One of the most popular tactics of authoritarians is to re-imagine “freedom” as a risk-free existence where the state will keep you forever “safe.” Take this Slate piece by Mark Joseph Stern, who offers an extraordinarily illiberal and muddled comprehension of individual liberty — if we’re working from the Enlightenment definition. He leans heavily on appeals to emotion (fear, in this case) and a utopianism that’s produced a million terrible ideas. “America must not value the liberty to own a gun over the liberty to live free from violence,” explains the subhead.
Well, let’s try this thought out in various forms and see how it fits:
“America must not value the liberty of free speech over the liberty to live free from violence.”
“America must not value the liberty of having a fair trial over the liberty to live free from violence.”
Not soon after I typed the lines above, it hit me that all of these formulations have been used by progressive Democrats in only the past couple of weeks.