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List of pejorative political slogans
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List of pejorative political slogans

Many pejorative political slogans are obtained by joining an otherwise neutral description of a political movement or group with a pejorative term questioning the groups's sanity or motives, or associating the group with hated political movements of the past such as Nazis or Communists.

Arguments about the use of these slogans often follow a pattern in which proponents of the slogans insist that the term is intended to be construed so narrowly as to be inoffensive while opponents insist that the term as heard by a typical listener will be construed more broadly. Examples of such arguments are visible in the sections below, but a general pattern may include, for proponents:

For opponents, the countervailing claim is that whatever the stated intent of the users of the term, combining a term identifying a group with a pejorative necessarily creates an association between the group and the pejorative, leading many listeners to assume that all members of the group have all of the attributes suggested by the pejorative. This claim is arguably based on a naïve associationistic view of human cognition that underestimates a typical listener's reasoning abilities. However, opponents of many pejorative slogans will argue that such naïve associationism is the basis of many standard techniques in public relations, and that the use of a pejorative slogan by persons trained in public relations techniques is reasonbly interpreted as an attempt to create such an association while maintaining deniability: a subtle example of the fallacy of equivocation.

Regardless of the intent of the author, the possibility that pejorative political slogans will be construed more broadly than expected creates the danger of alienating a large part of one's audience. Thus, except in cases where the slogan is being used as a shibboleth to closely identify the author with a particular political movement, a wise writer or speaker will generally adopt more neutral terminology. Conversely, in classical rhetoric, the principle of charity demands that when making an argument one assumes the most generous interpretation of one's opponent's statements, so that one's own argument is not derailed by simply claiming that the opponent's statements were misconstrued. This principle suggests that the most principled response to another's use of pejorative slogans is to ignore them, accepting at face value the user's claim to a narrow interpretation while again adopting more neutral terminology in one's own arguments.

A list of pejorative political slogans with a brief description of each:

Table of contents
1 Bible thumper
2 Champagne socialist
3 Environmentalist wacko
4 Feminazi
5 Islamofascism
6 Judeofascism and Zionazism
7 Loony Left
8 Neofeudalism
9 Orthodox Taliban
10 Pinko
11 Taliban wing of the Republican Party
12 Tory and Whig
13 Tree Hugger
14 Van party
15 Wowser
16 WASP
17 Zionist entity
18 See also

Bible thumper

A negative term describing a fundamentalist or evangelical Christian who is considered to be overly zealous in haranguing or censuring others. Metaphorically used to describe Christians who seem as if they're hitting the outside of the Bible when defending their faith, rather than looking inside the book.

Champagne socialist

See main article: Champagne socialist.

A British term to describe someone who claims to be a socialist without feeling the need to adapt an appropriate lifestyle. It implies that the person is less than sincere in their beliefs. It also implies that champagne is not a suitable drink for socialists. Similar terms in other countries include limousine liberal, chardonnay socialist, and gauche caviar. Hypocrisy is implied.

Environmentalist wacko

Environmentalist wacko is a phrase that right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh uses to describe what he considers to be extremely radical environmentalists; he does not use it to describe people who merely care about the environment.

According to Limbaugh, some "environmentalist wackos" reject all forms of higher technology (electrical, mechanical, medicine, etc) and want the United States to abolish the automobile, stop using oil and gas, and revert to an agrarian society. Members of Earth First or the Earth Liberation Front would in his view exemplify "environmentalist wackos", since they are known for carrying out criminal attacks organizations they deem destructive to the environment, such as setting fire on buildings or breaking into labs to release animals used for scientific research. These people would also sometimes be called ecoterrorists - many would object to such usage because it seems to equate acts of minor vandalism with major terrorist acts.

He extends the use of the term to describe a much broader segment of the environmentalist movement; thus, other environmentalist policies and principles he attributes to "environmentalist wackos" include: ignoring economic consequences of environmental laws; ignoring or avoiding any cost/benefit analysis regarding environmental policies; placing an equal or higher value on animal life than on human life; suggestions that animals are "just as intelligent" as humans; relying on lawsuits and laws to solve environmental problems, rather than relying on the marketplace. Thus, quite a few environmentalists would probably qualify as "wackos" in his view. He also often accuses "environmentalist wackos" of using environmentalism as an excuse for the government to gain more property and more control over the lives of citizens.

Limbaugh presents news stories with opinions which are unfavorable to theories and beliefs that those he characterizes as "environmentalist wackos" presumably hold. Similar views about the wider environmentalist movement are widely held by many people with conservative political views. Extremist environmentalist organizations like Earth Liberation Front are generally repudiated by people of nearly all political persuasions and would probably qualify as "wackos" for just about everyone.

Feminazi

Feminazi is a term coined by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to refer to feminists. To Limbaugh, a feminazi was originally a woman to whom "the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed".

Others now use the term more loosely to describe almost any active and militant feminist. The term is also sometimes used to describe politically correct movements, such as those who draw attention to supposedly sexist language in daily life.

