Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The flexibility of terminology

Claire Wolfe, freedom comrade and author par excellence (RebelFire 1.0, The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook, etc.), posted today her observations about our discussions here and elsewhere on what's Left, what's Right, and where along the line libertarianism falls. She closes with this:
...I'll watch the discussion with interest, wish my fellow "leftists" well, but not worry too much about labels. I have to laugh at the extreme flexibility of political terminology. Because not only does being a "classical liberal" make one a "paleo conservative." It now seems that being a "right-wing anarchist" makes me pretty much automatically a "left libertarian."
You can find Claire's full post here.
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At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wally, like Claire I have been (trying to) follow this left libertarian stuff, but mostly end up scratching my head - Head and Shoulders didn't alleviate the situation, either. But. alas, this morning after reading Claire's blog I figured it out. I can now label myself. I am a classic liberal, paleo-conservative, right-wing anarchist, left libertarian. But one thing has not changed, I ask that you leave me alone and include me out.

At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe one reason Konkin used the term "left libertarian," was to separate out the party libertarians who believed in government (but adding the "limited" to placate libertarians who did not trust government) from the free market anarchist libertarians. Left wing anarchists, that is socialist or communist anarchists, dominate the anarchist historical picture. Free market anarchists draw inspiration from Murray Rothbard (before he flirted with party politics). Rothbard attempted to fuse left and right in an anti-state alliance, but the twain failed to meet.

The "left" has always stood for revolution, and the "right" for reaction. Since conservatives give lip service to the ideas of the free market, laizzez faire economics is linked (often derisively) with the right wing. Labels are fluid, though I believe "right wing anarchism" is a misnomer. A better term might be "free market anarchist." The left=socialist vs. right=capitalist myth implies far right movements are capitalist. Instead, they care as little for the market as the socialists.

Though as now and in the end, I think "left libertarian" will fail to penetrate and change the current views on the political spectrum. Too many libertarians are emtionally connected with the "right" label, and socialists will be loath to give up the anti-market bias of the "left."


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