Home > rhetoric > Give me liberty or give me Democrats!

Give me liberty or give me Democrats!

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

No, the headline doesn’t make any sense, but neither does the topic.

On Election Day, I saw a Tea Party bumper sticker that said “Liberty lost is lost forever.” That puzzled me on so many levels. This blog’s namesake philosopher wrote the book on liberty. Literally — Mill wrote the book On Liberty. And it’s hard to picture him hanging out with the Tea Party.

First of all, history is full of instances of liberty being regained (some debatable, some not):

– France 1944-45, Nazis repelled

– England 1646: Cromwell overthrows the King

– England 1660: Monarchy restored, ending Cromwell family experiment

– Germany 1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the end of the Iron Curtain, proof that liberty isn’t always restored with bloodshed.

– USA 1933: Prohibition repealed

That’s not a comprehensive list, of course, but it gives some idea of the diverse means and ends in which liberty is restored.

But of course, this begs the larger question: What “liberty” is so imperiled today? Health insurers’ freedom from regulation? Hard to see Patrick Henry taking his inspiration from that.

Yes, government spending has gone up over the past 10 years, thanks to two wars and various stimulus/bailout packages. And yet we’ve had tax cuts as part of the stimulus.

All that spending can make us worry about the deficit. But if you’re worried about “deficit,” say “deficit.” Otherwise, what you’re doing is the equivalent of complaining to your landlord about the heat when you really mean the water. And in most cases, the heat is not lost forever.

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