Monday, March 19, 2012

American political labels

This was based on a comment I made here.

American political labels are so amusing. 'Liberal' means politically cross-dressing social democrat. 'Conservative' usually incorporates large slabs of classical liberalism. 'Libertarian' means classical liberal with the complexity button turned off. While being Republican or Democrat means you get to accuse your opponents of "not getting" the American Revolution, and both be correct.

Meanwhile, 'right wing' and 'left wing' mean less and less the further we get away from the cycle of politics originating in the French Revolution (which was always problematic in transferring to the Anglosphere anyway). After all, Edmund Burke was a liberal (a very prudential liberal, but a liberal nonetheless; he was a Whig, not a Tory, and he and Adam Smith basically agreed on matters economic: so if Smith was a liberal, so was Burke).


  1. "anarcho-capitalist" means "bat shit insane".

    (As with racial name-calling, I invoke the "I can say it, I'm one of them" card. ;-)