Politics11

Freedom Evolves                              Daniel C. Dennett           Dec 2007
Words That Work                             Frank Luntz                    Jan 2008
What Orwell Didn't Know               András Szántó, Ed.         Jan 2008
                    
     
Freedom Evolves           Daniel C. Dennett             Dec 2007
          
C1 - Natural Freedom    A quote from the Italian, "Yes, we have a soul.  But it's made of lots of tiny robots."  Humans are alone, amongst all the animals, in knowing what we are.  In knowing this we can think beyond ourselves and create the civilizations that we have.  Do we know it all, not by a long shot.  We may know who we are, but we are much more than we know.  We are made up of many interrelated parts, many of which we will never know fully.  Suggestion:  in an argument look for the rhetorical questions, they usually mark the weakest link in any defense.  One can often embarrass the asker of a rhetorical question by simply trying to answer it: "I'll show you how!"

The remainder of the chapter is a discussion of free will.  He thinks we have it but he refers to several of his critics and tries to explain why they are wrong.  The rest of the book will cover this in more detail.

He refers us to the Tufts Center for Cognitive Studies  http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud .  The Comic Relief section is very big and takes a long time to download.

C2 - A Tool for Thinking About Determinism    Determinism: "there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.  Wrong, wrong, and double wrong.  More on free will and determinism, discussion of Conway's Game of Life, more bouncing around and back about determinism.

C3 - Thinking about Determinism  Much ado about determination and free will.  I am sure that some people will find this fascinating - I don't.  We can have both determination and free will.  

C4 - A Hearing for Libertarianism   More slicing and dicing of words about determinism, free will, and even philosophical liberalism.  Logical "knots" that are designed to cause confusion.

C5 - Where Does All the Design Come from?  A consideration of freedom looking at a modern symphony orchestra - he  uses the Boston Symphony as an example.  It is composed of a large number of fine musicians all playing all playing exactly the same piece just as it was designed; but each of the members lives in her own world, thinking different thoughts, moving their bow (fingers, etc.) slightly differently exhibiting their own free will while the piece shows determinism.

Lots more stuff, evolution of life, the prisoner's dilemma, Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel.  The more "determined" (as in more data -genes- it takes to create it) life becomes, the more freedom (free will) it has.

C6 - The Evolution of Open Minds   Genes, cultural transmission (in insects, animals, primates, and humans), memes and the joys of culture.  How each is a transmitter of determination but at the same time opens more opportunities for free will.

C7 - The Evolution of Moral Agency  He coins a new term; we have all heard the quote from Ben Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." Was this a founding statement of America, fine, noble, inspirational, etc. or was it a carefully crafted call to the self-interest of his listeners?  Dennett calls this "benselfish".  We don't really know what it was.  

He mentions a number of other issues regarding free-will, altruism, being good, truthfulness, genetic relationships (the genetics of mules), the Prisoners Dilemma, social insects and other animal models of morality.  "Jesus is coming.  Look Busy!" Bumper Sticker.  Being good vs. seeming good.  Delayed gratification and some experimental approaches.  Internal controls: "Would you prefer a dollar right now or a dollar-fifty tomorrow?"  Would you prefer a dollar next Tuesday or a dollar-fifty next Wednesday?"  The hyperbolic discount curve vs. the exponential discount curve.  Humans (and many other animals) seem to be genetically inclined towards altruism but there are many (partial?) backsliders - are we just not yet fully evolved or is it something deeper?  Freedom is not a simple thing.

C8 - Are You Out of the Loop?  Thought is not instantaneous.  It takes a measurable amount of time - which includes several periods of brain activity - before we react to even simple events.  Arguments against the "Cartesian Theater" model of brain and mind.  The model of a mind-brain that must carry out a series of linked calculations before activity can occur.  The changes in this model over numerous different animal brains.  
 
C9 - Bootstrapping Ourselves Free  "Human consciousness was made for sharing ideas."  The evolution of the brain-mind made possible the sharing of experience (ideas) and morality.  Hume: ethics as a kind of human technology which allows us to revise our natural instincts.  Discussion of natural selection.  Is it education or brainwashing?
 
C10 - The Future of Human Freedom  Why are some people afraid of the advances of physical (and biological and social) science?  They try to establish absolutist doctrines to keep these evil ideas at bay.  

The problem of breaking laws and being punished.  What if you have a "medical" condition that makes it impossible to "know" you are doing something improper.  Does a culture punish this or treat this?  Again, fixed laws in a changing environment just don't work for long.  More discussion of responsibility, both for good and for evil.

14 pages of bibliography and 23 pages of index.  The book had an interesting feature,  Following every chapter was a short section of further reading and a summary of the chapter with a preview of the following chapter.

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Words That Work                             Frank Luntz                    Jan 2008
            Subtitled:  It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear

Overall feeling about the book.  George Lakoff is a scientist, he proceeds by making observations, hypotheses and then collecting data to (hopefully) confirm his hypothesis.  A step-by-step process that will eventually succeed in creating a science.  Luntz is an engineer, similar to the builders of the Romans or the builders of the Cathedrals of the Middle Ages.  He is building methods and techniques that work today before the science has been created.  He is interested in building Words That Work, not theories that work.  The words may not work tomorrow, but they work today and thats where he lives.

I have numerous issues with his philosophy but I am forced to respect him as a superb tactician.  He has a superb ear for communication issues and he is well educated in using the appropriate tools to measure what he wants.  Question?  Were the Democrats really that bad and the Republicans really that good over the last 40 years?  Can the Democrats - if they follow Laykoff's ideas - beat Republicans using Luntz's ideas?  If the Republicans hire Luntz back, will they beat the Democrats?


