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Demonization

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Demonization (or 'demonisation,' as it is spelt in British English) is an argumentative strategy, often employed in political contexts, whereby one group consistently describes a rival group as beings of pure evil who want nothing more than their enslavement, corruption, or destruction. Such a strategy is very good for whipping up lynch mobs, quelling internal strife 'in the face of the common threat,' and stifling the usual twinges of conscience most people experience when mistreating others. This sometimes requires the use of otherism beforehand, to make people view the targeted group as an "other."

One of the most long-standing ongoing examples of demonization is anti-Semitism, but lately there has been an increase in the West of virulent anti-Muslim sentiment.[1]

Another recent trend is the demonization of people of Hispanic descent in North America by some US politicians as somehow not being as deserving of an equal right to domicile as their northern-European descended cousins.

Conservative talk radio depends on the demonization of liberals (and even moderates) for most of their material.

One of the most common types of demonization in Internet debates is referenced by Godwin's Law - that being, comparing the opposing person/group to Hitler and/or Nazis.

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[edit] Footnotes

  1. Largely since the events of 9/11
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