Losing Freedoms?

One of the catch phrases used often recently by conservatives and especially the far right extremists is that they’re upset, or they’re demonstrating and attacking the Capitol, because they’re losing freedoms. But what exactly do they mean?

Cliven Bundy, who provoked an armed standoff between the BLM and armed militia types several years ago, raised that claim again this past week. What freedoms did Bundy fear losing? The BLM attempted to confiscate his cattle because Bundy had over a million dollars in unpaid grazing fees over 21 years. Bundy clearly wants the “freedom” to graze his cattle on federal land without paying for it. And the Trump Administration has continued to allow Bundy to graze federal lands without payment while claims and counter-claims clog the courts. So the taxpayers continue to fund Bundy’s grazing. No wonder he doesn’t want to lose that “freedom.”

Trump recently pardoned Phil Lyman, who wanted the freedom to ride his ATV anywhere he wanted, including in roadless areas and protected fragile archeological sites. Lyman was sentenced to jail and fined over $90,000 for the damage caused by the “protest” ATV ride he personally led. He was also subsequently elected to the state legislature, which indicates he has a number of constituents who favor those kinds of “freedom.”

The white supremacists are another group protesting the “loss of freedoms,” presumably, from their pronouncements and actions, the freedom to discriminate against minorities, immigrants, and women.

Quite a number of businesses, large and small, protest against government regulations because such regulations restrict their freedom to operate. Yes, they do. Environmental regulations restrict the ability to pollute air, water, and ground, and they do so because pollution restricts the freedom of the rest of the nation to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and to live on land not filled with toxic chemicals. OSHA rules restrict the “freedom” of businesses to engage in practices that endanger employees and the public. The FDA restricts the “freedom” of food suppliers/producers to sell cheaper foods that could be harmful to consumers.

And, of course, Trump insists on the freedom to incite others to violence and to support throwing out the results of an honest election.

All too often, such “freedoms” are the ability to oppress or injure others, and those who support them are disingenuous or hypocritical… if not both, a fact that far too many Republicans ignore in one way or another.

6 thoughts on “Losing Freedoms?”

  1. Loretta Kasza says:

    I am so glad to see you posting again.

  2. Christopher Robin says:

    Liberty is now interpreted as “I get to do whatever I want” and no longer means “I have a responsibility to others.” This is, of course, an overgeneralization but it seems that people who resist wearing masks, refuse to acknowledge the threat of the corona virus, and selectively choose what laws others should adhere to while they get to ignore inconvenient ones aren’t actually talking about liberty.

  3. Tom says:

    Part of a course at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego.



    In part …

    Society enables us to order our perceptions, and it allows us to make sense of the world at large. Our most basic processes of rationalization, communication, and interaction are molded by society and behavioral fine tuning. Aristotle contended that, as a political animal, man could not exist without society, that without it he would cease to be human. However, even with society so deeply tied to who we are as people we recognize freedom as a departure from these ties and celebrate its principle. ….

    I contend that the problem with the world’s societies or nations is not our individual desire for “freedom”, but seeking our specific “freedom” while neglecting our (natural) responsibility to other citizens. Increasing your opportunities to make a mess of your life doesn’t increase your freedom in any meaningful sense. Crowd psychology is insufficient excuse for our behavior.

  4. John Mai says:

    It seems to me that true and unrestricted freedom would be indistinguishable from anarchy.

  5. Ryan Jackson says:

    People have never wanted equality or justice. I think you point it out in Fall of Angels that civilization doesn’t lead to fairer or better people, but that the presence of more comforts and ease of acquiring basic needs means that the greedy, corrupt and legitimately evil aren’t as likely to hurt people in the process of getting what they want.

  6. Hanneke says:

    It seems to me that people yell the loudest when they might lose an unfair and unearned advantage.
    Maybe, having never been in a completely fair competition on this aspect of their lives, they fear not being able to win it?
    Real freedoms they tend to give up without much of a qualm, in return for (unrealistic) promises of safety, promises to defend the present unequal status quo, or even in return for a little bit of convenience or comfort.

    And then there is the spitefulness (or vindictiveness for perceived slights/injustices) of wanting to see others suffer more, even if it means I have to suffer a little too; instead of wanting to improve life a bit for ordinary people, if that means the lives of others could improve a bit more than mine.

    Together they have skewed politics very far from “government by the people, for the people”.

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