There Is No Such Thing

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I tend to go on a bit about the matter of issue framing, the concept that how we discuss ideas matters almost as much as the ideas, themselves.  Thus, we can either refer to taxes finally paid to the country when someone wealthy dies as “death taxes,” or as “estate taxes,” or as “owed anti-aristocratic adjustments.”  We can refer to people opposed to abortion as “pro-life” or as “pro-coat-hanger.”   We can talk about “putting coal miners out of work” or we can talk about “providing new, clean-energy jobs.”  We can talk about “taxing corporations,” or we can talk about “anti-corporate freeloader adjustments.”   You get the idea.  And, as George Lakoff  has pointed out, attempts to negate a frame —  Your President is not a crook! — often backfire.  By invoking the other side’s frame, even to argue against it, you strengthen it.  Far better to do a…

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