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Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea
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Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Lakoff, an adviser to the Democratic party, shows that 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. Unabridged. 6 CDs.
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Published July 1st 2006 by Audio Partners (first published 2006)
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Sep 04, 2007 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
That's right, I'm recommending reading this book if you are an AMERICAN. A book about the concept of freedom written by a professor of cognitive psychology?

Lakoff asserts in this piece that American freedom has ALWAYS been progressive freedom, and that it's about time to take it back. Quite possibly my number 1 read of 2007.
Americans need to wake up to the real danger facing the liberties we have always taken for granted. In this book, Lakoff explains how the groups who call themselves conservatives on the one hand, and progressives or liberals on the other, often have totally different meanings for the same words.
The fundamental question boils down to whether we want a paternalistic, intrusive government enforcing a regressive, authoritarian, and conformist values system, or a society in which government respects
Jul 04, 2007 Julian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the "culture wars"
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is the first thing I've ever read that really delves into WHY our society is so divided and explains how conservatives can really believe all those things that seem so damn ludicrous. Lakoff uses cognitive theory and frameworks to explain the whys of liberal and conservative thinking around the concept of "freedom".
Michael Mena
Not to deep or entertaining but still a revealing look into how conservatives use a "Strict Father" model in the way they conduct themselves in politics. Unable to comprehend systemic issues facing real American, they often choose heartless tough-love maneuvers in the name "liberty"-that is, free ourselves from the common good mentality and helping your neighbor- and "freedom"-that is, the freedom for YOU to pick up YOURSELF so that I don't ever have to empathize with your suffering. Both rightw ...more
This is a book about language. Specifically, it is a book about the language of Freedom. It is also a book about competition and moral obligation.

George Lakoff readily admits that in the U.S., conservatives are much better at using language than are liberals, and have been for a very long time. Why is this important? Why should you care? The author, a linguist, informs us that language can change our concepts; concepts change the brain; which affects our free will. If a conversation is framed in
Oct 05, 2008 Maryanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is an essential book to read no matter what political persuasion. It is especially important for people with progressive views to understand the true underlying ideology of the conservative right and the language they have used to "frame" the issues over the past 30 years. This book shows how the conversative right have highjacked our most cherished polical idea, Freedom, and the alarming consequences. We are seeing the results of that way of thinking in our current economic and housing cri ...more
Stephie Jane Rexroth
"We were raised to think that words are transparent, that they have single simple meanings hat directly fit reality. We were not raised to think in terms of contested concepts that have uncontested cores an virtually opposite extended meanings. We were not raised to think in terms of frames and metaphorical ideas. And we were not raised to think in terms of alternative worldviews – that our countrymen and even our next-door neighbors might see the world in a radically different way. In short, we ...more
Great insights into the thinking of progressives and conservatives. For such a liberal writer, he really seemed to nail the distinction without belittling the "other."
Sep 02, 2007 Shana is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I've only gotten through the introduction, but even though it's pretty much cognitive linguistics lite, I cannot put this book down. Lakoff goes through the invisible way in which the right has hijacked the idea of freedom and used it to make a great deal of headway in the culture wars. Of course, all of this happens while what he calls "progressives" (and I call Democrats;) sit around on our asses wondering why nobody sees what's going on. I'll have more to say about it when I'm done, but so fa ...more
Heather Denkmire
While I risk appearing as if I've just drunk the Lakoff Koolaid and lost all perspective, I won't stop talking about how important these ideas are.

As progressive as I am, on the radical side of the 3-D spectrum in many cases, I've been suckered into the radical RIGHT's side of political debates.

We've got to stop this. Progressives *and moderates!* need to recognize how the radical right have co-opted the phrases freedom, harm, opportunity, and liberty. We must take them back. Not by calling the
Very much a politicsly biased book. Progressive vs Conservative. This being the pro-Progressive stance. Makes a lot of assumptions. Glazes over important ideas. Main points have to do with the “Freedom From Need” and the idea that not only do you have the freedom of movement, but should also be given the capacity to move, i.e. roads. Empathy with responsibility. If you see another suffer, you are responsible for them in a way. Focused a lot on the Republican thought pattern as a strict father fi ...more
The book starts off somewhat weakly, given that it has to explain the logic of applying cognitive science to politics up front. Lakoff has written about his ideal family models approach to politics at length elsewhere, and here he focuses it on the notion of freedom.

The book picks up a lot of strength midway through part II, after he's done with "the basics" chapters and delves into the implications of conservative and liberal family values in such realms as causation, economic freedom, and fore
A very dense book that wasn't entirely what I expected, but a fascinating study of how our language, either that we choose or how the world is described to us by those in positions of power, really shapes how we think, interact, and perceive our world. I'm eager to read more of Lakoff's writing, particularly as it relates to progressive political theory.
"We are used to thinking without thinking about it" - George Lakoff
Todd Martin
Whose Freedome? provides a clear and inciteful look at the fundamental differences in the way in which radical conservatives and progressives view the world in general and freedom in particular.

Given that radical conservatives include indefinite detention, torture and domestic spying within their framework of freedom, it's clearly very important to understand how these different groups understand the concept.
This is a clear and readable analysis of two distinct conceptions of freedom, and how they have guided conservative and progressive political positions. As a progressive, Lakoff then uses cognitive psychology to demonstrate why the framing of "freedom" matters, how progressives have lacked in doing so, and how that has effected the way Americans actually think with regard to political issues.
Dave Peticolas
Lakoff outlines the stark differences between what conservatives and progressives mean by the word "freedom" and its accompanying terms like "liberty" and "justice". He then explains how the radical right has succeeded in capturing the language we use to talk about freedom and how progressives must work to take it back.
Jul 10, 2014 Kemaki45 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Progressives who want to communicate with conservatives
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
Excellent book and worth reading but if you want a shorter version of basically the same ideas, something to help you retain the essential talking points, you might want to read another book by Lakoff, Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision.
This book is informative on the framing of issues and the differences between the psychology of conservatives and liberals.
Good, but slow going. Shows the different mind sets of conservatives and progressives. Hope is hard to find.
Needless iteration of excellent talking points. Lakoff tangles us up in his own intensity.
All Lakoff's books are good but begin to be repetitive when you have read several
Another compelling read about how the Right frames the politcal discussions....
Should be required reading for anyone with left-leaning political views.
Chase Parsley
A no-nonsense look at freedom and politics. I loved it.
Whose freedom do you want???
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George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at UC Berkeley and is one of the founders of the field of cognitive science.

He is author of The New York Times bestseller Don't Think of an Elephant!, as well as Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Whose Freedom?, and many other books and articles on cognitive science and ling
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