Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Word PSA

By Thomas L. Knapp
Radical, a. 1. Of or pertaining to the root; proceeding directly from the root. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence: Of or pertaining to the root or origin; reaching to the center, to the foundation, to the ultimate sources, to the principles, or the like; original; fundamental; thorough-going; unsparing; extreme; as, radical evils; radical reform; a radical party. [1913 Webster]
I often see the word “radical” mis-used to mean “extreme” or even “knee-jerk contrarian,” including by libertarians who complain that this or or that person or organization in the libertarian movement isn’t “radical” enough.
For example, this morning at the Libertarian Institute, Peter Quinones argues that libertarians should be against not just mask mandates, but against mask-wearing as such.
His argument is not that masks are ineffective (which is not a question libertarianism could be expected to address), but rather that anything “the enemy” is for, libertarians should be against. Otherwise we’re just playing respectability politics. After all, “the ideology of libertarianism you promote is radical to the normie to say the least. Or it should be! Do you want to be democrat or republican lite?”

Leave a Reply