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View Diary: What We Learned from the Wisconsin Recalls, Or Why the Left Needs to Own the Word "Freedom" (34 comments)

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  •  I hear you. But to me it sounds like surrender (3+ / 0-)
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    rosarugosa, Tonedevil, non acquiescer

    Obamacare really provides freedom to quit your job and become an entrepreneur, even if you have pre-existing conditions. Our current "free market" health care system mandates that we have to stick with a bad job if it provides benefits.  It also means that all of us with insurance pay for uninsured people who use the ER.  We have no freedom or choice in the matter.  We have to subsidize them with higher premiums.  With Obamacare, we make those free riders take personal responsibility, which frees us from that burden.

    My point is that only the independently wealthy are free. The rest of us have a boss.  The government is the only thing standing between us and our boss.  Less government means more boss control, not more independence.  

    I think this is really an important point for us on the left to make.

    Also, I think Bloomberg is currently a Republican, not a Dem.

    "Without faith we cannot move, without science we cannot see." -Albert Einstein

    by quiet is the new loud on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 10:48:40 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  The outcry from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quiet is the new loud

      that Bloomberg drink thing has come more from the right, because it resonates with conservatives and libertarians -- the notion that the government should stay out of your life.  

      Do you really think that you can sell the ACA -- which provides not only a mandate as to buying insurance, but specifies exactly what kind of policy you have to buy, with what kind of coverage -- can be sold as "freedom"?  It may have good points overall, but it's clearly not "freedom."

      What you are saying is that  not having as much money as you want or need means you have no "freedom."  Americans have never, never, associated "freedom" with the balance in your bank account.  Instead, American notions of "freedom" are that the government DOESN'T treat you differently based on your bank account.  Differences in what you can, or cannot, buy based on the amount of money you earn have always been part of our system, and I don't think you will sell those as a lack of "freedom."  Most Americans believe that  people's decisions often play a large role in how much money they have -- that's the basis of our system.  The choices people make about education, about when they have children, about what training they get, about what kinds of work they are, or are not, willing to do -- all of these may not be totally determinative, but they affect what people can, and do, earn.  I think that most Americans equate that with freedom -- freedom to make choices, good or bad, that affect your life.  It's why most Americans are willing to see help go to people for whom such choices were impossible - like the disabled, for example, or children born into dire circumstances -- and less willing to see aid go to people whose situation in life is at least in part the result of their choices.  It's why the notion of drug-testing people for "welfare" benefits, which may make little sense economically or practically, has an emotional appeal for some people.

      I am in no way suggesting that Americans believe everyone can become a Billionaire.  But I think most Americans like the notion that their own choices contribute some to their lives -- in both a positive and negative way.  That's what they call "freedom," I think -- the ability to make good and bad decisions, and live with the consequences of those.  

      Now, it is perfectly legitimate to say that government needs to help those who have made bad choices in life -- doing poorly in school, or dropping out of school, having children as a teenager, becoming involved in illegal activities, or even choosing a profession or trade that is not marketable or pays little.  But if the government provides aid to people I don't see how you can label that "freedom."  Most people do not think of "freedom" as something that the government provides to you.   And, because most government benefits come with strings, most people view it as trading a loss of freedom in exchange for some benefit from the government.  

      If you want to rewrite freedom to mean, "the government provides a benefit to you," I just don't think that will sell.  I don't see the words "freedom" and "the government provides" as working together, given the ingrained notion that freedom generally means freedom FROM government intrusion.  

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