Reclaiming “Freedom”

Thomas Frank’s weekly column in the Journal is one of the few tolerable pieces in the paper’s opinion section. This week, Frank writes, sensibly, in my opinion, that the left needs to recapture “freedom.”

There are few things in politics more annoying than the right’s utter conviction that it owns the patent on the word “freedom” that when its leaders stand up for the rights of banks to be unregulated or capital gains to be untaxed, that it is actually and obviously standing up for human liberty, the noblest cause of them all.

He concludes:

Even such pits of statism as Britain and Canada remain free societies, generally speaking, despite having gone skipping blithely down the universal-health-care road to serfdom decades ago.

For the sort of people who gathered on the Mall last weekend, however, I doubt that such observations would matter in the least. Their conception of freedom soars on by a force all its own, carried aloft on the wings of pure abstract reasoning: Government intervention equals tyranny. Liberalism is forever a form of despotism-in-waiting.

The reality of misgovernment, meanwhile, is not something you can grasp simply by donning a tricorn hat and musing on the majesty of Lady Liberty. It requires, among other things, close attention to the following irony: That many of the most destructive and even corrupt policies of the past few decades were engineered by exactly the sort of people who claim to be motivated by freedom and liberty. Our friends on the Mall no doubt imagine themselves as guiltless accusers, but if they really want to understand how our country got to this sorry state, they need to take a long hard look in the mirror.

Comments

  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2009

    Nonsense. Warrentess wiretapping, censorship, security theatre, civil forfeiture, no-knock raids without probable cause, etc. are all good for us, and without them we’d lose the truly essential American Freedoms.

  2. #2 LanceR, JSG
    September 16, 2009

    [quote]without them we’d lose the truly essential American Freedoms.[endquote]

    Yeah! Guns, Gawd, and Gays! (Owning, Praising, and Bashing, respectively)

    /redneck

  3. #3 D. C. Sessions
    September 16, 2009

    /redneck, you forgot several others — not least being muscle cars.

  4. #4 LanceR, JSG
    September 16, 2009

    But aren’t muscle cars one of them their Gawd-Given thingamabobs? Like Nascar, cheap beer, and scantily clad waitresses?

    They’ll take my hot wings when they pry ‘em from my cold, greasy lips!

  5. #5 Chris Hoofnagle
    September 16, 2009

    My great freedom was limited by the Bushes and attorneys general: ephedrine and alcopops! Man I miss my Sparks!

  6. #6 Badger3k
    September 16, 2009

    Muscle Cars? Muscle Cars!

    Gawd dammittall – yew gots to have a Monster Truck! NASCAR is for them redneck wannabees – the real rednecks like Rodeo, Monster Trucks, and Professional Wrestling. And Beer. And women with huge….ok, I’ll stop now.

  7. #7 les
    September 17, 2009

    but if they really want to understand how our country got to this sorry state, they need to take a long hard look in the mirror.

    Yeah, that’s happening.

  8. #8 DJ
    September 19, 2009

    The comments on that article are interesting, lots of opposing opinions. Some of them are even intelligent. Not that I agree with them in any way.

  9. #9 Lance
    September 21, 2009

    Yeah, the left needs to lay rightful claim to the freedom of the state to decide what individuals can do. How dare the unwashed muscle car lovin’ gun toting proles think they are qualified to make their own decisions and spend their own money.

    Real freedom is letting a government bureaucrat decide how to spend the money which you only made on the bruised backs of oppressed workers and that was originally stolen from indigenous peoples and was generated by unsustainable practices that are destroying the planet.

    When will these knuckle dragging mouth breathers realize that the only true freedom is the freedom of leftist elites to control the lives and destiny of those that are obviously intellectually and morally their inferiors.

    Hoist that banner of “freedom” high comrades! Even if you have to force it down the throats of the unworthy cretins who don’t realize that it is your right to decide their choices for them.

    Soon they’ll all be happily driving their Volvos and Prius’s to the gay pride parade. If of course you decide that’s what they should be doing.

  10. #10 Kagehi
    September 21, 2009

    Yeah. Most of the opposing opinions seem to be people that take their view direct out of the Republican play book, which seems to be, “Yah know.. we don’t like social liberties, unless you mean worshiping at any church you like, or having guns, but we really like economic liberties.” Of course, if you replace the word “liberty” in there with “libertarian” its becomes clearer what is really going on.

    Daddy need to look over your shoulder to make sure you are not touching yourself, or something (i.e. social non-liberty), never mind that 99% of society is built on very libertarian “community standards” type thinking, which denies that sort of micromanagement, but.. them there corporations, which act like separate countries, communities, or, day I say, mob families, those people don’t need to be watched, controlled, or directed. In other words, they want to apply community standards to economics, where the community is the entire country, but the entities involved ***don’t believe***, in most case, that they belong to any community other than themselves. This doesn’t work, obviously. But, society, which has real people in it, and “can” have isolated communities, and “can” function on local standards, without screwing everyone else, usually, they have to play by the, “all streets are one way, and our political party thinks it owns all the streets”, philosophy.

    And seriously, there may be a good reason to not trust, and to seriously disagree with, the people posting. One, they must all be using IE (I couldn’t get the post button to work after registering and setting all java elements on the page to “allow” in firefox.. (Yeah, that is tongue in cheak) But, more importantly, they are almost certainly, given its in the Wall Street Journal site, the same gibbering fools that caused the current depression, by ignoring the fact that businesses are not people, that people will not react like businesses, that you can’t loan imaginary money in **huge** sums without consequences, and **probably**, given that no company I have seen seems to be changing its thinking *at all*, still do think their is nothing wrong with their economic models, other than a few numbers being wrong, and not say… that they don’t fracking work, due to being purely statistical, and not based on the ***behavior*** of actual people.

    In short. Everyone posting there, who where offended by the idea that Democrats need to reclaim freedom, are the same twits that have, all along, imagined “companies” as adult enough to make “good” decisions, while acting like petulant children, who want all the toys, while real adult people need to be hand held through life, so they don’t wet their diapers.

    Their only saving grace is that, sadly, while their side completely embraces their own particular brand of total madness, the Democrats are, being, by default, the only other party likely to get elected, a catch all for not just the sane, but every other non-social conservative/economic libertarian crazy person on the planet. This is why we can’t come up with a cohesive voice. Their side is sociopathic, on many levels, but ours tends to be flat out schizophrenic, and its hard to make sure that only the “sane” voices in the party end up elected.

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    September 24, 2009

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