Introduction  In Sept. 2004 Arianna Huffington invited 35 invited 35 of Hollywood's most important Democratic power players to her home to hear Luntz speak.  Why him, why a Republican pollster and consultant?  Because previously the Democrats were too dumb to hire him and the Republicans weren't.
It's not what you say, it's what people hear.

This is his most important message.  Jimmy Carter never used the word "malaise" in his "crisis of confidence" speech on July 15, 1979 and Colin Powell called his "Powell doctrine" a theory of "decisive force" not a theory of "overwhelming force".  It was the professional journalists, historians, and academics who used these terms.  If you want to get your message across you need to go beyond your understanding and look at the world from your listener's point of view.

Political rhetoric should be direct and clear, it should be interactive and not one-sided, it should speak to the common sense of common people - with a moral component but without being inflammatory, preachy, or divisive.  Political language should favor those with enough respect for people to tell the truth and enough intelligence not to do so in condescending tones.  In 2005 he wrote a 170 page memo on language - A New American Lexicon, (Note:  This is searchable on Google) which raised a storm of protest in liberal circles.  He tried to establish a common language for a pro-business, pro-freedom agenda.  He doesn't believe that using carefully designed language is immoral,  it is immoral to use a poor argument when when a stronger argument is available.  All language is manipulative - it is only immoral when you purposely try to deceive and hide the truth.  

He cites a number of examples that he will use later in the book, "estate tax" vs. "death tax", Giuliani's "crime agenda" became his "safety and security platform", "drilling for oil" became "energy exploration", and how "gambling" became "gaming".  

C1  The Ten Rules of Effective Language  The name of the book is "Words that Work", language needs to be functional, successful language is not a method for displaying your academic degrees.  Some policies are inherently not too popular.  Your job is to present both popular and unpopular policies in a positive manner.
  1. Simplicity:  Use Small Words  If somebody has to reach for a dictionary, they won't. 
  2. Brevity: Use Short Sentences  Short is harder to write than long, make the effort.
  3. Credibility Is As Important As Philosophy  Your words have to be believable.  "Say what you mean and mean what you say."
  4. Consistency Matters  Repetition . . .  Find good words or phrases that get your point across and continue to use them.  It may be old to you but it is new to each person who hears it for the first time.  However for complex ideas it may get old after 2 or 3 years.  
  5. Novelty: Offer Something New  It may be old but it must sound new.  If your message generates an "I didn't know that" response, you have succeeded.
  6. Sound and Texture Matter  The sounds and texture of language should be as memorable as the words themselves.  Grammar and spelling don't matter if the phrase works.
  7. Speak Aspirationally  Personalize and humanize the message to trigger an emotional remembrance.  People may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.  What does the message mean to individuals (JFK's Peace Corps messages_.
  8. Visualize  Either describe what you mean so that people form a visual image (hard) or create a visual that they can identify with.
  9. Ask a Question  "Can you hear me now?" (Verizon Wireless),  "Got Milk?",  "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" (Ronald Reagan about Jimmy Carter in 1980)
  10. Provide Context and Explain Relevance  Lakoff would call this framing and Drew Westen might call it network.  Luntz calls it context.  The words must relate to conditions that others can relate to.  
Your phrase or slogan must meet several of these criteria to have a chance.  If it can meet all ten it has the possibility of being a home run.  For major campaigns visuals are very important.  

Words That Worked -- Case Study: "Talk to Me"  Research in 1993 showed that Americans viewed Republicans as too uptight and staid and their candidates as too distant and humorless.  He have the incumbent Republican candidates Nerf footballs labeled with the words "Talk to Me".  They were to have town meetings and when someone wanted to talk the candidate would toss the football to him.  Then they would toss it back for an answer.  It was fun, got people active, and and really got across the point that the candidates really wanted to have a dialog with the voters.  And they matched almost all of the ten criteria.  
 
C2  Preventing Message Mistakes  The main mistake that most politicians make is to treat voters like they live and work in Washington DC.  The often use many code words and acronyms that most outside of Washington DC and journalists do not know.  Voters need to be educated before they can be motivated or even given information about an election.
Get the Order Right  The sequential order of information creates the meaning of the information.  Presenting material in the wrong order can change the perception.  The right order equals the right context.
The Battle of the Sexes  Too many male politicians fail to realize that many (most?) of the voters are female.  They use sports analogies, they use war analogies, women care about the same things as men but they don't think of them in the same manner.  Don't just discuss "women's issues", the worst thing you can do with women is pandering.  Women generally want candidates to listen, more than men do.  
It's About the Children If you want to get to women focus on children.  It is probably the single most important issue for many women.
How you Define Determines how you are Received  "Positioning an idea linguistically so that it affirms and confirms an audience's context can often mean the difference between that idea's success and failure."  Not all words defined the same evoke the same response, find the most appropriate word for the context.  Example - welfare vs. assistance to the poor, and emergency room care should not be given to illegal aliens vs. should deny emergency room care.  

The 10 rules of effective communication are a necessary first step but they are not sufficient.  Communicators need to put themselves in the mind-set of their audiences.  What the social status of the listeners, what they have heard from politicians in the past, what their level of education is, what is their gender.

