Suppose you decided that the word "libertarianism" doesn't work for the free market, classical liberal movement in this country. You like all the ideas and all, but the word is too unwieldy or has too many negative connotations to be useful to promoting those ideas. You want to rename libertarianism with an equally "big tent" word or term. So, what would you use instead?After today, one term could be OMG-ism, every-man-jack-of-us-tarred-with-a-broad-brush-ism, or perhaps may-as-well-give-up-ism. But I'll neatly sidestep such in-fighting, as is my (even if I say so myself) laissez-faire wont.
Of course, the natural term for libertarian thought used to be 'liberal' until some deeply anti-liberal types - who are historically accustomed to stealing things from others - decided they quite liked the positive connotations of the word, and shamelessly pinched it.
So I quite liked the suggestion from Jock Coats - a true liberal/libertarian who writes far too infrequently - of nicking something by way of retaliation.
Socialism. Because "socialism" is what we do, voluntarily and co-operatively, when there isn't a state to coerce us. We as-sociate freely to meet our ends. The state is the enemy of social power. Or as David Boaz says:Yeah, I really like that.
"The right term for the advocates of civil society and free markets is arguably socialist. Thomas Paine distinguished between society and government, and the libertarian writer Albert Jay Nock summed up all the things that people do voluntarily--for love or charity or profit--as "social power," which is always being threatened by the encroachment of State power. So we might say that those who advocate social power are socialists, while those who support State power are statists. But alas, the word socialist, like the word liberal, has been claimed by those who advocate neither civil society nor liberty."
Unfortunately, it won't catch on. Not only have lefties convinced the public that it is only they who are able to protect the poor and disadvantaged - even though their policies routinely and spectacularly punish the less well off - they are also brilliant grifters. Able to con people into their 'liberal' and selfless nature, before the upper echelons get the foreman's job and the accompanying cash.
With such smoke and mirrors being employed, most seem unable to recognise that it is free markets (and yes, privatisation) which mean they can now buy any phone they like - including ones from Argos for less than a fiver - whereas the lefty-approved alternative was a choice of white or black fitted a month later once the GPO union had decided which worker was allowed to do the job. Or why they now have cheap tellies in every room, toasters for buttons and not just as wedding presents, clothes which don't need to be hand-me-down, and shoes which cost the same as 30 years ago. Whilst state-led institutions have given us passport fees, road tax, and local authority charges which increase far in excess of inflation. Year, upon year, upon, err, year.
So do go and try your hand at renaming libertarianism. There is a shiny prize on offer; it doesn't cost anything per minute; and you don't need to watch an hour of people you've vaguely heard of dancing before casting your vote.
If you write a blog, you may fancy getting your inadequate, pimpled, single backside up to London one week's hence, too, for the annual ASI bash.
Bring some cash though, last year's discussion got me very thirsty.