A Definition I Despise

Email Print

Beltway types like to define libertarianism as “fiscally conservative and socially tolerant.” Notice that the state is not mentioned, through the only question worth paying attention to in politics is when is the state allowed to initiate violence or the threat of violence. I’d say never, of course, while others have a different answer. But the entire topic is ignored. And what is fiscal conservatism? The big-spending Reagan? There is no way to tell what this phrase means. As to social tolerance, it has nothing to do with libertarianism, which is a political phiilosophy. Socially tolerant people, and the socially intolerant, can defend liberty. Neither side need call in the police, though I’ve noticed that the tolerant often want the intolerant arrested.

One good definition of libertarianism is offered by Ron Paul: opposition to state intervention in our private lives, in the economy, and in other countries.

UPDATE from Dan Glovak:

Honest words are tools of knowledge AND communication. This is why honest definitions require crucial discrimination if recognition of reality — a.k.a. true knowledge — is one’s goal. We are free to call things whatever we wish, but let’s be careful and honest to define our terms.

Thank you Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul for your good work to discriminate crucial differences and disseminate knowledge essential to the definition of liberty.

5:03 pm on October 24, 2013