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Monday, January 23, 2017

Freedom Party

Talleyrand generally avoids interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, but he cannot resist passing the following comment about the United States.

After having squandered much of the goodwill it had earned around the world during the 20th century, it probably makes sense now for the US to become lean and mean. There are plenty of vultures salivating over the behemoth. A majority (at least an electoral majority) of the American people know this. And many toes will hurt.

It is remarkable, then, that the defeated Democratic Party has not already begun to reinvent itself along an obvious track. That is not in the direction of an American labour party.

Instead, it should look to Woodrow Wilson, who, a century ago, stole the progressive thunder from the Republicans with something called ‘the New Freedom’. Today’s Republicans have asserted ownership over the ‘f’ word for some time, which is only fair, perhaps, given the origins of their own party in the Free Soil movement and party of the middle 19th century.

That movement’s slogan was ‘Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, Free Men’. Today’s Democrats would do well to borrow and update it, in keeping with today’s economy, by replacing ‘soil’ with ‘minds’ and with today’s society, by replacing ‘men’ with ‘people’.

A new freedom party, standing for the freedom to live, work, travel, think, spend, and speak one’s mind, without prejudice or penalty, is the obvious antidote to what Democrats have described as an authoritarian, fearmongering, nasty party in power.

How long will it take for them to realise it?

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