Misunderstanding American Freedom

Misunderstanding American Freedom

“The idea of freedom can be misunderstood in a variety of ways…
 
The ‘liberal’ misunderstanding of American freedom, in short, is when freedom – or liberty – is confused with license. License to do anything at any time is not what the founders had in mind when they were talking about freedom…Not long after 9/11, a panelist on a major talk show expressed genuine anger at the Taliban and those who had attacked the United States. She said that as a response to their terrorist attacks, she wished our American planes would drop blow-up sex dolls and Pamela Anderson videos over the Taliban…As far as she was concerned, that would hit those bearded patriarchal bigots where they lived. She seemed to think that American freedom was principally about having no sexual limits, about the throwing off of all ‘oppression’ and, most important, sexual oppression – or repression. It was a classically Freudian idea of the problem at the center of human life, and as far as she was concerned, that was what our American freedom existed to wipe out.
 
…[The] ‘conservative’ misunderstanding of freedom is linked to the false idea that the free market will by itself lead to all kinds of freedoms, which is similarly misguided. This is not to say that the free market is not a good thing, or to say that it cannot take a society a long way in the direction of other kinds of freedoms…The free market is amoral. It delivers what people want, so if the desires of the people are good desires, good things will come. But if the people want better and cheaper pornography and better and cheaper drugs, the free market will oblige. It has no moral compunctions about doing so. If people want what is good, the market will deliver that, but no one can force them to ‘want’ what is good.”
 
If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (38-45) by Eric Metaxas.
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