UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 9, 2009

WORD

Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society. - Thomas Jefferson

3 Comments:

Anonymous channeling Thomas Jefferson said...

Liberty from *what* is the question.

Vigilance about *what* is the question.

The American dream of freedom was always the dream of freedom from tyranny: the tyranny of the European moneypowers. America lost her mooring and drifted away from her very purpose when Americans forgot to be vigilant about economic inequality.

July 11, 2009 8:21 AM  
Anonymous channeling Tom Paine said...

The American dream of freedom was never about the freedom to grow stratospherically rich and endlessly richer at the expense of the blood, sweat, tears, and lives of the working people who built this country.

July 11, 2009 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

"Liberty" as it was understood during the Enlightenment was mainly the freedom to own enough land to be self-supporting.

As a result of feudalism + the Enclosures, only the wealthy could own land in Britain, while the common people were forced to rent and thus had few or no rights -- they could be cast into beggary and criminality by the stroke of a rich bastard's pen.

But Locke thought it was the very basis of all rights to be able to get one's own living without having to beg for permission; that without that right, there can be no others.

And, as you note, the idea of owning Everything (the basic tenet of Capitalism) is the antithesis of Lockean "freedom".

As Sir Terry Pratchett had one of his characters say (approximately) in Going Postal: "when they talk about 'freedom' and 'rights', people like Gilt mean only their freedom and rights, not anyone else's"

July 11, 2009 3:44 PM  

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