The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Over the past few weeks, those on the Left who have been staunch defenders of the “ground zero Mosque” have labeled 2/3rds of the American public as “racists,” “bigots,” Neanderthals,” “xenophobes,” or “un-American.” The most common ad hominem attack is the charge of “Islamophobia.”

In a thought-provoking article, James Taranto provides insight into the reasons that underlie the name calling and introduces a new phobia:
The British philosopher Roger Scruton has coined a term to describe this attitude: oikophobia. Xenophobia is fear of the alien; oikophobia is fear of the familiar: "the disposition, in any conflict, to side with 'them' against 'us', and the felt need to denigrate the customs, culture and institutions that are identifiably 'ours.' " [emphasis mine] What a perfect description of the pro-mosque left.

Scruton was writing in 2004, and his focus was on Britain and Europe, not America. But his warning about the danger of oikophobes--whom he amusingly dubs "oiks"--is very pertinent on this side of the Atlantic today, and it illuminates how what are sometimes dismissed as mere matters of "culture" tie in with economic and social policy:
The oik repudiates national loyalties and defines his goals and ideals against the nation, promoting transnational institutions over national governments, accepting and endorsing laws that are imposed on us from on high by the EU or the UN … The oik is, in his own eyes, a defender of enlightened universalism against local chauvinism. And it is the rise of the oik that has led to the growing crisis of legitimacy in the nation states of Europe. For we are seeing a massive expansion of the legislative burden on the people of Europe, and a relentless assault on the only loyalties that would enable them voluntarily to bear it. The explosive effect of this has already been felt in Holland and France. It will be felt soon everywhere, and the result may not be what the oiks expect.

What’s we’re seeing today is an American version of oikophobia, but if the term were applied to those on the Left as regularly as they apply the clearly pejorative terms I mentioned earlier, I suspect they’d be more than a little perturbed.