Thursday, July 14, 2011

Negative liberties and negative government

For progressives, talk of negative liberties and government is nothing new.

You may have heard Obama's complaint about the constitution. This audio was recorded in 2001, you can find that here. And make no mistake, this audio is a complaint. It says what "the states can't do to you", describing this.

One of the first audio clips I did was from a book titled "Philip Dru, Administrator". (audiobook) (text) As a primer into progressivism, this book is a pretty good place to start. If you've just listened to what Obama said regarding the constitution, looking at the table of contents for Philip Dru you may not help but notice that chapter 39 is "negative government".

Much has been written about the closeness of House and Wilson,(then and now) so I don't need to go into much detail about it. But it's worth noting that while negative government is in the book Dru, it also appears in one of Wilson's speeches.(that I know of) (The New Freedom, part 12) (audio file of that speech)

Barack Obama in 1912
Barack Obama in 1912 part 2

It is worth examining the difference though. In Wilson's day, government largely left people alone. It didn't coerce them the way it does today. So for the revolutionary progressives of the early 20th century, the entire government was a problem. For Obama and today's progressives, the constitution is the problem - it's the only thing left that stands in their way.

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