One of the great changes over my lifetime has been the spread of politics into every corner of life. It is not so much a spread of party politics as a universal intrusion by the mores of the state. Which on the whole are a weird mix of fanatical social control and the erratic outpourings of middle class guilt trips. Are they also pulling up the ladder after a few decades of toying with meritocracy? I think they are.
The trend also seems to be related to centralisation which all mainstream political parties tend to promote whatever their supposed political philosophy. In turn centralisation seems to suppress that vital spark of serendipity which stirs the soul, expands our horizons and makes us human. Even worse than centralisation is the response to dissent where any opposition is claimed to be the spawn of some evil phobia.
In the end one has to rely of personal observations, however unsatisfactory and limited they may be. For example, as far as I recall I have never met anyone suffering from xenophobia.
Dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries: racism and xenophobia are steadily growing in Europe
So xenophobia is not a phobia at all. Which we knew anyway.
An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something:she suffered from a phobia about birds
In my experience people in the UK generally do not dislike and are not prejudiced against people from other countries although immigration policies and the excesses of radical Islam have strained our tolerance. If anything, people with UK roots seem to be more tolerant than the global norm. Any prejudice I see tends to be more cultural preference than prejudice. There is a difference.
The most overtly racist guy I ever met was a very personable young chap whose parents had come to the UK from India some decades ago. He had a high caste background and was obsessed with skin colour. Wheat-coloured was his ideal for some reason. There was no malice in him, he just had his cultural preferences and was not reticent about them.
The pointing finger of xenophobia appears to be directed at the western world, and its industrial and cultural successes, its comparative tolerance, its ability to make democracy work and its ability to find a place for religion without that place being politically or culturally dominant.
The main threat to all those achievements seems to be the unending drive towards total government we have endured for over a century now. That in turn seems to be tangled up with a guilt-fuelled collapse towards the global mean, a chaotic dog eat dog state where a degree of cringing security is only to be found under the wing of various thuggish elites.
The global mean is obviously not something we should aspire to here in the developed world. Expressing a cultural preference to this effect plus a perfectly natural desire to keep what we have and what we value – that is not a phobia.