His goal is to find words that will change people's visceral reactions to hot-button issues.
In a 2012 speech to the Washington State Chamber of Commerce, Luntz advised business executives to revise some of their pet phrases. He recommended they replace :
- Free enterprise with economic freedom;
- Middle class with hardworking taxpayers; and
- Business climate with healthy economy.
You need not agree with Luntz's politics—I, for example, would replace his death tax with fairness reset and his climate change with planetary meltdown—to agree with his theory.
The emotional content of words makes them powerfully persuasive.
Novelist Joseph Conrad once wrote, "He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense."