The modern Left loves its –isms and relies on its -phobias. In the UK, it has tarred Leave voters with xenophobia. In the US, it has paired Republicans with racism, homophobia, and Islamophobia.
This labeling is inimical to argument. When The Independent writes that Leave voters are xenophobic, it declares that they lack a coherent, rational position—that they are motivated instead by an irrational hatred of immigrants. If this is true, The Independent needn’t argue with Leavers; they are irrational and can never be persuaded. So goes Brexit.
There is certainly a place for –isms and –phobias; it would be hard to explain the slave trade or the Holocaust without them. But over-reliance is dishonest, counterproductive, and self-contradictory. Worst of all, it produces a poor civic culture. If our society trades rational argument for name-calling, we lose the ability to debate, cooperate, and compromise.
Happily, over-reliance is concentrated in a small portion of the American public. Whereas the Left abuses –isms and –phobias, conservatives and center-left liberals remain open to substantive debate. But this could soon change. If the Right and center embrace name-calling politics, they might employ the following, quite insufferable terms:
Demophobia is the irrational fear of democracy. It inclines liberals and progressives to circumvent democratic government whenever possible. Executive orders and expansive bureaucracies are evidence of demophobia. Demophobes have a particular fear of referendums, which is why they loathe David Cameron.
Nomophobia is the irrational fear of laws or legal accountability. It inclines Democratic politicians to seek exemptions from generally applicable rules and regulations. Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is a nomophobe.
Liberphobia is the irrational fear of liberty. Closely associated with demophobia, it afflicts many federal and state regulators. Even wonder why Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban your XXL Diet Pepsi? It’s because he hates your freedom.
Debtism is discrimination based on a city, state, or country’s sovereign debt. Concern for the United States national debt ($17.8 trillion) is a prime example of debtism. Also, if pushing Detroit into bankruptcy wasn’t racist, it was certainly debtist.
Hairism is judging a book by its hairstyle. A prominent victim is Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, who once proclaimed, “No animals have been harmed in the creation of my hairstyle.” Maybe so, but it’s still rude to ask.
Who knows? Perhaps this is the future of politics. Perhaps the only way to win elections is with bullying, shaming, and a Latin suffix. But if that is politics, I want out.