Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea” as Want to Read:
Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  245 Ratings  ·  33 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.
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Audio Partners (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Whose Freedom?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Whose Freedom?

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
May 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this primarily as a work of linguistics for a popular audience, analyzing the treatment given words/concepts like, of course, "freedom," "liberty," etc. by progressive and conservative citizens and, what's more (and more dangerously), by government & corporate forces. In terms of linguistics, I'm fascinated by the malleability of language; in terms of sociology and politics, I'm discomfited by the manipulation of such weighty terms by the moneyed elite and the frequency they're use ...more
Mark Valentine
As much as I admire Lakoff and think his contributions to media studies, contemporary linguistics, and social criticism have great value, I found this book a replication of his earlier (and later) books. I don't want to diminish its value, but since I have already read other books by him, this did not have the same urgency as his previous work.

The best readings came as bookends in the opening and closing chapters. Especially valuable, however, remains the ending; his criticism of journalists fo
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every citizen
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 03, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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".
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick PSA: This audiobook took ages to complete until I recognized that the author reads slowly enough to make listening at 2X speed preferable.

'Whose Freedom' is an incredible piece of work breaking down in minute details how language determines the success or failure of political agendas.

George Lakoff argues that nowadays, through deliberate application of cognitive linguistic principles, conservatives in America have gained an edge over democrats in public debates concerning highly contested
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
Jackie Brady
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I have always found Lakoff's discussions of the deep frames that affect our thinking to be very enlightening. This book delves into the two predominant frames that affect American politics. The book is a bit repetitive at times, but it is packed with insight. Although the book was written during W's presidency it pretty much predicted our Trump catastrophe. I wish more politicians would listen to cognitive linguists.
Dan Rocha
I really wanted to like this book, but I found it dry and technical. Good information but a little rough to read.
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ran out of time reading this book, but Lakoff has a lot of interesting ideas on political rhetoric.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Returning to this book in these new post-truth and even post-truthiness days demonstrates how prescient Lakoff's analysis was and how progressives and American left ignored it to their loss. Hopefully, they will pay more attention now.
Morgan Sanchez
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
A exceptionally illuminating political opinion on the marketing of freedom in America.

Lakoff's personal political ideologies are not hidden in this work, but he makes an excellent point for the emotional pandering and idealistic lobbying for politics. This short work makes for excellent reading on the subject of marketing political ideologies, from freedom to the issues of church and state.

Various examples showcase the thought process of both sides of the political spectrum, with detailed analys
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
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
Sep 02, 2007 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
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
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
Mar 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
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
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
Todd Martin
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture-politics
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.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dave Peticolas
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Progressives who want to communicate with conservatives
Shelves: 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.
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another compelling read about how the Right frames the politcal discussions....
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
Good, but slow going. Shows the different mind sets of conservatives and progressives. Hope is hard to find.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
All Lakoff's books are good but begin to be repetitive when you have read several
Chase Parsley
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A no-nonsense look at freedom and politics. I loved it.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is informative on the framing of issues and the differences between the psychology of conservatives and liberals.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches
  • A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency
  • Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
  • Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America
  • There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion
  • What Would Jefferson Do?: A Return to Democracy
  • Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy
  • Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries
  • Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans--Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild
  • The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer
  • Moyers on Democracy
  • American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
  • Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party
  • Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment
  • The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton
  • The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street
  • Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and StickYou with the Bill)
  • The Age of Austerity: How Scarcity Will Remake American Politics
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
More about George Lakoff...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Decoded
    $9.99 $1.99
  • A Man Called Intrepid: The Incredible True Story of the Master Spy Who Helped Win World War II
    $14.99 $1.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
    $15.99 $2.99
  • Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Beautiful Bodies
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Come to the Edge
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Communicating
    $9.49 $2.99
  • American Jezebel
    $8.24 $1.99