Small-government Freedom vs. Big-government Rights

The Weekly Sift

The issues of Reconstruction continue to animate today’s political rhetoric.


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One of the central words in conservative rhetoric is freedom. The far-right members of the House are the Freedom Caucus. Nate Silver did the math, and found that the 2012 Republican platform mentioned freedomfour times more often than the Democratic platform. At times they even push it to absurd lengths: To chide France for not supporting the invasion of Iraq, House Republicans renamed their cafeteria’s french fries “freedom fries“.

Freedom is so universally cited by conservatives that liberals often satirically suggest the explanation “because freedom” for any conservative proposal that doesn’t add up. (Wonkette: “Ben Carson will defund commie liberal colleges, because freedom.” Josh Marshall has used “Because Freedom” as a satirical headline at least twice.) Freedom, they’re suggesting, is just a buzzword conservatives throw out whenever they have no substantive justification for what they want to do.

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