newt wrote, "Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Apply these words to the opponent, their record, proposal and their party". And here's the list of words that Newt said you should always use whenever you are going to describe anything democratic or liberal. Always attach these words to the world 'liberal'. And of course this, you know, all the right-wing talk show hosts got this too.
"Decay, failure, fail, collapsing, deeper, crisis, urgent, destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they, them, unionized bureaucracy, compassion is not enough, betray, consequences, limits, shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocrisy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive, destruction, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-flag, anti-family, anti-child, anti-jobs, pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandates, taxes, spending, shame, disgrace, punish, bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, and patronage."
And as I went through that list, you probably recognized a lot of words that you've heard in the context of discussions about about democrats and liberals and there's no, and it's no accident. What was amazing to me during this last election was the number of cons who would come onto shows like Crossfire and talking about John Kerry, would just pull these words out of the hat. On the other hand, Newt said, to the Republicans, that there are positive governing words, positive words that should be attached to any discussion of the GOP or GOP policies, conservative policies. Any reference. He said, in fact he said, "memorize as many as possible" of these words. That's a direct quote. "Positive Governing Words". Here's the words that Newt said should be attached to all things Republican, and have been, basically, ever since this memo came out more than a decade ago, certainly by right-wing radio talk show hosts.
"Share, change, opportunity, legacy, challenge, control, truth, moral, courage, reform, prosperity, crusade, movement, children, family, debate, compete, actively, we, us, our," (this instead of they or them), "candidly, humane, pristine, provide, liberty, commitment, principled, unique, duty, precious, premise, caring, tough, listen, learn, help, lead, vision, success, empowerment, citizen, activist, mobilize, conflict, light, dream, freedom, peace, rights, pioneer, proud, pride, building, preserve, pro-flag, pro-children, pro-environment, reform, workfare, eliminate good-time in prison, strength, choose, choice, fair, protect, confident, incentive, hard work, initiative, common sense, and passionate." Newt Gingrich's official word list.
And this is very, very powerful stuff. What I am sharing with you is that we have been on the receiving end of two decades of psychological warfare that's only been played by one side. And how the democrats didn't figure out that this was going on, or if they did figure it out, how they failed to do anything about it, is just beyond me; frankly, it baffles me. So, into this fray steps George Lakoff.
And George Lakoff has come up with this book. And this is the Buzzflash book of the month; Thom Hartmann's thinking, Independent Thinker Book Club book of the month on Buzzflash.com. And, which is how they support their website, by the way.
And there's a lot of great progressive sites by the way out there, Common Dreams of course is the one I always write for first and post my things on, Buzzflash is a great one, they pick up a lot of my stuff, and I do these book reviews for them, OpEdNews, another one, TruthOut.org, ah, there's just, you know, if I try and do a list I'm sure I'll leave somebody out. So I, you know, but there's some great websites out there.
Anyhow, George Lakoff has written this book, and in this book he talks about framing and talks about for example tax relief. You know, it used to be that, you know, for 200 years in America, we all understood that taxes are, to quote Franklin Roosevelt, or to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt, taxes are the cost of admission to a civil society. And there's this infrastructure that we have that we all use, our police departments, our fire departments, our roads, our, you know, the trucks that clear the snow, here in the people's republic of Vermont, or clean up after the hurricanes down in Florida or whatever, you know, there is this stuff that we all use collectively. It's called the commons. Our government itself. Our bridges, our highways, our tunnels, our air traffic control systems. All of these things are, you know, should be in my opinion, our rail system unfortunately it got mostly privatized, although its been subsidized to some extent but it, you know I really think that we should have a rail system, but that's a whole other argument, you know, like Europe does. And national public radio also used to be considered part of the commons. Now it's about half privatized unfortunately.
But we have this notion that the way that we all pay for this stuff is with taxes and if somebody doesn't want to pay their fair share, they're a freeloader. And that any politician who would suggest that people shouldn't have to pay their fair share or that we should borrow from our grandchildren so that people don't have to pay their fair share would be an enabler of freeloaders and a corrupt politician. I mean, we all understood this in America for over 200 years. And we called tax cuts and tax breaks, and we called tax breaks tax breaks, and they're like, you know, not real desirable, not good things necessarily, because, you know, freeloaders were using them.
Well then along came Grover Norquist and his merry band of millionaire conservatives and they said, "Let's change the word" - and Frank Lunz was actually responsible for this - change the word to tax relief. Relief implies a burden, and you're relieving somebody of a burden! So literally overnight, really in a space of 10 or 12 years, the whole concept of taxation was changed in America. And now we see much to our detriment it's stripping, you know, it's ripping apart our government, it's tearing down the dollar, and tearing apart our civil society. But that's what they've been doing. Ten minutes before the hour.
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