Move Over Socialism: Democrats Need to Reclaim the Word “Freedom”

Democrats are having a big debate right
now about the meaning of the word socialism they’d be frankly much better
off if they were debating what the word ‘freedom’ means. Particularly the way the
Koch Brothers use it versus the rest of us leave your comments and please subscribe.
You know on the Democratic side right now we’re having a debate
about the word socialism. Actually it’s it’s happening all across the spectrum
in America and frankly I think we’d be better served if instead we were
debating the word freedom. The local newspaper here, The Oregonian. Sunday
yesterday, was reporting that in in our little state to go 1.6 percent of the
nation’s population. Our little state. There are a 156,000
families who spend more than half of their income on rent and have no
savings. These are the people who one car repair bill, one medical
bill, loss of their job. And they are literally homeless, they on the streets,
156,000 right on the edge. And the right-wingers would characterize that as
freedom. Right? That’s that’s Liberty. I mean it’s kind of ironic that the nation
founded on the world’s greatest known genocide I mean the systematic state
murder of tens of millions of Native Americans in over three centuries of
legalized slavery and a century and a half of oppression and exploitation and
the descendants of those slaves. The irony is extraordinary presses us
all to bring true freedom to America and liberty to all Americans but what do
those words mean? I mean if you ask the Kochs and their buddies like Freedom
Works. Right? Who slapped these words freedom and liberty on everything they
do. You’d get a definition that basically says that you’re free if you’re free
from taxes or from regulation. And truth be told if you’re morbidly rich that
makes a certain amount of sense right particularly if your main goal is to get
richer and richer and you don’t care about the impact of that on society
on the environment on working-class people or even on the ability of the
government to function on the other end of your definition of freedom and
liberty is the one that has been embraced by democratic socialist
countries like Canada Europe most of Europe Japan Australia then you have a
definition that’s quite different and it’s very close to the one that Franklin
Roosevelt embraced in 1944 in January of 44 when he gave his second Bill of
Rights speech and he he proposed these amendments of the Constitution to put
into the Constitution that you have a right to a job that’s freedom that you
have a right to be paid enough to live comfortably from that job that’s freedom
that you have the right to adequate food clothing and recreation that that’s
freedom that you have the right to start a business and run it without quote
worrying about unfair competition and domination by monopolies end quote you
have the right quote of every family to a decent home that you have the right to
quote adequate medical care to achieve and enjoy good health that government
the right to government protect based protection from economic fears of old
age sickness accident and unemployment and the right to a good education that’s
what Franklin Roosevelt laid out and he said with all these rights that’s what
it guarantees the American notion of freedom in fact he said all these rights
spells security and he added quote America’s own rightful place in the
world depends in large part on how fully these and similar rights have been
carried into practice for our citizens for unless there’s security here at home
there can’t be lasting peace in the world
now all those other nations that I mentioned in Japan China Germany France
Spain Italy the United Kingdom I mean you name it right the the developed
democracies they all they all believed in what Roosevelt said and they adopted
pretty much everything that he proposed for the United States put it into their
constitutions or put it in a law now in the United States if we go back a little
bit you know FDR was president from 33 to
to 44 or 45 I forget what year he died and from 1920 to 1932 we had rule by
Republicans Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge and and and who were and Hoover
forgetting his first name and it was a disaster I mean Warren Harding
campaigned on dropping the top tax rate from ninety-one percent down to 25
percent which he did he campaigned on privatizing government functions which
he did he campaigned on reducing government regulation which he did and
it led straight to the Republican Great Depression which is what they called it
up until after World War two and during Roosevelt’s presidency
he had 30,000 Nazis assembly in a Madison Square Garden the Klan was
exploding the biggest of the right-wing groups was called the Liberty leagues or
like the cokes Freedom Works and so after he gave that speech about freedom
or in that speech about freedom he went on to say Franklin Roosevelt the grave
dangers of rightist reaction in this nation if history were to repeat itself
and we were to return to the so-called normalcy of the 1920s then it is certain
that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad
we shall have yielded to the spirit of fascism here at home so that’s
essentially roosevelt said we either have these freedoms or we live under
fascism and this is you know we adopted a lot of what roosevelt said I mean he
said you’re not free if you’re old and deep in poverty so we have social
security he said you’re not free if you’re hungry so we have food stamps and
snap he said you’re not free if you’re homeless so we have housing assistance
and homeless shelters although the Republican Party wants to
gut all of these things he said you’re not free if you’re sick and can’t get
medical care so we have Medicaid Medicare and Obama care although the
government the Republicans want to gut all those he Roosevelt said you’re not
free if you’re not if you’re working more than 40 hours a week and still
can’t meet basic expenses so we have minimum wage laws and the right to
unionize although the GOP wants to gut both he said to Franklin Roosevelt said
you’re not free if you can’t read so we have free public schools although the
GOP is active gutting them he said you’re not free if
you can’t vote so we’ve passed numerous laws to guarantee the right to vote
although the GOP is doing everything they can to keep tens of millions of
Americans from voting the billionaire class and their wholly owned Republican
politicians keep telling us that freedom means the government doesn’t do any of
those things I just mentioned instead as ran as Ron Paul famously said in a
Republican debate back in 2011 if you’re broken sick you’re free to die like a
feral dog in the gutter freedom is homelessness in the minds of these
billionaire Republicans poverty lack of education no access to health care poor
paying jobs barriers to voting all these things in their mind are signs of a free
society which by the way is why America’s lowest life expectancy highest
maternal and child hood death rates and lowest levels of education and lowest
pay are all almost all there’s the one or two exceptions almost all in
republican-controlled states because that’s what Republicans think means
freedom so instead of debating the meaning of socialism frankly I think the
Democrats right now need to begin with debating the meaning of the word freedom.
Because the right has stolen that from us and we needed to take it back.

