By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
The human soul, like the body, yearns for life-giving nourishment. There seems to be something in our very DNA that reaches out for liberty, to hold dear to freedom. This is a part of our U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, “Liberty and justice for all.” While we have often failed to live up to our promise, it is a goal, a standard we set and want to live by. We press toward a bright tomorrow for all.
Martin Luther King Jr., never asked for more than that which was promised by these uniquely American ideals. Still decades after his death we still have not fulfilled the promise that our forefathers made. Perhaps it is the nature of man, perhaps it is that we are tribal, classists and selfish. Perhaps it is simply because there is evil in the world that we do not offer liberty and justice for all.
Philosophically, liberty can be a controversial idea. Positive and negative liberties are often the cause of contentious debate and practice. It is always a struggle to balance liberty. Thomas Hobbes, per example said, “a free man is he that… is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do.”
But how much liberty becomes a detriment to the social contract?
Philosopher Isaiah Berlin said of Negative liberty, “liberty in the negative sense involves an answer to the question: ‘What is the area within which the subject — a person or group of persons — is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons’”
History teaches that there are actions that should be independent of government, state or neighbor and that there are activities that are not so private that they do not hinder or harm the lives or good of others. So, we see in a free society seek a balance between liberty and liability.
I have noticed of late that when many of my friends in the GOP speak of liberty or freedom, they do not mean freedom for the individual but freedom for unbridled commerce. They give the usual grand proclamations concerning State’s Rights, free markets and freedom from taxation. But where is the individuals rights? The U.S. Constitution and bill of rights promotes the rights of the individual far above that of state yet, in my home Alabama, the individual is constantly assaulted.
The state legislature is so controlled by the iron fist of a few individuals that believe in complete power and the corporate state that the individual becomes a subject of the corporate state.
Black Alabama politicians have been stacked and packed into districts so as to make them irrelevant, while white democrats have been written out of the game all together. It is coming to the point that unless an individual is a white male republican that can help the Party retain power then you are little more that a nuisance.
Dominance by a small faction of the GOP has been destroying our state for generations. The state has become subordinate to an authority of corporatist that demand centralized authority within the Statehouse not liberty for the individual or the legislator that represents them. Even small business is ignored unless they have money to fill centralized campaign PACs controlled by the shadow rulers.
In the next legislative session be prepared for more corporate give aways, more cuts in social programs, a continued assault on education and more subjection of woman.
State’s rights and Alabama values is the cover by which to take away individual liberties and replace it with a a class structure.
Where is the liberty agenda that the legislature will bring? Where is the freedom works of our government? Where is the government that protects liberty for all and not just the rich and powerful?
The biggest fear I have is that Alabama is ruled by shadowy corporatists who do not understand, liberty, nor fear justice.
As Ronald Reagan so rightly said, “Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.”
God bless Alabama.