A word on labels

I have used the label 'libertarian' so far in indentifying my political philosophy. I only do so with much hesitation. As Steven Den Beste wrote a couple of weeks ago, the left-right axis as normally portrayed on television and in popular culture is too limited to be of much use. In fact, it is patently ridiculous to try to model political affiliation on a one-dimensional axis.

Further, labels lose their meaning over time. The word 'liberal' means something very different from what it meant a hundred years ago, and what it means outside the US today. In a prior time, I would have been proud to call myself a liberal. My fellow Catallarchist Brian is determined to take the word liberal back to its original meaning.

I only use the term 'libertarian' because it currently describes me better than any other label. I believe in the sovereignty of the individual, voluntary relations among individuals, the existence of natural rights, the dynamism of civil society, and the benefits of free exchange. I detest cultural and moral relativism, and eschew coercion as a means to achieve ends. Further, I embrace Western culture and the ideas of the Enlightenment. The word that comes closest to describing me is 'libertarian'. However, I often disagree with many people who wear that same label, and shy away from 'purity tests'.

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