Linguistic Guidelines From Don’t Think of an Elephant

Our sometime advisor, George Lakoff, laid out in both editions of Don’t Think of an Elephant, linguistic guidelines that members of a Caring Citizens’ Congress strive to use everyday. The guidelines focus on empathy, the soul of democracy, caring for our fellow citizens, leading to freedom and equality for all — foundations of a peaceful world. Here they are.

I. Respect conservatives’ 1st Amendment freedoms by understanding their moral worldview of self-interest, maximizing personal profit above all else. Be personal.

II. Reframe the conservation to our own moral worldview of community-interest, leading to expanding freedom and fairness for all, without using the language of self-interest. Be plainspoken.

III. Use the vision and values language of freedom and fairness for all, by focusing on our core value of empathy, the soul of democracy and peacemaking, leading to freedom and fairness for all. Be positive and avoid vilification.

IV. Say what you mean and what you want in the expansion of freedom and fairness for all. Be plausible.