The Terminology of Liberty

Language is a messy thing. Labels are a handy shorthand to convey larger concepts, but they can also be highly technical terms that are hard to understand, or worse yet so commonly misunderstood that they have become worthless. Take the term "anarchist," for example:

Anarchyball meme

Do people consider the etymology of the word, where the Greek roots simply mean "no rulers," or do they automatically assume it means "violent shithead" as above? Likewise, "libertarian" is commonly interpreted as "Republican who likes weed" and/or "Democrat who likes guns." Hell, Glenn Beck claims to be a "Libertarian" now!

Various terms such as "Agorist" or "Voluntaryist" have been proposed to point toward the philosophy of market action and voluntary non-coercive association, but these terms are respectively obscure and cumbersome. Meanwhile, the popular derogatory terms like "Statist" carry no weight to those who worship The State.

So what can we do instead? My suggestion is looking to the past. We can resurrect terms that have a clear historical context and re-purpose them for the liberty mission. For example:


Favored by Bill Buppert, this term hearkens back to the antebellum antislavery movement to draw parallels to our modern struggle against oppressive governments in the face of a complacent or complicit public. If we advocate abolition of the State, then the term applies perfectly.


Commonly used in the past during times of war in reference to people who aided enemy forces, or even just accepted trade with both sides in a conflict equally, this term is ideal for those who festoon their cars with blue line stickers and display yard signs supporting warmongering politicians. Supporting the enemies of liberty is reprehensible.


Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis and led the puppet regime of Norway during World War 2. His name has become a pejorative for those who personally benefit in wealth and power from supporting an occupying force. It is a collaborator of extreme dishonor, or even a full-blown traitor to the cause. This would apply to those who actively participate in legislative or enforcement programs that violate individual rights despite prior oaths and assurances to the contrary.

My hope is that by using such terms, we can encourage a more concrete understanding of liberty through references to history while we build toward a better tomorrow. If you have better ideas, please comment below!

Author's note: This is a re-post of an article from my Steemit account. I apologize if my Russian tags are in error, since I am relying on Google to translate.

Comments 0

Your russian tags are good, and the article as well! (laughed sometimes)))

20.04.2017 05:29