C3  Old Words, New Meaning  Again, it's not what you say, it's what people hear.  Why was President Bush a success?  His syntax and grammar are often a mess, he has trouble completing an off-the-cuff thought.  He succeeded against opponents that were his intellectual superior because voters knew where he stood and this was not always clear with Al Gore or John Kerry.  Orwell's language rules:
Luntz picked Killer Words as the title for this book.  He tested this title along with others (including Words That Work) and it lost every time.  It violated Orwell's last rule.  It had many negative links.  The author has several lists of words, contemporary youth language and new words for old meanings.  He discusses the derivation and changes for several words and phrases.  

C4  How "Words That Work" Are Created  He wrote one speech and had four senators deliver it.  Then he went before the Republican Senate Conference and showed a video analysis of the speech.  The results were consistent, good language was well received and bad language was not, no matter who read the speech.  A brief history of political and corporate polling.  Telephone polling is cheap but not very precise.  A focus group is around eight to twelve participants which are observed while discussing a topic.  They are typically paid $50 per hour or so.  A moderator controls the session.  He prefers the "Instant Response Dial Session" or "People Meters".  They are usually composed of 25 to 30 people and conducted classroom style.  In 2006 a dial session could cost between $27,500 and $40,000 and a focus group would cost between $7,500 to $12,000.  Each dial participant has a small wireless box with a dial labeled 0 (negative) to 100 (positive).  Their responses are tabulated by computer on a second-by-second basis.  The totaled results can be viewed on a video recording of the presentation.  Dial groups are resistant to some of the problems of focus groups.  The most valuable results are often words and phrases that detract from the presentation.

C5  Be the Message  In many cases it's not what people explicitly say, it's how they say it.  In an example from the Bush - Clinton campaign, Bush said, "I care" but Clinton showed that he cared in many little ways - and people made their own decision.  Another - Bush 2 vs Kerry, Kerry kept telling people about his war record and his injuries.  Bush, who evaded the Vietnam War, talked about terrorism and Iraq and came off sounding tougher.  When Kerry traveled with his "band of brothers" - people he served with, it worked, on stage it didn't.  Luntz's suggestion:  when the Swift Boat Veterans attacked, he should have told his attackers, naming Bush and Cheney, to "go to hell".  This would have caused a controversy over the use of profanity but that would have been a better debate for Kerry.

He describes how personality and authenticity have to match, using Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Clinton, and McCain as examples.  Numerous corporate examples of how the corporate message needs to be consistent and related to the products.  He uses the term "language alignment".  The products, the company, the words used must all fit together and satisfy some want or need of their customers.  There is a list of companies and phrases that everyone recognizes.

C6  Words We Remember  A whole lot of phrases that politicians and corporations have used and why they work or don't work.  Including some that didn't.  If they are bad phrases and the press picks them up they can be repeated forever and they can haunt a politician for years.

C7  Corporate Case Studies  Chapter six expanded: if attacked, always respond: "Silence = Guilt"; how "gambling" turned into "gaming"; "liquor" is now "spirits"; "banks" vs. "credit unions"; "honest data" vs. "accurate data"; how to respond to labor unions and strikes.

C8  Political Case Studies  More Chapter six: "The death tax", "energy exploration", "opportunity scholarships", "save, strengthen, and simplify Medicare", "Personalizing not privatizing" Social Security.  A personal history of the Contract with America.  

THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA

    As Republican Members of the House of Representatives and as citizens seeking to join that body we propose not just to change its policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.

    That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print.

    This year's election offers the chance, after four decades of one-party control, to bring to the House a new majority that will transform the way Congress works. That historic change would be the end of government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money. It can be the beginning of a Congress that respects the values and shares the faith of the American family.

    Like Lincoln, our first Republican president, we intend to act "with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right." To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace. To make us all proud again of the way free people govern themselves.

    On the first day of the l04th Congress, the new Republican majority will immediately pass the following major reforms, aimed at restoring the faith and trust of the American people in their government:

    * FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;
    * SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;
    * THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;
    * FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;
    * FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;
    * SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;
    * SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;
    * EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

    Thereafter, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, we shall bring to the House Floor the following bills, each to be given full and open debate, each to be given a clear and fair vote and each to be immediately available this day for public inspection and scrutiny.

    1. THE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: A balanced budget/tax limitation amendment and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out-of-control Congress, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.
    2. THE TAKING BACK OUR STREETS ACT: An anti-crime package including stronger truth-in-sentencing, "good faith" exclusionary rule exemptions, effective death penalty provisions, and cuts in social spending from this summer's "crime" bill to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.
    3. THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT: Discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased AFDC for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs, and enact a tough two-years-and-out provision with work requirements to promote individual responsibility.
    4. THE FAMILY REINFORCEMENT ACT: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in American society.
    5. THE AMERICAN DREAM RESTORATION ACT: A $500 per child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle-class tax relief.
    6. THE NATIONAL SECURITY RESTORATION ACT: No U.S. troops under U.N. command and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world.
    7. THE SENIOR CITIZENS FAIRNESS ACT: Raise the Social Security earnings limit which currently forces seniors out of the work force, repeal the 1993 tax hikes on Social Security benefits and provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let Older Americans keep more of what they have earned over the years.
    8. THE JOB CREATION AND WAGE ENHANCEMENT ACT: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis, strengthening the Regulatory Flexibility Act and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages.
    9. THE COMMON SENSE LEGAL REFORM ACT: "Loser pays" laws, reasonable limits on punitive damages and reform of product liability laws to stem the endless tide of litigation.
    10. THE CITIZEN LEGISLATURE ACT: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators.