50 thoughts on “Move Over Socialism: Democrats Need to Reclaim the Word “Freedom”

  • I predict one year from now that if Beto out beats bernie in the primaries….and I said before BEFORE even Beto announce his nomination Bernie will have tough… competition….and he has to adhere to DNC. It's still a 2 party system I love Bernie. But who you know you alllllll need to get along its still going to be ABOUT getting republicans out office. No matter if your progressive, liberal, independent or moderate. You know bernie bros and some Bernie voter's will be the hardest to get along with because of thier constant need to abstain. Beto and feminist voters will say he is a socialist. Alllll the conspiracy theories are gonna start creeping up if Bernie doesn't get the nomination …when really it's an outright fact he will need to compromise his principles to be ELECTABLE in current system. The word… electable. Furthermore if he isn't the nominee biggest idiots will be the ones who rebel like whining kids BC he didn't get it. Im telling you in advanced all of you need to get along and get trump and republicans out of office!!

  • Freedom is having the ability to exploit others for your own greed. . . . despite morality, laws, and social conscience. . . this is the Koch brother mantra.

  • I'm glad you've brought this up, Thom. The Libertarians have shifted the terms liberty and freedom over to the right to appeal to the authoritarian christian capitalists to get Ron Paul accepted as their nominee, which didn't happen of course (they weren't going to give up their war against drugs, etc). They did it by redefining freedom as freedom for the rich from government control. They weren't talking about freedom for the working people to eat food and sleep under a roof. They weren't talking about freedom for humanity to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

  • Don Tyrant supports freedom to go broke by medical bills, freedom to attack minorities, or the poor, or workers, or women, or etc. and freedom to pollute environment.

  • Freedom,
    to 'grab em by…', to lie, to corrupt for gain, to treason even. Possibly, But, he Can, so he does, All that and worse. So, why is 45's kind of Freedom so good? Where's the Common Good? We allowed these mistakes but we can and will, rectify the Flaw, Permanently, as FDR wanted.
    I think Bernie's FDR views are apparent and aligned.
    We so need Bernie. Stay focused, Vote Wisely and Massively.

    I think about Bernie's Inauguration speech, every day. 1/20/21
    It's not just Berni's , It's Everybody's.Freedom and he's our vessel, if you Vote.

  • I dont really understand the title of this video. "Move over socialism"? Whomever makes your video titles really needs to improve because the name had no relation to the video. Like What? I think the left really needs to take back the word freedom but I dont get why thr title is directed at socialists? Socialists are the ones that actually support freedom. I agree with the video im only complaining about the title.

  • Freedom from war and the draft, Freedom from surveillance. Privacy is a right of the people. Not the right of the government. Freedom to die as an abandoned dog in the gutter implies they will let you be feral at all. People living off the grid and self sustaining are often attacked. Liberals want dependence on gov't. GOP want dependence on corporations. So that if you are not in debt and profitable to corporations, you are a useless eater. Reminds me of the crows anthem in the WIZ. You can't get ahead, no you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game.

  • It's not surprising. The right wing definition of freedom is the same as it always has been. In the times of absolute monarchy the "freedoms" were attached to the personal privileges of kings, the inherent rights of aristocracies, the divine authority of the church. No reference was ever really made to the people who were their subjects. The modern right (bourgeoisie) is still continuing that tradition– but like Marx said, stripped of all its ancient mystical magic, and turned into just a monetary transaction.

  • It doesn't matter what we say. The Republicans will scream bloody murder that were for spending money and big government

  • Mr. Hartman, you hit on an amazing topic with this one. I would like an expanded video from you please and if possible be interviewed in the Young Turks network. This will hit home with MANY Americans.

    Just had a talk with a few friends about this with a few friends a few days ago and across the spectrum many Americans are feeling like we are in financial slavery.

