The logical assumption when faced with an -ist is that there is an accompanying -ism but I am certain that the assumption in many cases does not flow into an actual fact. Which is to say that there is no survivalism to explain the ideas and beliefs, an ideology or a philosophy, simply to live and practice as a survivalist.
The simple fact is that there is no such as word as survivalism. Survivalism is not word. Yet Libertarianism is a word and there is no clear, unified distinct philosophy of Libertarianism that all Libertarians can be defined by or under which agree to live. Having an -ism as a word does not mean the word has a direct, distinct, narrow practical meaning, although it certainly can be a general guide if not altogether practical. Ideally a libertarian is antithetical to the authoritarian in the simplest sense. To the point of defining opposing forces the libertarians are what opposes the statists in modern practical politics. In this sens libertarianism is a broad umbrella under which a (very) loose coalition of different forces preside, even when not in a state of political alliance or coalition.
On the other hand the libertarians can be seen as alternative views to the Conservatives, conservatives, however you wish to capitalize, when it comes to ideas on the right. Under those circumstances it is already understood that living on the Political Left, be it with the Democrats or whoever, is not a palatable option. Under these terms the libertarian definition is certainly a narrow one, excluding all that the conservatives and their conservatism would find allowable. Libertarianism finds intolerable what conservatism may stomach. The umbrella of the conservatives often finds statists hiding underneath it; these statists usuall are left-wing Progressives and are almost always Republicans. These may define themselves as Conservative under loose definitions, which render the use accurate yet makes the word itself useless.
Conservative works better as a word when it is applied in a way that makes its beholders and beliefs activists for smaller government and broader power stretched among more citizens, that is federalism. Typically the term is wielded in self-identification by people who firmly believe in various moral and moralistic beliefs, Western Judeo-Christian and by all good measures those beliefs are just and admirable. The problem lies in application. The problem lies in political application as the folk in question are political individuals who solve problems politically or get elected by identifying government solutions to general problems through a lens of wholesomeness or religiosity. Governor Mike Huckabee before 2009 was such a “Conservative”. He was not a true Conservative as he looked at government as an instrument of positive application for various problems, such as obesity. I believe he has reformed now which does not change the simple facts. His morals in many so-called “social issues” were spot-on, but he would still expand government and was not a “Fiscal Conservative”. President Bush has his “Compassionate Conservatism”.
Compassionate Conservatism is a redundant phrase as being Conservative is being compassionate. Yet while President Bush had enough bonafides to carry the title “Conservative” and still seem authentic he governed as a statist in certainly enough ways that he needed, in his own mind and others’, to qualify his brand of Conservatism as if conscious that it could never fit pure definitions of the real thing. I don’t care what they say; Diet Doctor Pepper is not regular Doctor Pepper and regardless of how it tastes real sugar is real sugar.
One of the benefits of sugar versus an artifical sweetener or an approximation of desired effect is that we know what sugar does and few really know what the chemical properties of the artificial sweetener will be.
Hence why words are valuable when used properly and consistently. When we know what Conservatism is and what it is not then it as a word is more potent. When the meaning is blurred it can become dangerous and mis-applied, which is what happened, in part, in 2008 when the economic horrors came crashing upon us and the Vile Leftists successfully framed the fiscal liberalism and greed (which is certainly not Conservative or part of Adam Smith’s recognition of healthy economic practices) as “Conservative”. The Conservatives and the Republicans left themselves open to such framing and it never helped that we let John McCain claim to be one of us.
Yet by certain definitions John McCain cannot be denied the label of Conservative, a fact which is I consider woeful.
Now we certainly want the labels to make sense and to be used consistently so we have a guide for action and perhaps even for allegiance. Yet we have many labels and it is difficult to know which of them should be housed under what umbrella, in what hierarchy or if they are in opposition to one another at any given time.
Naturally even the term “Liberalism” only has its meaning based on the time and place for context. Politics are full of -isms and no one can use them properly, least of all those who are supposed to be masters of those -isms.
So I wonder, what the heck is a survivalist?
And if one dies, is he really a survivalist? Has anyone heard of a dead survivalist? It just sounds stupid: the survivalist who failed to survive.
It raises the possibility: an -ism may be more a matter of intent.