Freedom or Liberty? Political Rant

Got in a minor dispute with a guy over the distinction between these two things. He insists that the Republican Party stands for freedom. I suggested that what he really meant was liberty. I tried to explain that freedom is intangible, unenforceable, personal, more a philosophical principle or even a feeling than anything that can be represented by a political party. Liberty is the guarantee of rights under the law; it’s the law setting forth what “freedoms” human’s can depend on based on their government. “Freedom of” in other words, or “Freedom to” and “Freedom from.”

The guy in question harbors the belief that the Democrats want to take away peoples’ freedom and has the belief that the Republicans want to preserve it. That said, he’s crossing party lines in the upcoming election as a lot of us are. For me it won’t be the first time. The points he makes in the blog post to which I responded were good and it was interesting to read another perspective.


His point was that Republicans who continue to vote Republican based on the “Pro-life” thing are icky. IMO, any thinking person KNOWS no one is “pro” abortion and “anti” life. Those two positions are sociopathic and contradict the prime directive of any species.

Even the Declaration of Independence, a passionate plea for freedom from British rule, doesn’t claim any other freedom for the colonists. It claims that the Creator has endowed humanity with RIGHTS. Liberty.

I think one of the biggest obstacles to our liberty is marketing. “Pro-life” — people believe that stupid phrase and imagine (in their over-simplistic brains) that anyone who is opposed to their position is “anti-life.” Mao was a master at this kind of marketing as was Hitler. (See inspiring slogan above.)

One of the things that turned me off to Obama (whom I ended up liking as a president) was his stupid, facile campaign slogan, “Hope and Change.” What does that MEAN???? It doesn’t mean anything, but boy who’s NOT going to get behind “hope”? And, in the midst of a hopeless war and crashing economy who’s going imagine that change could EVER be for the worse? “Black Lives Matter?” The counter point, “All Lives Matter” — slogans, marketing, jingoism. Do the lives of people matter? That, IMO, has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, depending on their actions and the law.

BUT should African American people be treated unequally under the law, their liberties violated? Absolutely not. I’ve been shocked by a lot of stuff during this social upheaval, but what’s shocked me the most is that anyone believes African American people are less than whites.

The other side of the Liberty coin is Justice. Without equal enforcement of laws and a functioning reliable equally balanced system of justice (and yes, a blind goddess who cannot see externals) Liberty is in danger.

Having lived through the long travail of the Civil Rights movement and still here now (by the grace of God) I see the difference. One was fighting for civil rights, equal treatment under the law. That is rational. The quest was difficult, painful, often violent, but the leadership was also (IMO) wise and determined. Our current upheaval is less response than angered reaction to the reality that that earlier event was not fully successful and that a lot of shady business and legislation kept The Dream from being realized. It’s STILL the Civil Rights Movement. I believe it seeks police reform and social reform. Are those good goals? Yes, but damn, it’s been hard to see that in all the marketing, all the noise. “Defund the Police”? No. Change it. Move toward Justice.

Dickwad, I mean President Trump has thrown that word “freedom” around like cheap change since his campaign began in 2015. Any notion of freedom within a society implies responsibility. It does NOT mean, it cannot mean, “Doing whatever the fuck you want.” A person who doesn’t “believe” in the virus SHOULD have enough respect for his/her fellow men not to intentionally try to infect them by coughing on them (for example). The right to bear arms doesn’t mean the freedom to shoot up schools or form one’s idiot political allies into a vigilante army and go out after people who are not like you. All this individual and personal responsibility seems to have taken a big hit under Dickwad Trump. That Democrats seem to have the desire to restrain some of the random fierce and vile motives of our lesser angels could look to a lot of people like the desire to abridge our “freedom.”

But what kind of freedom do hundreds of thousands of people on the West Coast have right now with fire everywhere, a virus floating around, and a dickwad who tells them to sweep the forest?

20 thoughts on “Freedom or Liberty? Political Rant

  1. Martha you are brilliant and I can’t agree more. Too bad I can only “like” this post. I had missed the sweep the forest comments until a couple days ago when my mother sent me a link. It was a forehead slapping moment – is he really that stupid? And of course the question is rhetorical. I want to take back the word Liberal because it isn’t a dirty word.

  2. Freedom and liberty are so similar I don’t bother arguing over the distinction. Like the difference between “naked” and “nude.” Too subtle for most people and it kind of depends on what you grew up with.

    • No, in fact it doesn’t depend on “what you grew up with.” The distinction is clear and obvious to anyone who thinks about it. The difference between “naked” and “nude” is in the eye of the beholder. The difference between unqualified “freedom” and liberty is objective and concrete. Whether it’s too subtle for most people I can’t say and find irrelevant even if it’s true.

  3. Excellent post, Martha. Rant or not, it all needs to be said. Your summary of what “freedom” means triggered a very old memory. In grade school, snotty kids would be mean and nasty – and when challenged they would answer “Free Country! I Can Do/Say Whatever I Want!” That “logic” never made sense to me, even at the time.
    Maybe those kids grew up to vote for…oh never mind.

  4. I have always been amazed and appalled that “pro-life” seems to refer primarily to the period before birth. I have trouble understanding how anyone can be “pro-life” and pro-war, or “pro-life” and oppose workers’ right to a safe workplace, or “pro-life” and opposed to wearing a mask to protect the lives of those around you. It is also hard to understand how one can be “pro-life” and oppose birth control and services to expectant mothers and families with young children. On the other hand, it is easier to understand how one can be pro-life and pro-choice. The right seems to control the language in this country. I have always considered the “pro-life” movement to be more accurately termed “anti-choice”, since it encompasses such a limited view of life.

    • I agree. “Anti-choice” is really what they are. I also agree that the Right controls the language in this country. The Left seems to me to be constantly on the defensive. NEITHER of the major parties makes much sense to me. Terms like “Green New Deal” don’t say anything to most people and so are easily bashed by the “opponents.” I guess the big problem is that people gravitate toward slogans.

  5. I love you even more now! Saw a great sign locating at the NH State Liquor Store near me today. The sign was the “masks are required” and next to it: “No shirt, No shoes, no service.”
    Here is hoping a whole lot of people stand up to the angry crowds and vote. We are seeing Biden signs being defaced or removed. Anger coming from the top I am afraid. On another note, hoping to get back into water colour when things settle down. You are inspiring me.

    • You made my day. ❤ Around here, people aren't putting up Biden signs which doesn't mean they're not voting for Biden. This time — unlike 2016 — there are a lot of Trump signs. Since people around here usually keep their beliefs close to their chest, I view it as a sign of desperation, but then I could just be putting a good face on things. 🙂

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