People love labeling themselves.
It’s easy. It’s descriptive. It’s a great way of finding like-minded men and women.
But there comes a time when it’s misleading…
Calling yourself “socially liberal” is one of those times.
I bet you’ve heard this before.
“Yeah, I usually consider myself socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”
That sentence always irks me when I hear people say it.
It never sounds right. It always feels like something is implied. It feels like something is being left out.
Let me explain…
What’s Being Implied?
When you say you’re “socially liberal,” you’re implying a few things.
- Liberals are pro-individual-rights on a social level
- The left is the judge of what’s socially free and what’s not
- The left does it best
Now, it might sound like I’m jealous of the left being the poster child for social freedom, but it’s more than that.
First, are libertarians and conservatives going to let liberals take the individual freedom label?
Are we going to let them be known as the defenders of individualism?
Secondly, it gives liberals the appearance of supporting individual choice and liberty.
Yes, liberals are usually anti-Free-Market and pro-Big Government. But choice is a big issue too.
It influences a lot of young people. It’s important to them.
What’s Being Left Out?
How about the fact that the left isn’t a fan of personal choice?
Soda, trans-fat, cigarettes, private business decisions. Liberals aren’t big on allowing it.
Their support of individual choice is very subjective. Compare that to a libertarian view of individual choice, which is objective (or overarching).
What Should You Say Instead?
The “social liberal” label is filled with holes.
Liberals are not for personal choice. Their idea of personal choice excludes a lot of issues.
So don’t call yourself “socially liberal,” right?
What do you call yourself then?
Personally, I’m not a fan of political labels. You can read my reasons for why here. But I’ll outline what’s the alternative to the “social liberal” label.
- First off, it has to be overarching. No hypocrisy. No subjectivity.
- Secondly, it can’t involve a party label (i.e. don’t mention conservatives, libertarians, liberals, etc).
- Thirdly, it has to be relatable across the aisle.
Combine it all and you end up with something like “individual freedom” or my personal favorite, “Freedom For All” (but that’s more of a declaration than a description).
Some other ideas could be “Individual Choice” (Which relates better to those on the left), or if you want to get really classic you could go for “the pursuit of happiness.”
I support the pursuit of happiness for every individual.
Or, you could drop all the terms and buzz words and go for a simple sentence like this…
I believe that you should be able to live your life the way you want.
Sometimes the best message is a simple one.
And that’s what I plan on using.