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Hi rigoletto, sheila, and Sir Tas,

First, rigoletto, I appreciate the kind words. It's always nice to receive a compliment.

It might be suggested that we've gone off topic and perhaps even off board (or perhaps overboard) here with this discussion, but I think not. It's still about words and how they're strung together by the person doing the stringing. After all, one of the dictionary definitions of demagogue is: “1. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.” The demagogue, in order to be at all successful, chooses words carefully to effect just such a result.

And it seems to me that we all harbor a bit of demagoguery almost instinctively within ourselves. How often does each of us respond, even if only to self, to some statement with which we disagree with some such absurdity as “well, you know, he's ________; what do you expect?” And then we think again and realize how irrational our response was. I think that the demagogue counts on this and carefully calculates his choice of words to exploit it (and counts on the response without the second thought). Toward that end, I think that sheila is right, but I would expand her thought to the citizenry of all nations, as Sir Tas has done. An early sociologist pointed out: “A person of definite character and purpose who comprehends our way of thought is sure to exert power over us. He cannot altogether be resisted; because, if he understands us, he can make us understand him, through the word, the look, or other symbol, which both of us connect with the common sentiment or idea; and thus by communicating an impulse he can move the will.” Charles Horton Cooley (1864–1929), U.S. sociologist. Human Nature and the Social Order, ch. 4 (1902). I think we all are vulnerable to the temptation to follow the man on the white horse (so long as he agrees with our particular foibles – Don Marquis once put it thus: “A demagogue is a person with whom we disagree as to which gang should mismanage the country.” ;-) ).

However, sheila, I disagree that it is the American citizenry's susceptibility to W's demagoguery that has placed our less than esteemed leader in residence at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. I personally believe that it is the result of a system that is presently structured such that each party's wild eyed wing will nominate its particular extremist demagogue and leave us poor muddling middle voters trying to figure out which is the lesser evil and then voting accordingly, while respectively holding our noses.
Cal

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