Must-read @jbouie on the Republicans' Four Freedoms — freedom to control, freedom to exploit, freedom to censor, and freedom to menace.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) May 19, 2023
… You might even say that in the absence of a national leader with a coherent ideology and agenda, the actions of Republican-led states and legislatures provide the best guide to what the Republican Party wants to do and the best insight into the society it hopes to build…
… In his 1941 State of the Union address, Franklin Roosevelt said there was “nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy” and that he, along with the nation, looked forward to “a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.” Famously, those freedoms were the “freedom of speech and expression,” the “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way,” the “freedom from want” and the “freedom from fear.” Those freedoms were the guiding lights of his New Deal, and they remained the guiding lights of his administration through the trials of World War II.
There are, I think, four freedoms we can glean from the Republican program.
There is the freedom to control — to restrict the bodily autonomy of women and repress the existence of anyone who does not conform to traditional gender roles.
There is the freedom to exploit — to allow the owners of business and capital to weaken labor and take advantage of workers as they see fit.
There is the freedom to censor — to suppress ideas that challenge and threaten the ideologies of the ruling class.
And there is the freedom to menace — to carry weapons wherever you please, to brandish them in public, to turn the right of self-defense into a right to threaten other people.
Roosevelt’s four freedoms were the building blocks of a humane society — a social democratic aspiration for egalitarians then and now. These Republican freedoms are also building blocks not of a humane society but of a rigid and hierarchical one, in which you can either dominate or be dominated.