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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Will the real Liberals please stand up?

Something has been bothering me for a while now and I regret to have to say that the source of my concern emanates from across the pond. Wonder what it is? Well, it’s the use of the word ‘Liberal’ when referring to someone of the leftist persuasion which is nothing less than a complete inversion of the term.

It gives me pleasure, therefore, to link to a campaign being undertaken by Bureaucrash, a group of seriously well dug-in and commited US student capitalist activists (and it feels so good to be able to type those words in earnest).

“Here in the birthplace of modern freedom, liberalism has come to identify a view that favors the use of force — force exercised by the bureaucratic state — to achieve supposedly noble ideals.”

I could not have put it better. Just what happened to the word? From 18th Century up until around the 1960’s ‘Libertarianism’ in this country was called ‘Liberalism’. It denoted support for free trade, limited government, low taxes and property rights. But these trends being what they are, Britain has been influenced by the US terminology and now the word denotes, regulation, nanny state, high taxes and hate speech laws. The latter is not ‘liberalism’ it is ‘socialism’. The very word ‘Libertarian’ was conceived as a means of distinguishing us from them.

You can test this theory if you ever go to Continental Europe where the term ‘Liberal’ has retained its original meaning. Just go up to any European socialist and tell him/her that you are a ‘liberal’. Note how their faces swifty transform from the customary rictus of hate to a rictus of seething hate shot through with horror.

I don’t know if was an underhand tactic by the left, a cruel happenstance of fate or mere sloppiness that allowed our political foes in the Anglosphere to grab our cloak and wrap it around their own bodies but it is way past time that we grabbed it back.

So I support the Bureaucrash campaign and, whilst I know it will stick in many a craw, I invoke all my fellow Capitalists, Libertarians and, yes, even you Conservatives to join in and declare; “Say it once, say it loud, I’m a Liberal and I’m proud!!”

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