Some time ago, I wrote about how to be right with the right words. This technique is called framing: choosing specific wordings that evoke a certain frame or association. Framing is a very powerful technique that might also be used against you. In that case, you need to defend yourself by reframing the subject. This post tells you how to reframe a subject in just three steps.
A. Formulate your values
Reframing a subject starts with finding the values that support your opinion. These values decide your frame. Imagine your opponent proposes lower taxes for the rich and speaks of ‘tax relief’. By using the word relief, he evokes the association of relieving someone from an unjust pain or burden. You, however, think that lowering these taxes is injust as the fortune of the rich could not have been obtained without the help of society. This value, injustice, should decide your frame.
B. Formulate the subject
Your subject must be rephrased using your frame. In the example, the words ‘tax relief’ should be rephrased using the frame of injustice. You could frame ‘tax relief’ as conflicting with ‘tax responsibility’. ‘Responsibility’ evokes a frame of a duty that one must fulfil. You can elaborate on this by explaining why this responsibility exists, referring to generally high-held concepts as equality of all people.
C. Formulate us and them
Ideas never exist completely apart of their proponents. Therefore, the last part of reframing a subject is reframing its advocates. In the case of ‘tax relief’ you could frame them for example as ‘rewarding the rich for society’s slavery’. The words ‘rewarding the rich’ and ‘slavery’ evoke a strong frame of injustice.
So, that’s it. Reframing a subject is done by finding the values of your frame and describing the subject and your opponents accordingly.