Some valiantly (but, I’m afraid vainly) try to remind us that a “phobia” is a medical diagnosis with specific signs and symptoms, and that therefore such a technical scientific context rules out its use in political propaganda. Well, in a perfect world, yeah. But the whole problem we face is that public rhetoric (a dignified endeavor as Cicero and Thomas Jefferson knew; indeed the very fact that “rhetoric” has acquired negative connotations in modern times indicates the corrosion) has become hampered by a prevalent neurosis which, for want of a better term, I call PC MC.
And in this corrupted atmosphere, terms like “Islamophobia”—piggybacking (pun intended) on an earlier phase in the advancement of mainstream PC MC when all substantive criticism and most witty satire of homosexuality became nearly verboten with the help of the term “Homophobia”—can be bandied about, can exert cachet, and can influence the public discourse on the problem of Islam by enabling the continued Orwellian tendencies to protect Islam under the guise of respecting “human rights” (the rights, that is, of a strong-arming Minority whose suffering must be cause by our “white Western bigotry”). “Homophobia” was probably the first misuse of the clinical psychological term phobia—at least for the purposes of ideological propaganda.
A much more benign—and cheekier—misuse occurred in 1920, when pioneer jazz saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeff (1893-1940) put out an album punning on the clinical term popularized by Sigmund Freud, “sexophobia”: Saxophobia.