Meaning of Demagogy

What is Demagogy:

Demagogy is an ancient Greek term that comes from two Greek words: δῆμος let’s givewhat does it mean town and ἄγειν ageinwhat does it mean leadTherefore, demagoguery means the art, strategy or power to lead the people.

It is a form of political action in which there is a clear interest of manipulate or please the massesincluding ideologies, concessions, flattery and promises that are very likely not going to be carried out, even with omissions and incomplete information, aiming only at the conquest of political power through obtaining the support and favor of the people.

This word originally had no pejorative meaning, and the demagogues were defenders of democracy, like Solon and Demosthenes. However, the term evolved and developed at the level of semantics after the death of Pericles, when new leaders emerged and were highly criticized for their way of doing politics.

A demagogic speech It is, for example, spoken in an election campaign using powerful communication skills to give the public what they want to hear with the aim of winning votes. For this reason today it is said that a demagogue is a person, generally a politician, who says things only to please people because they promises are not kept.

In a figurative sense, demagoguery is a practice, a deliberate manipulation of those who appear humble or honest in order to obtain unclear favors and win over someone, expressing their ideas and opinions in public using well-spoken arguments that are supposed to be pleasant to those who are listening but in reality they are manipulating people’s feelings, emotions and will with fallacies and lies.

Another form of demagoguery is when an individual aggrandizes himself to attract the recognition or admiration of others. Abraham Lincoln describes demagoguery with the following phrase:

Demagoguery is the ability to dress minor ideas with major words.“.

See also Populism.

Aristotle’s Demagogy

In the book PoliticsAristotle defines the demagogy as the corruption of democracy, just as tyranny corresponded to the corruption of the monarchy. Even a good king could become a tyrant, if the adulation of his servants made him think only of himself and not of his people.

The excessive praise of the courtiers could make the king think that only their well-being is important. Thus, the king became corrupt, but not only: he was manipulated for the benefit of his own sycophantic servants.

Likewise, today Democracy is corrupted thanks to demagoguerywhen some elements of the political class (comparable to the courtiers of old) who must serve the sovereignty of the people, use strategies to deceive them, making promises that will never be fulfilled and all for their own benefit.