I believe the term is phobophobia
It seems at every turn if you disagree with the Statist on a given topic, they will reactively accuse you of being afraid of something. When I say Statist, this is no longer a left or right, liberal or conservative issue but rather people who would like to control all aspects of society centrally versus someone who is all right with people making up their own minds. But the Statist can’t have you disagree with them, whatever the merits of your disagreement. Thus, in line with the constant calls for men to “man up” they’ve resorted to accusing people of cowardice.
The problem therein is that there is a major difference between fear and cowardice even if they were correct about the disagreement originating from fear. For example, my natural instinct is to fear the bite of the black widow spiders living in my shed. But do not cowardly run away when I see them. Instead, I attempt to eliminate the threat. Common sense and instinctual fear aren’t the same thing as being a great big fraidy cat. Unknown dogs and snakes I can’t immediately recognize also put my mind into a state of, “hey, this could be dangerous, let’s avoid it.”
Fear is a gift, and there is even a book entitled The Gift of Fear, In this book the author covers situations where a person may have been afraid but did not act on it or recognize the real threat they faced. The goal is to help people avoid violence by recognizing threats better.
Some of the things that people are often accused of being afraid of are farcical on their surface.
Homophobe! Transphobe!Typically, if you so much as disagree with a position regarding homosexuality you are labelled a homophobe regardless of the facts of the matter. If, to you, the term marriage has a particular meaning and you disagree with changing that then you are homophobic and you must be shunned. Personally, I don’t actually care about gay marriage but I do not believe people who disagree with it should be forced to take part in it. This is just my general belief in free association.
Lately, the topic of transphobia has been covered near to death in many arenas. Some of the reasons the term has been hurled out have been absolutely ridiculous. If you don’t believe that men who say they think they are women should be allowed to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms then you are somehow transphobic — even though this person is not yet trans. An unaltered man who wears women’s clothes is a drag queen, not a transvestite. Words have meaning and when we devalue the words we devalue the cause.
Realistically, no one is actually afraid of gay people or trans-gender people. Maybe a few edge cases. Disagreement is not fear.
You are afraid of widows and orphans! Islamophobe!
This is a paraphrase of something our president said, a guffawing snark about people opposed to Syrian refugees being settled in our borders. The irony is that within a few days of him saying this, if not the next day, one of the Paris attackers turned out to be a woman. Feminists didn’t recognize the extreme misogyny in Obama claiming women can’t be just as capable as men. Then, just a few days ago, a husband and wife team (and possibly a third terrorist) committed one of the most deadly terrorist attacks on American soil in over a decade.
It is not a cowardly fear of Islamic jihad but rather an instinctual fear of people who are dedicated to our deaths. When polls of Muslims in the United States show that a large percent of them support Sharia law we have a problem. We can never allow Sharia law to come to the United States, and you would think organizations like GLAAD and NOW would be in a state of political rebellion over the way Islam views women and non-heterosexual people.
If you have nothing to hide, what are you afraid of?
This is the canard most frequently used by both the left and right wings in politics when they want to defend the government violating our rights as Americans by snooping. Well, how about this: there are estimates that the average person might commit as many as three felonies a day, the government can’t even count all the things that are felonies, and it’s also none of your damn business what sort of kinky stuff I’m saying to my wife in texts or e-mails.
Reports have mentioned that government contractors are looking at private photographs shared between adults without a warrant or any reasonable suspicion. At what point is that helping us with terrorism or anything else? That doesn’t even matter in the end because we have a right to be secure in our papers, and e-mail and other electronic communications are the 21st century “papers.” Get a warrant. But, but, but, the emergency!
Listen, selective enforcement of laws is tyranny. Once we start allowing the government to pick and choose when to enforce the law we’ve given it the greatest possible weapon against freedom and fairness. You can’t enforce fairness on life as a whole but the government has to treat all citizens fairly. Period, the end. Systematic bias of any sort in the government is the greatest threat to liberty there is. Bigots on the internet are an annoyance but the government can imprison you.
