Libertarians have ruined the term ‘libertarian’. Before the advent of libertarian populism in 2007 the many forward thinking progressives would have described themselves as libertarians. The term ‘libertarian’ used to be far more ambiguous, and it didn’t come with all the politically incorrect baggage that it carries today. Essentially, ‘libertarian’ was synonymous with ‘liberal’. Bill Maher famously described himself as a libertarian, although today he would be firmly placed in the progressive camp.
The term anarchist has also been polluted by right-wing fanatics. Anarchism used to be cool, until libertarian anarchists synonymized ‘anarchist’ with’ anarcho-capitalist’. Traditional left-leaning anarchists are very upset with libertarians for taking a term which was once widely understood to be a term for a non-property based society, and transforming it into a radical right-wing ideology.
It’s time for progressives to recapture the term libertarian, just as we recaptured the term liberal from the right wing ‘classical liberals’. Reclaiming the language of liberty is an important step in the progressive revolution. Liberals believe in liberty too. We just have a more conventional and less idiotic way of achieving it than right-wing libertarians.