In the middle of working on another posting, but I thought I'd post this short piece.
Republicans often invoke their love of freedom and liberty, with the implication that Democrats would impair those wonderful American characteristics. In practice, they tend to be slippery concepts.
Jim owns his own house--or rather, he has a mortgage on it. He lives in a small town in which the economy has been flat for a while, so selling the house might be difficult. One of his children has asthma, and another has a birth defect, although his children's medical costs are helped by SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program). He has worked all his adult life in the coal mine near his town. The mine is not unionized, and what raises he has received in the last ten years have not been as high as the inflation rate, so he is falling behind. But at least the mine has a good safety record, thanks to government regulators, and the mine cleaned up its act after being fined by the EPA, so the water is cleaner where Jim likes to fish. Both of Jim's parents are retired, but Jim does not have to support them, because they are doing okay on Social Security and Medicare. Jim attends church service every Sunday. Jim is free to vote, and he always votes Republican, because those Democrats are just a bunch of socialists.
Is Jim free? Does he have liberty?
Roger owns the coal mine in which Jim works. The government is always restricting his freedom by telling him how to run his mine. It made him install new safety equipment and undertake certain procedures to cut down on the risk of coal dust explosions. It told him that he was polluting some local streams, fined him and made him change his practices so that pollution would be reduced. But due at least partly to his ability to keep wages down, Roger was able to take home $5.1 million in profits last year. But without those damn government regulations he would have made $5.5 million. Roger attends church service every Sunday. Roger is free to vote, and he always votes Republican, because those Democrats will always try to take away his freedom and liberty.
Is Roger free? Does he have liberty?
Discuss. I expect to be lectured that I don't really know what freedom and liberty are about.