Whose Freedom? by George Lakoff
The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea

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Since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has relentlessly invoked the word "freedom." The United States can strike preemptively because "freedom is on the march." Social security should be privatized in order to protect individual freedoms. In the 2005 presidential inaugural speech, the words "freedom," "free," and "liberty" were used forty-nine times.

"Freedom" is one of the most contested words in American political discourse, the keystone to the domestic and foreign policy battles that are racking this polarized nation. For many Democrats, it seems that President Bush's use of the word is meaningless and contradictory--deployed opportunistically to justify American military action abroad and the curtailing of civil liberties at home. But in Whose Freedom?, George Lakoff, an adviser to the Democratic party, shows that in fact the right has effected a devastatingly coherent and ideological redefinition of freedom. The conservative revolution has remade freedom in its own image and deployed it as a central weapon on the front lines of everything from the war on terror to the battles over religion in the classroom and abortion.

In a deep and alarming analysis, Lakoff explains the mechanisms behind this hijacking of our most cherished political idea--and shows how progressives have not only failed to counter the right-wing attack on freedom but have failed to recognize its nature. Whose Freedom? argues forcefully what progressives must do to take back ground in this high-stakes war over the most central idea in American life.


About George Lakoff

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George Lakoff is Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Don't Think of an Elephant!", among other works, and is America's leading expert on the framing of political ideas.
Published June 27, 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 292 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Specifically, he explores how the conservative and progressive definitions of "freedom" differ from one another, in order to demonstrate how liberals uphold a dominant American political tradition while "radical conservatives" seek to overturn that legacy for their own selfish ends.

May 15 2006 | Read Full Review of Whose Freedom?: The Battle Ov...

Daily Kos

I think he discusses those two family models to explain why some people - those who were shaped by a strict father family - are susceptible to the authoritarianism, and other people are not - those who grew up in a family where both parents strove to inculcate self-discipline and responsibility i...

May 20 2007 | Read Full Review of Whose Freedom?: The Battle Ov...

News Review.

According to Lakoff (a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at UC Berkeley), neo-conservatives possess and propagandize a definition of “freedom” so vastly different from that of mainstream America’s that many scarcely recognize it, let alone notice that the radical right is winning the...

Aug 10 2006 | Read Full Review of Whose Freedom?: The Battle Ov...

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