Words and things; or, When did MILFs get so young?

I don’t know if it’s a sign that I’m getting old, or if it’s a symptom of the awesome terrifying age of hyper-sexualisation we live in – but, man! MILFs just aren’t what they used to be.


It used to be if you were searching for “milfs” on the internet (as opposed to searching for them in supermarkets or garden centers, say), you’d be getting late-thirties at an absolute minimum. Mid to late-forties most of the time was a given. Fifties was a bit more of a rarity, and beyond that you were moving into quite specialist territory. The point is, you pretty much knew what you were getting.

But now? You’re lucky if you can find women out of their twenties. “Mature” now means “25-ish”. And if you’re into men things are even worse. These days a DILF is just anyone with a moustache. It’s all incredibly frustrating, to be sure. But, whether we like it or not, that’s just the way things are these days. Which brings us to libertarianism.

As with the term MILF, in recent years there has been an explosion in use of the word ‘libertarian’. Where the word denotes the thing this is excellent, naturally. But this is not always the case. There are “libertarian” neoconservatives, for example.

How to explain this? A good place to start, surely, is the fact that ‘libertarian’ is just such a cool word. It sounds edgy, young, radical. It sounds hardcore. Would-be political entrepreneurs eager to stand out from the crowd love that sort of thing. ‘Conservative’, by contrast, sounds boring and old-fashioned – much better to be libertarian. Another factor is the well-known torturing of the word ‘liberal’ into becoming a synonym for ‘non-Marxian State socialist’. People who would best be described as (classically) liberal – and who would so describe themselves – now call themselves libertarians for, ironically, the sake of clarity. This is all incredibly frustrating, to be sure. But, whether we like it or not, that’s just the way things are these days.

Quite possibly, if the current trends continue, a few decades hence the word ‘libertarian’ will have been so corrupted as to be entirely useless. There will still be libertarians, of course, but we will be heavily outnumbered by “libertarians”.

Might it be a good idea to gradually phase out ‘libertarianism’ in favour of more descriptive epithets? Personally, I much prefer the term ‘market anarchism’ anyway. And, as someone who is opposed to politics per se, ‘voluntaryism’ is just fine by me. The advantage of these terms is obvious: a Statist might call themselves a libertarian without knowing any better, but what supporter of government would dare call themselves an anarchist? For political libertarians, ‘minarchism’ seems a perfectly good descriptor. (Or how about “nightwatchman-state-ists”?) To my mind, more, as it were, immediately descriptive terms such as these seem far less open to abuse.

As for the problem of alleged MILFs though, I’m sorry. I haven’t the first clue what to do about that.

  12 comments for “Words and things; or, When did MILFs get so young?

  1. Apr 21, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Stand your ground, soldier. Don’t give up so easy.

  2. Apr 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    But Richard, milfs *are* getting younger! We have to face facts!

    Hang on, did you mean the libertarian thing?

    Yeah, I admit it’s pessimistic, and I’m not fully convinced myself. It’s just a worry I have. Liberty is such a saleable word – who isn’t ‘for liberty’? – that corruption is almost inevitable. I don”t imagine “libertarian” will suffer the same fate as “liberal”, but damage will be (and is being) done.

    • Apr 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      I think, with the internet, we have the power to put forth the true message of what libertarian means, although there’s no way of stopping others from using it for other purposes. If our message is clear, then non-libertarians will not want to be associated with it. Certainly we should be ever ready to pour scorn and excrement upon neo-cons hiding their hideous form under a cloak of concern for liberty. This is more a problem for our American cousins, I’d say.

      If you take an optimistic view, we should see it as a good thing that the libertarian ‘brand’ has some popularity, and use the opportunity to reach out to the part-timers. We are all on a journey. For instance, I remember reading Hayek’s ‘Constitution of Liberty’ and thinking it was the dog’s bollocks, but as I progressed in my education, I could see the serious flaws in that work, exposed by Rothbard and company. However, had I been met at that earlier stage by a vehement purist, denouncing me and Hayek as statist betrayers, I may not have taken it well, so we should try not to put people off, who may not be as cut and dried in their thinking as we may be. Additionally, it would be wise for us to seek coalitions with non-libertarians on issues where we agree, and being too concerned with the purity of the message could hamper this. I am not suggesting you are doing this, btw.

      As for the changing age of milfs, I think the less said by me the better!

      • Apr 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm

        You may well be right to be optimistic, Richard. And I hope you are.

  3. Apr 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    An old problem here is that ‘libertarian’ is a category anyway. While there are common philosophical ideas (e.g. NAP) that all libertarians share, how this works out in practice differs a fair bit (e.g. AnCaps and Geoists will disagree on things).

    I don’t think labels matter that much anyway, getting the concepts across to people is more important.

    • Apr 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Yeah, Mike, concepts are much more important than labels, definitely. But, on the other hand, a label is just shorthand for a set of concepts. Abuse of the label leads to confusion about the concepts properly denoted by it.

      • Apr 24, 2014 at 10:16 am

        You’ll have to forgive me, Rocco, for being a part of what you might consider to be the problem. The most specific label I would choose to apply to myself is Objectivist. I regard “libertarian” to be a term that, being more vague, is just as equally applicable, and when you are on the bit’s of this site that are communal, for example as you contemplate the lovely logo in the corner, then be aware that “libertarian” there is intended to be as vague as possible while still retaining a pro-property stance. A website that is only of interest to anarcho-capitalists and excludes objectivists, classical liberals and night-watchman statists is not commercially viable and isn’t of interest to me, and since it is me paying the bills then my property rights trump your arguments to the contrary.

        I am not saying that you cannot use the language that suits you within your own contributions (unlike say Perry de Havilland, I’m not interested in a uniform house style – I cannot afford the bribes of beer that would be required) but I should point out that the brand you’re engaged with is one that uses the term libertarian very broadly.

        • Apr 24, 2014 at 10:42 am

          Mea culpa, guv’.

      • Jun 15, 2014 at 2:04 am

        I was thinking: labels don’t matter at all because they are often chosen to confuse. Now
        I see you mean “concept” when you say “label”. In that case, labels are extremely
        important. We can’t think clearly without them. For example, a word denotes a concept.
        A set of concepts is also denoted by a word. We could think of the second concept as a more complex concept, or a more abstract concept. It follows that a label is a complex
        concept. And since we think in concepts (using words) we cannot “get the concept
        across” unless we are clear on the meaning of the label. So labels matter a lot.

        • Julie near Chicago
          Jul 31, 2014 at 10:59 pm

          Excellent comment! And exactly right. MOST encouraging. Thanks. :>)))

  4. May 22, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Humorous and correct MILF observation, but state-socialists call themselves anarchists all the time, and so does the media! Was that a joke too, IDK?

    • May 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      No, that wasn’t a joke, Edward. Just – now I realise, thanks to your comment – a mistake. I was thinking of right wing statists primarily – hence the oversight. Thanks for pointing that out, man. I appreciate it.

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