Opponents on the state left and right are constantly reinventing words and political  language to suit their agendas and purposes. I’ve heard our ranks complain about this, but libertarians have got to lean in. This process consumed our very name in the US- we became libertarians because the cloak of liberalism was stolen from us.

What follows is a list of terms and names that must morph to our strategic advantage. Much of our language is still from the Cold War, using the language of the right to oppose the state left. With the rising tide of the state anti-market right, it may be time to flip that script where it is to our advantage. Other parts of our language are much too defensive from the start, immediately putting the ball in our opponent’s court.

By redefining the political language we use, libertarians can win.

Protectionism

This is an awful one. “H*** yeah, I wanna protect America! We gotta protect American jobs and business, what’s wrong with protectionism?” is the thought this evokes, it’s too positive. So now “protectionism” now contrasted against free trade can be any of the following options. possibly interchangeably. Protectionism is not an accusation, these are.

  • deflectionism
  • market denialism
  • power propping
  • domestic monopolism
  • closed market engenderment
  • anti-market endandgerment
  • trade war instigationalism

This are so-so but I’ve decided the following two are the strongest and clearest.

  • trade denialism
  • trade isolationism

Also, use the term “freed trade” not free trade, making it clear that we do not and have not had freedom of trade and need it now. This also steals and flips the pejorative “isolationist” often lobbed at us in talks of foreign policy. This indeed is case where we can see how political language as been effectively used against us. Because nations interconnected by trade are disincentivized from war this new term places that accusation in the camp where it belongs.

By opposing trade denialism and trade isolationism, we advocate and engender awareness of the reality of

  • integrated markets

Public

Bitcoin is public, “public schools” and other “public goods and utilities” are now “State Managed Assets”. Strip away the feel goods and show the brutalist architecture of the words themselves. That’s not a public school your kids attend, they are being processed through a State Managed Education Asset. That sound more haunting and more accurate.  Something more accurately public would be a mass crowd funded education system in which costs are socialized through mass voluntary participation rather than militaristic compulsion. Public parks, state parks, and national parks similarly are not public because the state owns them. They can be pseudo-public when they act as commons spaces, but are not because the state and its agents can remove anyone for any reason and use the land for purposes they choose, and the public is denied access except under limited circumstances. This is a State Managed Asset, a truly public park would be a real restored commons space the likes of which were closed leading up to European industrialization.

Social and socialized

On that note, which I touched on above, we should absolutely advocate for the socialization of costs for things like roads and (our newly redefined) public services, just couple this with voluntary association. We are pro social, we seek the social sphere of society to manage all or most goods. These goods can be socialized through mass crowd funding and charitable donation of time and money. We advocation for the socialization of costs through a robust voluntary infrastructure of civil society

Libertarian

This one can stay but we need to start phasing in a rebranding effort. Libertarians are now also “New Liberals”. Not to be confused with neo-liberalism, which we oppose. Eventually modern liberals, not wanting to be associated with us will call themselves something else and we can drop the “new” and just be liberals again. This also especially effective because conservatives that have started calling themselves libertarian casually will never call themselves anything with the word liberal in it. It’s a boon to inoculate against far right-proto fascists while stealing back our original mantle.

New Deal

Appropriate as much progressive lingo as possible. Libertarians need to package a bunch of freed market reforms in a “New Deal for an Open Society” or “Liberty New Deal”. It may or may not pass into law, but it gives a positive “yes, and” policy proposal so that we are not a just a gang of no. This needs to include criminal justice reform, drug decriminalization, sex work decriminalization, total amnesty for non-violent offenses particularly of drug crimes and whistle blowers, competition in the medical field, radical reform of police, the dismantling of the national security state, total repeal of the Patriot Act, and more. Basically this our big pill prescription for an open society, like the greens have.

Capitalism and Free Markets

It is not original to me, but I am of the school that proposing “freed markets” while also opposing capitalism as most people understand it is a better PR decision than trying to waste effort distinguishing between corporatism and capitalism. Advocating for freed markets and opposing capitalism in the same sentence bamboozles the conditioned mind and in a state of momentary shock leaves listeners open to hypnotic suggestion.

So there you have it, the beginnings of turning existing political language on its head so that ideas, not just words, win in the name of liberty. This is not all inclusive, nor is each new term completely fleshed out. Full essays and treatises my be required for that. But if we change the way we communicate, then we change the game, and when we change the game then we can win.