    Further, we will instruct the House Budget Committee to report to the floor and we will work to enact additional budget savings, beyond the budget cuts specifically included in the legislation described above, to ensure that the federal budget deficit will be less than it would have been without the enactment of these bills.

    Respecting the judgment of our fellow citizens as we seek their mandate for reform, we hereby pledge our names to this Contract with America.


Three ways of discussing Medicare spending, a) increase from $178 to $250 billion, b) increase by 6.4% each year for six years, or c) increase from $4,700 to $6,200 per person per year.  "C" is the best because it is personalized for each person and easy to understand.  He lists 1.5 pages of presidential campaign slogans - many are forgettable, most apply communications rule 7 (aspiration) but they fall short because of rules 3 or 10 (credibility or context).

Case studies of "Estate Tax" vs. "Death Tax", "Drilling for Oil" to "Exploring for Energy" and "Domestic" to "American", "Social Security" to "Retirement Security", "Illegal Immigration", and "Crime" and "Criminals" to "Public Safety".

A second discussion of his Ten Rules for of effective language using language that he used in a 24 page confidential memo he drafted for Republican members of Congress concerning illegal immigration.

C9  Myths and Realities About Language and People  First of all, on the things that are important all Americans are much more alike than our differences would suggest (race, income, gender, etc.).  He first describes an Average American, a 33 year old white married female with 2 children and a job and a high school diploma.  This hasn't changed much in 10 years.  He describes how the Ten Rules for effective language are relevant to her.  He specifically lists simplicity, brevity, credibility, consistency, novelty, sound (alliteration), aspiration, and relevance.  He then goes on to describe the Ten Great Myths About Americans.
  1. Americans are Educated:  Less than 30% have a college degree.  Very high percentages of people cannot answer simple questions about our government.
  2. Americans Read: Statistics relating how few people read.
  3. American women respond to messages the same:  Women change their voting patterns more as they age and their life situations change.  Men are more constant.
  4. Americans divide neatly and accurately into urban, suburban, and rural populations:  Recently a new group has arisen, those living in the exurbs, they tend to "think rural" but "act suburban".  The exurbs tend to be Republican and the suburbs are becoming more liberal.
  5. American consumers respond well to patriotic messages:  Sort of:  American pride (workmanship and "Made in USA" sells stuff) but not blatant patriotism.
  6. Retro sells products and politicians:  Doesn't work, if you reserect an old idea sell it as renewing a concept and revitalizing it.
  7. Americans vote according to a candidate's stands on the issues:  The media uses this idea because it is easy to discuss.  Most people vote based on the candidates' attributes -- personality, image, authenticity, vibe.  Most Americans don't know the substance behind the issues.  Neither Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush were considered intellectual giants but they still won twice.  Americans select common sense over other attributes including brains.
  8. Americans are happy:  No!  Many (most?) are unhappy about how things are going in America and they want a change.  
  9. Americans prefer big organizations:  Americans don't trust big corporations, big government, big unions, big (unfeeling) everything.  They want promises that organizations can stand behind.
  10. Americans have finally gotten over 9/11:  9/11 changed everything forever.  First was the anger, then our shared loss of national confidence.  Then when our leaders (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) boasted of how we could capture and defeat the forces of Saddam and bin Laden but failed to deliver and we wait in line for an airline we can never take our personal security for granted again.
C10  What We REALLY Care About  Words that work are powerful because they connect ideas, emotions, hopes, and fears.  Luntz lists a number of factors that Americans believe in.
  1. Principles:  Principles are rigorous, examined, serious, they have weight.  If your principles match their values, the details won't matter.
  2. Opportunity (more than fairness):  Bush has used the term "freedom" so much that it is specifically linked to Republican foreign policy.  Since the days of FDR (and LBJ and until now) have used the term "fair" or "fairness".  If a politician uses the term, you can be pretty sure that he is a Democrat.  Currently "opportunity" bridges the partisan gap.  Its use doesn't guarantee a win, Democrats have success with "level playing field", Republicans succeed with "equality of opportunity".  So far it hasn't been captured by either side.
  3. Opportunity (more than ownership):  Again Bush used the term "ownership society", too many Americans realize that this just doesn't apply to them.  the "opportunity of ownership" is a way to include more Americans.  
  4. Community:  This no longer simply means where you live.  With modern communications, internet chat rooms, email listservs, and blogs, a community is no longer defined by a Zip code.
  5. Common Sense:  "common sense" is almost as difficult to define as pornography.  Perhaps it is "self-evident" like in the Declaration of Independence.  In 2006 the Democrats used, "America Can Do Better",  "Common sense, common values" tested out better but both are good.  It cannot be defined in formal terms - it would no longer be "common".
  6. Getting "value" from government:  "getting value from government" tests out better than "limited government" that the conservatives like.  Democrats are right in that there is a positive role for government but Republicans are right in that we don't want to give up our personal freedom or our right to choose for ourselves.  Americans generally trust local government.  Big bloated national bureaucracies get them upset. 
  7. Convenience:  This has replaced "time is money" for most people.  
  8. Main Street not Wall Street:  Wall Street is great for fiscally conservative Republicans, but not for most of us, we want the Main Street of mom-and-pop stores.  This distinction typically works great for Democrats.  
  9. Family Values:  This scores better than similar phrases like "traditional values", "American values", or "community values".  "Moral values" has been partially hijacked by the fundamentalist religious community but it is still partially available.  There is a certain amount of backlash if people inject explicit religious ideas and terms into the debate.  The best terms to use are - "Family", "Freedom", "Opportunity", "Responsibility", "Community", "Sacrifice".  "Hollywood values" or "Hollywood liberal" are terms that should NEVER be used and rejected if they are. 
  10. The Future (not the past):  Americans are not about the past or the status quo, we are only interested about the past to see what we could do better. 
  11. Positive Messages:  Elected officials need to be for something, not against something.  (Negaivity only works when we show how our opponent's plan will not work.)  He refers (and quotes) Robert Kennedy's speech to a black audience in Indianapolis, Indiana immediately following Martin Luther Kings's assassination. 
  12. Accountability:  Following seven years of Bush Americans have become suspicious of the motives of Washington and that it won't react correctly.
  13. Respect:  We must have leaders whom we respect, and they must respect us.  
  14. Solutions:  A product or a service is nice but what we really need is a solution. A "service" helps you with a problem, a "solution" alleviates the problem.  
C11  Personal Language for Personal Scenarios  
  1. How do you say I'm Sorry?  (aimed at men) Men want to speak, women want to be heard.  Women argue by asking questions, men argue by making assertions.  If a man truly wants to win an argument with a woman he will give a heartfelt "I'm sorry" and follow it up with flowers.
  2. How do you ask for a raise or a promotion?  When your boss evaluates you for a raise, it's not what you have done, it's his speculative investment in your future performance.  Ask him to imagine what would have happened if you wouldn't been available to work on Project X.  (And now imagine Project Y.)
  3. How to avoid a (traffic) ticket?  You didn't get pulled over because you are presumed innocent, he saw you do it (or at least thought he did).  It's a hassle for the cop to write up a ticket.  If you apologize and admit your error (and it wasn't too bad) he just may give you a warning and avoid the hassle of writing up a ticket.  Maybe.  
  4. How do you talk your way onto the plane?  Unlike the cop, the airline employee is done with his work, it's a hassle for him to open the door.  A demand or aggressive stance will not work.  You need to apologize and explain that it is vital that you make your plane.  If you are a frequent flyer  on this airline say so.  You will forever be grateful.
  5. How to get a table at a packed restaurant:  An emotional hard luck story helps.  Try to create empathy with the hostess.  Keep talking, the longer you talk the longer she has to see your point.
  6. Writing an effective letter:  1) Start out with a paragraph consisting of a single authoritative sentence.  2) The next most important part is the postscript.  This tells the reader if the letter is a personal letter and if it has any relevance to his personal life.  If not, the letter will be thrown away.  3)  Use text that is enumerated, bold, and italicized.  When we read our eyes jump around, this gives them something to orient to.  You need to do something to catch and focus the attention of the reader.  4) The shorter the paragraph the more likely it is to be read.  
In these situations the immediate reaction is the only reaction that matters.  The first impression is always the most important.  These rules are all ad hock, they work in many situations but not all.  All of these have to be evaluated in terms of the context in which the situation occurs.

