Posts Tagged Freedom

Dangerous Convictions: Dogmatism versus Empiricism

I caught some of this on C-Span over the weekend.  Nice catch to the folk at Winning Progressive for summarizing Allen’s perspective.

The root of the problem, Allen argues, lies in what the media routinely ignore: those statements made by members of Congress as they declare why they will support this policy or oppose that one.

Allen knew his public statements were straightforward expressions of his reasons. He believed most of his Democratic colleagues also said what they truly believed when they spoke about public issues. But what of Republicans? Time and again he asked his fellow Democrats: “Do they really believe what they say?”

The answer, Allen came to recognize, was “Yes, Republicans really do believe what they say” … even when what they say is demonstrably, empirically false.

Why is that?

Allen argues that Republicans argue from principles, and when facts contradict their principles the facts must be wrong. What’s more, Allen writes, Republicans reject the possibility that Democrats might argue from facts. Instead, Republicans presume that Democrats argue from opposing principles, hence their claims President Obama and Democrats are “socialists” whose response to any problem is “more government” and “less freedom.”

In the past I’ve touched on similar concepts.  The problem is a fundamental disconnect in the way the two parties view the world.  Republicans for example see government only in terms of bigger and smaller, not in terms of better or more effective.

A key divide is between negative liberty and positive liberty:

In the Republican worldview, “freedom” means only negative liberty: the absence of interference from others. That worldview dismisses positive liberty: the presence of opportunities and resources to fulfill one’s own potential.

John McGowan’s book American Liberalism talks about the idea that government is a necessary agent of freedom – government facilitates greater freedom.  The expansion of government doesn’t negate the expansion of freedom.  That’s positive liberty; the Republican view is based on the idea that if government passes a new law, we are all less free.  Anti-discrimination laws mean people’s freedom has been curtailed.  Arguments against the Affordable Care Act’s component on birth control made more sense when seen in this light.

WP is going to be exploring Allen’s view further so watch for updates.  Read the whole thing, it’s worth your time.

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Rick Santorum Calls For Regulating the Internet and Believes Freedom Should be Limited

GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a freedom problem. He says there is too much freedom on the Internet and it should be regulated. He was the only candidate that did not take a strong stand against SOPA and PIPA and called for regulating the Internet and said freedom should be limited. He called those that want limited government “radical individualism”. Rick Santorum is no conservative. Don’t be fooled by this authoritarian masquerading as a conservative.

“They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.

That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I’m aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.”

- Rick Santorum

See also Rick Santorum is tired of you people wanting the government to leave you alone on Hot Air.

Freedom is limited and Internet should be regulated

Santorum defends SOPA

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What Ails Us at Christmas Time?

Christmas is fast approaching and I am pleased to say my shopping is done and courtesy of several online retailers I have successfully avoided the stores.

Truth be told I get morose around the holidays.  Christmas seems to me to be neither a convincing religious holiday nor a pleasurable secular one and the societal “script” feels as if we’re supposed to be happy even if happy is the last thing we feel like being.  Between the conservative Christians whining that there’s a war on Christmas and that people are trying to prevent them from enjoying their religious festivities and the relentless drumbeat of corporate America trying to convince the rest of us we should bankrupt ourselves in a quest to buy the perfect present, the season seems more dreary than joyous. Read the rest of this entry »

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