February 26, 2013

"The non-inflammatory antonym for 'libertarian' that you're looking for may be dirigiste."

Noted. (I had used the admittedly inflammatory "fascist.")

The OED defines "dirigisme" as "The policy of state direction and control in economic and social matters." Here are the examples, going back only to 1951:

1951 Archivum Linguisticum 3 220 Linguistic dirigisme, standards of correctness in a constantly evolving language.
1952 V. A. Demant Relig. & Decline of Capitalism iv. 94 These are but a few of the reasons for the increasing dirigisme of economic life on the part of the state.
1957 Times 26 Feb. 4/3 Their [Sinn Fein] programme is a strange amalgam of bombast, Chauvinism, and dirigism.
1967 New Scientist 9 Nov. 329/1 He warned his listeners against ‘too much dirigism’, reminding them of the USSR where crude political interference had forced men into politically neutral fields....
And for the adjective:
1957   Economist 12 Oct. 16/2   The French hope that the new community will pursue a ‘dirigiste’, or at least a Keynesian policy regulating and guiding investment on a European scale, and ensuring that the Germans do not upset the whole scheme by deflating too much.
I don't know. I'm feeling inflamed.

As long as I've got the old OED open — sorry I can't link to it — let's check out "fascist":
One of a body of Italian nationalists, which was organized in 1919 to oppose communism in Italy, and, as the partito nazionale fascista, under the leadership of Benito Mussolini (1883–1945), controlled that country from 1922 to 1943; also transf. applied to the members of similar organizations in other countries. Also, a person having Fascist sympathies or convictions; (loosely) a person of right-wing authoritarian views. Hence as adj., of, pertaining to, or characteristic of Fascism or Fascists.
The examples that go beyond the original reference to a self-proclaimed fascists seem to begin around 1960:
1960   S. M. Lipset Political Man v. 133   Fascist ideology, though antiliberal in its glorification of the state, has been similar to liberalism in its opposition to big business, trade-unions, and the socialist state....
1961   H. Thomas Spanish Civil War viii. 71   The Socialists..were described by [Communist] party jargon as ‘social fascists’.
1963   Times 27 Mar. 10/2   As the main body of demonstrators began to move away,..screams of ‘Fascist pigs’ and ‘Gestapoism’ continued.
1969   Times 17 Nov. 10/4   Taunts of ‘Sieg Heil’, ‘Fascists’, and the occasional smoke bomb from youthful demonstrators were bound to invite trouble.
The OED also notes a "Draft additions December 2005" definition:
depreciative. In extended use (with preceding modifying word): a person who advocates a particular viewpoint or practice in a manner perceived as intolerant or authoritarian. Cf. Fascism n. Additions, health fascist n. at health n. Additions. Recorded earliest in body fascist..."
1978   Business Week (Nexis) 22 May 10   Psychotherapy-as-recreation..has contributed in no small way to the kindred plagues of jogging and vegetarianism that are now so thoroughly disrupting wholesome social intercourse across our land. An acquaintance aptly dismisses such folk as ‘body fascists’.
1987   Courier-Mail (Brisbane) (Nexis) 10 Sept.,   Members of the NCC have been dubbed ‘green fascists’.
1997   Canad. Lawyer Jan. 46/2   It'll be fun to see what happens when the tobacco fascists run headlong into the human rights fascists.
1999   Independent 24 Mar. ii. 1/2   Now a half-naked male swigging Diet Coke and being ogled by stenographers in horn-rim specs is just as likely to upset gender fascists.
So it's like "soup nazi." Looking up "Nazi":
2... b. hyperbolically. A person who is perceived to be authoritarian, autocratic, or inflexible; one who seeks to impose his or her views upon others. Usu. derogatory.

1982   P. J. O'Rourke in Inquiry 15 Mar. 8/3   The Safety Nazis advocate gun control, vigorous exercise, and health foods.
1995   Independent 3 Nov. (Suppl.) 8/2   According to Hutchins, current fitness theory is peddled by ‘nazis’. Aerobics Nazis.
2000   Minx Aug. 71/2,   I learned to be more open and not such a Nazi in the studio.
Interesting use of "usu." When is it not derogatory to call someone a Nazi?

