Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another reason I dislike labels

Another reason I dislike labels is that they by their nature generalize. You hear someone is a 'conservative' and then think you know all of their positions on various issues. I'd rather just list what I believe and leave the focus on the particulars instead of having a label that has just about a 100% chance of convincing someone that I hold a position I do not hold.

If I say I'm a libertarian, someone will think I want to abolish government and have corporate rule.

If I say I'm a liberal someone will think I want a nanny-welfare state where the rich are taxed at 90%.

If I say I'm a conservative, someone will think I'm pro-life, I want to ban gay marriage, and I am for the Iraq war.

So no matter what label I use, I'll end up having to explain how in the details, so much of what I think does not match what the label generally indicates to people when they hear it.

I'd rather just avoid all of that and just say what I believe and focus on that, rather than on what label is appropriate. I know I have self-labeled myself libertarian-leaning, in an effort to partially describe myself in shorthand while also showing that I don't fully subscribe to big-L libertarianism. Perhaps I should eliminate that as well and simply say that I favor checks and balances on power, no matter where it is, and leave the details to my other postings within the blog. But then I lose the 'libertarian-leaning lawyer' alliteration...

In any case, in my next post, I'm going to list out every position I have that I can think of, without labels.

3 comments:

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The Barefoot Bum said...

I'm going to list out every position I have that I can think of, without labels.

I call bullshit, dude. You're just moving the labels and generalizations to the positions. To avoid labels and generalizations in just a social sense, you're going to have to consider each individual case on nothing but it's own intrinsic merits.

In the semantic case, you're even more screwed, because you're going to have to do at the very least without general words such as "chair", or "sit" or "blue".

In the philosophical sense, to do without labels and generalizations, you're just going to have to work out everything from first principles of Quantum Mechanics and express everything in wave mechanics.

DBB said...

Perhaps I am not being clear - I mean I'm going to list my positions on issues without trying to label what they are individually or what they add up to.

To use an example, I'm not going to say I'm a conservative or a liberal or a libertarian or a classical liberal or a neocon or any of that crap. I'm going to say, for instance, that I don't think the government should dictate to a woman and her doctor if she should get an abortion or not, that I favor protecting the individual's right to own guns, and so on. Those are positions, not labels.