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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Monday, March 27, 2006

SENSIBLE HEALTH CARE # 8 

INVESTING WISELY IS NOT SPENDING FOOLISHLY

*Note, this posting refers to two books highly relevant to the Premier’s posturing about the “Third Way” that threatens Alberta’s health care.

Putting public money into health is not SPENDING, it is “INVESTING WISELY” in one of Alberta’s most valuable assets.

BUT ALBERTA’S PREMIER CALLS IT “SPENDING TAXPAYERS’ MONEY,”

HE NATTERS INCESSANTLY ABOUT “COSTS” AND THEN PROCEEDS TO ACT AS IF HEALTHCARE WERE HIS OWN PERSONAL PROPERTY TO BE DOLED OUT TO THE AVERAGE CITIZEN BUT SOLD, FOR PROFIT, TO HIS CORPORATE SUPPORTERS.

BOOK # 1, “THE BOTTOM LINE” is the title of a neat little book full to the brim with information and perspectives that the Premier and his apologists are desperately trying to keep out of the general public’s sight and snowed under by his sales department.

Authored by two diligent researchers, Diana Gibson and Colleen Fuller, this book should be spread around and read as soon as possible.

BOOK # 2, the other book, is entitled “DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT.” The link is a PDF sample of this book. It will take considerably more time and effort to integrate into your thinking and speaking.

But it has the potential of being of more long lasting help for those who are working toward genuine change in the political, social and democratic spheres of human endeavor.

Authored by George Lakoff, a professional researcher into communication process, it is an antidote for the frustration, disappointment and discouragement that endangers the spirits of those of us who believe in the democratic responsibility of communicating with our government.

“Don’t Think of an Elephant” is subtitled “KNOW YOUR VALUES AND FRAME THE DEBATE.”
Lakoff’s central teaching clearly exposes the way conservatives are succeeding in what he calls “framing” the debate.

In other words they are ahead of other more progressive and rational thinkers in the game of appealing to the public’s emotional response to images of power.

The conservative power image turns out to be that of the strong, authoritarian head of the family who knows right from wrong and tells his inferiors, including his wife, what to think and how to behave. He does not listen to them, and if he does, he only pretends to do so.

Opposition to this power figure results in expulsion from the family or punishment for bad behaviors. Having empathy for fellow humans, for example, by supporting social programs brings down his moral outrage at bad behavior.

But Lakoff sees that there is another image of power, really more integral to the democracies of North America, and that is, a head of the family who is equally strong but also a nurturer of the whole community of care and social responsibility.

It is this empathetic and responsibility based concept of power that Lakoff believes can and should be made real using the same, only more honest, communication methods upholding genuine and positive social an political values

To see the authoritarian “father” at work, you need only to consider George W. Bush’s preemptive use of force, his punitive response to those who don’t support him and his agenda for lowering corporate taxes so there will be an excuse to cut social programs.

Here at home, Ralph Klein has played the big authoritarian daddy for well over a decade now, he seems to last by appearing at the same time to be a bumbling bumpkin who most people mistake for “being one of us.”

Stephen Harper now plays the powerful head of family figure as he claims he will be changing government from a “culture of entitlement” to a “culture of accountability.” Those who suspect he’s beginning to sound like George W. Bush are on the right track.

Read “Don’t Think of an Elephant” and you will soon see where these images of power are coming from and how there’s hope of changing the tone of public discourse.

Blair McPherson

See other articles in this series below:
Sensible Health Care #1
Sensible Health Care #2
Sensible Health Care #3
Sensible Health Care #4
Sensible Health Care #5
Sensible Health Care #6
Sensible Health Care #7
Sensible Health Care #8

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