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The Four Republican Freedoms

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Jamelle Bouie points an important aspect of the “COMpRoMiSe” North Carolina abortion ban:

On Tuesday, Republicans in North Carolina overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to pass a strict limit on bodily autonomy in the form of a 12-week abortion ban.

In addition to this new limit on abortion, the law extends the waiting period for people seeking abortions to 72 hours and puts onerous new rules on clinics. As intended, the net effect is to limit access to abortion and other reproductive health services to everyone but those with the time and resources to seek care outside the state.

This is one of the oldest scams in the book — focus on the arbitrary line at which abortion is banned, while quietly passing a bunch of regulations that make getting a first trimester much more difficult. (“North Carolina basically has the same abortion regime in France!!!!!!!!!” is an argument you will now hear from abject morons and liars.)

Putting this in the larger context of the laboratories against democracy, Jamelle distills the Dark Satanic FDR at the core of the contemporary GOP:

What should we make of all this? In his 1941 State of the Union address, Franklin Roosevelt said there was “nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy” and that he, along with the nation, looked forward to “a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.” Famously, those freedoms were the “freedom of speech and expression,” the “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way,” the “freedom from want” and the “freedom from fear.” Those freedoms were the guiding lights of his New Deal, and they remained the guiding lights of his administration through the trials of World War II.

There are, I think, four freedoms we can glean from the Republican program.

There is the freedom to control — to restrict the bodily autonomy of women and repress the existence of anyone who does not conform to traditional gender roles.

There is the freedom to exploit — to allow the owners of business and capital to weaken labor and take advantage of workers as they see fit.

There is the freedom to censor — to suppress ideas that challenge and threaten the ideologies of the ruling class.

And there is the freedom to menace — to carry weapons wherever you please, to brandish them in public, to turn the right of self-defense into a right to threaten other people.

Roosevelt’s four freedoms were the building blocks of a humane society — a social democratic aspiration for egalitarians then and now. These Republican freedoms are also building blocks not of a humane society but of a rigid and hierarchical one, in which you can either dominate or be dominated.

It’s all Wilhoit’s Law, and the rest is mere details.

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