If You are a Conservative, Don't Talk Like a 'Liberal'

He who controls the terms of the debate controls the debate

I've made this point before but it bears repeating. We conservatives should never acquiesce in the Left's acts of linguistic vandalism. Battles in the culture war are often lost and won on linguistic  ground. So we ought to resolutely oppose the Left's attempts at linguistic corruption.

Take 'homophobia.'

A phobia is a fear, but not every fear is a phobia. A phobia is an  irrational fear. One who argues against the morality of homosexual practices, or gives reasons for opposing same-sex marriage is precisely presenting arguments, and not expressing any phobia. The arguments  may or may not be cogent. But they are expressive of reason, and are intended to appeal to the reason of one's interlocutor. To dismiss them as an expression of a phobia shows a lack of respect for reason and for the persons who proffer the arguments.

There are former meat-eaters who can make an impressive case against the eating of meat. Suppose that, instead of addressing their arguments, one denounces them as 'carniphobes.' Can you see what is wrong with that? These people have a reasoned position. Their reasoning may be more or less cogent, their premises more or less disputable. But the one thing they are not doing is expressing an irrational fear of eating meat. Many of them like the stuff and dead meat inspires no fear in them whatsoever.

The point should be obvious: 'homophobia' is just as objectionable as 'carniphobia.' People who use words like these are attempting to close off debate, to bury a legitimate issue beneath a load of politically correct jargon. So it is not just that 'homophobe' and 'homophobia' are question-begging epithets; they are question-burying epithets.

And of course 'Islamophobia'  and cognates are other prime examples.  Once again, a phobia is an irrational fear.  But fear of radical Islam is not at all irrational.  You are a dolt if us use these terms, and a double dolt if you are a conservative.

Language matters.