What's Freedom?

So. Freedom. Or, “Freedom” if you’re nasty.

Setting aside the structure and process of gov’t stuff for the none, my pithily-expressed understanding of the Constitution’s expression of the rights citizens shall enjoy is “the gov’t doesn’t get to be an asshole”, and for purposes of this post “asshole” means that in absence of a crime being committed, the gov’t’s officers and agents may not slap around or invade the privacy of nor limit the expression of, the citizens.

As I am not a constitutional scholar, I’m not trying to argue the fine points here, so let’s roll with this citizen’s understanding, OK? OK. Thanks, you’re a champ.

It’s my impression that a lot of folks believe that the Constitution guarantees “freedom” for American citizens. Some would argue that that “freedom” includes not-yet born citizens. Apparently, with decisions like Dobbs being issued by the Roberts Court, the majority of the Court agrees.

As a person who likes freedom as opposed to “freedom”, this should chill you to your bones. For the first time ever, the Court has removed an established human right from the citizenry, setting up not only a situation where what human rights a citizen has varies state to state, but a situation where persons who can get pregnant have fewer rights than a corpse.

Similarly, since we’re talking about freedom, let’s look at that Best Beloved of originalist Constitutional scholars, the Right To Bear Nuclear Aircraft Carriers. The Roberts Court has also dramatically changed the landscape of present and future gun regulation, presumably to make citizens more free.

But what freedom are we talking about here? Who is free? In what ways? To do what?

Free to be born? … Humans are born and not born all the time, this doesn’t seem particularly remarkable in itself? I mean, there are a lot of people on the planet and that number seems to only go up, no matter what we do.

Free to always have a weapon at hand ready to defend the Republic against the tyranny that might be hiding under that bush right there?! My god! Be careful! It almost got you! Lucky for you, Dudley Danger-To-Himself-And-Others was there to shoot himself in the foot, kill a child bystander, fail to stop you from being shot, and finally be himself killed by the cops who made sure they were safe by killing all the people they could see holding guns.


And granting these “freedoms” has no negative impact on the freedoms of others, right? Well, um, ur, actually, yes yes they do and they are so obvious that the Court’s majority opinions in these cases are farcical on their faces.

Fetuses aren’t people. If you want to argue that with me, well, you can wail into the uncaring night about it. You’re wrong.

Dobbs removes a pre-existing freedom from any person who lives in a state that decides to do so. Those people are less free than they were before this decision, when, under the pre-existing circumstances, all actual humans got to exercise choice, being free to effect their own outcomes in consultation with whoever they want to consult with because it’s their choice, not the State’s.

Similarly, the Court’s decision in Heller, a decision roughly equivalent to handing a toddler a live hand grenade, and subsequent related farces previously mentioned, remove such freedoms as that of everyone to be safe from out-of-spec orifices blooming in our bodies unexpectedly, or to send our kids to school with less wondering if they’ll come home alive, and the freedom to make that ice cream run without becoming the cleanup job in the dairy isle.

“But but the Constitution! Enumerated rights are the only ones that exist!” If this were the case I am sad to inform you that you have no right to water, shelter, food, air travel, pet ownership or newspaper subscriptions. Since I don’t think the framers meant us to be born naked only to die from starvation and exposure while snuggling our baby shower AR-15, maybe we could embrace the notion of unenumerated rights that follow naturally from the guidance framed in the Constitution?

Ya know, like has been exactly done for a very long time.

And this is where I’m really troubled. All of this above has me thinking uncomfortably about how comfortable folks are with fascism. Most especially when they believe that a gigantic government’s deep invasion of privacy and freedoms serves their wanted outcomes and doesn’t effect them. Because, of course, since they are doing nothing wrong they have nothing to fear from the massive government necessary to keep up with all the uteruses in the country 24x7x365.

But fascism never stops at the sweet spot envisioned by these folks. Fascism always grows, feeding its own power for its own sake to benefit the people holding the reins. American society is standing in the doorway of this hallway to the abattoir.

And I wish the folks who want to be always ready to shoot someone and force their choice on every uterus-carrying person regarding what they must carry would all consider that they might not like late-stage Nazism, would accept that some things that make them uncomfortable can be borne in order for us all to be freer.

But until then, they’ll keep yelling “FREEDOM!!!” and I’ll keep saying …


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