More Libertarian Than Thou?

Defining Libertarianism

A libertarian is a person who believes that the role and incidence of aggression are to be minimized — i.e. that the role and incidence of liberty are to be maximized. Everyone is libertarian to the extent that they support decreases in the amount of aggression suffered, whether they realize it or not. Those who worry more about sources of aggression than the aggregate amount of aggression are suboptimally libertarian, regardless of what they may claim.

Measuring Libertarianism

A good way to measure how libertarian you are is by the net incidence of aggression that would likely occur if your policies were adopted. An even better metric would be to differentiate the aforementioned measure over the time variable: the change in the net incidence of aggression that would occur because of the policy changes you advocate.

But these metrics involve empirical judgments about political strategy, which can distract from the fundamental issue of opposition to aggression. A less obviously empirical metric is to say that you are libertarian according to the aggregate amount of force initiation that would be 1) conducted by the political structures you advocate and 2) countenanced by the absence of the political structures you oppose.

Labeling Libertarianism

Radicals describe themselves with terms like

  • pure
  • perfect
  • 100%
  • 100/100
  • orthodox
  • strict
  • plumbline
  • more principled
  • more idealistic
  • more righteous

Moderates describe radicals with terms like

  • absolutist
  • dogmatic
  • militant
  • extremist
  • utopian
  • unrealistic
  • self-righteous
  • exclusivist
  • simplistic
  • chaste
  • celibate
  • devout
  • immaculate
  • white-glove
  • sterile

Radicals have described moderates and their principles as

  • "nerf"
  • "Republican lite",
  • "more-of-the-same"
  • "wishy-washy"
  • "watered down"
  • "Republicanesque"
  • "timid"
  • "debased"
  • "unprincipled"
  • "Clintonian"
  • "mini-me"
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License