Columnists, Mike Rosen, National, Politics, Uncategorized

Rosen: The political weaponization of phobias

The clinical definition of “phobia” is a psychiatric disorder related to “an irrational, excessive, and persistent fear of some particular thing or situation.”  Examples are Acrophobia: a fear of heights, Claustrophobia: fear of confined spaces, Octophobia: fear of the figure 8, Cyberphobia: fear of computers, Ablutophobia: fear of bathing, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: fear of long words, and Phobophobia: fear of phobias. (I’m not making this up.)

A second definition is a fear or hatred of someone or something, that may not be a psychosis. It’s used as a suffix, “phobe.”  A Francophobe is one who fears or hates France or its people.  (A Francophile loves France or the French.)

The key points here are “irrational,” “fear,” and “hatred.”  You can dislike or disapprove of someone or something but not irrationally or hatefully.  Although fear can also be rational and justified, as can hatred.  This column isn’t just about semantics (the meaning of language), it’s mostly about the shrewd and manipulative use of contrived phobias as a tool of political propaganda.

First, some history.  In 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, triggered the Stonewall Riot, a protest that fired up the modern gay rights movement.  Our culture has come a long way since then.  For the most part, but not universally, it accepts and respects gays, along with same-sex marriage.  But that’s not my issue here. I’m just analyzing political tactics.  Stonewall is where I mark the start of the political weaponizing of the words “phobia” and “phobe” by the gay rights movement, later adopted by activists in other political movements.

In the 1950s, the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality as a mental disorder.  Undoubtedly there were many who hated gays and could accurately be described as homophobes. But there were also many who simply disapproved of homosexuality for deeply held moral and religious beliefs while not fearing or hating gays.  Nonetheless, gay activists lumped together everyone who opposed their cause by equating devout disapproval with irrational hate and fear.  Then they unfairly branded all of them as homophobes, afflicted with homophobia in the sense of a psychosis.  This was semantic malpractice, to be sure, but very effective politics, especially when aided and abetted by liberal media “journalists” who enthusiastically adopted that language and still do to this day for other causes they favor. Now that LGBs —less so for the more recent alphabetical additions— are part of the respectable establishment, clinical homophobia accurately applies to far fewer.

Another example is the contrived term “Islamophobia.” There’s nothing irrational about fearing or hating the terrorism of Islamist fanatics like Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and others of their ilk.  It’s certainly not an imaginary, phobic fear.  Their barbaric acts are all too real and often.  All believers in Islam are not fanatical Islamists who pledge that the world’s more than 7 billion non-Islamists must be subjugated or slaughtered.  Many Muslims oppose the abuse of women under Sharia Law. It would be irrational, as well as suicidal, if the rest of us of us weren’t Islamistphobes.

But the top prize for contrived phobias goes to the most recent scam: Transphobia.  Better described as absurdity along with the whole notion of transsexualism.  Fortunately, I’m not an employee of some politically-correct corporation or a student who’s compelled to accept this nonsense and memorize a glossary of a hundred made-up pronouns by which individual trans people demand to be referred.  And grammatically, I could never say something like, “Who do they think they is?”

I just don’t buy it.  Males have a penis; Females have a uterus.  Biology and anatomy trump everything.  You may desire to change your birth gender, but you can’t.  And gender isn’t “non-binary” or “fluid” to be changed at whim by your mood of the day.  Even with surgery, a male can’t birth a baby.

Gender dysphoria is a psychosis that comes from your brain, which often thinks of strange things — like some of your dreams. You argue in your brain when making decisions. Even if you convince your brain you’re a woman, you’ll still be a man and a part of your brain will always know that. So, compromise and wear women’s clothing or watch Oprah and The View.  That’s fine with me.  But don’t exploit your physiological advantage to invade girls sports.  I don’t hate or fear you, so I’m not a Transphobe.  My rejection of your delusion isn’t irrational, so I don’t have Transphobia. And I’m not sorry if my opinion offends you.

Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for


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