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Demons by Definition

Social Idealism, Religious Nationalism, and the Demonizing of Dissent


David K. O'Rourke

From the Albigensian Crusades to the wartime incarceration of the Japanese Americans, O'Rourke describes how idealists use language and metaphor to justify the demonization of groups they have defined into dissent. Among the episodes described are the development of the inquisitorial method in medieval Languedoc, the prosecution of women healers in Puritan Massachusetts, the persecution of the early Mormons, and Himmler's blueprint for an SS-owned feudal state in Eastern Europe.