Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions about political terminology, including established definitions and appropriate usage, and subjects directly related to it.

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Why is Trump dubbing COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus" considered offensive, while many past epidemics have had similar naming schemes?

To preface this, I'm not a supporter of Trump, but I disagree with the way some major media outlets have criticized him over his nickname for COVID-19, the "Chinese virus". In addition, it is not ...
yuritsuki's user avatar
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83 votes
9 answers
11k views

What is meant by the "left" and the "right"?

When discussing political issues and parties, I often hear mention of a party being "left", "centre-left", "right" or "extreme right". In broad terms, what do these designations mean?
Graham Wager's user avatar
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80 votes
12 answers
16k views

What is the meaning of "Cancel Culture"?

This expression has getting popular these days. Googling it led to the explanation from Wikipedia that says: Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is ...
r13's user avatar
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58 votes
8 answers
25k views

What is the Alt-Left?

What is the Alt-Left and how different are they from the Far-Left or Ultra-Left? Are they similar to the Alt-Right in any way?
Jøê Grèéñ's user avatar
52 votes
1 answer
9k views

Why has the UK Government moved away from "Ministry of..." names?

Traditionally, UK Government departments were named "Ministry of [blar]". For example, Ministry of Transport Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Ministry of Education In recent ...
James Geddes's user avatar
50 votes
9 answers
6k views

Name for phenomenon in which attempting to solve a problem locally can seemingly fail because they absorb the problem from elsewhere?

Examples: City has a homelessness problem. They increase services for the homeless, but because all the surrounding cities also have homelessness problems, homeless people from those cities move in ...
Noah Green's user avatar
47 votes
5 answers
270k views

What is the difference between liberalism and libertarianism?

According to wikipedia Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on the idea of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on ...
Fela's user avatar
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43 votes
8 answers
12k views

Why do Republicans and others accept the propagandaic use of the term "Progressives"?

The word "progressives" has always confused me. It's sort of like an antonym to "conservatives", but the difference is that "conservative" is a neutral word. It tells us that you want to "conserve" ...
Make's user avatar
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41 votes
4 answers
9k views

What is it called when someone votes for an option that's not their first choice?

Say we have three candidates: A, B, and C. Say, a voter wants to vote for C. However, he knows that C can’t win and hence choose A instead. Hence, in a sense, the voter is “dishonest”. He doesn’t ...
user4951's user avatar
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41 votes
9 answers
13k views

What is the difference between totalitarianism and authoritarianism?

Both ideologies seem to have a dictatorship-like system of governance, no tolerance of dissenting opinions, and an executive which holds absolute power. What is the difference between these two ...
CDJB's user avatar
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39 votes
7 answers
15k views

What does “woke indoctrination” mean?

In the following CNBC article the author uses the term “woke” which Merriam Webster defines as a US slang adjective meaning “to be socially and politically aware”. U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ...
Gio's user avatar
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35 votes
7 answers
6k views

What is "liberalism" in the USA political discourse?

I've recently registered to Facebook and Quora. It exposed me to a lot of political propaganda, mostly USA-centric. Republicans blaming Democrats and vice versa. Reading this was an amusing and void ...
Danubian Sailor's user avatar
34 votes
3 answers
10k views

Where are the "shires" in the UK?

Today's Guardian article, "Local elections: Tories tipped for heavy losses," contains the following statement: ...the Conservatives could lose about 500 seats to the Lib Dems and 300 to Labour. ...
StayOnTarget's user avatar
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34 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why does the Scottish National Party object to being called nationalist?

On a number of occasions in the House of Commons I have noticed MPs, usually Conservatives, referring to the Scottish National Party (SNP) as "the Scottish Nationalist Party", or just "...
CDJB's user avatar
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33 votes
12 answers
11k views

Is there a term for someone whose preferred policies are a mix of left and right?

I, um, know a guy, 'Bob'. Bob is in favor of social safety nets and LGBTQ rights (leftist). Bob is also very pro-capitalism and in favor of gun rights (rightist). We have terms in the political ...
Jared Smith's user avatar
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33 votes
5 answers
4k views

Is there a word or phrase for an election candidate who wants to win an office to prevent its role being done at all?

I am looking for a term for a candidate who wants and hopes to win an election, but has no intention of fulfilling the role if elected. He wishes to be elected in order to prevent it being done at all....
davidlol's user avatar
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32 votes
12 answers
17k views

How does antisemitism differ from racism? [closed]

If 'antisemitism' is no different to 'racism', then why is it necessary to have a separate "...ism" that relates specifically to only one religious/racial group?
WS2's user avatar
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32 votes
3 answers
8k views

What is the difference between democracy and ochlocracy?

