As the political conventions get underway, we have the opportunity to test our tolerance for partisan, sometimes offensive, rhetoric. We also will be able to review the party platforms -- which may or may not bear any resemblance to what is being said on the podium.
As the platforms are released, we can analyze individual policy recommendations. But perhaps here it would be more helpful to consider the underlying assumptions that explain what we hear from each party.
Ten Years ago, George Lakoff, a linguist from the University of California, Berkeley, tackled the puzzle of what explains the constellation of issues for each: how can conservatives be simultaneously “pro-life” concerning abortion even as they support the death penalty? Why do liberals support a social safety net, protection of the environment, gun control, and affirmative action, while conservatives argue for just the opposite?