For Progressive Democrats Justice Is More Important Than Freedom

From an endorsement for David Esrati, who is seeking the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 3rd District.  The endorsement, written by “The Ice Bandit,” is to appear in the DDN:

“Everyone wants to bask in the light of freedom, but few will actively fight for it.  David Esrati is one of those exceptions. … But freedom was not won or preserved by the indolent nor the frugal. And as a former Special Forces paratrooper, Esrati knows freedom will always be under assault. This is the metal from which David Esrati was forged; a conviction of what is right and the backbone to see it through.”

Political speech that begins, “freedom will always be under assault,” is generally not speech reflective of the thinking of a progressive Democrat.

The battle for “freedom,” after all, has been a battle won by Republicans, starting with Reagan. And now, we are paying for that libertarian freedom. It was the freedom to drill in deep water, the freedom to ignore regulations, that led to the huge BP oil disaster in the Gulf. It was freedom from financial restraint that caused this economic recession. It was freedom from taxes that led to our huge national debt.

I can’t see the emphasis on “freedom” as being a winning plank, appealing to Democratic primary voters — unless it is given a liberal meaning, freedom for humanity in some larger sense. FDR’s famous 1941 speech outlined a vision of a world that enjoyed four freedoms:

  • Freedom of speech and expression
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from fear

FDR’s goal was for “people everywhere in the world” to enjoy these freedoms. Right now, in this part of the world known as Ohio’s 3rd District, there are thousands of citizens who, as our economy continues to slide, have no freedom from fear and no freedom from want. Their freedoms are under assault, and the question is, how should a progressive Democrat respond?

Justice is more important than freedom. More important than fighting for freedom, is fighting for justice, because it is through justice that there is freedom — not vice versa. The endorsement statement, provided for Esrati from the “Ice Bandit,”  would be much improved if every reference to “freedom” was replaced with “justice:”

“Everyone wants to bask in the light of justice, but few will actively fight for it.  David Esrati is one of those exceptions. … But justice was not won or preserved by the indolent nor the frugal. And as a former Special Forces paratrooper, Esrati knows justice will always be under assault. This is the metal from which David Esrati was forged; a conviction of what is right and the backbone to see it through.”

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8 comments to For Progressive Democrats Justice Is More Important Than Freedom

  • Mike, I am not surprised that you believe that freedom is always under assault is not in the progressive vocabulary. Liberals may say that believe in freedom of speech and expression, but they are the authors of speech codes and political correctness. The purpose is to silence those that they disagree with. Liberals say they favor freedom of religion but their hostility towards Christians is well known.

  • Mike Bock

    Rick, you made me go back to see my exact words, which are: “Political speech that begins, ‘freedom will always be under assault,’ is generally not speech reflective of the thinking of a progressive Democrat.

    I think that statement is true. People who seem most concerned about “freedom” usually are not progressives. They are individuals who want freedom from taxes, freedom from environmental regulations, or freedom to serve whomever they please in their places of business. They are usually not saying that they are concerned that so many of the citizens of this country actually lack the four freedoms that FDR spoke of as universal rights.

    So, no, I am not saying that the term “freedom” is not in a progressive’s vocabulary. In fact, progressives should have a lot to say about freedom, about the fact that in order to have a system of freedom, we must have a system of justice, and about the fact that we lack freedom in this country, because we lack justice.

    I find it interesting that Esrati, who I thought was a progressive Democrat, would use such a Libertarian style endorsement that emphasizes fighting for freedom. The big issue in the 3rd District is not “freedom,” the big issue is “justice.”

  • john b

    Rick: “Liberals may say that believe in freedom of speech and expression, but they are the authors of speech codes and political correctness. The purpose is to silence those that they disagree with. Liberals say they favor freedom of religion but their hostility towards Christians is well known.”

    speech codes? what does that even mean? last i checked it was conservatives who demonize groups like the ACLU who consistently fight for freedom of speech for ALL groups no matter how conservative or liberal (or religious for that matter).

    does hostility towards christians mean not putting christian values ahead of other values? then i guess guilty as charged. but hostility towards religions which are not christianity seems to be a pretty common pass-time of those on the right.

  • Shortwest Rick

    Hi Mike, my first time posting on OS, I felt compelled. I think it was shrewd of Bandit to refer to freedoms in his endorsement of Esrati, the 3rd is drawn to include a majority of conservative leaning voters, Esrati needs a lot of these votes before he gets to run to first base. Politics have changed drastically since the last time a lot of people looked, rather than dissecting the endorsement we should be dissecting the candidate… this year more than ever people will be voting where they think the country should be headed instead voting party line or trying to fit the candidate into a liberal, conservative or progressive shopping cart. Esrati, a long time independent business person in Dayton has experienced and understands there’s a time when pay raises are appropriate, there’s a time to cut back, pay the rent first so his employees have a job to come to and that spending more money attracting or keeping a customer than they are generating doesn’t balance the checkbook. He does advocate programs and tax revenue that would move us toward energy independence but that’s just common sense, that we have to reinvest in ourselves if we want to stop sliding backward. I believe of the range of candidates offered, Esrati best represents almost every person in Ohio, his time has come.

  • john b

    last i checked, the constitution allows for setting local norms within states. this is a hallmark of conservative legislation outlawing all sorts of things like buying alcohol on sundays, strip clubs in towns and all sorts of other “think of the children!” types of conservative tripe. the case in question was a REQUIRED text for a state-sponsored school. the state decided it wasn’t within the norms of the state and they wouldn’t force it upon the students and teachers at OSU. where is that a speech code? it’s just applying a standard to what the state itself says through its university. not applying some standard of speech on people themselves.

  • Eric

    As an employee of Ohio State, the Mansfield branch reference librarian became the target of harassment for suggesting certain books (which were not politically correct) be considered as the summer reading selection. The harassment campaign was coordinated by faculty, conducted under the guise of the university’s diversity code, and found to be without merit by the university administration.

    Please review the second link. The quote is at 7 minutes into the linked video: “They can not say, and they can not defend in public, what they actually believe and what they actually do.”

    Rephrased, the quote reads as follows: University speech and diversity codes (“what they actually believe and what they actually do”) don’t stand up in court (“they can not say, and they can not defend in public”).

    The speaker is National Humanities Medal recipient Alan Charles Kors, faculty hero from UP’s water buffalo incident in 1993.

  • Ice Bandit

    Sorry Mike, but the Old Bandito chose his worlds carefully. And the reason the word freedom was chose over justice is that the latter has been stretched so far as to be meaningless. “Social justice” requires government to shake down the productive to subsidize the dysfunctional. “Enviornmental justice” enables bureaucrats to have legislative-like powers limiting what people can do with their own land and property. “Economic justice” puts folks into homes they will never be able to afford and brings the treasury to the edge of default. Taken all together, these “justices” require the state to become and all intrusive Leviathan stifling commerce and freedom. Give the people freedom, and justice will follow…..

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