C12  Twenty-one Words and Phrases for the Twenty-first Century  He starts out by repeating a Verizon ad which uses three of his terms (innovation, efficient, accountability) in a single 60-second commercial.
  1. Imagine:  This brings each person into the phrase, it's their version, and it matches up with their desires and thoughts.  Bush used it to "imagine the government doing nothing about Social Security and having a 5-year old child", 
  2. Hassle-free:  We don't like the hassle of (haggling over used-car prices, not having batteries included, getting the plastic of CD's, etc.).
  3. Lifestyle:  We all want to "style" our own life.  We want our own choices.
  4. Accountability:  Americans don't like the perpetual motion machine of bloated bureaucracies.  We want them to be accountable.  Be cautious with this.  If a company says that it is accountable that is halfway to admitting that something is wrong with their product or policies.
  5. Results and the Can-Do Spirit:  We are practical, we want results and we want it done right the first time.
  6. Innovation: This is moving towards the future.  More work, product for less money.  Technology has been the path towards the future but as technology becomes pervasive innovation has become more important. 
  7. Renew, Revitalize, Rejuvenate, Restore, Rekindle, Reinvent:  The "re-" words.  They take the best ideas of the past and apply them to the present and future.  They imply action, movement, progress, and improvement.
  8. Efficient and Efficiency:  These imply getting more for less.  Conversly "conserve" and "conservation" implies paying more to get less.  
  9. The Right to ... :  This goes all the way back to the Bill of Rights.  We have and are adding more to this list.  People want the right to choose.
  10. Patient-Centered:  The opposite of "managed care".  Compare this to "The Right to ..." above.
  11. Investment:  Credit this to Clinton.  "Spending" implies waste, your money is gone and it will never come back.  An investment comes back to you many times over.  Buying is now, investing is forever.
  12. Casual Elegance:  Primarily business.  We don't want to pay for elegance or learn sophistication, we can aspire to elegance by being casually elegant.
  13. Independent:  No constricting ties, no conflicts of interest.  Similar to imagination and lifestyle.  America wasn't born with a Declaration of Independence.  We had to declare it and defend it.  We don't want our politicians to be dependant on some group, we want them to represent us.
  14. Peace of Mind:  This will eventually supplant "security" as a primary political value.  Security is scary and militant.  "Peace of Mind" is positive and appealing.  Peace of mind is the destination, security is the six hour road trip to get there.
  15. Certified:  We need this because our businesses and polilticians have not been honest with us.  "Certification" is an official written guarantee.
  16. All-American:  This and the appeal to American pride is not universally appreciated but for the "flag wavers" among us it is very popular.  More popular with the over 50 crowd than the under 30 crowd.
  17. Prosperity:  Very popular in the 1920's, it died during the Great Depression.  The term is now making a comeback.  It implies financial wellbeing, success, and perhaps peace of mind.  It is earned through hard work.
  18. Spirituality:  More inclusive than religion or faith.  Talking about a specific denomination is guaranteed to irritate some segment of the population.  
  19. Financial Security:  Financial freedom used to be in this place.  Stock market problems, poor housing market, 9/11, etc. have made freedom less likely and security more important.  We all hope that financial freedom will stage a comeback.
  20. A Balanced Approach:  We want a balanced approach to our problems.  Americans tend to be conservative with an incremental, cautious approach to political change.  
  21. A Culture of ... :  This is a term almost guaranteed to create conflict.  Almost any term placed behind it will be a negative.  Culture of corruption, culture of inaction, culture of hate, even culture of life is taken as a negative.  "Social" issues have become "cultural" issues.
C13  Conclusion  He is unhappy with how people use language.  Again, It's not what you say, it's what people hear.

