Oikophobia

No, it’s not an irrational fear of pigs; that would probably be oinkophobia. Oikophobia is the opposite of xenophobia: cultural self-hatred, an aversion to one’s own nation and culture. This meaning was coined by Roger Scruton in his 2004 book England and the Need for Nations. The term has been getting some press lately*, most recently in this Quillette article by philosopher Benedict Beckeld.

Oikophobia describes “…a civilization that has stopped believing in itself, that hates itself, and that is therefore unwilling to defend the values of individual freedom, democracy, and scientific and scholarly skepticism that have been handed down to us since antiquity.” Beckeld takes a historical perspective, giving examples of other civilizations that have fallen into oikophobia. He explains that

  1. Oikophobia is a disease of late-stage empires when the citizens, especially the elites, are rich and comfortable.
  2. Once a culture begins down this path it is difficult to reverse and rarely ends well.

The ubiquitous virtue signaling is but one manifestation of oikophobia. Beckeld concludes

Once we realize that oikophobia is a sort of pathology that develops under distinct socio-historical circumstances and does not involve any particularly interesting independent thought, but rather is more of a knee-jerk reaction, we are better equipped to face it in our everyday lives.

Unfortunately, Beckeld fails to make the connection to diversity in the article, though he does make a passing reference to it in the related Quillette interview. This is another example of how diversity is our strength is a dangerous lie.


*This NR piece is the typical Conservative Inc. lukewarm embrace of leftist framing that we’ve come to expect.

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Author: drlorentz

photon whisperer & quantum mechanic

20 thoughts on “Oikophobia”

  1. Oikophobia is when the culture no longer brings home the bacon.

    It is strange that people want to go to these bad places, America and Europe, when the elites tell us how bad they are.

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  2. “This is another example of how diversity is our strength is a dangerous lie.”

    Have to admit this post was spot-on, particularly the quote printed above. A French friend recently asked me a political question and wanted to know “the American viewpoint.”

    Unfortunately, I had to respond: “I don’t have a clue. There is no such thing as an American viewpoint anymore.” He was rather shocked at my words and exclaimed, “What? But I thought everybody voted for Trump!”

    I was so tired and somewhat dejected, I had to change the subject

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  3. EThompson:
    “This is another example of how diversity is our strength is a dangerous lie.”

    Have to admit this post was spot-on, particularly the quote printed above. A French friend recently asked me a political question and wanted to know “the American viewpoint.”

    Unfortunately, I had to respond: “I don’t have a clue. There is no such thing as an American viewpoint anymore.” He was rather shocked at my words and exclaimed, “What? But I thought everybody voted for Trump!”

    I was so tired and somewhat dejected, I had to change the subject

    My similar experience occurred during the Clinton presidency.  I was in England and somebody was jazzing me about Bill’s exploits and I had to let him know that I didn’t consider that Billious represented me.  He was surprised that there was no longer a cohesive populace.

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  4. I have been wondering on the derivation of this word. I think “oikos” is where we get “eco” in “economics”.  It is time to check.

    1econ•o•my \i-ˈkä-nə-mē, ə-, ē-\ noun
    plural -mies [Middle French yconomie, from Medieval Latin oeconomia, from Greek oikonomia, from oikonomos household manager, from oikos house + nemein to manage—more at VICINITY, NIMBLE] 15th century

    Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

    Oikos means house/home so a rough translation of oikophobia would be fear of home. I wonder if this means xenophilia has to be part of it.

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  5. 10 Cents:
    I have been wondering on the derivation of this word. I think “oikos” is where we get “eco” in “economics”.  It is time to check.

    1econ•o•my \i-ˈkä-nə-mē, ə-, ē-\ noun
    plural -mies [Middle French yconomie, from Medieval Latin oeconomia, from Greek oikonomia, from oikonomos household manager, from oikos house + nemein to manage—more at VICINITY, NIMBLE] 15th century

    Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

    Oikos means house/home so a rough translation of oikophobia would be fear of home. I wonder if this means xenophilia has to be part of it.

    It does derive from the same Greek root. Much as the word economics has transcended the narrow association with the home, so has oikophobia. In psychiatry the word refers to an aversion to home. Roger Scruton extended the meaning, as explained in one of the links in the OP.

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  6. Wow!  I’ve been thinking, and trying to write, about this for years.  One of my main feed posts on R> was called Menu Multiculturalism in the Global Village Café. **
    I thought this kinda disparagement of one’s own culture was okay as long as limited to the top fringe: a wealthy, well-educated  leisure class who are, actually, just picking out certain features of exotic cultures  that mirror the most desirable aspects of our own society, and ignoring the brutal, xenophobic remainder.  “Okay”  as long as the society has the ballast of the great mid-lower masses who accept and live by their own culture’s prejudices (yes, that’s what I said, and we can’t negotiate life without ‘em!)
    But if everybody crowds up to the observation deckthe edifice is going to topple over.

    Thanks for this!  I never heard the term Oikophobia!

    **If you want to read this  one, you can find it online if you search the title!

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  7. drlorentz [quoting (or paraphrasing?) Benedict Beckeld:

    2.  Once a culture begins down this path it is difficult to reverse and rarely ends well.

    This is the part where we are already well down the path to the abyss, and as the slope gets more steep we wonder how we are going to veer off this bad course.

