While the rest of National Review's group blog The Corner is embroiled in civil war following Jim Manzi's takedown
of Mark Levin, the conservative institution also hosted what must
surely be the gentlest and most polite correction today: Jonah Goldberg
deftly setting the record straight on a matter of vocabulary.
Commenting on the Obama administration's tendency to build support for legislation by demonizing big firms, Alan Reynolds managed to confuse his nouns. He writes that the attacks on Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and then Goldman Sachs, are examples of what he terms in the headline of his post "legislation by demonology."
Not quite, says Goldberg. "I take a back seat to no one in my admiration for Alan Reynolds," he begins, "but I will lose my decoder ring if I don't correct him on one thing. Demonization is the tactic of unfairly portraying someone or something as evil. Demonology is the study and categorization of demons."
What would legislation by demonology actually look like? Goldberg takes a stab at it:
if we have to talk about such things it would be more like tax breaks for succubi, zoning regulations for hellmouths, marriage rights for familiars, immigration status of goblins and so forth.