Rockridge Institute

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As former members of George Lakoff’s Rockridge Institute, we hope to sustain its legacy by providing a complete archive of material from the now-defunct websites and

This archive may not be complete. If there is anything missing that you would like to get a hold of please contact us and we will do our best to get it to you.

At Cognitive Policy Works, we are focused on transforming the groundbreaking work done by George Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute into actionable tools and information that practitioners can use and services for all types of organizations.  We are also not restricted in many of the ways that the Rockridge Institute was (as a 501(c)3 non-profit) and we are able to offer frame analysis, political consulting, strategic planning, training, policy briefings, and more directly to any organization.  See our consulting services page for more information.

About George Lakoff

Founded by former members of the Rockridge Institute, Cognitive Policy Works owes much of our expertise to the revolutionary cognitive linguistics research pioneered by George Lakoff.

Through a combination of brilliance, tenacity, and deep commitment to progressive values, Lakoff has transformed the political landscape, given wind to the progressive movement, revolutionized political psychology, and helped shape both national and world affairs.

We seek to continue his legacy and carry it forward into the world of professional practice.

Thinking Points

Written by Rockridge Institute staff members, we host a PDF copy of the Thinking Points book online to serve as an introduction to the Rockridge Institute and George Lakoff’s work.

Climate Change

Blog Articles

How Conservatives Have Duped Us in the Global Warming Fight A strategic idea advanced by conservatives is hindering efforts of progressives to solve the climate crisis.

Who Framed Global Warming? The climate debate has been shaped by deep cultural understandings, some of which were manipulated to direct attention away from the truth.

Why We Are Losing the Global Warming Battle Solving the climate crisis requires that we cultivate a new commonsense.

Policy Analysis

Analysis of SkyTrust Revealing the underlying ideas and assumptions behind policy proposals is necessary for finding effective solutions.

The Environmental Movement

How Can We Make ‘Green’ an Identity? Narratives shape our perceptions of environmentalism and hold the key to making “green” a popular identity.

Fads, Frames, and the Environment The environmental movement is here to stay. It just needs to overcome a few faulty frames to really go mainstream.

Climate in the News

Blog Articles

The ‘Feel Good’ Approach to Climate Distortion A number of rhetorical tactics to mislead the public are explored to reveal the importance of self-knowledge in citizen action.

Bush’s Trade Barriers to Climate Success Narratives trump facts. This article explores the narrative used by President Bush to capture media attention without changing his position on global warming in any genuine way.

When Climate Message is Strong, Attack the Messenger! Al Gore’s credibility is bound to the framing of messages by the media. This article reveals the rhetorical tricks intended to spread doubt about his message by attacking his character.

Missing the Real Message in Nobel Prize? A redirection technique has been used to draw attention away from the real story of Al Gore’s accomplishments.

Policy Analysis and Research

Beyond Extreme: The Illusion of a New Climate Centrism Getting our labels right is important to the environmental movement. This article clarifies some of the confusion between labels and ideology in media coverage of the climate debate.

Climate and the Psychology of Loss Fear is often used to deter the public from taking action. This article presents a well-known psychological mechanism to reveal how feelings of loss emerge through crafted language.

Healthy Food & Livable Communities

Blog Articles

High Tech is Down in the Dirt How we conceptualize ideas like “technology” will shape whether or not we think outside the box

Bee Keeper’s Wisdom for Human Flourishing We can learn a lot from bees about how to create thriving communities

Agro-Fuel Craze Squeezing Farmers By framing our energy problems as being about which source of fuels we use, we have landed in a trap that is hurting local farmers

Emergent Ecological Order – When Players Change the Game Building a flourishing and healthy economy in the 21st Century will require that we come up with new “rules for the game.”

Research and Analysis

The Frame, The Farm, The Harm Central frames in the debate around agriculture and food policy will determine the future of food

Energy Challenges

Energy Crisis Won’t “Wait for the Market” Central to addressing the climate crisis is the way markets are understood.

