The Corner

Freedom For All

JPod- I think your emailer is basically right. But let’s keep in mind lots of people use “freedom” as a stand-in for “not being treated unfairly or unjustly.” How many popmpous college kids talk about “freedom” when they really mean “I don’t want to be required to take math”?

Also, the idea of freedom as a personal concept as opposed to a collective one is fairly recent, historically. When Mel Gibson gets disemboweled at the end of Braveheart in the name of “freedom,” he wasn’t talking about individual liberty. He was talking about letting the Scots determine their own illiberal laws consistent with their own culture and tradition. Woodrow Wilson’s “self-determination” was a collective one (Serbs, Poles etc), not an individual one. Lord knows Wilson didn’t care much about civil liberties.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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