34 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

When is it not derogatory to call someone a Nazi?

Its OK for Nazis to call each other the n-word.

Bob Ellison said...

Too French.

Chip S. said...

"Dirigisme" reminds me of zeppelins.

Specifically, the Hindenburg.

Ann Althouse said...

"Its OK for Nazis to call each other the n-word."

Ah. Good point. I forgot about the dictionary's obligation to be neutral!

Balfegor said...

When is it not derogatory to call someone a Nazi?

Well, you've got an example right there:

I learned to be more open and not such a Nazi in the studio.

That's not derogatory in the usual sense of derogatory -- that's just a mild negative connotation. Here's another:

In order to be clear about my position on old houses and historic preservation, I admit to being a bit of a Nazi. Not in the brutal subjugation and killing of people sense, but in being a bit of a stickler, a bit inflexible. Lets just call me particular.

Here's a thread using "Nazi" in a mostly descriptive sense.

EDH said...

What about "statist"?

pduggie said...

Or to neutrally report on usage.

mikee said...

Why on earth are you at all concerned with the opinions of those you accurately described?

If the shoe fits....

edutcher said...

It assumes the libertarians are against "state direction and control in economic and social matters".

By demanding abdication of the normal strictures government has imposed (you can't marry your dead uncle Harry, you can't print your own money), it can be said the Libertarians, with their basic dictum of "I'm against anything that inconveniences me" simply want another kind of government control predicated on their desires.

Libertarian Advocate said...

So then, that would make Obama un arriviste dirigiste, n'est-ce pas?

Chuck Currie said...

Communist are internationalists, fascist/NAZI are nationalists, but all have the same socialists DNA.

How you get from a national socialists party to right-wing authoritarian is beyond me.

The far, far right wing is anarchy, not authoritarian.

Cheers

chickelit said...

EDH said...
What about "statist"?

Indeed. Dirigiste has too many negative French connotations.

Chuck Currie said...

I would think there are a few iterations between libertarian and anarchist.

Cheers

Scott M said...

When is it not derogatory to call someone a Nazi?

We did a spoof of rock concert commercials back when I was on a morning show that showcased Hitler's World Domination Tour (with special guest Fred Rogers). The over-the-top announcer said things like "IT'S GONNA BE PURE NAZI MELTDOWN!" etc.

I'd suggest that's a non-derogatory calling of someone a Nazi. It's only ironically derogatory.

traditionalguy said...

A fascist system means total control over a nation's economic activities for a higher purpose, supposedly needed in a crisis. The property remains private but its use is totally taken over by the Nazi Party Gauleiter of the region.

A Total War effort is one example.

But someone first has to find an enemy start the war with. Today's fascist Obama uses Republicans that protect private property, or Global Warming Deniers, or Christian white men that own guns as the enemies we must be totally dedicated to destroying with his fascist rule.

As to Nazi, that word now has no meaning except a vague Gestapo like attitude towards enemies.

The true Nazis were committed pagan murderers that should never again be permitted to take power. In fact they should be shot on sight.

AprilApple said...

Centralized government control is the common denominator. The percentages and cruelty may vary. To my basic understanding, it [fascism/communism/statism/socialismm/Keynesianism/Krugmanism] is the same tired ideology that propels and inspires the modern leftist progressive democrat movement.

While fascism was an odd product of anti-communism it ended up being its sad, twisted, control freak, pathetic ugly little cousin.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It's OK to use a word that's too French when the thing it's describing is also too French.

The economic word that really is too French for its job is entrepreneur.

Nomennovum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

Dirigiste

Everything sounds sexy and good in French.

I prefer my synonym: Bloomberger.

No cheese, on whole wheat, with an Evian.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomennovum said...

Oops! The thread just became all about the scrunt.

Writ Small said...

The problem with "facism", "totalitarianism" and even "authoritarianism" as antonyms is that each as a strong negative connnotation. The problem with "dirigism" is its obscurity and unfamiliarity.

