If you see your friend destroying himself with alcohol, and you tell him to stop, doesn’t that make you an “alcoholicphobe”?


  1. Gene, I think the meaning of phobia has just changed in the context of homophobia and Islamophobia and the like. Here’s what I said in response to an earlier blog post of yours:

    “Gene, this is what I think happened. Regardless of the actual origin of the term, people started viewing the term homophobia as analogous to the term xenophobia. Xenophobia too no doubt originated as a term for an actual phobia like acrophobia, but it acquired the meaning of "bigotry against foreigners". Similarly people think of homophobia as bigotry against gays, not as some psychological condition.

    That is what is going on with the coining of terms like transphobia and Islamophobia, they're all being coined in analogy with xenophobia, not in analogy with claustrophobia. If today people had to make up terms from scratch for what they actually want to describe, they'd probably make terms analogous to the word "racism", like maybe "homism" or "heteroism" or "orientationism".”

    1. Yes, Keshav, I understand what has gone on here, which is as you say it is. But I still think that process you describe is objectionable!


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