Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

You can split a lot of hairs by saying that 'xenophobia' means 'fear of foreigners' and then saying you don't fear them , you just want them treated differently. The traditional Greek suffixes (-mania, -philia, -phobia) doesn't seem to leave us any alternatives. But there are some. I like 'xenovilic', meaning 'one who vilifies foreigners', for example, by treating them differently. So the Canadian Federation of Students could say that differential fees are 'xenovilic' and avoid the brunt of Alex Usher's argument (which is essentially say "no they're not").

Now it's true that xenovilia is popular worldwide. But should it be? Is there a good rational (morally justified, politically economic, etc) argument to support treating foreigners differently? Usher argues, "services go in priority to people who pay taxes in that jurisdiction." But what about infants and children, and the disabled, and the poor, who pay no taxes? No, the "he who pays" argument doesn't work. Finally, and as an aside, the goal of international trade agreements is to eliminate xenovilia - that is, to ensure foreigners and domestic businesses are treated the same way in each others' countries. They do this very imperfectly, and they do not extend their protections to people, which ultimately is their Achilles heel.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 22, 2023 05:26 a.m.

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