I try to be what I am. But what should I say I am that I haven't already said?

As Dr. Helen's post reminded me, the left wing considers right-leaning libertarians like her (and like me) to be conservatives.

Which means I am considered a conservative by liberals. I could accept that if it ended there. I agree with conservatives about 80% of the time (as online tests confirm).

Yet that "minor" twenty percent disagreement can become awfully annoying at times. Disagreement on the social issues is considered fundamentally wrong by social conservatives, and there isn't any easy way to paper over that stubborn fact. And there are some loud and shrill conservatives I simply cannot stand, and I would never support them. (Some of them annoy me so much that even when I agree with them I hate it.)

So, just as there would be an honesty problem for me in saying "I am not a conservative," there is also a problem in my saying "I am a conservative." The difference is that in the latter case my argument will not be with liberals, but with conservatives.

Yet OTOH, to say "I am not a conservative" also invites trouble, for not only isn't it honest, but it sounds as if I am trying to cozy up to the left. Which I absolutely am not -- but which the speaker Dr. Helen mentions absolutely was:

He had to let the audience know, "I am not a Conservative" before discussing the decision, I guess just to make sure his colleagues knew he was in "their tribe."
It gives me the creeps to feel as if I should belong to a tribe, and as I explained sarcastically here, I wish Americans didn't feel pressured to do it.

So where does that leave me? What do I call myself?

Here are a few options that come to mind:

  • I am a conservative because I agree with conservatives 80% of the time and various online tests show I am a conservative, but many conservatives would call me a RINO;
  • I am not a conservative because I can't stand blowhards like Newt Gingrich and Michael Savage who claim to define the term; or
  • I am a right-leaning libertarian who rejects labels, but if you liberal ideologues want to call me a conservative to attack me, then I'll gladly agree with you; or
  • I am a right-leaning libertarian who rejects labels, but if you conservative ideologues want to call me a liberal -- or a RINO -- to attack me, then I'll gladly agree with you; or
  • I couldn't care less about your stinking labels, because I have the right to think what I think, and I have spent over seven years explaining what I think right here in this blog.
  • It's easy to complain that it shouldn't matter what I call myself, but the point is that it does matter to some people.

    It matters most to those who want to tell me what to do and what to think.

    Annoying though they might be, perhaps I should be glad that they care.

    posted by Eric on 08.04.10 at 10:12 PM


    Labels only matter for those who would prefer to adopt their worldviews whole, without deliberation. Be glad you aren't among them.

    The contemporary labels don't even make sense, as you've observed before.

    Phil T.B.   ·  August 4, 2010 10:27 PM

    If it's any consolation, it doesn't really matter what you call yourself, people will still put you in the box they've designed for you.

    You can say you're not a conservative all you want.
    You can explain how you're more of a libertarian, hell, you can explain how you think Sean Hannity is a fool and a nitwit, but the first chance people get, they'll say something like, "Oh, you're just saying that because Sean Hannity told you to."

    That's why I'm much more rude to certain types of people than I used to be.

    Veeshir   ·  August 5, 2010 10:07 AM

    I'm an individualist.

    Brett   ·  August 6, 2010 12:08 AM

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