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  8. MJBubba:

    drlorentz [quoting (or paraphrasing?) Benedict Beckeld:

    2.  Once a culture begins down this path it is difficult to reverse and rarely ends well.

    This is the part where we are already well down the path to the abyss, and as the slope gets more steep we wonder how we are going to veer off this bad course.

    It’s not a direct quote; I was summarizing one of his points, possibly from the interview rather than the article. The interview (linked in the OP) contains some ideas not explored in the article. Beckeld looks at a number of historical examples of oikophobia in late-stage empires and concludes that there are no significant examples of a society recovers from this. Glubb’s Fate of Empires details the causes and mechanisms of the ultimate decline.

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  9. Part of what did in Rome was global cooling. This led to the movements of peoples nominally called barbarians.

    Empires fell, world wide. It is not all internal.

    Just food for thought.

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  10. Another term for this concept is “ethnomasochism”, which John Derbyshire (in the linked article) traces back as far as 1981 (in a hyphenated form).  Pat Buchanan may have been the first to use it in a book, in his 2011 Suicide of a Superpower.  It has the additional meaning, in addition to fear or dislike of one’s own group, of wishing the group ill and deriving pleasure from its failure.

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  11. John Walker:
    Another term for this concept is “ethnomasochism”, which John Derbyshire (in the linked article) traces back as far as 1981 (in a hyphenated form).  Pat Buchanan may have been the first to use it in a book, in his 2011 Suicide of a Superpower.  It has the additional meaning, in addition to fear or dislike of one’s own group, of wishing the group ill and deriving pleasure from its failure.

    The two terms are closely related but don’t quite have the same meaning. Derb’s term refers to ethnicity rather than national identity. In an ethnostate, there’s no distinction. However, most nations are not.

    Oikophobia refers to the rejection of a nation’s values and an attack on its historical record. Some argue that a nation should be identical to a single ethnic group. This is simply not a realistic view of most nations. Turning most countries into ethnostates would require genocide.

    Ethnomasochism exists in parallel with oikophobia. Members of all ethnic groups join in the hatred of America’s past. It’s not ethnomasochism when Amerindians demonize Columbus or the Pilgrims.

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  12. MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    Are these people ever happy?

    No.

    But they do derive pleasure from their virtue signaling and from coercing their “inferiors” to kowtow to their idols.

    So you’re saying™ they’re happy since they derive pleasure from their behavior. 😉

    Actually, leftists are miserable, perpetually in a state of despair and full of hate for others. It’s all projection all the time. They constantly shriek that their opponents are the haters, racists, authoritarians, and excluders. Misery is punishment for their behavior, though not punishment enough.

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  13. drlorentz:

    MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    Are these people ever happy?

    No.

    But they do derive pleasure from their virtue signaling and from coercing their “inferiors” to kowtow to their idols.

    So you’re saying™ they’re happy since they derive pleasure from their behavior. 😉

    Actually, leftists are miserable, perpetually in a state of despair and full of hate for others. It’s all projection all the time. They constantly shriek that their opponents are the haters, racists, authoritarians, and excluders. Misery is punishment for their behavior, though not punishment enough.

    Yeah, but what about their bad points?

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  14. drlorentz:

    MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    Are these people ever happy?

    No.

    But they do derive pleasure from their virtue signaling and from coercing their “inferiors” to kowtow to their idols.

    So you’re saying™ they’re happy since they derive pleasure from their behavior. 😉

    Actually, leftists are miserable, perpetually in a state of despair and full of hate for others. It’s all projection all the time. They constantly shriek that their opponents are the haters, racists, authoritarians, and excluders. Misery is punishment for their behavior, though not punishment enough.

    I did not say that Leftists are not miserable.   But even miserable people can take pleasure in some simple things.   Leftists take pleasure in provoking others to anger, at sewing division, at corrupting their opponents, or crushing their opponents.   These pleasures are always fleeting, like an addiction that whets the appetite for additional similar pleasures.

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  15. 10 Cents:

    drlorentz:

    MJBubba:

    10 Cents:
    Are these people ever happy?

    No.

    But they do derive pleasure from their virtue signaling and from coercing their “inferiors” to kowtow to their idols.

    So you’re saying™ they’re happy since they derive pleasure from their behavior. 😉

    Actually, leftists are miserable, perpetually in a state of despair and full of hate for others. It’s all projection all the time. They constantly shriek that their opponents are the haters, racists, authoritarians, and excluders. Misery is punishment for their behavior, though not punishment enough.

    Yeah, but what about their bad points?

    Shrieking gives a pleasure.   Anger is enjoyable.

    At least that is how miserable people perceive these activities.   There is an emotional high to be taken from street demonstrations.   You get to imagine that the fellow demonstrators are friends who care about you, though that is not true.   You get to imagine you have moral clarity, though that is not true.   You get to imagine that your cause is just, though that is not true.

    Miserable people take a great mental boost from acting out.   That is what fuels AntiFa, and Occupy, and anti-pipeline demonstrations, and pro-abortion rallies.   It fuels the flash mobs who gather to shout insults and disrupt restaurants in order to chase conservative diners away from their meals.

    Leftism becomes its own pathology.

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