The Wikipedia definition of democracy states: Democracy (Greek: δημοκρατία dēmokratía, literally "rule by people") is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their ...
Evil Dog Pie's user avatar
30 votes
10 answers
14k views

Can the U.S. technically be called an oligarchy and a democracy?

I thought theoretically the U.S. could be a democracy (because people have a say in the daily workings of the government) and an oligarchy ( the president, the Supreme Court, etc... are the only ones ...
user50780's user avatar
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30 votes
9 answers
7k views

Is there an unambiguous name for the social/political theory "liberalism" without "leftist"?

Wikipedia defnes liberalism as follows: Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views ...
Athari's user avatar
  • 402
29 votes
4 answers
6k views

What specific political traits classify a political leader as a fascist?

Background Fascism does not have an easy clear cut definition. However, several figures throughout history are identified as unambiguously fascist, with Mussolini belonging to the original fascist ...
isakbob's user avatar
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29 votes
3 answers
7k views

What's the difference between declaring sovereignty and declaring independence?

What's the difference between declaring sovereignty and declaring independence? Aren't those the same thing? Please help me make sense of the following sentence (but keep in mind that my question is ...
Sergey Zolotarev's user avatar
28 votes
4 answers
5k views

What exactly is China's "whole-process people's democracy"? In what ways does it function "democratically" based on traditional definitions?

CNN's China claims its authoritarian one-party system is a democracy -- and one that works better than the US says: In his keynote speech, Huang Kunming, the ruling Communist Party's propaganda tsar, ...
uhoh's user avatar
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27 votes
4 answers
5k views

What is gerrymandering called if it's not the result of redrawing districts?

The result of gerrymandering is a set of voting districts that are not representative of the overall ideology of a larger region. Gerrymandering refers specifically to obtaining that result by ...
MrMcPlad's user avatar
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26 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the difference between a separatist and a rebel?

The internet does not give a satisfactory explanation as to the slightly differing nuances of these two notions. Question: When speaking politically, what is meant by "separatists" and "rebels" and ...
Árpád Szendrei's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why do US politicians use the title "czar?"

I've always found it odd that there are high-profile positions in the US using the title of "czar," which has obvious connotations to Russia. An example is John Kerry, who is often ...
nuggethead's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
6k views

How much of the US media referred to the COVID-19 as the "Wuhan Virus" until it received an official designation from the WHO?

It has been claimed in a fairly upvoted answer here (which is why this not a notable-enough claim for Skeptics SE) that For a fun exercise, put a news organization into google's search along with "...
Dolphin 613 Motorboat's user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
4k views

When and how did the term "liberal" acquire a leftist/socialist meaning in the US?

Some comments on another question show confusion over the definition of “liberal”: @Eva, still going to have the same problems. For example, what is the liberal position on economic ...
dan04's user avatar
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25 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why did the acronym GOP stick to the Republicans and not to the Democrats?

The general definition “Grand Old Party” appears to have been originally used for both the Republicans and the Democrats, but it was finally used to specifically refer to the Republican Party: GOP ...
user 66974's user avatar
  • 1,219
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

Name for a popular measure added to a bill for the purpose of later attacking those who vote against that bill?

I personally always call this a kittens-are-cute bill. The basic idea is that Party A wants to pass a certain bill, but they know it's wholly unacceptable to Party B. So what they do is add some (...
FrederikVds's user avatar
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24 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does the term "Equity" mean, in "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion"?

The use of the term Equity has been on the rise for years, especially with the emergence of the new political term of "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion", or DEI, being bandied about in the US....
Machavity's user avatar
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24 votes
8 answers
5k views

A word that means rule by the vocal minority?

If plutocracy is rule by the wealthy, and meritocracy is rule by individual ability or achievement, then what's a word that means rule by the vocal minority? Extrovert-ocracy? An example I'm thinking ...
snips-n-snails's user avatar
24 votes
10 answers
241k views

What is the difference between a nation and a state?

These terms seem to be used interchangably - what is the difference between them? Additionally, why is it that a "state" appears to be just an entity of a federal government in certain contexts - e.g....
Affable Geek's user avatar
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22 votes
12 answers
10k views

Why do many officials in Russia and Ukraine often prefer to speak of "the Russian Federation" rather than more simply "Russia"?

