Here is a short list of phrases that libertarians should avoid, at least when used in a particular context. I’m sure I will think of many more later. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.
“The less fortunate” – when used to describe poor people. Perhaps some poor people are less fortunate in that they grew up in a poor family with a bad childhood. But this phrase is used by statists to imply that being poor is all because of bad luck. It implies that poor people cannot help their own situation.
“The working class” – used to describe the middle or lower class. It implies that rich people don’t work. It implies that all rich people got their money through corruption or luck. If anything, it is often high income people who work the most, particularly small business owners and professionals such as doctors and lawyers.
“We” – when it is used to describe actions of the government. We didn’t bomb Iraq. We didn’t run up the national debt. It was specific people working for the U.S. government who did these things.
“The filthy rich” – used to describe very wealthy people. Why is rich being filthy? It was probably invented by statists who use class warfare to imply that having too much money is dirty. While there certainly are some rich people who are filthy, particularly in our corporatist system, there are still many honest rich people out there who made their money through hard work, innovation, and pleasing customers.
“Ask” – is often used by statists who are actually referring to government force. It sounds so much nicer to say that we are just “asking” the rich to pay more in taxes. In reality, they are not asking at all. They want to tell people to pay more taxes using the threat of violence. If they are just asking, can people say “no” without going to jail?
“Help those in need” – is again used instead of referring to government force. This is a code phrase for redistributing wealth. When statists say they want to help those in need, they personally don’t want to help. They want to force others to help those in need.
“Democracy” – is often used interchangeably with the term freedom, even though they mean entirely different things. In fact, they are somewhat opposite. Democracy is majority rule, which infringes on the rights and liberties of the minority.
“Fair or fairness” – is often used to mean the opposite of freedom, but in a subtle way. Instead of free trade, many statists will advocate fair trade. Fair to whom? If two parties want to trade with each other, is it fair to them for someone else to interfere who has no business?
These are just a few of my favorites. Many people who aren’t statists, including libertarians, will often unknowingly adopt some of the language of the statists. We all do it at times. It is good to be cognizant of our language.