There are so many folks who complain about labels. “I don’t think we should label people” or “I don’t want to be labeled.”
Well, labels are a fact of life, and essential to communication–especially in the interest of brevity. Yes, we should be careful with them, but just because we ought to be careful with something doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it at all.
Sadly, labels often suffer from misapplication, intentional and unintentional distortion, connotations and emotional reactions, and simple linguistic shifts.
For example, the term “Anarchist”–while it simply means “one who is opposed to rulers” (and not, as is often thought, necessarily to rules), often conjures in the minds of the hoi polloi visions of the socialist bomb-throwers of the 19th and very early 20th Centuries; or perhaps visions of the property-destroying socialists at the anti-WTO protests in the late 20th-early 21st Centuries, despite many anarchists being opposed to aggression, and even in favor of property rights.
The same with Capitalist–a term which has probably never actually had an agreed-upon definition, but which is often used as a pejorative.
Free Market Advocate–again, the term has been abused so much, that the associated image is more likely to be that of the chaotic and destructive regulated market which currently exists; or alternatively of the “black” markets which involve much violence due to government interference, rather than the actual peaceful voluntary exchange it actually denotes.
Voluntaryist, or Volunteerist–evokes images of people doing community service in soup kitchens or some such–in this case, not really a bad image, but definitely not one which covers the spectrum of the actual intended meaning.
Also, there is much talk of “taking the word back”–in the sense of folks choosing to make the attempt to revitalize one of the above terms (or any of a number of other ones) and renew it to its former “glory.” Thus far, I haven’t noted much success in this tactic. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
THEREFORE (please note, this is my public announcement voice), I have elected to take on a label for myself, which, while perhaps embodying some of the spirit of the image I want, did not originally mean what I intend it to mean henceforth; and in the spirit of “taking a word back”–although I’m not taking it back, per se, rather merely “taking it”–which I think you will find somewhat appropriate–and, inasmuch as it is not presently in common use anyway, I maintain that under international law of the sea, I may thus claim salvage rights; and I think it does at least somewhat convey the various things which go into my meaning of the term…
I shall henceforth label myself, for purposes of Political and Ideological identification:
Thus, when folks observe that I am in favor of private property rights; do not recognize the authority of governments or of any claim they may make to property; feel perfectly justified in fighting them, tricking them, ignoring them, taking from them, or even in complying with them in the event of convenience or overwhelming force; recognize the value of dealing justly and peacefully with those who do the same with me, but also am quite willing to deal violently with those who initiate aggression; and so many more things which I shall share in the future… I think the label is appropriate.
I shall be issuing myself a Letter of Marque and Reprisal on my own authority in the very near future.