I've noticed that many officials in both Russia and Ukraine prefer to speak of "the Russian Federation" rather than more simply "Russia". (I believe most outside the former USSR ...
user avatar
22 votes
10 answers
6k views

Is there a technical term for "knee jerk law"?

A rough definition of a "knee jerk law" would be: Something bad happens An outrage is raised by the media A law is passed banning/changing/attacking the bad thing while the outrage is ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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22 votes
7 answers
2k views

Do dog-whistle politics only refer to racist and right-leaning statements?

I don't think I have ever heard the term applied to statements on the left. Supposedly racists can understand a hidden meaning or applied to the Christian right, but the majority of voters cannot hear ...
user1873's user avatar
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21 votes
11 answers
11k views

How is North Korea democratic, if there's only one party with one ideology?

How is North Korea, which is officially called the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea", democratic, if there's only one party with one ideology? Is this a moving box in a non-movable box?...
CSD's user avatar
  • 390
20 votes
5 answers
5k views

What does "bipartisan support" mean in the United States?

Is there a definition of "bipartisan support"? For the Senate in the US, when can you claim a bill was supported/passed by bipartisanship, and when you can't claim thus?
r13's user avatar
  • 2,450
20 votes
2 answers
5k views

In the UK, what is pairing?

In The Guardian on July 19 2018 I found this under the headline "Tory MP casts doubt on claim pairing breach was honest mistake as row escalates - Politics live". Up to five Tory MPs were told to ...
Jens's user avatar
  • 1,113
19 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is the concept of nation explicitly ethnic?

Is the concept of nation explicitly ethnic? I always thought that a “nation-state” was a synonym for a sovereign country, but the Wikipedia article on the subject reads a little ambiguous. It is a ...
52d6c6af's user avatar
  • 10.4k
19 votes
6 answers
3k views

Does "government" mean something different in British and American English?

There's been lots of news in the past couple of days about votes in the UK Parliament regarding Brexit. These reports seem to use the word "government" in a way that I don't understand. For instance, ...
Barmar's user avatar
  • 9,881
19 votes
2 answers
10k views

What is the political/legal distinction between a "state" and a "commonwealth" in the United States?

Some of the "states" in the United States are referred to as a Commonwealth rather than State (Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania specifically). The Wikipedia article for Commonwealth ...
Michael Kingsmill's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is "demographic engineering" and how does it differ from ethnic cleansing?

The Guardian reports (emphasis mine): Ankara says the planned safe zone could allow up to two million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey to return, although international observers and the ...
gerrit's user avatar
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18 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why do US politicians commonly refer to the UK as "Great Britain"?

The United Kingdom's full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Thus, technically, referring to the UK as "Great Britain" excludes Northern Ireland.
Robin Green's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
8k views

Grey area of "impeachment"

According to what I've read: the House has the ability to impeach a President, however this doesn't mean the President has to leave office. He only has to leave office if the Senate finds him guilty. ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 299
18 votes
3 answers
52k views

What do terms like "I yield my time, Mr. Speaker" mean?

What do terms like "I yield back" and "I reclaim my time" and "I yield to..." mean? I sorta get it, but am still quite clueless as to the details, let alone any name it may have.
Tirous's user avatar
  • 3,493
18 votes
1 answer
6k views

Why aren't White Americans called European-Americans? [closed]

Black Americans in the USA are commonly referred to as "African Americans", and similarly there are "Asian" and "native" Americans, and people from South America are called "Hispanics". From my ...
Reznik's user avatar
  • 342
18 votes
2 answers
602 views

Is there a term for the practice of defunding a public asset in order to privatize it?

In a lecture entitled The State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival given by Noam Chomsky in 2011, at the University of Toronto, a 'standard technique of privatization' is described: ...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 106k
17 votes
6 answers
4k views

Are there any wars other than the 2023 Israel-Hamas War that are named after a country and a political party?

Background The 2023 Israel–Hamas war is referred to in the Western media as "the Israel-Hamas war". All Western commentators I've seen, including military experts, journalists, and political ...
TheScream's user avatar
  • 195
17 votes
5 answers
9k views

Democratic Socialism vs Social Democracy

When Senator Bernie Sanders announced his campaign for the presidency, the term “Democratic Socialism” has been heavily thrown around in political discourse. However, people who believe in Sanders’s “...
Francisco Maria Calisto's user avatar

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