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.

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