I’ve been thinking about the “Liberate State” movement and the part that I find most fascinating about is the incorporation of liberty & freedom as the core principles for their activism. Here’s why…
The Positive Liberty being called for is the freedom to live their life the way they want it – go shopping, get their hair cut, eat at restaurants… live the life they’ve built on core American freedoms.
The Negative Liberty being called for is freedom from the constraints that have been placed on them. These constraints have been perceived as the enemy and not Covid-19 itself. In short, the protestors feel like they’re being forced to live an unAmerican life and that’s not alright in their eyes.
I get that but haven’t we already been living under constraints our entire lives? Just because we like a constraint and incorporate it into our life doesn’t mean it’s not a constraint.
Socializing with friends at home instead of at a bar isn’t a loss of freedom, it’s a change of context. Doing different things with your time than before isn’t a loss of freedom, it’s a change of context. Context is a cage and a cage is a cage no matter what you call it.
Furthermore, the bulk of the protestors are Republican and supporters of Donald Trump – the person who is ultimately responsible for the constraints. The protestors are not directing their efforts at Trump or the federal government but directing efforts at state and local entities.
This is where the usage of the term “Liberate” by Donald Trump himself is fascinating. It appears he is telling his base to undermine the entities under Trump all in the name of freedom, but what is the logical conclusion to all this?
If state and local entities are undermined, that would strengthen the control and enlarge the powers of Trump (and any future President!) over the nation. This is intensely ironic given the platform of Republican politics is built primarily on Positive Liberty.
The movement wants to be “liberated” from perceived unAmerican forces, but where else does the effort of undermining local and state entities lead other than an ultimate force, an inherently unAmerican idea?
This is why I find the usage of “Liberate” fascinating. It’s true Orwellian Doublespeak in that the actions demanded by the movement are to return to a cultural cage of their own making in a way that advances authoritarian principles. The conclusions of the movement are anything but liberating for Americans.
I will conclude with one of my favorite quotes by George Bernard Shaw, “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”