October 15, 2018
Why My Freedom is Better Than Your Freedom
This exchange on Twitter last week offers a keen insight into the way freedom is double-spoken on the right wing.
Slippery slopes aren’t always fallacious, so we’ll set that aside. We’ll also not dwell on the red herring that automatic voter registration in no way compels voting.
Instead, let’s focus on the substance of the claim. Joy Reid frames her point explicitly as a corrective to voter-suppression tactics, that is, the denial of the right to vote. Her respondent immediately asserts that protecting somebody else’s right to vote is a restriction on his freedom. In other words, his right to vote, in his logic, is contingent on denying other people the same right.
Denying somebody else’s freedom on the basis that it’s a direct threat to your own is a common rightwing strategy; making that case directly about voting is especially malignant.