Islamofascism

This term was popularized by writers like Andrew Sullivan during the 2003 debate over whether secular, Baathist Iraq was in collusion with fundamentalist terror group Al Qaeda. The term Islamofascists refers to those who claim to be Muslims but are considered by their opponents as fascists with Islamic background, e.g. those often called Islamic extremists or fundamentalists in the West. Nevertheless many Muslims find the term insulting, as it suggests a link between Islam and Fascism.

The term is especially applied to Muslim groups (like GIA, Hamas, Abu Sayaf, Al Qaida, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah) that promote theocracy and oppose democracy, in distinction to Muslims who see no contradiction between Islam and Western-style modernism.

Some writers use the term "Islamofascism" specifically to refer to Wahhabism and similar movements in Sunni Islam, while others use it to refer to all highly politicized strains of Islam, including Shiite fundamentalism as practised in Iran. Islamofascism is not a widely accepted term due to its imprecise, "loaded", propaganda-minded nature. A more common and less loaded term for these politicized strains of Islam, which seek to replace secular governments in Muslim countries with Islamic law, is Islamist.

An Antifascist dissident in Berlin discusses: Is there such a thing as Islamofascism?

Judeofascism and Zionazism

Judeofascism and Zionazism are terms used by advocates of the view that aspects of Judaism, Zionism or Israeli government policy are fascist or similar to behavior thought typical of Nazis.

Sometimes the target of these terms is a philosophy that only Jews should have political rights in Israel, or that Israel should be governed by the principles of Jewish law rather than Western democratic principles

Much more commonly, the terms are used by opponents of Israel's alleged behavior towards the Palestinians. Terms like Judeofacism are intended to compare the Israeli control of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights to the Nazi German occupations of various European countries. Similalry the building of Jewish settlements on occupied or disputed land is sometimes referred to as "colonization".

Loony Left

A name sometimes used for what is considered to be ultra left-wing.

Neofeudalism

"Neofeudalism" is used in the United States to criticize policies of right-wing politicians, especially from the United States Republican Party. It compares them to feudalism.

Orthodox Taliban

Used in Serbia and Montenegro (and, possibly, other Orthodox countries) for those who want to introduce to everyday life religious practices supposedly in similar way as Taliban did, for example, religious education to schools or ban of abortion.

Pinko

A person sympathetic to the Communist Party and Russia during the Cold War but not an outright Communist. Often used by people on the extreme right to describe anyone who doesn't share their views. Probably very similar in meaning but more insulting than "Fellow Traveller". Widely used in the USA and other countries. Used most famously in 1950 by Richard Nixon against Helen Gahagan Douglas: "She's pink down to her underwear". (At the time, women's undergarments, if colored, were usually pink.)

Taliban wing of the Republican Party

Used in the United States by detractors of religious conservatives, to associate the social policies favored by parts of the United States Republican Party with the radically repressive social policies of the Taliban. The term was less widely used after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, when comparisons to the Taliban, with which the United States was soon at war, became more inflammatory.

Tory and Whig

Originally a Tory was a supporter of James II of England, the king who was ousted when he tried to reintroduce Roman Catholicism into England. The name was given them by their opponents, the Whigs; the supporters of William and Mary. Tory is derived from the Irish word, "toraidhe" meaning an outlaw or rebel, specifically a Roman Catholic who preyed on the Protestant Settlers. The name stuck to the conservative side of British politics even beyond the formation of the British Conservative Party in 1830. Today, the term is used widely (in a non-pejorative sense) to refer to that party or its members.

Tory was also used in USA to describe the loyalists during the American Revolution.

The term Whig was originally used to mean a Scottish Presbyterian, particularly a Covenanter in rebellion against the Crown. The origin of the word is obscure but it may refer to a group of seventeenth century Scottish rebels whose attack on Edinburgh is called the Whiggamore Raid. Alternatively "whigmaleerie" is an old Scottish word meaning a silly idea.

Tree Hugger

Used in the United States and elsewhere to describe environmentally minded activists. It originated from people who tried to prevent logging by putting themsleves in danger such as chaining themselves to threatened trees.

Van party

Used in Serbia and Montenegro for political parties that are supposedly so small that their entire membership could fit into a van.

Wowser

A New Zealand term, almost obsolete. Originally it meant an alcohol Prohibitionist. It also came to mean a killjoy, someone whose opposition to alcohol extended to all social jollity.

WASP

WASP is an acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. It was coined in the early 1960's to describe the ruling elite of the United States, implying that they were almost exclusively drawn from a very narrow social group. There was possibly the further implication that as WASP's they had little or no sympathy for other social groups. Today it is more generally used by antiestablishment social critics who may wish to put an ethnic label on their political opponents. In practice, as of 2004 there are not many Americans, percentage-wise, of real English descent, and even fewer of them are actually practicing Protestants. The targets of the term are pretty much all white Americans as well as the successful Asian-Americans who the critics may deem as a dominant, allegedly fairly homogenous, pro-"establishment" social group. The term is used largely by liberals, especially those belonging to ethnic minorities.

WASP is also used in historical writings about the turn of the 19th-20th century United States to distinguish white Americans who have lived in the country for a long time, and hence were relatively wealthy and fluent in English from the recent immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe.

Zionist entity

Used by Arabs and other anti-Zionists to refer to the state of Israel, which they regard as illegitimate.

See also