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.

14 thoughts on “True Colors

  1. I’ve always thought the rights problem was that they have defined every single policy of theirs as freedom while completely disregarding the reasons freedom is a good. We have free speech so that no idea on how to best build a society can be crushed, but when we declare that only one policy can possibly be considered free we remove any good that can come from free speech. Take global warming for example, we know that we need to reduce carbon emissions, but in doing so we trample on the freedom of certain individuals to extract profit. Nevermind that we cause irreparable harm to society by doing so. There is no fucking point in having the freedom to exchange ideas and choose your government if any changes to the status quo are deemed anti-freedom and thus unconstitutional.

  2. Conservatism is (and has always and only been, in every time and place) the proposition that there should be in groups and out groups. The in groups are protected by the law but not bound by it; the out groups are bound by the law but not protected by it.

    Thus it attracts parochial-minded tribalists who want to maximize “freedom” for their in group, and simply don’t care about anyone else.

  3. Projection.
    That’s about all our Reich-Wing has to offer, nowadays.

    They are Christian Theocratic Fascists, who throw around words like “liberty,” ‘”freedom,” and “democracy,” “free speech,” and “religious freedom,” to confuse and confound their rubes into thinking that they’re not also Christian Theocratic Fascists, but patriots.

    They are not patriots.
    They are not real Americans.
    They are Christian Theocratic Fascists.

    “1984” and “A Handmaid’s Tale,” are their user’s manuals.

    FSM forbid they get in power, as they’re currently constituted.
    Ike was ok – but every Republican President since him, has been worse than the last one.

  4. “a panel of Fox News “experts””

    Haha that’s a good one, using fox news and experts in the same sentence! The only thing FAUX is expert in is mis-information and racist code!

  5. “Yet these same people refuse to see the racial issue”

    The problem with these folks is they cannot acknowledge racism exists. To them the substandard treatment of minorities by police and the justice system in general is the minority communities own doing. The racism is so engrained in these people they can’t acknowledge it, they are not racists just because they feel the minority community is inferior. That is how hopeless many of them are?

  6. c u n d gulag, I beg to differ. Those people are so far from conservative OR Christian as to make the label nonsensical. They are fundamentalist ideological radicals (or radical fundamentalist ideologues, your choice).

    I am an agnostic conservative liberal, myself…

  7. Righties in general have a very adolescent idea of freedom. They’re all about individual freedom (so are teenagers, trying to become independent from their parents), but are oblivious to the fact that we all surrender freedoms to enjoy greater freedoms as part of a group.

    We surrender many freedoms, temporarily, when we join a checkout line at a store, in order to buy goods at the store. Our membership in this group ends when the transaction is over, and we move on through. The store hires security guards, in part, to protect the cashiers from behavior that’s not allowed.

    We surrender the freedom to drive willy-nilly down the highway, and actually pay police to enforce this loss of freedom, in order to gain the freedom to not have to drive so defensively and risk getting killed on the highway.

    When we marry, we surrender the freedoms of a single person, and gain other freedoms as a member of a committed couple.

    Righties are the ones who are willing to surrender many freedoms to an authority figure, to gain more freedom. They gain the kind of freedoms that go with being a part of a cult: there’s a sense of safety in the group, with an all powerful authority figure to protect you, as well as freedom from confusion from disturbing ideas or behaviors. Implicitly or explicitly, you don’t have to be responsible for your life’s choices, as it’s all laid out in the cult’s rules.

    For most of us, being in a cult is way too confining, and we’re not bothered by confusing ideas or the ambiguities of life, and we’ve long outgrown the need for daddy to direct us, and so the right wing definition of freedom (really, cult membership) is juvenile.

  8. It’s called promoting the general welfare. “Constitutional conservatives” never mention it, of course, but the phrase “general welfare” does occur twice in the Constitution. Liberals operate under the idea that government not only does things to you, it can also do things for you. And no, we’re not children, so we recognize that we have to pay for it.

  9. Freedom includes responsibility to ensure that everyone has the same freedom, and that my actions do not infringe on another’s freedom. Regulation is the codification of those actions that are potential infringements, and usually includes consequences for the infringing actions. Some regulation is blanket prevention by prohibition (e.g., traffic laws, where no potential harm need be shown, only breaking of a written rule), and other is targeted (victim/regulator must prove actual harm).

    What the right wing wants is license. Interestingly, in general the right wing are just fine with blanket regulation, but balk at targeted regulation.

    Mike G put it succinctly: “The in groups are protected by the law but not bound by it; the out groups are bound by the law but not protected by it.”

    Racism [sexism, fundamentalism, etc.] is the explicit self-admission of worthlessness and self-doubt. The _____ist admits by his/her actions that s/he cannot compete on a level playing field with “them,” and thus must use culture and government to skew the field to remove potential competitors.

  10. _I_ think (he snarked) that cop/judge/jury/executioner Darren Wilson was completely within the law when he shot Michael Brown six times; for Brown was clearly guilty of these six capital felonies:

    Felony negritude, of course
    Felony youth
    Felony maleness
    Felony unarmament
    Felony innocence
    and worst of all:
    Felony surrender

    Six felonies, six bullets. Completely fair.

    (snark off)

  11. Judging by their agenda and their responses to events like this, “conservatives,” are much more concerned about property rights rather than civil rights. It always remains unspoken, but, painfully obvious, that to many on the right, freedom is basically a commodity, to be purchased according to your means, as is participation in decision making, and government.

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