This piece was originally posted on CinemActivism.

Snarky Youtubers like to play mock drinking games with libertarian videos or podcasts, yelling ‘DRINK’ every time he says ‘statist’. If you are a statist, then I’m sure you find this amusing and think they’ve really shown libertarians what for. But libertarians ought not to get too worried.

Remember, a statist is simply a person who believes in the legitimacy of the state.

Using the word ‘statist’ is a useful way of distinguishing those who believe that the state is necessary and those that do not. And for people who love discussing this stuff, it won’t do to be without it.

Whether ‘statist’ is a positive or a negative description of someone is in the eye of the beholder. It is not ipso-facto negative if it turned out that the state really was needed and just. Libertarians are the only ones that ever use the word because it only ever occurs to libertarians that to be a statist would be negative. It doesn’t make sense for progressives and conservatives to be calling each other ‘statists’ because they both agree with statism.

Minarchists (those that believe in minimal government) get shirty with anarchists who call them ‘statists’, precisely because it has this negative connotation. But there is no reason to be. If you really believe that a minimal state is necessary, you believe in the state, and you are by definition a statist. Your response should mirror Jeremy Corbyn types when accused of being socialists: “you say that like it’s a dirty word”.