Debating Energy as if Communities Mattered At the heart of our energy debate is the need for livable communities. This idea has been absent for too long, impoverishing the debate considerably.

The Coming Biofuels Disaster Biofuels are not the clear solution they seem to be. They do not meet the “livability” criterion for any sustainable solution to our energy woes.

Shifting the Climate of Security Addressing environmental challenges will require that we reframe how we think about security issues.


See  our Educational Policy section for a complete listing of both the Rockridge Institute writings and newer Cognitive Policy Work research analysis.

Blog Postings

Students Are Like Plants, Not Widgets (January 13, 2008)

Education is About Students, Often the Debate Isn’t (March 3, 2008)

Framing Education: Why Does NPR Repeat the Conservative Production Model? (July 9, 2007)

Advocacy and Policy

The Framing of No Child Left Behind (June 15, 2007)

Research & Analysis

Compromising Into a Trap: Progressivism, Neoliberalism, and the Student Loan “Industry” (September 19, 2007)

Framing Immigration Reform

To Respect and Protect: Expanding Our Discourse on Immigration Reform is a great starting point that fully covers all sides of the issue.

Blog Articles

Losing Our Minds Over Immigration Reform How the media is manipulated into endorsing the conservative frame (November 30, 2007)

Ending the Amnesty for Abusive Employers Expanding the debate to include the real lives of undocumented workers and their exploitation by American industry (November 25, 2007)

Advocacy and Policy

Illegal Immigration is a Red Herring How right-wing framing has hijacked policy in the United States (April 7, 2008)

The Framing of Immigration George Lakoff’s comprehensive analysis of conservative and progressive framing of undocumented workers (May 26, 2006)

Crucial Issues Not Addressed in the Immigration Debate George Lakoff’s take on the progressive values left out of the national debate. (May 28, 2006)

How to think about Health Care

Don’t Think of a Sick Child: The Logic of the Health Care Debate provides an excellent overview of debate over reform.  It was written by George Lakoff, Glenn W. Smith, Eric Haas, and Scott Parkinson at the Rockridge Institute.

Blog Articles

Is Health Care Like a Food Processor? (September 23, 2009)

Broken Health Care: What It Really Costs Us (June 24, 2009)

Thinking Collectively About Health Care (Discussion of values in health care by Maggie Mahar, October 5, 2009)

A Rose By Any Other Name (Discussion of health care as consumer transaction by Anat Shenker, October 1, 2009)

How Universal Health Care Changes Everything (October 28, 2008)

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care, Part 2: Debunking the Free Marketeers (February 11, 2008)

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care — Part 1 (February 4, 2008)

We Owe Our Veterans Health Care (October 31, 2007)

The Importance of Mental Health (October 19, 2007)

Where’s the Healthy Debate, CNN? (November 29, 2007)

Health Care Bargains for Everyone on Your List (November 21, 2007)

The Meaning of Socialized Medicine (September 18, 2007)

Advocacy Training and Policy Analysis

The Moral Language of Health Care Reform (August 24, 2009)

The Policyspeak Disaster for Health Care (August 20, 2009) A critique of Obama’s insurance reform frame

Don’t Think of a Sick Child (October 22, 2007)

Who’s Afraid of Sick Kids? (October 10, 2007)

An Essay on the Blackwatering of Health Care (November 7, 2007)

Could You Explain a Vote Against Children’s Health to Our Children? (September 26, 2007)

SCHIP and the Rigged Health Insurance Game (October 26, 2007)

In Health Care, the Market Mindset is Hard to Break (November 5, 2007)

Progressive Political Strategies

Building On The Progressive Victory (December 13, 2006)

Bush Is Not Incompetent (June 25, 2006)

National Security and Foreign Policy Issues

America Betrayed: Will Progressives Take The Fall? (February 5, 2008)

Challenging the “Surrender to Terrorists” Frame – Part 1 (March 12, 2008)