As usual, I reject a liberal/leftist’s Reality and substitute my own. And I try to explain why!
Towards the end of R. Tod Kelly’s post on the phenomenon of “real” words morphing into a sort of tribal-slang, he says this:
I’m sure, for example, that there was a time before I read blogs when people arguing using the word “statist” had something important to tell me. Those days appear to be long gone, however. In fact, in the two years I’ve been writing here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone make a coherent argument using the word “statist.” I don’t even think I’ve seen anyone make one that’s incoherent. Rather, it is trotted out and plopped down, as if there is nothing more is needed than the utterance of the word. “Because: statist” is invariably the answer I get when I ask for clarification or point out a flaw I see on a position using that word.
Does this mean that the word “statist” itself is a flawed word, or that there isn’t a great argument to be made about why a policy or program being statist is its fatal flaw? Of course not, and I’m sure that there is. But at this point, statist has become for movement conservatives of this generation what hegemony was for liberals of mine. It’s a marker meant to designate tribe, and little else. They’re quite a ways behind, but l believe libertarians are about to run into the same problem with “coercion.” The argument “because it’s coercion” is really the same as “because it’s statist” or “because its hegemony.”
Sounds like he’s been called a “statist” and wants to prove that particular Stick doesn’t hurt his particular Bones because, in fact, it’s meaningless-due-to-overexposure (by the nastiest TRIBE of all, the Other-than-His Tribe).
But why shouldn’t we “trot out” a term that we are pretty certain our readers understand? Isn’t that what language acquisition’s for (and language expansion)? Used to be you were expected to pick up a dictionary as you read, to figure out what you didn’t know, and thus, expand you mind a little every day. No more, apparently. [I couldn’t help but be reminded of an essay by Ayn Rand (“The Comprachicos,” from late 1970, and in this book) wherein she discusses how “Progressives” have used public education to stunt the reasoning abilities of American children like the essay’s namesakes deformed kidnapped children’s faces and bodies back in 17th century Europe.]
Anyway, here’s my off the cuff comment (including the as-posted typos)
People prove they’re Statists all the time. Just as there are telltale common attributes all Vegetarians share, making the definition of their “vegetarianism” unnecessary, so to with Statists. Therefore the term can legitimately be thrown out there as an “explanation.” But if you need a definition:
Statist: wants some level or other of “the Government” to manage/dictate health insurance (as the feds are now trying to do), continue to set and enforce the minimum wage (and even perhaps in future return to FDR’s price controls, which Nixon may have done as well), declare which crimes are “hateful” (therefore which ones are, I guess, Love Crimes), etc. etc. etc.
BTW Statist and Coercion are inexorably intertwined, actually. A statist believes the solution to most, if not all, problems (the few mentioned above, ad infinitum) lies in more laws, more “programs,” more agencies with more “oversight” (a surveillance-state, ultimately), etc. If you “get” that the State has what’s termed “the monopoly of force,” (in fact it’s merely the monopoly of quote-unquote legitimate force, otherwise there’d be no crimes-of-force by amateurs/private citizens on the streets), THEN, you understand every State institution/program/law/statute/etc. is, in fact, is an act of Coercion:
“Do (or don’t do) as the State says, or suffer the consequences, the Coercion,” from a warning, to a simple fine, to a lien against your private property, or the ultimate Statist-coercion: arrest/trial/imprisonment/perhaps death (-penalty).