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VIEWPOINT Grasping the Fear: How Xenophobia Intersects with Climatephobia and Robotphobia and how their Co-production Creates Feelings of Abandonment, Self-pity and Destruction

Karsten Paerregaard

Abstract

The aim of this article is to discuss an issue that has been on my mind for several years: the fear that fuels the rightist populist movements in Europe and America. As we all know, xenophobia is at the heart of the political rhetoric of Lega in Italy, Vox in Spain, Rassemplement National in France, UKIP in UK, Die Freiheitspartei in Austria, Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, Vlaams Belang in Belgium, Partij voor de Vrijheid in Holland, the nationalist parties of Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries, and, of course, the Republican Party led by President Trump in the US. In Europe, anti-Muslim sentiments have become a driver of rightist populism in many countries, and in America, Mexicans and other Latino groups are recurring targets of Trump’s many tweets. But even though I agree that xenophobia is crucial to the surge of populism in the Western world, I believe other equally important sentiments of fear co-produce the image of foreigners as a threat. Two such elements are the threats that a future climate disaster and the introduction of AI (artificial intelligence) represent to our lives and livelihoods.

Keywords

xenophobia; fear; pity; self-destruction

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