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George Lakoff: Untellable Truths

Here's one of the "untellable truths" -- the one about our dependence on carbon-based fuels -- listed by Lakoff in his recent article on political psychology and the science and art of framing:

Carbon-based fuels - oil, coal, natural gas - are deadly. They bring death to people and animals and destruction to nature. We are not paying for their true cost because they are being subsidized: tens of billions of dollars for naval protection of tankers; hundreds of billions for oil leases; hundreds of billions in destruction of nature, as in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska coast. Death comes from the poisoning of air and water through pollution and natural gas fracking. And global warming pollution destroys nature itself - the ice cap, the creation of violent storms, floods, deserts, the blowing up of hilltops. The salesmen of death - the oil and coal companies - are profiting hugely from our payouts to them via subsidies and high prices. And with the money, ordinary citizens are giving to them in subsidies; they are corrupting the political process, influencing political leaders not to deal with global warming - our greatest threat. We are dependent on them for energy, to a large extent because they have politically blocked the development of alternatives for decades.


Read the full article for broader discussion of why material policy questions depend on "how the issues are realized in the brains of our citizens." According to Lakoff, how Americans understand the issues "is what determines political support or lack of it in all its forms, from voting to donations to political pressure to what is said in the media."

via my Earthbytes blog at