American Elephants

A Little Dictionary of Demagoguery by The Elephant's Child


Demagogue: [Děm’·a·gŏg] n. a political leader who gains power by appealing to people’s emotions, instincts, and prejudices in a way that is considered manipulative and dangerous.

Authenticity: The (probably erroneous) belief that the demagogue is telling you the truth.

Anti-Americanism:  Demagogues are, by the force of their personalities, going to make the world love us again. Unfortunately anti-Americanism has been with us since the days of the founding.

Big Oil: (Evil). Earns 10 cents for every gallon of gas sold. The Federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. My state gas tax is 37 cents per gallon. Who is gouging whom? Big oil plunges the money into searching for more oil. The government apparently spends their take on other things, for they constantly want more money for roads and to relieve traffic congestion.

Big Pharma: (Evil). They not only produce drugs that save lives, prolong life and help avoid the need for costly medical procedures, but they do it for only 11 cents of every dollar spent on health care. And for less than the rate of inflation as well. Obviously must be regulated.

CAFE Standards: A demand by people who have no idea how a car is made that manufacturers increase gas mileage. Can only be accomplished by making cars lighter and more flimsy. Will kill approximately 4,000 people a year.

Change: The really big demagogue word. Meaningless, unless accompanied by the specifics of what will change, why that is a good thing, and why the demagogue thinks that he can bring it about. Be very skeptical.

Capitalism: (Evil). The name that Karl Marx gave to the natural workings of the free market. If he could sell the idea that ‘capitalism’ is a system, then he could substitute his system, socialism. Didn’t work.

An economic term easily understood when demonstrated by the example of the buggy whip. When applied to current failing industries, the demand is for government involvement to save jobs.

Diversity: The very odd notion that the most important thing about any group of people is the color of their skin, their sex, and their ethnicity.

There are no qualifications whatsoever to be an environmentalist. More skills are required of a leaf- blower or a dishwasher. Requires only faith.

Equality I: You can be free, or you can be equal. You cannot be both. Human beings are not naturally equal. Some are smart, some are not; some save and invest, some spend and gamble; some are natural athletes and some are clumsy. Some are pretty, become celebrities and a bad example to us all.

Equality II: “A society that puts equality – in the sense of equality of outcome – ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.” (Milton Friedman)

“For the Children”: A phrase designed to elicit warm fuzzy feelings, like kitten or puppies. We think small children; they include 20 year old delinquents, and young men in the military.

Freedom: Freedom is, to be sure, frightening. There is no telling what values someone will choose to hold. Decent and well-meaning guardians of values were horrified by the monstrous principles of the Declaration of Independence. It is, of course, out of fear that the guardians preach the inculcation of values, fear of knowledge and thought.” (Richard Mitchell)

Responsible for lifting people all over the world out of poverty. Must be regulated by the Democrats to improve the environment.

Global Warming: The globe has not warmed in the past six years. In the last few years, the pillars that support the notion of man-made global warming have been falling, one after another. What warming we have had does not fall outside the normal range of planetary warming and cooling. CO2 is not a pollutant. The Medieval Optimum, when it was much warmer than today, is the finest weather known to man.

Since we in America have the finest health care in the world, it is imperative that we change the system to duplicate the systems that are failing elsewhere.

Hate crime: Thought crime. To the criminal offense is added the supposed state of mind of the perpetrator. Apparently only minorities can be hated. A racist notion, and a ‘crime’ that should be abolished.

A phrase designed to promote class envy. Someone will always have something that you have not. A phrase also designed to create an us-versus-them mentality. Celebrate what you have: freedom and equality of opportunity.

The left decided early on, that since a President who presides over a successful war often ushers in a long reign of his party, President Bush must be prevented, at all costs, from being successful in the war in Iraq. They really tried, but Bush is, fortunately, stubborn.

A matter of contention. The people want the constitution and the law to be obeyed. The politicians want to register new voters.

Jobs: Can be created by the government only by raising your taxes. Government has no money of its own. Government-created jobs are of no net benefit to the economy. Only private investment creates new jobs, and makes new products never before seen in the world.

“Never in human history has one seen a society of political liberty that was not based on a free economic system – i.e. a system based on private property, where normal economic activity consisted of transactions between consenting adults. Never, never, never. No exceptions.” (Irving Kristol)

How remarkably condescending to refer to any American as “the little man”. Words spoken only by very small politicians.

Multiculturalism: The strange notion that all cultures are of equal value. None is better than any other. A theory that was permanently disproved on 9/11.

“The media are less a window on reality than a stage on which officials and journalists perform self-scripted, self-serving fictions.” (Paul Weaver, New York Times, 7/29/94)

( Evil). And where did you think the money came from to create new jobs, build new businesses, invent new products? None of these things can be done by government. Profit is the reward for the investment of capital.

