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Lazy Rhetorical Tricks I Can Do Without…

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Bemoaning the loss of the “land of the free”:

Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.

Yes.  Yes, we’re lying to ourselves we call this country the land of the free, and the lie didn’t start with the invention of GPS trackers.  This construction invariably calls to some non-existent golden age in which civil liberties in America were carefully defended for all by a modest, effective, non-intrusive state dedicated to minimal interference etc. etc. etc.  It’s probably true that the United States hasn’t done so bad historically on “freedom” in comparison to Western Europe if we strictly limit our analysis to white men, but the US was a slave-holding aristocracy until 1865 and effectively an apartheid state until 1964.  And then you have Indian Wars, Japanese internment, Hoover’s FBI, deportation of anarchists and leftists after first Red Scare, et al.  The Europeans have their colonial brutality (as do we) and maybe that’s worse, but nobody is doing very well in the competition for “land of the free” honors.

So please, spare us the hand-wringing about how, suddenly, we’re unable to refer to America as the “land of the free.”

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