The Memos  He would prefer to show examples based on his actual work but many of the documents are proprietary and cannot be revealed.  There are a few however that were not covered by confidentiality agreements.  He includes three in the Appendices.

Appendices

The 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall  His job was to demonstrate that the voters were angry at Gray Davis and then come up with language turn the recall movement into a reality.  
He wrote the recall petition and he reprints it here, with comments.  It is easy to see why Davis lost the recall.  

The 21 Political Words and Phrases You Should Never Say Again . . . Plus a Few More  Words never to say again and their replacements from a memo he wrote in Jan. 2005 to Republican congressional spouses.  They are listed below without comment.
Never Say Instead Say
Government Washington
Privatization
Private accounts
Private health care
Personalization
Personal accounts
Free market health care
Tax reform
Tax cuts
Tax simplification
Tax relief
Inheritance tax
Estate tax
Death tax
Global economy
Globalization
Capitalism
Free market economy
Outsourcing The root causes:
   taxation, regulation,
   litigation, innovation,
   education, legislation
Foreign trade International trade
Undocumented  workers/aliens Illegal immigrants
border security
Drilling for oil Exploring for energy
Domestic oil/production American oil/production
Tort reform
Trial lawyer
Lawsuit abuse reform
Personal injury lawyer
Corporate transparency Coporate accountability
Corporate responsibility
School choice
Vouchers
Parental choice
Equal opportunity in education
Opportunity scholarships
Health care choice The right to choose
Wiretapping
Eavesdropping
Electronic intercepts
Deny Not give


The Clinton Impeachment Language  Luntz was a part of an ad-hoc advisory group for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott during the Clinton Impeachment hearings.  He wrote a five page memo describing his feelings following the House impeachment vote but before the Senate action.  His feeling was that the whole process was a disaster for the Republican Party.  An interesting document to read.

There are 5 pages of notes, many with web addresses, and 12 pages of index.  

Addendum  Luntz came to Washington and operated as a power in Republican "language" issues under the auspices of Newt Gingrich.  As the confidant of a very powerful person he made enemies.  With the demise of Gingrich many of the "enemies" remained.  The author is not extremely polite in describing the major mistake the Republicans made by firing him.  Luntz is not a very self effacing person.  It is clear what he thinks of those who refuse to listen to him.  He credits, and is quite possibly correct, in stating that a portion - certainly several seats in the House and/or Senate - of the Republican loss in 2006 was because they refused to listen to him.  Perhaps the Democrats should not congratulate themselves too much on their dramatic win, perhaps the Republicans got cocky and shot themselves in their collective feet.

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What Orwell Didn't Know               András Szántó, Ed.         Jan 2008
            Subtitled:  Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics

Editor's Note
        András Szántó  

The deans of five prominent journalism schools got together to discuss public debate in America.  They were worried.  This was about the time that the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's classic essay, "Politics and the English Language" (1946).  They decided to use his essay to orient a conference at the New York Public Library (webcast) and the publication of this book.  A number of authors were invited to present and/or write papers/articles.  The Journalism schools which cooperated in this were at USC, Columbia, UC Berkeley, Harvard, and Northwestern
 

Introduction: Follies of Orthodoxy        Orville Schell  

Orwell was intensely interested in propaganda. The term originated in 1622 when Pope Gregory XV established a committee of cardinals, called the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith), later several Communist parties created Departments of Propaganda.  What are we doing today?  That is the subject of this book.  Orwell thought that there was some "inner heart" whose workings remained isolated from outside influences.  Orwell didn't know that the world was changing around him.  The communists were creating "Mao Thought" and "brainwashing".  Freud was working on the mind, his nephew, Edward Bernays, was later known as the "Father of Public Relations" and he used some of Freud's insights.  Bernays wanted to wean customers from what he called a "needs-based" culture to one which was "desire-based".

When these techniques were applied to the new electronic technologies of radio, television, and the internet there are many more opportunities for abuse.  The communists, primarily Chinese, unwittingly used many of these techniques more effectively than anyone else.  Westerners are learning rapidly.

Part One:  Language and Politics  

Orwell Then and Now        David Reiff  

Why do we still read books by Orwell?  Why do we read books by any author after they have been dead for many years.  What political orientation would Orwell support today?  We don't know but his books are still widely read because of what and how he said them.

The Limits of Language        Richolas Lemann  

An evaluation of Orwell's essay, a comparison of it (for this book I will henceforth call it "the essay") with his 1984 which he wrote shortly after the essay.  Newspeak is much more developed in 1984.  The essay is much more approachable today.  It is easier to see today's politicians in the essay.  

