So what is the difference between left-wing and right-wing neoliberalism?
The right-wing kind believes that there needs to be something keeping individuals away from embracing complete cuckoo-bananas freedom. People tend to become addicted, miserable, lonely, mentally unwell and impecunious if they start exercising complete freedom. So they need something that will keep limitless human desires under control. Religion, tradition, morality, something.
Left-wing neoliberalism believes that freedom should not be limited by any of these things because they are unduly oppressive. If individuals freely choose to make themselves addicted, miserable, lonely, mentally unwell, impecunious, and even chopped up into little bits, then that’s fine. Left-wing neoliberalism uses silence to avoid noticing the miserable jetsam of complete freedom. As long as nobody mentions the sad, upsetting detritus of the experiment in freedom, it’s all fine. That’s why cancel culture unleashes its wrath on people who say something about the negative consequences of all that freedom.
Of course, there’s no complete freedom. And no unlimited choice. Both are an illusion but it’s an illusion that has defined how we think about the world for a very long time.
2 thoughts on “Different Flavors of Freedom”
“difference between left-wing and right-wing neoliberalism”
This ties into the old metaphor for government, which is either a “strict father” or “permissive mother” (Lakoff uses another term for the latter but it’s crap so… permissive mother it is).
I realize republican and democrat don’t necessarily equal right and left, but it’s what most of your audience has, so they have to work with that.
The idea is that republicans see government as a stern/strict father who sets limits to expression and behavior while democrats see government as a permissive mother who lets the children do whatever….
But even the most permissive mother wouldn’t let some of the crap going on now happen, so I propose a new metaphor
Republicans want a sugar daddy government (who’ll pamper them and who cares what happens to other poor souls who haven’t found their sugar daddy?). As long as the jewels and furs keep coming those poor saps outside the limousine are on their own.
Democrats want train wreck mother passed out on the couch who can’t even take care of herself, let alone discipline or even keep track of her kids (who are busy shooting up in the back room or setting the kitchen on fire as they try to make meth in the microwave). The last thing they want is social services to come and wake mom up…
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I like the train-wreck mother metaphor. It’s very precise.
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