What does "prate" mean?

What does "prate" mean?

From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prate:
To talk long and idly : CHATTER

Eno River Sunrise

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Opposition is Not Necessarily Fear, Hate or Racism

There is rampant name-calling and use of ad hominem attacks in today’s polarized political environment. One particular favorite is to accuse one’s opponents of hate, fear or racism, without the need for any evidence of such emotions or actions. I give some example of this behavior below. As far as I can tell, none of the linked articles provides a basis for the name-calling that is used.

Opposition to Gay Marriage Labeled as Homophobia

For example, opponents of gay marriage are routinely accused of homophobia or hatred of gays.  What may be a principled opposition based on social mores or religious beliefs is characterized as being driven by a hatred of gays themselves, or even self-hatred.  Another tack is to portray opposition as being driven by fear of gays.  A quick check of Google turns up some relevant examples:
I personally am torn on the issue of gay marriage, and can see merits on both sides.  However, calling me a hater or homophobe is unlikely to swing me to your side of the argument.

Opposition to Illegal Immigration Labeled as Xenophobia

Another area where this tactic is widely used is on the topic of illegal immigration.  Proponents of stronger enforcement of the border and/or opponents of amnesty are labeled as xenophobes or racists.  Here are some examples I turned up with a quick search:
Usually there is no evidence of xenophobia provided.  In conversations, protestations by the accused of support for legal immigration, even including reform, are ignored.  

Support for Voter ID Laws Labeled as Racist or Jim Crow

The grand-daddy of all ad hominem attacks is to call you opponent a racist.  This has been seen in full force during debates about new voter ID laws.  Google is ready with plenty of examples:

I will have more to say about racism in another blog.  For now, suffice it to say it is still a favorite tactic to use it to beat down opponents and to instill fear about holding positions in opposition to certain groups.

Opposition to Sharia or Radical Islam Labeled as Islamophobia

Another widely used pejorative is Islamophobia.  It is often trotted out to whack opponents during any discussion of radical Islam or Sharia law.  More help from Google:

I am adamantly opposed to Sharia law and radical Islam, based on the facts of their history and their stated goals.  I am afraid of neither, and I am not afraid of Islam.

Please Use Facts and Reason, not Name-Calling

I understand that sometimes there is fear and hate involved in contentious social and political issues.  What I object to is the routine, baseless and self-serving move to belittle one’s opponents through name-calling, ascribing to them a fear, hate or racism that is not necessarily present.


  1. Here is another story that highlights some gratuitous name-calling:

    "The Maligned Tea Party"


  2. Charles Krauthammer has a good column on the attempt to silence debate: " Thought Police on Patrol"


  3. Here is a good article from John Fund on the negative impact of name-calling - on the name-callers.

    "Liberals Are Playing a Losing Game on Race"


  4. A good column on the desire to label opponents of Brexit as xenophobes or haters.

    "Liberal Cosmopolitans Lash Out at the Shattering of Their Worldview"