Fear Thy Neighbor

Buttigieg has announced that our real enemy is not the government (agreed) but our neighbors (what?) because “your neighbor can make you unfree.”

This sounds deranged but it’s completely in keeping with his deeply neoliberal mentality where everybody is suspicious and fearful of everybody else. Everybody is a locked down repository of unique experiences, grievances and raging desires.


2 thoughts on “Fear Thy Neighbor”

  1. Here’s the section from the speech. The word “enemy” is nowhere in there, and I think the reference to “neighbor” is kind of like the jokey reference to the cable company – it’s a rhetorical device suggesting that all sorts of things can make you unfree, as a lead-in to talking about freedom from different angles.

    “First comes freedom: something that our conservative friends have come to think of as their own … let me tell you freedom doesn’t belong to one political party. Freedom has been Democratic bedrock ever since the New Deal. Freedom from want, freedom from fear. Our conservative friends care about freedom, but only make it part of the journey. They only see “freedom from.” Freedom from taxes, freedom from regulation … as though government were the only thing that can make you unfree. But that’s not true. Your neighbor can make you unfree. Your cable company can make you unfree. There’s a lot more to your freedom than the size of your government.

    “Health care is freedom, because you’re not free if you can’t start a small business because leaving your job would mean losing your health care. Consumer protection is freedom, because you’re not free if you can’t sue your credit card company even after they get caught ripping you off. Racial justice is freedom, because you’re not free if there is a veil of mistrust between a person of color and the officers who are sworn to keep us safe. Empowering teachers means freedom, because you’re not free in your own classroom if your ability to do your job is reduced to a test score. Women’s equality is freedom, because you’re not free if your reproductive health choices are dictated by male politicians or bosses. Organized labor sows freedom, because you’re not free if you can’t organize for a fair day’s pay for a good day’s work. And take it from Chasten and me, you are certainly not free if a county clerk gets to tell you who you ought to marry based on their political beliefs. The chance to live a life of your choosing, in keeping with your values: that is freedom in its richest sense.”


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