How to deal with conservative relatives during the holidays

A few years ago, right before the holidays, someone wrote in with a question for Dr. Lakoff: “When my family gets together for the holidays, how do I avoid getting into a political argument with my conservative grandfather?”

“Don’t argue with your grandfather,” Dr. Lakoff answered. “Instead, ask him to tell you a story about a time he did something good for someone else. Listen, and then ask him to tell you another one.”

The simple but powerful idea, present in much of Dr. Lakoff’s work, was that empathy is the antidote to conservative thought.

Please read more at Dr. Lakoff’s new Substack newsletter, FrameLab.

Happy Holidays!

New! George Lakoff’s FrameLab Newsletter on Substack

If you have been a reader or subscriber of this blog, please take a moment to visit FrameLab, my new Substack newsletter at

It’s free to subscribe, but the generosity of our paid subscribers helps make this work possible. Here’s an excerpt from our latest post analyzing how Elon Musk is using Twitter to fight an information war:

With extreme conservatives unable to create a successful social media platform, Musk has innovated by buying Twitter and turning it into the dangerous and hateful free-for-all conservatives see as essential to their twisted definition of freedom.

Musk’s purchase of Twitter gives him direct access to tens of millions of brains, and he is making a zealous public effort to change and control those brains by flooding them with hate and misinformation. He is working to create a social media echo chamber that forces everyone to engage the worst of extreme conservative ideas in order to make such ideas seem mainstream. He is shifting the discourse to favor election deniers, racists and insurrectionists, and to privilege lies over truth, thus turning Twitter into a social media version of Fox News.

Now that Musk controls Twitter, he can do more than platform hate and use his own account to elevate toxic characters. Unlike Trump, he can convert the entire apparatus of Twitter toward this purpose. He has installed himself as the main algorithm to determine the flow of information. He has become Twitter’s dictator, changing the rules to suit his whims, banning accounts he doesn’t like without much of a rationale.

Read more at “Algorithm Warfare: How Elon Musk uses Twitter to Control Brains.”

And if you are migrating from Twitter over to Mastodon, you can find me at — or on Facebook at

Don’t Think of a Mastodon!