Semantics and Thick Libertarianism

My recent exchange with Stephan Kinsella (see here, here, and here) got me to thinking about the semantics of thick libertarianism. Specifically, is “libertarianism” the right word for what I am talking about?

I think that political philosophy is broader than just the NAP and homesteading principle and their deductions; to put it into Aristotelian liberal terms, I think that preserving personal and social autonomy are important to political philosophy in addition to political autonomy. Granting that, however, does it make sense to call the whole “libertarianism”? I’m not sure.

Now, I’m not saying that my political philosophy isn’t libertarian; it most certainly is. Nor am I saying that I am not a thick libertarian; I think that various other values/norms are implied and entailed by libertarianism. I am just not sure that it is accurate to call the whole thing “libertarianism”, given that the word has been traditionally been used to refer to a position on the proper use of force. The same thing applies to other concerns as well; I don’t call my whole political philosophy “feminism” or “anti-racism” either, even though it is feminist and anti-racist.

So, what is the proper term? As of now, I am not sure. Geoff Plauche’s term, “Aristotelian liberalism”, is a close fit, but I take a more leftist view of things than he, and I also see my political philosophy as being more of a synthesis of classical liberalism and classical anarchism than purely liberal. No other term really seems to fit, or has already been taken (“autonomism”, for example). Perhaps “eudaimonist anarchist”? It is descriptive, but a little long…


~ by wombatron on 12/03/2009.

2 Responses to “Semantics and Thick Libertarianism”

  1. How about “Wombatron liberalism” or “Wombatronism”? Then you could avoid the confusion, as anyone who disagrees with you on anything simply wouldn’t be a “Wombie.”

  2. Im a brainpolician.

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