The first thing we are going to do is make clear the etymological origin of the word demagoguery that now concerns us. In doing so, we will discover that it emanates from Greek, because it is made up of two words from that language: “demos”, which can be translated as “people”, and “ago”, which is a verb that acts as a synonym for “drive”. Hence, our term can be defined as “guide the people.”
Demagoguery is a political practice that appeals to the feelings and emotions of the population to gain their support. Through rhetoric, the demagogue seeks to incentivize the passions, desires, or fears of the people in order to gain popular favor.
For example: “This country has already suffered many years of demagoguery”, “I would tell the governor to leave demagoguery aside and start solving people’s problems”, “If you want to get a favor from the boss, you have to give yourself to demagoguery and flatter all their decisions”.
The first historical figure considered to have used the term demagoguery was none other than the great philosopher Aristotle. Specifically, he used that word to refer to the way full of corruption that had led to the establishment of the Republic. And it is that he was clear that, at all, he agreed with it as a form of government because he considered that the rulers in the end fell into abuses of power over the people.
Many analysts consider that demagoguery is a degeneration of democracy. Certain rulers who come to power through free elections (and who, therefore, were elected by the majority of the population) do so through concessions and flattery to the elemental sentiments of the voters.
In this sense, the demagogue candidate is not imposed by his political program or by his proposals, but rather he is chosen to encourage some kind of feeling in people. This choice, therefore, is not rational.
Ultimately, demagoguery makes it possible to attract the decisions of others towards one’s own interests through the use of fallacies or lies. The manipulation of information, data out of context and false dichotomies are also part of demagoguery.
It is no less important to underline that there are various types of demagoguery. Thus, this can be carried out not only through the manipulation of the meaning given to a statement but also through fallacies or omissions.
Likewise, also within that endless list of classes of demagoguery would be the false dilemma, the confusion, the demonization or the intentional use of a series of data that come to endorse what is being exposed but that are out of context and, therefore, They do not show reality as it is.
It is important to establish that in everyday language it is common to confuse demagoguery with populism.
It should be noted that demagoguery does not only appear in politics. When a foreign artist arrives in a country and claims that local spectators are the best public in the world, he is falling into demagoguery.