The truth will set us free (?)

[W]hat is worse is a set of myths believed by liberals and progressives. […] The myths began with the Enlightenment, and the first one goes like this:

The truth will set us free. If we just tell people the facts, since people are basically rational beings, they’ll all reach the right conclusions.

But we know from cognitive science that people do not think like that. People think in frames. […] To be accepted, the truth must fit people’s frames. If the facts do not fit a frame, the frame stays and the facts bounce off. Why?

Neuroscience tells us that each of the concepts we have—the long-term concepts that structure how we think—is instantiated in the synapses of our brains. Concepts are not things that can be changed just by someone telling us a fact. We may be presented with facts, but for us to make sense of them, they have to fit what is already in the synapses of the brain. Otherwise facts go in and then they go right back out. They are not heard, or they are not accepted as facts, or the mystify us: Why would anyone have said that? Then we label the fact as irrational, crazy, or stupid. That’s what happens when progressives just “confront conservatives with the facts.” It has little or no effect, unless the conservatives have a frame that makes sense of the facts.

Similarly, a lot of progressives hear conservatives talk and do not understand them because they do not have the conservatives’ frames. They assume that conservatives are stupid.

They are not stupid. They are winning because they are smart. They understand how people think and how people talk.

—George Lakoff en Don’t Think of an Elephant!

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