Should libertarians abandon the word capitalism?
Left-statists (Democrats, socialists) abuse the word capitalism to paint a false picture of those who favor freedom. This has led some libertarians to advocate abandoning the word. But left-statists won’t abandon it. They’ll continue using it in a distorted, pejorative way. Forfeiting won’t gain us anything.
Recognizing this, many libertarians have chosen to embrace the word instead. Some use it as a synonym for the free market, while others wear it as a proud label. But we suggest another approach…
- Don’t treat the word capitalism as a synonym for the free market (it isn’t).
- Don’t wear the word as a label (it’s not a very good one).
- Do accept the original left-statist perception that capitalism is about owning the means of production (tools, including factories). Use this meaning of the word to point out that most left-statists are also capitalists.
A left-statist with a savings account owns capital. A left-statist with an investment account is a part owner of the means of production. Most left-statists have both things. This means that most left-statists are capitalists. Pointing this out will turn the word capitalism against them. It will blunt the sting of their pejorative distortions.
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