American Liberty, But… How to Sell Progressivism

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Drawing on their boundless linguistic ingenuity, the British have worked out a neat little trick to take the edge off when endorsing restrictions on individual liberty. “I believe in freedom of speech,” members of parliament or representatives of advocacy groups will say with real poise. And then they will add the word “but” and explain disjointedly why they don’t. For some inexplicable reason, this is startlingly effective. Human ears, it seems, couch the truthful second statement in the more people-pleasing first. The preamble to the “but” makes what follows all the more persuasive, even when the statements are contradictory. It’s quite brilliant.

    In practicing this nasty little maneuver, a distant cousin of the false dilemma, speakers drape themselves in the politically desirable cloak of moderation. And faux moderation is better than none at all. Even in the Britain of 2013, one can’t come straight out and say, “I think people should be imprisoned for saying things that I consider unacceptable.” Instead, one must display at least cosmetic fealty to the principles of liberty before one promises to undermine them entirely in practice.

    Apparently, The Trick has now found its way across the Atlantic. Witness yesterday’s inaugural speech, in which President Obama regularly lionized the Republic’s axiological philosophical principles just moments before articulating his own, antithetical, ideology. A lovely example:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/338423/american-liberty-charles-c-w-cooke
     
    #1 Revmitchell, Jan 23, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2013
  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    "But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action."
     

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