Words in a Time of War:  On Rhetoric, Truth, and Power        Mark Danner

1) In 1984 Orwell talks about what we would now call a Virtual War.  The problem for Bush etc. is that it is harder to hide the facts of a real war than it is with a Virtual War.  
2) The moment when Bush hangs the Medal of Freedom around the necks of General Tommy Franks, proconsul L. Paul Bremer, and CIA director George Tenet is positively Orwellian.  
3) Bush's "Mission Accomplished" performance and the comment of Karl Rove describing the "reality-based community"vs. the administrations empire aspirations.  
4) The images of 19 young men hijacking airliners and crashing them into the Twin Towers and their later collapse.  This is a television moment.  Why Bush etc. felt they had to visibly attack Iraq to satisfy their egos.  
5) How did a few young men humiliate the USA so badly.  They did it because the policies of the US made such a thing possible and created the conditions for a rebel force to grow.
 6)  How did the US fail to find at least one example of a "Weapon of Mass Destruction"?  Was the "virtual reality" existing in the White House so pervasive that this whole thing was imagined?  
7)  In our age scandals are doomed to be revealed.  Was the belief of the Republicans so strong that bad news just didn't register in their consciousness?
8)  The reality of the streets in Baghdad, searching through remains to find the missing half of a family member.

An Egregious Collocation of Vocables
        Patricia J. Williams  

Orwell complained that poor language use resulted in foolish thoughts which made one susceptible to political manipulation.  She says that Orwell (who was born as Eric Arthur Blair) had been a professional propagandist for the BBC.  This led him to attach other such efforts.  The article describes our recent past (Bush, Iraq, War on Terror, etc.) and lists some of its poor language which is leading our leaders into foolish thoughts and their efforts at political manipulation.  

Freedom, Liberty, and Rights:  Three Cautionary Tales        Aryea Neier  

The Bush administration is famous for its use of the terms, freedom, liberty, and rights.  This follows the lead begun by Reagan.  The original meaning of rights as in our Constitution spells out things that the national government cannot do.  Many of the rights that we want now are closer to a right for people to have something.  Both the Right and the Left use these terms.  We need to carefully consider what we mean by rights and how we enforce/pay for them.

Sloppiness and the English Language        Francine Prose  

Interesting writing but I am not sure what it says.  What am I missing if I do not read this?  I don't really know.  Can you explain it to me.

Part Two:  Symbols and Battlegrounds  

What Orwell Didn't Know About the Brain, the Mind, and Language        George Lakoff  

Lakoff loved Orwell as a student.  He loved it.  Now, 50 years later, he finds it (my words) the maundering of a illiterate in a preliterate society.  Orwell was a product of an education based on the Cartesian Fallacy.  Great literature, but very little scientific fact.  Reasoning is unconscious, thought is physical and is structures are formed of metaphors and frames.  Thoughts and facts are linked to other thoughts by metaphors.  To change these linkages you need to provide new links.  This can't be done by the process of reason alone.  The other mechanisms of the mind need to be employed just as they are by conservative think tanks.  We need to apply world views, frames, metaphors, emotions, images, personal stories, and cultural narratives.  We need to go beyond the understanding of Orwell and apply the knowledge of the 21st century.

The New Frontier:  The Instruments of Emotion        Drew Westen  

Orwell screwed up, he said 1984 when he should have said 2004.  The use of Orwellian techniques by the conservative right since the days of Reagan.  Comments on the Reagan, "Its morning again in America" ad.  Similar ads and comments by the Bush administration and its supporters.

Stellar Spin         Frances FitzGerald  

A brief history of Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), some of the inaccurate and misleading data presented, and the propaganda effort.

Bad Knowledge        Alice O'Connor  

After the obligatory discussion of how Orwell would have viewed the issue, the author reports on five short descriptions of statements that present moral or ideological conviction presented in the language of social scientific and historical inquiry.  They are all misleading and some demonstrably false.  These discuss abstinence pledge programs, eliminating welfare for unmarried mothers, the benefits of global warming, (conservative) indices of government which support economic freedom, and discussion of desegregation and integration.

O'Connor discusses these in terms of 1) hidden premises, 2) misleading "indicators", 3) methodological creep (using the words of statistical measurement incorrectly) , 4) pretentious diction (changing the meaning of terms especially statistical significance), and 5) historical vacuums (ignoring the historical record and any other external data).  

She offers five guidelines for weeding out these bad habits along with their bad science.
  1. Never trust statements of faith or ideological doctrine when presented as scientific fact.
  2. Be equally skeptical of claims to ideological neutrality, especially those that skirt or ignore ideology.
  3. Before giving credence to measurable outcomes and indicators, find out what they measure, who is doing the measuring, and why.
  4. Never accept finding stripped of social and historical context, especially for the sake of narrow principle or statistical precision.
  5. Resist the temptation to defer to the authority of scientific jargon -- or to studies that report a confidence level of 99.9 percent.
Black and White, or Gray:  A Polish Conundrum        Konstanty Geberet  

A description of the manoeuvring of recent Polish politics.  Not enough to really understand what is going on but enough to see that it is truly Orwellian.  The only lesson I can draw is that Americans should back off because of recent evidence that whichever side we back will probably be bad for both the country itself and America.

After the Falwellians
        Susan Harding  

Harding recently wrote a book in which she failed to use the term "Farwellians", she now feels that she missed an opportunity.  She discusses the language and communications activities of the religious right and tells how those on the secular left have not challenged them because they did not know how to attack a self styled religious leader.  Now they are being challenged numbers of theologically conservative evangelical Christians who believe the Falwell and others are betraying the fundamental message of the Christian faith.  A description of the Evangelical Environmental Network (www.WhatWouldJesisDrove.org).  

