True Colors

The American Right loves to portray itself as being all about freedom. Liberals, on the other hand, hate freedom, according to the Right. Seriously, google “liberals hate freedom” sometime. You will find gems such as Five Ways Liberals Try to Control You.

Liberalism is an ideology that believes in control, not freedom. That’s why liberals love the federal government so much while they detest states’ rights. It allows them to bend hundreds of millions of people to their will with one imperial edict. It’s also why liberal judges don’t believe in the Constitution like conservative justices do.

Here, apparently, is the catch:

Sticking to one set of rules means people have freedom to do what they want as long as they adhere to the basic rules our society was formed around.

I infer that conservatives are the ones who get to decide which are “the basic rules our society was formed around,” which are the rules we all must follow, because freedom.  My favorite of the five ways liberals try to control you is #2, “Liberals want to control your major life decisions.”  Like, maybe, when to have children and whom to marry? Oh, wait…

Also awhile back, the Koch Boys released a study titled “Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom,” and in this study the blue states were persistently less free than the red ones.  If that doesn’t jibe with how you understand things, it’s either because the Koch boys define “freedom” in a way that lines up with their own interests (lower taxes, less regulation) and bleep you, or you hate freedom. I’ll let you work that out.

In other words, American righties are indeed stalwart defenders of liberty as they define it. Andrew Leonard pointed out that the three least free states, according to the Koch boys, are California, New York, and New Jersey.

The millions who cluster on the coasts delight in their thriving arts communities and smorgasbord of dining options and the sheer intellectual stimulation that accrues from the helter-skelter activity of a big city. Many of us have agreed to an implicit trade-off: We’ll put up with the impositions of big government because we are getting something essential out of the deal. Freedom is not a zero sum game. And you know, some of us might not even think that paying high taxes to support a robust safety net for those less fortunate is the worst thing that ever happened. We might even pride ourselves on it.

I grew up in rural Missouri and now I live just north of the Bronx, and in all ways that count (to me) there is more freedom here. People are less rigidly conformist here. You can wear mismatched shoes and a cone on our head without starting a riot, for example. If you are an artist of any sort you are freer to express yourself, even in outrageous ways, here. The coastal cities have long been more tolerant of homosexuality and less likely to restrict reproductive choices. There’s much more of a live and let live attitude. Yes, you put up with more crowds and bizarre parking restrictions, as well as higher living expenses, including taxes. As Leonard said, it’s a trade off.

I bring this up because I just read about a panel of Fox News “experts” who supported the police overreach in Ferguson, Missouri. This is showing their true colors. “Liberty” to the Right is defined by the values of authority figures. We are to receive as much liberty as our leaders think is good for us (and them).

And imagine the apoplexy had militarized cops gone after the Cliven Bundy militia.

As I wrote earlier this week, there are many on the Right who do seem to realize the militarization of the police force is a bad idea. Yet these same people refuse to see the racial issue. And while there are reports of gun rights groups calling for an end to the militarization of police, they don’t seem to be supporting it very loudly.

In short, the Right is just fine with Freedom as long as Freedom is defined by Authority, including Authority with military gear. They support the right to carry assault weapons to shop at Home Depot  but are not so sympathetic to unarmed black men being killed by cops or some neighborhood watch play-pretend sheriff.

True colors, I say.