It is rather amazing that "libertarian" has opposites that are either entirely discredited or entirely obscure, and yet self-described libertarians are very much in the minority.

I still think "collectivism" is the antonym with the best combination of a lack of negative connotation and the quality of being largely understood. Not to mention that Ayn Rand was a fierce opponent of collectivism.

AlanKH said...

Everything sounds sexy and good in French.

I've made the same observation - anything said in French can sound romantic. Try this in conversation: J'ai un chateau de sable, in a mildly breathy voice, with the first syllable of "sable" (rhymes with "Saab") drawn out. The phrase means "I have a sand castle."

traditionalguy said...

Inga... Yes, that SS She Wolf language is derogatory on purpose and used in a WWF fake wrestling show towards you to make you cartoon like since some cannot handle your being an intelligent real person that is liberal in her views.

Think of it as a test that you have certainly passed by persistently being yourself. You are a very important voice around here.

Nomennovum said...

Trad guy,it looks like we have a vanishing she-wolf.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

Thankyou Trad Guy, I am at the point in which I am seriously tired of the fighting, the insults and it seems it's not worth my time or aggravation. Life is simply too short.

Scott M said...

Life is simply too short.

Absolutely agreed. Life is just too short and there's simply too much pie.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@edutcher: By demanding abdication of the normal strictures government has imposed (you can't marry your dead uncle Harry, you can't print your own money), it can be said the Libertarians, with their basic dictum of "I'm against anything that inconveniences me" simply want another kind of government control predicated on their desires.

By demanding abdication of the normal strictures government has imposed (you can't criticize the government, you can't blaspheme), it can be said the Libertarians, with their basic dictum of "I'm against anything that inconveniences me" simply want another kind of censorship predicated on their desires.

By demanding abdication of the normal strictures government has imposed (you can't opt out of tithes, you can't hold religious meetings with so many miles of a parish church), it can be said the Libertarians, with their basic dictum of "I'm against anything that inconveniences me" simply want another kind of established church predicated on their desires.

No, doesn't work. Liberty is hard, edutcher, and not for everyone, but it is not another form of control.

William Chadwick said...

I'm always amused when "liberals" object to being called "statists." I'm a libertarian; I'm pro-liberty; and while I prefer the old and honorable term "liberal," or the newer "classical liberal"--as long as the terms are clearly distinguished from the modern bastardized use of the l-word (an untruth-in-advertising code word for "tax-happy, coercion-addicted State-fellator")--I have no objection to being called a libertarian. That's what I am, and the label tells you what I believe. That's why it's funny to me when the most State-enamored pseudo-liberals tell you one minute "More State! More State! Mmmm . . . must have more State! Me lovey the Statey! [Slurping sounds]" and then in the next minute: "But hey, don't call me 'statist!"

Bill Harshaw said...

I would have thought "communitarian" was the appropriate antonym.

Chuck Currie said...

You can certainly call members of the Greek NAZI Party "Nazi" - they control 1/3 of the seats in parliament.

Don't think any have been shot on sight.

Cheers

William Chadwick said...

"I would have thought 'communitarian' was the appropriate antonym."

Not exactly. Although today it's almost a given that "communitarian=statist," it's ain't necessarily (and historically) so, Bill. There have always been non-coercive communitarians (albeit a minority within the breed), such as Proudhon and in America the transcendalists at Brook Farm. Even today, when the Left has the State's Mailed Fist so far up their collective rectums they can taste the Rustoleum, you might still find communes and such, where people voluntarily pool their wealth and possessions and don't resort to theft and extortion, or use the power of the State to force other people into their way of life. It's the only kind of socialism that I'm okay with: socialism between consenting adults.

Douglas2 said...

I once spent a weekend looking at all the academic literature I could access on "right wing authoritarianism".
In the end, I couldn't find any distinction between "right wing authoritarianism" and "authoritarianism" generally. The words "right-wing" seemed to garnish many appearances of "authoritarianism" without adding any meaning, and frequently obscuring meaning because the authoritarianism in question was of the collectivist sort.