We have a column online entitled “Labels used to shut down debate” that looks at how terms like “racist” and “homophobic” (one might add “sexist”) are used to end debate on contentious issues. Author Pauline Kosalka concludes:
Dismissing different points of view, especially holding “traditional” views, is the easy and cowardly way to avoid engaging in a serious debate about morals and ethics, culture and society. Dropping the “racist,” “anti-Semitic,” and “homophobic” labels are a way to inspire instant revulsion among impressionable members of the public against the principles of a dissenting group. It is not an argument, but a way to shut down discussion.