Better Essays
Demagoguery: The Confusion of the Masses Demagoguery attempts to simplify an argument so much so that it effectively shuts down any discussion. Through the use of rhetorical fallacies and other techniques, demagogues persuade the masses to support them. Although it can be successful, demagoguery is usually associated with a negative connotation because it plays on prejudices and emotions rather than rational. In Patricia Roberts Miller’s brief article, “Characteristics of Demagoguery,” she defines the various concepts of demagoguery, and using her article as a lens, both Wayne LaPierre’s transcript of his speech on Newtown Tragedy and Donald Trump’s presidential announcement contain different aspects of demagoguery like scapegoating, polarization,…show more content…
Wayne LaPierre is speaking on behalf of the National Rifle Association, or NRA, about the tragic shooting that occurred at a Connecticut elementary school killing 26 people. LaPierre’s speech closely aligns with some terms of demagoguery mentioned in Roberts-Miller’s article. Throughout his article, LaPierre focusses heavily on the tactic of scapegoating. For example, LaPierre asks: “how many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame—from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall attention and sense of identity that they crave—while provoking others to make their mark” (LaPierre 78). This loaded question is overflowing with demagoguery. LaPierre successfully scapegoats the problem to the media, and while doing so, he takes an intricate subject and generalizes it. The use of this technique shuts down discourse on the subject, making it much more difficult to argue any other way than his. He includes words like “fame” and “reward” to assert how he believes the media is promoting these killings. This is a successful strategy, but when analyzed its clear to see how logically, it doesn’t make sense: reporters just report news, they are not trying to popularize slaughter. Through his cunning word choices, LaPierre bends the ways of demagoguery to his whim and uses scapegoating to push the blame of the issue onto the…show more content…
LaPierre’s speech clearly embodied many different qualities of demagoguery but a few were very prevalent. He focused on scapegoating, polarization, and victimization. Through these techniques he was able to shut down the discourse of any counterargument to his, which is an essential idea of demagoguery. Additionally, Donald Trump used victimization and a metanarrative in his presidential announcement. Together these qualities gave his speech an essence of demagoguery in the eyes of Roberts-Miller. He was able to craft a story of oppression of Americans and of apocalyptic qualities due to previous presidents; this created a problem for him to over come and he works to prove himself as America’s salvation. These techniques are all clearly defined in Roberts-Miller’s paper making Trump a demagogue as well. Using demagoguery is generally not the best technique to win an argument but it is absolutely effective. Whether or not LaPierre and Trump persuaded you, they both worked enough to confuse the masses and push their agenda further using
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