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Gurevich, P. S. Social Demagogue as a Phenomenon

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2013-10 in rubric "Editor-in-Chief's column", pages 1347-1352.

Resume: In the previous issue of the Philosophy and Culture journal the editor-in-chief column was devoted to the origin of the word demagogue and transformation of its meaning during the Antique period. Tracing back the history of that phenomenon, the author showed how the term had been acquiring different shades and meanings. The term came from Antique Greece and completely changed its meaning since those times. Initially the word had no negative meaning. For instance, when Aristotle wanted to express his attitude to a leader who could lead people using such methods as speech, actions and gifts, he would call him a demagogue. In this issue the author continues the topic and discusses how the term developed after the Antique period. Today the term demagogue has a negative and sharp meaning. When making a decision, a politician might turn out to be a demagogue or a cynic. Perhaps Machiavelli was right when he made it almost legal for a politician to lie to the people? What if politics and demagogue are twins? If they are, then people have the right to abandon such a politician. As an intermediary between different social layers, a politician has to cover up contradictions and create the impression of cooperation and harmony. However, sooner or later this becomes unbearable for the society. The author of the article traces back the history of development of the term in European interpretation and views important aspects of modern ideology.

Keywords: philosophy, demagogue, phenomenon, propaganda, myth, ideology, politics, rhetoric, apoliteia.

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2013.10.9864

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