Why I reject labels

why i reject labelsThese thoughts are not new with me, but no one has ever been exposed to the particular set of ideas I have encountered in quite the same way, and in the same order, over 60-odd years, and distilled them into the conclusions I have reached and shared.

That is not to say my conclusions are any better or worse than the conclusions you have reached. They’re just different, even when we appear to agree or disagree on many things.

Your opinions are just as unique, because no one has ever been exposed to the particular set of ideas you have in quite the same way, and in the same order, over [your age here] years, and drawn the same conclusions based on your experience.

We each go through this process of being exposed to ideas and opinions and coming to conclusions that we call our own ideas and opinions. Each of us distills these thoughts in an absolutely unique way that is slightly or dramatically different from others’ but never, never exactly the same.

That is why I have begun to shy away from trying to explain my point of view with labels or shorthand.

I saw another article the other day titled “Why I am a left libertarian.” In some ways perhaps you could call me a “right libertarian,” but as soon as you read that you draw conclusions about what I might believe.

That’s the problem with labels: They each carry the baggage of what you believe that label means, having reached that conclusion by observing the views and actions of other people who claim that label.

The next step is to decide whether people who claim that label are right or wrong, good or bad, and whether those people’s thoughts or opinions can be trusted or dismissed.

And just like that, simply by my declaring, “I am a label,” you have trusted my words or dismissed them without paying actual attention to the words.

I would rather state and defend the opinions I actually hold than waste time defending the opinions of other people who stake a claim to the label I have adopted. Therefore, I try not to draw conclusions based on labels.

Am I left, right, or center, or libertarian or not? None of the above. What issue are you thinking of? Now we can start getting somewhere.

Advertisements

Published by

WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith, journalist and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and a couple of cats.

3 thoughts on “Why I reject labels”

  1. Of course it is. Like all labels, it’s shorthand. It gives me a clue as to what you believe generally, but if there are 2.2 billion Christians in the world it represents 2.2 billion sets of belief. Mother Teresa was a Christian, and so was Pope Gregory IX. The only way I can really understand your beliefs is to get to know you.

    Like

    1. Yet, to illustrate your point you used labels from the Catholic religion.

      I would suggest that a label is simply that, a label, neither good nor bad. The speaker or listener makes that determination on preconceived notions or prejudices. Being called an ‘American’ can have either a negative or a positive connotation, depending upon the speaker or the listener.

      You rightly say, ” Therefore, I try not to draw conclusions based on labels.”

      However, if a person is an, “open-minded, free-thinking, non-conformist individualist” how else could you properly describe him if not with that label.

      While it may be wise to ignore connotations of certain labels, it may not be wise to reject all labels.

      Have a lovely labeless day.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.