Linguist George Lakoff talks again about the metaphors that have been and are continuing to be used to sell this war to the public, the very same metaphors that were used back in Gulf War I (and many other times as well).
He also has some points to make about the anti-war movement, which echo what some friends in the neighbourhood are discussing at the moment, and in which they may well be interested.
I think it is crucially important to understand the cognitive dimensions of politics â especially when most of our conceptual framing is unconscious and we may not be aware of our own metaphorical thought. I have been referred to as a “cognitive activist” and I think the label fits me well. As a professor, I do analyses of linguistic and conceptual issues in politics, and I do them as accurately as I can. But that analytic act is a political act: Awareness matters. Being able to articulate what is going on can change what is going on – at least in the long run.
This war is a symptom of a larger disease. The war will start presently. The fighting will be over before long. Where will the anti-war movement be then?
First, the anti-war movement, properly understood, is not just, or even primarily, a movement against the war. It is a movement against the overall direction that the Bush administration is moving in. Second, such a movement, to be effective, needs to say clearly what it is for, not just what it is against.
Third, it must have a clearly articulated moral vision, with values rather than mere interests determining its political direction.