To be stuck in black and white thinking where everything is either-or rather than sliding scales, and where concepts are tyrants of the mind. Mental cages, rather than tools for understanding. Dichotomism includes the use of “false dichotomies”, but also include over-reliance on dichotomies that are not in themselves false. Can be used as a facet or abstraction of categorism. (In Swedish: dikotomism)
This dichotomism is to get one's discourse stuck in black and white “either-or” thinking. Getting stuck in specific dichotomies or in dichotomies as such. Mistaking abstract concepts and categories for being the complex realities they describe. Note that it is only about getting stuck. To use a dichotomy is not inherently dichotomism. It becomes dichotomism when it gets stuck, when it changes from being a tool for understanding into being a prison for the mind – to trap oneself and/or others. Note also that dichotomism is something that people do rather than something people is, and it is something that the same person can do to various extents in different areas or at different times. It can be done more or less innocently, and it can be done more or less on purpose. It can be done to oneself as well as others. Making one's own mind more rigid, or manipulating others into rigid thinking that make them easier to control.
Dichotomism is closely intertwined with totalitarianism. “The Dead Hand of Plato” should be seen in the context of Plato's political philosophy being totalitarian and deeply antidemocratic. In his book “The Tyranny of Concepts: A Critique of Marxism”, Leff argues that the main problem with Marxist thought is that it never analyzes the communist party or the working class. The problem is one of dichotomism: Leff argue that Marxism is all about “The Communist Party” as an idealized abstract concept, and all about “The Working Class” as an idealized abstract concept. In both cases neglecting to analyze the dynamics of the real life communist party and the real life working class, both consisting of human beings who are diverse and flawed just like human beings in general are.
Compare with the neutral concept of dichotomization.