Forget the Labels and Focus on the Solutions
Are you so hung up on labels like capitalist, communist, socialist, progressive, conservative, libertarian and anarchist that it stops you from finding common cause with other people? Then you’ve fallen victim to ideology.
Has it occurred to you that maybe communists aren’t so scary? That capitalists use that term to mean something other than the state-run capitalism we see today? Have you considered that conservatives and socialists could live together quite contentedly as neighbors and friends, if only they could get past these divisive labels?
What are these labels, anyway? They’re generalizations. Labels are stereotyping. As such, they can, and often do, become a form of collectivization. Collectivization subsumes the differences of individuals into a collective and homogenous stereotype. All socialists want handouts. All capitalists want to exploit me. All communists want to reproduce the Soviet Union. Conservatives are heartless executioners.
The worst part is when ideological adherents take on these stereotypes and attempt to emulate them. This can lead to fundamentalism. What’s a libertarian. Oh, it’s X, Y and Z. Oh ok, that’s who I’ll become then. I’ll study up on the top authors in the field and become as much like them as possible. Because I’m a libertarian and that’s what a libertarian does.
Wrong. You are a human being first and foremost. You have been honed through millions of years of evolution to find common cause with your fellow human beings. To engage in mutual aid. To be compassionate. To help each other. To find solutions without other people’s ideologies getting in your way.
Next time you run into someone who doesn’t share your label, find out what their solutions to any given problem are. If they focus on government solutions, recognize that most people today have been conditioned to ignore most solutions that fall outside the sphere of government action. Give that person time to overcome this. Don’t rush into judgment. And you may be surprised at some unexpected compatibilities that emerge.
Remember that, more important than left vs. right, conservative vs. progressive, communist vs. capitalist, is authoritarian vs. libertarian. Anyone with any label can make the shift to libertarian and find ways to enact their solutions without hurting other people. Our job is not so much to judge but to facilitate, form friendships, listen and be good human beings. Humanity over ideology!
Libertarian people can practice socialism, communism, capitalism and a dozen other things in the same day. They are not mutually exclusive. Socialism can be non-governmental. Socialism can be voluntary. In my family, we practice socialism and let me tell you, it works just fine.
We will never reach freedom if we let our labels get in the way of building the alliances we need in order to end the current system. This is the shortsightedness I see over and over ad nauseam in the libertarian community.