The power of linguistics

Looking into George Bush's use of "dependency-creating language," Renana Brooks points out how the president slyly uses language as a political tool. From the use of empty language (words so abstract they're nearly impossible to oppose) to personalizing (distracting an audience from content by focusing on the speaker's personality), he's got an arsenal of strategies. Perhaps the scariest: negative framework:
A negative framework is a pessimistic image of the world. Bush creates and maintains negative frameworks in his listeners' minds with a number of linguistic techniques borrowed from advertising and hypnosis to instill the image of a dark and evil world around us. Catastrophic words and phrases are repeatedly drilled into the listener's head until the opposition feels such a high level of anxiety that it appears pointless to do anything other than cower.

Psychologist Martin Seligman, in his extensive studies of "learned helplessness," showed that people's motivation to respond to outside threats and problems is undermined by a belief that they have no control over their environment. Learned helplessness is exacerbated by beliefs that problems caused by negative events are permanent; and when the underlying causes are perceived to apply to many other events, the condition becomes pervasive and paralyzing.

Bush is a master at inducing learned helplessness in the electorate.
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