Descriptions of creation-care under the auspices of the National Association of Evangelicals, An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore and its religious and moral tone.  The only way to successfully counter the fundamentalist religious right is by fighting them on their own play field.  To use their own play book (the Bible), and by cooperating with other religious leaders.

Part Three:  Media and Message  

Welcome to the Infotainment Freak Show
        Martin Kaplan  

Kaplan feels that the only way to get/stay on television is to make money and the surest way to make money is to become a good showman.  We are all selling our souls to the God of Mammon in the television screen.

Neither Snow, Nor Rain, Nor Heat, Nor Gloom of Night Will Stay the Couriers from the Swift Completion of Their Appointed Rounds -- but What About Big Media?        Victor Navasky  

Orwell warned us against two dangers: 1) the totalitarian state; the closed society, censorship, book banning - everything represented by Big Brother, and 2) the abuse and misuse of the English language; the doublespeak of 1984 and the possibility that the corruption of English could corrupt clear thinking.  Navasky warns of a third danger: Big Media which may be replacing Big Brother.  In 1983 a book reported that the majority of all major American media was controlled by 50 corporations.  He then goes on to describe the political control of these media companies with respect to the Post Office.
  1. The Post Office Act of 1792 charged newspapers only a nominal fee, below the cost of delivery.
  2. The Post Office Act of 1879 created second class mail and put newspapers and magazines on the same footing which helped create the mass circulation magazine.
  3. The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 established the U.S. Postal Service as a semi-independent corporation.  The Nixon-appointed Board of Governors decreed that each class of mail must pay its own way. This was completely implemented in 1984.
  4. The postal rate increase of 2007 effectively charged very large circulation magazines less to be mailed than smaller circulation magazines.
He goes on to describe the political manoeuverings of primarily Time Warner in their ten year effort to get cheaper postal rates for themselves while raising the rates for smaller magazines.  He doesnt think that the internet will be a sufficient counter to these.

Reporters and Rhetoric         Geoffery Cowan  

He starts out discussing the issue of applying the term "civil war" to the fighting in Iraq, showing how Bush didn't want to use the term.  Next is the use of the term escalation instead of the Bush term surge.  

Lessons from the War Zone        Farhnaz Fassihi  

The author is a New York Times correspondent and has spent considerable time in Iraq beginning in 2002.  She describes her training as a journalism student and how it sometimes conflicted with the reality she found in Iraq.  She discusses her feelings and motives as she covered the fighting and the American soldiers.  

Our Own Thought Police        Michael Massing  

The Bush administration has attempted to control the news coming out of Iraq but the advent of the internet has to a large extent frustrated this effort.  (News coming out of Iraq has been slowed down however.)  Many of the negative aspects of the war (soldiers committing atrocities, etc.) have not been fully reported.  He describes the methods that some have used to realistically portray the more disturbing facts of the war.  Some of these are drug us among US troops, pornography, US soldiers stealing from Iraqis, contempt for the Iraqis, mistreatment of Iraqi citizens, killing of innocent Iraqis at checkpoints, and the high civilian death toll.

Epilogue: What I Didn't Know: Open Society Reconsidered        George Soros  

Complaints about the terms War on Terror, Clear Skies Act, Health Forest Restoration Act, No Child Left Behind Act, etc.  He describes two aspects of the mind.  The first, the cognitive function, takes a situation as given and seeks to form a view that corresponds to it.  The second, the manipulating function, takes desires as given and seeks to make situations correspond to them.  They are both useful and valuable.  The scientist uses the first and the engineer or builder uses the second.  However when they are not used appropriately we can get into trouble.  When the situation is ambiguous we can sometimes be mislead, we can imagine things that are not true and cannot be manipulated into reality.  

Dogmatic ideologies remove doubt but they are invariably false in many aspects.  One of these is the Enlightenment fallacy.  Reason is good and can produce marvelous results in many cases such as physical and biological science.  However in the social sciences (and parts of biological sciences such as evolution) humans tend to get too tied up in their emotions to be able to understand that we are biological beings and that thought is a biological process.  

Ironically this has benefited the Republican party more than the Democrats because they tend to be less caught up in the Enlightenment fallacy.  Republicans are more prone to use something because it works and not try to over think the issue.  It was easy for Bush to declare a "War on Terror" and proceed to bomb Iraq Into The Stone Age but understanding that this will not solve the problems for American oil companies attempting to make money in Iraq takes a more open attitude towards reality.  
Soros was able to quickly realize the signs of deception in the Bush rhetoric because he was exposed to Nazi and Communist propaganda in his youth.  Has our seven years of Bush inoculated the American voter against such excesses in the future?  He has identified a number of recurring deceptive devices and rhetorical techniques which have been used:
  1. Conflating facts and opinions:  
  2. Guilt by association:  
  3. Conspiracy theory:  
  4. Mixing sources:  
  5. Transference:  
  6. False labeling:  
  7. False patriotism:  
He then goes on to describe some of the more egregious uses of these techniques.  The main one is transference, accusing your opponent of having the same motives or using the same techniques that you do.  

Appendix: Politics and the English Language        George Orwell  

The complete essay by Orwell is printed.  It is 18 pages long.

There were about six pages of notes and six pages of author biographies.  I thought the notes section was quite limited for this type of writing.

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