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If Your Country Has “Democratic” in Its Name, Watch Out!

According to the Social Science++ blog, that is a strong indicator of un-democratic-ness: no free elections, military interventions in government, no power sharing, and so forth. So are the words “Arab,” “Islamic,” “People,” and “Socialist.” On the other hand, the words “Principality” and “Commonwealth” usually mean your country is more democratic than most. Both “Kingdoms” and “Republics” are somewhere in the middle.

So, if you live in the Commonwealth of Australia or the Principality of Andorra, give yourself a pat on the back. On the other hand, those of you living in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka or the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya have my sympathies.

(H/T: Language Log)



  1. PS says:

    Just another example where taking something literally can mean missing the real meaning. Well, I guess this really shows propaganda or the changing meaning of words. But I’ve been pondering the whole idea of reading the Bible “literally” and missing the true meaning, possibly, because it happens to me in other contexts.


  2. Trying again: The term “Christian” is used in several European political parties and is usually a terrible indicator, too. “People’s Republic” usually means the people have no say so. But, the U.S. has none of those title problems and is fast becoming less democratic, so names aren’t the only problem.


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