Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jun 27, 2006 - Political Science - 288 pages

Since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has relentlessly invoked the word "freedom." The United States can strike preemptively because "freedom is on the march." Social security should be privatized in order to protect individual freedoms. In the 2005 presidential inaugural speech, the words "freedom," "free," and "liberty" were used forty-nine times.

"Freedom" is one of the most contested words in American political discourse, the keystone to the domestic and foreign policy battles that are racking this polarized nation. For many Democrats, it seems that President Bush's use of the word is meaningless and contradictory—deployed opportunistically to justify American military action abroad and the curtailing of civil liberties at home. But in Whose Freedom?, George Lakoff, an adviser to the Democratic party, shows that in fact the right has effected a devastatingly coherent and ideological redefinition of freedom. The conservative revolution has remade freedom in its own image and deployed it as a central weapon on the front lines of everything from the war on terror to the battles over religion in the classroom and abortion.

In a deep and alarming analysis, Lakoff explains the mechanisms behind this hijacking of our most cherished political idea—and shows how progressives have not only failed to counter the right-wing attack on freedom but have failed to recognize its nature. Whose Freedom? argues forcefully what progressives must do to take back ground in this high-stakes war over the most central idea in American life.


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User Review  - ErasmusRob - LibraryThing

A fascinating look at why, to paraphrase the title of another book, the Right gets it right and the Left doesn't get it. Liberals have been consistently losing ground to "conservatives" because the ... Read full review


In the Name of Freedom
Freedom Is Freedom Is Freedom
Why Freedom Is Visceral
The Logic of Simple Freedom
The NationasFamily Metaphor
The Basics
The Basics
Causation and Freedom
Economic Freedom
Religion and Freedom
Foreign Policy and Freedom
Bushs Freedom
Taking Back Freedom
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Personal Freedom and Populism

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About the author (2006)

George Lakoff, recently featured in The New York Times Magazine, is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a founding senior fellow of the Rockridge Institute, a center for research devoted to promoting progressive ideas. He is the author of the influential Don't Think of an Elephant! and Moral Politics, as well as seminal books on linguistics, including Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things and Metaphors We Live By (with Mark Johnson). He lives in Berkeley, California.

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