A new term for liberalism—and a new way to put liberals on the spot
Let me suggest a new word that could flow from conservatives’ lips and perhaps reverse the tide of the all important “no discrimination” rule.
The word: Auschwitzphobia.
To illustrate its use, here is a scene from a family gathering or cocktail party:
Man #1: Isn’t it terrible how those intolerant rightists want to stop the building of that mosque?
Extend this to millions of small conversations. Then, imagine that this terminology is used by talk show hosts, newsmen, and interviewees. Pretty soon, it becomes part of the language. Before you know it, we’re actually having rational discussions. Sort of like VFR becoming mainstream. We’re on our way to a sane civilization once again.
Man #2: But aren’t sharia law and Islam incompatible with Western societies?
Man #1: Oh, so you too discriminate between different peoples. You sir, are part of the problem that prevents world unity and peace.
Man #2: Yes, I DO discriminate. You don’t, because you, sir, are an Auschwitzphobian.
Man #1: What in heavens name are you babbling about? What’s Auschwitzphobia?
Man #2: It’s really quite simple. Auschwitzphobians are people who can not discuss or even think about today’s complex issues in a rational way, because they have been so traumatized by the media and so called education, that they equate any hint of discriminatory thinking with the horror of the worst sin imaginable. You are paralyzed by your fear of being part of another Holocaust. You may not be aware of this because it seems so far fetched, but, what makes you shut down mentally, the moment you think you’re on any topic that doesn’t take for granted the automatic sameness of all humans? What makes you react to me as if I was the incarnation of the devil? It’s your Auschwitzphobia!
Useful? Idiotic? Needs refinement?
I think it’s perfect. It’s perfect because it’s true.
The modern liberal belief that intolerance is the worst evil , that all discrimination must be eliminated, began in the aftermath of World War II, when the Nazi genocide of European Jewry began to be described as “intolerance” and “discrimination.” Since intolerance and indiscrimination were now equated with the most monstrous evil known to history, intolerance and discrimination must be totally eliminated. But since certain forms of intolerance and discrimination happen to be fundamental to the existence of any institution, any society, any culture, the West’s adoption of the anti-discrimination principle, the principle that all discrimination must be eliminated, meant that the West had adopted a principle which, if applied consistently to any institution, society, or culture, would make the existence of that institution, society, or culture impossible. The suicide of the West thus began with the post World War II birth of Auschwitzphobia.
The idea here is initially appealing, but the term Auschwitzphobia doesn’t really work. We have seen the politically tendentious use of the neologism “homophobia” to suggest that anyone objecting to some portion of the gay liberation agenda is suffering from clinical disorder. The parallel here would be that anyone objecting to Auschwitz is disordered. The next thing you know, you will be accused of saying that people shouldn’t be upset over Auschwitz.
People who use the Holocaust to push ideas of non-discrimination and human sameness to an absurd extent may be better described as obsessive than phobic. Yet no simple label to describe this condition comes to mind. How about “holocaust obsessives?” Perhaps it would be better for us not to join propagandists of the left in trying to characterize difference of opinion as clinically disordered.
Liberals have a tendency to push all their principles to such extremes that they turn into their opposites, as Leszek Kolakowski noted in a famous essay. One cannot obliterate human difference without resort to methods of state interference which result in sharp inequalities. We can simply say that the Holocaust is no justification for pushing the idea of non-discrimination and human sameness to the extreme of ignoring real difference that will never be eliminated from the human condition.
You are making good points, and further thought on this is needed.
Irv P. replies to Thucydides:
The word “Auschwitzphobia” is not intended as a “clinical” word. I don’t think that liberals who use the word “homophobia” really think that people who object to homosexual marriage, for example, are clinically sick. They are simply trying to pin a label on everyone saying “ooh, ooh, you’re scared, we are not the big bad wolf, get over it ‘fraidy cat.”.. even though there are many good arguments against homosexual marriage. It’s been useful for them to some extent.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 15, 2010 04:31 PM | Send
The term “Auschwitzphobia” IS intended to get people’s attention, so that perhaps the user of this word will have a chance to explain its derivation to a listener, and get the listener to understand that to recognize differences in the human race doesn’t automatically spell genocide. We have to find a way to break down the instant opposition to hearing a message that basically has become outlawed by the thought police. The thought police think they are doing the society a service by preventing what “could” become genocide, namely discriminatory thoughts. What is really happening is the creeping suicide of our culture and way of life because of these do-gooders.
The point is to make them see the suicide we’re committing. Where and when did our upside down world begin? It began when, people all over the world, learning of the horror of the Holocaust, vowed “NEVER AGAIN,” and rightly so, but the method was to equate all forms of discriminatory thinking as the same and as equally dangerous. Anyone who would respond to this by saying that it trivializes the Holocaust would be either missing the point, or an idiot. Likewise you can call it propaganda or whatever you like, but if it succeeds in breaking down the 65 years of brainwashing by the propaganda that has already gone on, then it has high value.
Thucydides’ last sentence in his critique is a wonderful sentence to be used in explaining “Auschwitzphobia” to a newcomer to the terminology. The use of the term simply tries to open the door to get a liberal to hear that last sentence. “The Holocaust is no justification for pushing the idea of non-discrimination and human sameness to the extreme of ignoring real difference that will never be eliminated from the human condition.” That is beautiful! I don’t care how that message gets out, but get out it must. If we can get a majority of people to recognize the truth of that statement, the reversal of our suicide will have begun.