Defined as the bottom quintile of the income pie. Will always be with us. As long as we have quintiles, someone will occupy the bottom. The U.S. economy is characterized by an extraordinary degree of income mobility. The notion that high-income or low-income groups are composed mostly of the same people over time is an illusion.

“What do the poor most need? They need to stop being poor. And how can that be done on a mass scale, except by an economy that creates more wealth? Yet the political left has long had a remarkable lack of interest in how wealth is created. As far as they are concerned, wealth exists ‘somehow’ and the only interesting question is how to re-distribute it”. (Thomas Sowell)

We used to be able to prevent crime by questioning suspicious people. Civil rights activists suggested that the large number of young black men in prison was somehow due to racial profiling rather than the fact that young black men were committing more crimes. Careful studies have shown that racial profiling seldom exists.

Recession: The only question interesting to politicians about a recession is who can be blamed for it, and who can be credited for ending it. Unfortunately the answers to these questions are often not available until it is over.

Control and power are the goal of all bureaucrats. Regulation is the enemy of growth and creativity, whether economic, social or individual. Rules stifle initiative. Trial and error is the key to all progress.

A romantic notion that we can dispense with evil petroleum and replace it with nice solar, wind or biofuel. We can’t. They are not reliable sources of energy, require large subsidies, and take far too much land. The rush to ethanol is driving food prices up as farmers are switching to subsidized corn, but there is not much demand for ethanol.

Remarkably successful. As it became apparent that the Surge was working, the media lost all interest, and it has disappeared from conversation entirely, except when leftists disgracefully accuse the brilliant General Petraeus of lying.

(aka: Universal Healthcare) If you give government the power to decide what health care you can have, you have also given government the power to decide what health care you cannot have, as British and Canadian citizens are learning to their pain.

Taxation: You do not improve an economy by raising taxes. You improve an economy by allowing people to keep more of their own money.

Are you giving up your convictions or did you expect me to give up mine? The call for unity represents a misunderstanding of the nature of American politics. We are supposed to debate and argue in public. That is the nature of our society.

The time in their lives when many baby-boomers felt most alive and authentic. Most were simply afraid of being drafted, and once the draft was abolished, they lost all interest in the war. Nevertheless, Vietnam remains the screen through which all current events must pass.

Germany, Japan, Italy, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Serbia, Grenada, Afghanistan.

Wealth: (Evil). In a country that offers equality of opportunity and equality before the law, anyone can aspire to wealth.

The safest place in the world to store nuclear waste. Opposed by the demagogue, who prefers to have nuclear waste stored in many places around the United States, perhaps right in your neighborhood.


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Excellent. Brilliant. You nailed it in every definition.


Comment by renaissanceguy

Thank you very much.


Comment by The Elephant\\\'s Child

Could this possibly be anymore biased and blatantly erroneous?

“There are no qualifications whatsoever to be an environmentalist. More skills are required of a leaf- blower or a dishwasher. Requires only faith.”


“And where did you think the money came from to create new jobs, build new businesses, invent new products? None of these things can be done by government. Profit is the reward for the investment of capital.”

I guess the military, and other government agenecies dont qualify as jobs?


Comment by balistico

If you say you are an “environmentalist” lo and behold, you are. It’s that easy. Now if you want to be a Climatologist or an Astrophysicist, or a Paleoclimatologist, then you have to get a PhD, and write peer-reviewed papers. There is a difference. Who pays those who work at government agencies? Taxpayers. They are indeed jobs, but not new jobs. New jobs are created when someone starts a business, say writing software, in their garage, and then hires some 4,000 people to write more, sell more, devise code and so on. That makes an economy grow. Fact.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

The government can easily create new jobs, Homeland security was a newly created department that had to hire NEW people.

And you dont need qualifications to be a Republican either, doesnt make it a bad thing now does it.

Im also genuinely interested why you think healthcare systems are failing elsewhere.

THank you for actually allowing my comment on the site though, when i saw “your comment is awaiting moderation” i thought it would be deleted


Comment by balistico

We are talking apples and oranges here. New jobs, jobs that make the economy grow, are created by employing someone to do something that didn’t exist before. For example, when someone invents a new mousetrap and hires people to make them to meet the demand. If the government takes money out of your pocket to pay another bureaucrat, there is no net gain to the economy. If your business is so successful that you have to hire more people, that is a net gain to the economy. Think Bill Gates going from a handful of people in Albuquerque to more than 4,000 in Redmond. Big gain to the economy.

I am very fond of the environment, and try to treat it well. Many “environmentalists” are, frankly, nuts. See the video on the website titled “Liberalism IS a Mental Disorder”. Many people have allowed ‘environmentalism’ to become a religion for them, and they lose all common sense.

