Political slogans that harness the power of metaphors can manipulate us emotionally without actually delivering a single workable policy.
That ‘ladder of opportunity’ doesn’t go anywhere, but you cannot argue with a metaphor. They do not exist in the real world.
Here are some campaign classics:
1992 Bill Clinton: Putting People First (What did previous governments do? Put gophers first.)
1996 Bill Clinton: Building a Bridge to the 21st Century (A bridge to a different century!)
2012 Barrack Obama: Forward (NO! I wanna vote for the party that can turn back time.)
1976 Jimmy Carter: Not Just Peanuts.
1996 Tony Blair: The Third Way (So, ah, let’s try Plan C this time.)
2001 John Howard: Keeping Australia in Safe Hands (Sounds ticklish to me)
2007 John Howard: Go for Growth (Or, ah, would you rather Go for Shrinkage?)
Only a new metaphor can kill off the old one. The metaphor I want to kill contributed to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis namely:
If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
This is propaganda put out by the monkeys to get more peanuts. If the monkeys in the financial sector were worth their peanuts, there wouldn’t have been a Global Financial Crisis. For many of these monkeys, grabbing their up-sized share of the peanuts was their only concern.
We need a new metaphor to kill the idea that the ‘peanuts’ are the only measure of a good manager. How about this?
If you pay a King’s Ransom, you just get thieves.