Maybe it is fear. It’s fear of tyranny. But wanting to avoid a tyrannical state isn’t cowardice and taking a stand regarding it is certainly not cowardice. Raising your profile when arguing about government power subjects you to the possibility — however small — of redirecting more focus onto yourself from said government. This is the government that has issued warnings about folks who like the Gadsden flag. A version of the Gadsden flag was the first Navy Jack for crying out loud. Suddenly patriotism is viewed as dangerous dissent.
Maybe the government is the coward.
You scaredy cat, why do you need guns? To make up for a small penis?
A common trope, but I still think the latter comment is a plot to annoy gun owners until we start furnishing pictorial proof of our penile prowess. Need has nothing to do with guns anymore than need has anything to do with free speech or not being forced to house a soldier in your house. Of course there is the tragic irony in the person stating this being afraid of guns to begin with.
Guns have many uses like any versatile tool. But, I’ve never threatened or shot anyone with a gun, I’ve never even brandished it. I’ve been threatened by an actually dangerous person, and I’ve known two people who were shot by criminals with guns. My gun is like a pocket knife, or my spare tire, or my pocket flashlight. I’ve never been driving my car and thought, “Damn, I wish I didn’t have this spare tire in the trunk! Why am I so afraid of getting a flat tire?”
Because flat tires happen so I am prepared. Fires happen so we have fire extinguishers. Sometimes we find ourselves in the dark and need a light. Unfortunately, some times people find themselves in a situation where they must defend themselves with deadly force — and it happens more than the media will report — and they need some force equalizer because the other person got the drop on them, or is stronger, or there are a lot of them.
Preparedness isn’t fear.
You’re just afraid of a Strong/Educated Woman!This is the least often said politically but one of the most aggravating when I see it. Since I don’t tend to argue about male/female issues I don’t see it as often as some of my contemporaries who wade into that battle. But I do occasionally come across it. And… just no.
When I write female characters, I do not write stupid shrinking violets. Well, there was the one but her cowardice was essential to her transformation into a total psychopath. I’ve written far more cowardly men. I typically write strong, intelligent female characters because that’s what I like. I married a strong, intelligent women because I enjoy having that as a partner in life. I do not want a weak idiot that depends on me and drags me down all the time. No, thank you.
But what my wife and my characters aren’t? Bitches.
Just because someone has some paper saying they went to school doesn’t make them intelligent or smarter than someone who doesn’t have that paper. You can have a PhD in a subject that requires little actual critical thinking skills or useful intellect. But you can also be a plumber who is damn smart and only has his plumbing license (I am not a plumber and do not know the proper term, if this is wrong correct me).
Just because someone is forceful and bossy doesn’t make them strong. This applies to men as well. Men get called insecure often if they are trying to fake it, and men don’t like weak men. That is why so many of our man to man insults question strength and manliness.
Also, to be brutally honest, why would anyone be afraid of a fat chick with a gender studies PhD?
In reality, all of these fear accusations are a projection onto the person being accused in the original situation. The people accusing men of being afraid of women who also happen to be mean credentialists are actually afraid that people aren’t going to take them seriously. When you build your life, your identity, around a piece of paper that says you learned something, then you become a bit sensitive about it. When your cause is who you are, then you are forever afraid of people opposed to your cause having any sort of say — even in the form of free speech.
None of my causes, nor any causes I oppose, define me. I also don’t subscribe to this special snowflake idea that somehow my opinion is the most important thing in the world and anyone who disagrees with it is personally attacking me and must somehow have something wrong with them. Sure, on occasion I might suggest that a person is absolutely crazy — typically people so far on the fringe that the light takes some noticeable time to get here from there — and if you don’t eventually learn some basic truths then I’ll call you an idiot.
But I’m not afraid of you, or your cause. That’s stupid and dishonest at best, and down right manipulative at worst. It’s the mark of the immature to not recognize that tastes and opinions differ and this is no slight to you. Who tends to be the most afraid? The immature.
Grow up and quit projecting.