Monday, 1 July 2013

‘Phobic’ Name Calling


Recently I have noticed that the use of the word ‘phobic’ as a suffix seems to be increasing. Every day I see it being attached to a widening range of objects, activities, points of view and specific forms of human behaviour.

According to Wikipedia, “the English suffixes -phobia, -phobic, -phobe occur in technical usage in psychiatry to construct words that describe irrational, disabling fear as a mental disorder e.g. agoraphobia. In common usage they also form words that describe dislike or hatred of a particular thing or subject.”

Used as a suffix, the word ‘phobic’ is being increasingly used by some groups in society to smear those who oppose or dare to ask questions about their view of the world. This is a highly disturbing trend which is stifling the very values of freedom, transparency and tolerance which should be the norm in a 21st century democracy.

I was disturbed to hear that in the wake of the Boston bombings, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the Coalition’s ‘minister for faith’ tell a news conference that the government was now dealing with ‘Islamophobia’ as a priority.

Douglas Murray writing in Standpoint magazine argues that Baroness Warsi needs to refocus attention on the real problem......militant Islamism.

“In the first years after 9/11 there was some success in turning the global spotlight onto what Islamic fundamentalists believed, taught and aimed to achieve. But then, at some point in the last five or more years, that spotlight was turned around.

It was not on the extremists but on the rest of us, Muslim and non-Muslim, that it settled. It became all of us who were the problem, not the crimes of the fundamentalists but our response to them. The primary problem was no longer Islamic fundamentalism but ‘Islamophobia’. This narrative has not only become pervasive in our societies, it has become dominant. It is stopping us from dealing with the most severe challenge to our security. It is time to unfold the lie.”

The ‘PC brigade’ will doubtless label Douglas Murray as an ‘Islamophobe’ for simply raising such a serious issue.

In the same way, Christians and others who have stepped up to the mark in order to defend the concept of marriage between a man and a woman, have been labelled as ‘homophobic’ by the promoters of same sex marriage. Again the tactic is to use the word to smear. The unwritten narrative of these ‘name-callers’ is that those who are homophobic are extreme, intolerant and out of touch with modern society.

I have sometimes thought that I should join in and start to label people such as Baroness Warsi, Peter Tatchell, and Richard Dawkins as ‘Christophobic’, but then again, I’m a civilised, tolerant, grown up Christian and I don’t do name calling.   
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