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Democrats & freedom

One thing that doesn't appear to be on the agenda of Democrats these days is freedom.  When was the last time you heard a Democrat politician praise the virtues of freedom?  They promote cannabis legalization and abortion on demand, but do they couch these subjects in terms of freedom?  If cannabis legalization doesn't bring in big tax revenues, do they still favor it?  When Democrats talk abortion, they often (dishonestly) couch it in terms of "women's health" (as though it's women's health that Republicans are focused on here).  (Let's say we termed Second Amendment rights "self-defense rights."  Dems are squishy about or opposed to self-defense rights, then?  And we can make it all one-sided to ignore mass shootings, much like how Dems treat "it's her body" as an abortion debate-stopper?)

I'm keeping an eagle eye on any mentions of freedom that come from the 2020 Democrat candidates.

(Speaking of which, 4 of the top 5 Democrats based on the betting markets decided to smear Brett Kavanaugh on the basis of hazy testimony and in disregard of other sworn statements to the contrary.  I've discuss this nakedly partisan and intellectually- and morally-bankrupt ugliness previously, but I should also bring up this, which no one else seems to have noticed (which would indicate a widespread epistemological bankruptcy): Not only could the accuser(s) not provide specifics as to time and place, but no one else came forward to say what supposed party it might have been that both Ford and Kavanaugh attended.  Shouldn't that fact have jumped right out at the lawyers on the Judiciary Committee?  ffs)

The only mention of the term "freedom" from any of these candidates that I've noticed so far was from a recent speech by Sen. Sanders: Democratic socialism means freedom for working families, etc.

I'm not sure which is better: not talking about freedom at all, or using a bastardized conception of freedom (and/or a contentious conception of freedom not accepted by more than some Americans).  Sanders is quoted as saying, "There is no freedom without economic freedom."  I consider it highly doubtful that Sanders has ever sought out the strongest representatives of pro-capitalism thought that he could find, to put his notion of freedom to the dialectical test.  (Is there any politician today who's done such a not-intellectually-bankrupt thing?)  Is my own life/mind mine to dispose of (refer to the preceding link), or does 'the community' exercise a veto over that?

A number of Democrat-run states today are running amok in the tax-raising department.  (Have any Democrats cut taxes since Kennedy?  Okay, so there were tax breaks in Obama's 2009 stimulus package, but we're talking rather desperate measures there.)  Among their tax-raising schemes is "clawing back" whatever money they can from people who flee their states due to the tax burden.  Rush Limbaugh described on his radio show how the state of New York basically harrassed him for years after he bolted to Florida: "How is this freedom?" he asked.  Great question!

My distinct impression is that the main focus of Democrats is on "fairness," and on employing the mechanisms of politics to secure benefits for people.  (See Haidt for more.)  Thought or talk of freedom ends up falling by the wayside.  Is it because they really don't have any policies to offer in that regard?

Now to pondering some important value that Republicans don't speak much about (and what that reveals about their value-priorities) . . .

[Update 6/22: At today's South Carolina Democratic Convention, Kamala Harris - almost surely the most slimy of the leading 2020 Dem candidates - asked the following questions as though they should taken seriously: "We have in this White House a president who says he wants to make America great again, but what does that mean?" Harris asked the crowd. "Does that mean he wants to take us back to before schools were integrated? Does that mean he wants to take us back to before the Voting Rights Act was enacted? Does that mean he wants to take us back before the Civil Rights Act was enacted?..."  (Further along in the Kamala Harris sliminess dept., she characterized Joe Biden's statements about Dems cooperating with bad people - in this instance, southern racists - as "coddling the reputations of segregationists."  And: she refers to "[t]he senators that [Biden] is speaking of with such adoration...".  Had enough of Harris' shit yet?  It'll keep on coming....)   Meanwhile, Kirsten Gillibrand used the phrase "reproductive freedom" by which one can only assume she means the freedom to kill unborn humans (let's call this "fetus-killing freedom") since Griswold v. Connecticut (obviously the correct - libertarian - legal decision) doesn't seem in jeopardy at any time in the foreseeable future.  In any case, "reproductive freedom" is one freedom Dems seem willing to talk about, which raises the next question: How about freedom elsewhere?  Why is this seemingly the only "freedom" Dems in general - Bernie's rhetoric appealing to freedom noted above duly noted - treat as sacrosanct right now?  As might become clear at this point, when Dems do mention "freedom," they raise other questions about their grasp of the meaning of freedom.  At least Rawls put liberty first in order of lexical priority and by doing so kept that plainly separate from the egalitarian principles of his theory. [Edit: one crucial caveat is that economic liberty isn't explicitly part of Rawls' lexical scheme here.]  If Dems could cite Rawls chapter and verse (much less have a good counter to Nozick/Rand) they might be considerably more formidable against their political opponents - but they have squandered those intellectual potentials for the sake of their political agenda (making them that much less effective in the latter!).  In all their hubris - aided and abetted by a quasi-incestuous left-dominated academic culture - they would have us believe that it's only Republicans who do this....]

[Update #2: To aid in the "eagle eye on any Dem mentions of freedom," I'll set up google search links here for the top 10 or so Dem candidates so that we can see the contexts in which they mention it: Biden; Booker; Buttigieg; Gabbard; Gillibrand; Harris; Klobuchar; O'Rourke; Sanders; Warren; Yang.  It appears that Buttigieg - the candidate who impresses me so far as the least idiotic and corrupt of the bunch - is talking the most about freedom but largely in what I term the bastardized leftist sense....]


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