(We also would have accepted, “Tyranny by any other name…”)
In certain states, there are restrictions on your legal name. (For example, in some states there are length limits, and in some states you can’t use numbers.) Now some libertarians will probably say, “You should be able to name yourself whatever you want, screw the State!” while other people might say, “To foster an orderly society and avoid linguistic chaos, surely it is proper for the politicians to put in place some limits.”
But this is a false dichotomy, as I will now show. First, assume that there are only two people (refer to them as #1 and #2), and only two possible names: Alice and Bob. Further, assume that there are no costs to changing one’s name, and that each person is equally happy with either name per se. The only thing each person cares about is whether he or she has the same name as the other. We do not assume that #1 wants to have the same name, or would prefer to have a different name, as person #2. But, we *do* assume that #1 is just as happy as being named “Alice” or “Bob,” so long as it coordinates properly with what person #2 is named.
Now then, in this hypothetical world there are two possible legal systems:
(1) Each person is legally allowed to call himself whatever he likes.
(2) Each person is legally allowed to force the *other* person to name himself what the first person desires.
So, which legal arrangement is better?
Take *that*, libertarians!
(For further deep insights into the political battles of our day, see this post on immigration by Nick Rowe.)