The Corner

Who Wants Freedom?

Bush’s point is not that people crave or desire or want freedom. The point is that people ARE free — that freedom is a God-given condition. As Thomas Jefferson said: “The God who made us made us free at the same time.” It’s certainly true that people don’t necessarily crave absolute liberty for anyone other than themselves, which is why people take such glee in things like smoking bans and zoning ordinances that don’t inconvenience them but impinge on the freedom of others. But I think it’s fair to say that even the most beaten-down victim of a totalitarian state has to exert energy to keep himself from speaking freely — and the fact that it takes effort to stifle free expression is the best proof that free expression is as natural to us as breathing.

Most Popular

Liberalism as Faith

The British philosopher John Gray is not someone to shy away from ‘difficult’ topics. If you are looking for a provocative long read this weekend, his new article in the Times Literary Supplement ought to be a contender. I didn’t agree with all of it (for example, I would argue that the supposedly ... Read More
Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

An Enduring Error

Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission. Fifty-one years ago, in July 1967, in response to an explosion of rioting in poor black urban neighborhoods around the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
Economy & Business

How the Constitution Limits State Taxes

Must a company have a physical presence in a state for that state to require it to collect taxes? The Supreme Court is considering that question, which has grown more important as online sales have taken off. The Competitive Enterprise Institute has submitted an excellent brief arguing that the answer is yes, at ... Read More