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New Religious Freedom

The civil discourse of the U.S. has been polluted with lies and misdirection since its inception, but never more than now. One of the latest attempts to limit debate is "Braver Angels"--the name is a variation of Abraham Lincoln's "Better Angels," to whom he appealed in his first inaugural speech. The civil war began three months after Lincoln's appeal.

Conservative christian billionaire Phillip Anschutz provided the initial funding for Braver Angels/Better Angels, and the organization now sponsors seminars and "debates" and supposedly is bipartisan, although I've been unable to find any trace of left-of-center organizations providing funding for them.

I've written about their seminars before, but not about the "debates" they sponsor. Their latest debate resolution: "Is Socialism a Threat to Freedom?"--a trick question like "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

Of course any government that regulates the population, never mind one that owns or regulates productive enterprises, is a "Threat to Freedom."

Of course any government that regulates the population, never mind one that owns or regulates productive enterprises, is a "Threat to Freedom."

The publicly-owned (socialist) enterprise known as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) provides electricity 30% cheaper than privately-owned PG&E.

PG&E management was bad enough that its executives had to consult with criminal attorneys since their negligence in maintaining their infrastructure caused serious fires in Northern California, burning to the ground the ironically-named town of Paradise.

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Not debated by "Braver Angels": How bad a threat to freedom, never mind the pocketbooks of the customers, is such private ownership? Could Socialism remedy the abuses of monopoly, at least in some cases?

The "freedom" debate is illegitimate enough that one could say having to drive on the right side of the road within the speed limit limits freedom. A New Year's resolution to go to the gym, is a threat to freedom. How about debating "Resolved: Getting married is a threat to freedom"?

Even the Libertarians threaten freedom. They do support the freedom to ingest any drugs you want, or the freedom to have legal prostitution, but they also want to enforce draconian property rights that prevent meddling governments from interfering with factories' freedom to dump their carcinogenic toxic waste into rivers. Are the people downstream "free" to get cancer?

In practice, Libertarian, "free" markets produce a kind of feudalism. The successful Libertarians can persecute the less successful because they have "earned" their success. Those born on third base have even "earned" the right to claim they hit a triple.

So the "freedom" debate is just more ideological pollution. How about "Do private monopolies limit freedom"? Nah! That would be outside the spectrum of acceptable debate questions.

defunding the police is a start

Mark Dempsey

It's Simpler than it Looks