“Freedom” loving

A political scientist friend shared this fascinating blog post on FB.  It really makes a provocative and compelling case (and it’s well worth reading the whole thing.  It’s not that long.  Yes, I’m talking to you):

The great masses of Americans cling so desperately to their own imagined versions of things like freedom of religion and right to bear arms because those are the only freedoms they can claim without deceiving themselves to have. If those are taken away they would be forced to recognize how truly un-free in any useful sense they are. If people are unable to find work that pays a sufficient amount to cover life’s necessities and to live in a manner and place of their choosing, then all of their many intangible rights and freedoms guaranteed by law provide only a superficial – important, but superficial nonetheless – freedom. We are free, in short, to do whatever we can afford, which, in the majority of cases, is to say “Not much.” …

Without implying that the government owes everyone a job of their choosing in the exact location of their choosing, it’s fair to say that if you can’t find work that pays enough to live a life that gives you real choices and options then you are free only in the sense that you are not imprisoned (although there will be plenty of that as well) and nobody can tell you how many Jesus fish and Rush Limbaugh bumper stickers you can put on your car, nor how many expensive guns you can hoard in your meager home that you struggle to afford. Americans obsess over those largely symbolic freedoms, the threats to which exist only in their own imaginations, because even though we dare not admit it we understand that many of us lack anything better. Like denials of alcoholism are often directly proportional to the probability that one is indeed an alcoholic, the extent to which any people are truly free when they go to such comical excesses with such regularity to declare how free they are is to be evaluated with skepticism. By silent consensus this country has chosen “Fake it ’til you make it” as a coping mechanism in the face of stagnant or declining incomes and a constantly shrinking selection of choices and opportunities beyond at-will, low paid employment at The Company’s pleasure. We have a country in which you can buy as many guns as you want but can’t count on having a job beyond the end of business today. We can refuse to bake cakes for gay people but we can’t decide where and how we want to live. Freedoms are not all created equal, and we content ourselves with the ones that do us the least good.

From my upper-middle class perch, I think this oversells just how much economic distress a lot of these freedom lovers are in, but this is a really interesting argument.  That said, the social scientist in me would really love to see some empirical evidence behind this argument.  Right off the bat, there’s lots of economically vulnerable people not at all obsessed with guns and other freedoms and plenty of economically stable people who are.  But, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the psychology driving at least some sub-set.

We’re number 50!

Latest ranking of worst state for teachers.  Well, DC counts, so at least we’re not dead last:

Once again, North Carolina is bringing up the rear when it comes to states that offer the best opportunities for teachers, at least according to WalletHub.

The personal finance website bases its annual ranking of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., on metrics including teacher salary rates, quality of school systems and public education investment…

“We got a lot of work ahead of us,” state Rep. Craig Horn, a Republican who sits on the Education Committee, told WBTV. “It’s not all doom and gloom, but this report again points up the fact that we need to do more for all of our teachers.”

That report added that other states — notably, Texas — are already luring teachers away from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and other N.C. districts.

South Carolina came in just a few spots ahead of North Carolina on the Wallethub ranking, coming in at No. 45. The only state to rank lower was West Virginia.

The good news, if there is any? The Tar Heel State moved up from No. 51 — dead last — on the 2014 ranking, WBTV noted.

Reminded me of this quote I read back when the Senate passed the budget:

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca, however, suggested that more funding isn’t necessarily the answer. “Money doesn’t fix problems. People fix problems, and we are blessed to have some of the best teachers in the country here,” he said.

And this is based on what exactly?  Because Tom Apodaca says so?  As a general rule, teachers do not exactly flock to the states where they are paid and respected the least (and, yes, those two are very much related).  What utter BS.  Forget about paying teachers well and supporting public education because we have some great teachers?!  Umm, not for long.  And these are the morons literally running this state (into the ground).  So depressing.

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