Go to any of the British newspapers, The London Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph (links under “Newsroll”). All have a search function. Enter NHS or National Health Service, and read some of the articles. I also have an earlier piece titled “Why Socialized Medicine Goes Bust… Every Time!” that I wrote in February. And some others, click on the Elephant’s Child to see all articles by me. Socialized medicine is one of my hobby horses. I am deeply opposed.

We’re happy to have comments. We are partisan, so we don’t expect everybody to agree. We only balk at bad language and rude behavior.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Go to any major american newspaper and you will see articles saying why universal healthcare is good, and how our healthcare system is failing. Citing newspapers isnt a very good argument, people have opinoins and they come through in articles that they write. I wanted to know why YOU think the healthcare system is failing

Government wasnt always this big. The government constantly expands whether controlled by liberal or conservatives. The supposed reason for new departments is that they are needed for the national interest and thus should be paid with the nation’s money. That doesnt mean there arent new jobs. This also doesnt mean the government should have no role in the economy, on its own there is nothing that guaruntees the economy to keep going. There is no elected leadership that makes decisions for the economy as a whole, economy still needs regulations or corruption will make it crash


Comment by balistico

The figure usually cited for people without health insurance is, I think, between 40 and 45 million. But it is a meaningless figure. It includes those who are between jobs, often for very short periods. It includes students who graduate from college, and thus are no longer included on their parents’ insurance. It includes all the illegal aliens in the country. It includes those who are very well off and do not need to rely on insurance at all and those who are very healthy and choose to risk going without.

What your insurance covers, and what insurance companies are allowed to sell health insurance in your state are controlled by your state Insurance Commissioner. The legislature controls what has to be covered. They are easily pressured by lobbyists, friends and family into covering things that by common sense should not be covered.

We most need Catastrophic Coverage — that is big injury or big disease coverage that costs so much that we would be wiped out by the cost. And though the costs may be large, not too many people are having a catastrophic problem at once. Insurance generally works well. It is the day-to-day coverage that is a problem. If your policy covers all doctors’ visits, and all tests and medicines, you will be inclined to go to the doctor more often. You think of medical care as ‘free’, and use way more of it than you would if you have to pay for it yourself.

All of these problems are made worse by ‘universal health care’ (socialized medicine). It is failing in Canada and in Britain, and in other countries. You cannot promise to give everybody everything they want and have it paid for cheaply through taxes. Everything is controlled by bureaucrats –Dr’s salaries, number of nurses, hospital equipment, any possible amount of choice on your part.

There are solutions in the private sector. 1.Reform tort law — damages for actual malpractice, but limit awards for “pain and suffering” (your bad feelings). 2. Open up insurance markets so customers can buy insurance from anyone in the country. Competition always brings down costs. Competition will also limit the coverage for things like Homeopathy, Accupuncture, Aroma therapy — if you want those things you’ll have to pay more. Essentially, let the market work. What does not work is having Congress or your State Legislature decide what care you can have or what you can not have. Competition breeds innovation. When the competiton is tough, smart people figure out ways to do things more efficiently. Many of our most useful medical innovations have come from Doctors who see new ways to do things.

There is no competition in “universal health care”, Bureaucrats make the rules, there is no competition, and there is no choice, because there are no rewards for doing it better.

Does that make sense? I would still recommend that you spend some time reading up and informing yourself. Your best defense is to be an informed citizen.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

I do not quite understand this blog definition of “Big Pharma”. I recently learned that it is the trade association for big pharmaceutical manufacturers, really called PhRMA. You have (evil) right after “Big Pharma”. What does that mean? By the definition you obviously think it is a good thing. I don’t! They are just lobbying for pharmaceutical companies. Doing one google search on their staff will tell you that.

The TV show Boston Legal said it all on their Season 5, Episode 2 show.


Comment by Your Friend

“Big Pharma” is a generic term for the big pharmaceutical companies, just as “Big Oil” is a generic name for Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, BP and Shell. Liberal demagogues are opposed to capitalism, the free market, Big Oil and Big Pharma. This is the height of nonsense if you like living in a free country. The big pharmaceutical companies are invested in saving lives and curing disease. They spend billions each year to develop new drugs that extend people’s lives.

For heaven’s sake, do not get ANY information from TV dramas. They are by definition, FICTION, dreamed up by Hollywood screenwriters. They are entertainment. Scenarios are developed for their dramatic quality and have no relation to real life.

Trade associations simply represent the interest of their industry to Congress. Politicians like to sneer at lobbyists, since many congressmen have gotten in trouble for accepting gifts from lobbyists — so the lobbyists are at fault? Pot calling kettle black.

I would highly recommend that you read this article:

It is long, 11 pages, but will give you an understanding that will make you an expert in the eyes of your friends. Now isn’t that worth reading 11 pages?


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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