  • Democratic Socialist policy would give you more FREEDOM, via healthcare, education, etc to have the FREEDOM to get a better career, with the FREEDOM to have and do more with your FREE time

  • The problem with the word "freedom" is that in can be pressed into the service of doctrines such as "survival of the fittest" where sociopaths are "free" to hack their way to the top while gentler souls are "free" to try and stop them if they can. I think we'd all be much better off if we stopped using the terms "socialism" and even “democratic socialism” altogether where progressive politics is concerned and called it "social democracy", which is what it actually is; something which is already beloved by most Americans, even though they don't realise that.

  • The Republican view of freedom doesn't seem to apply to them. I don't understand how the republicans can keep repeating the same mistakes, over and over. Talk about not learning from past errors.

  • I believe in Roosevelt's freedom, I believe in Thom Hartmann's freedom, it will never happen if old white prejudice men run the GOP & a horrid sick man like trump runs the country.

  • In the US, both political parties today are dominated by this failed libertarian radical right. Their idea of liberty actually depends on economic inequality. It’s their “human right”. Economic freedom over liberty for all. Isn’t that fascist?

    “Aryeh Neier, founder of Human Rights Watch and its executive director for 12 years, doesn’t hide his contempt for the idea of economic equality as one of the key human rights. 

    Neier is so opposed to the idea of economic equality that he even equates the very idea of economic equality and justice with oppression—economic rights to him are a violation of human rights, rather than essential human rights, thereby completely inverting traditional left thinking.

    Here’s what Neier wrote in his memoir, Taking Liberties: 

    “The concept of economic and social rights is profoundly undemocratic… Authoritarian power is probably a prerequisite for giving meaning to economic and social rights.”

    Neier here is aping free-market libertarian mandarins like Friedrich von Hayek, or Hayek’s libertarian forefathers like William Graham Sumner, the robber baron mandarin and notorious laissez-faire Social Darwinist.

    As with Neier, William Graham Sumner argued that liberty has an inverse relationship to economic equality; according to Sumner, the more economic equality, the less liberty; whereas the greater the inequality in a society, the more liberty its individuals enjoy.

    It’s the fundamental equation underlying all libertarian ideology and politics—a robber baron’s ideology at heart.”

    The libertarians’ futile dream of a nationless world dominated by privately owned charter cities has been attempted in Honduras to no avail. In this dystopic world of Technocracy and Property Owners, the restoration of the nation-state has never been more obvious.

    “In a libertarian society, there is no commons or public space. There are property lines, not borders. When it comes to real property and physical movement across such real property, there are owners, guests, licensees, business invitees and trespassers – not legal and illegal immigrants.” ~ Jeff Deist, president of the Mises Institute

    “The more inequality in a society, the more hate, the more dysfunction, the more mental illness, the more physical illness.” It should come as no surprise, then, that we see more addiction and more mass shootings since “the inequality is rising all the time.” Violence against racial, ethnic, or religious groups “is a manifestation of a society that foments division amongst people and sets people against each other.”

  • No matter how you improve life for Americans sooner or later Republicans will come along and gut everything you have done. like Obama care. evil men and women gravitate to the republican party because evil is attracted to evil. Evil will destroy anything good because it is in their nature to do so.

  • Of course the Koch Bros don't really believe all that twaddle, after all, monsterous power crazed and divorced from reality (by the rareified atmosphere that their obscene wealth brings) they may be, but they're not actually crazy.
    They have convinced a lot of people of some pretty crazy stuff (right to work laws, citizens united ruling)

  • Thom, everybody: the real issue and the real debate should be about the false choices of "socialism vs. freedom". The Republican right is determined to make that a debate when, to me, there is no difference. As mentioned, there is no difference: one is no free in the grave, and when is forced to grovel before the sacrificial altar of capitalism, the other free choice is DEATH. The inability and failure to conform and succeed under capitalism is a sentence of death. Good issues were brought up, but this sounds like some of the bistro and university lecture talk about the existential definition of "freedom"- is there truly freedom in a concentration camp when the boundaries are set up the bastards on top? And our nation and the world is gradually turning into a vast dystopian concentration camp. Our debate must be still socialism, but a socialism that implies freedom, a socialism that expands freedom. While understandable given the crap coming from the other side (as in "Communist Russia!", I also have reservations about the term "Democratic Socialism". The socialism we are espousing and as a necessary means toward basic freedom is intrinsically democratic- that one cannot ever be free unless there is a socialist economic system. There is no separation of the two terms and should not be a separation. This is the real and only working definition.

  • It would be helpful for everyone using label politics to take the politicalcompass self-survey. I find too much of America lends itself to authoritarianism. A classic contrast to this was found in the 1970s Liberty Union party (Vermont)

  • What we Americans have excepted as "freedom" has always boggled my mind. At best their idea of freedom is freedom to be exploited. I would define it exactly the opposite. Freedom FROM being exploited. Freedom from corporate interests that what to tell you how to think. Freedom from a corrupt monetary system that makes up money out of then air and uses that money it to put us into debt. Freedom from powerful men and institutions that what to impose their will on the rest of us. Yes my definition of freedom would be the exact opposite of what we have now. Freedom? Yeah, right.

  • If your 15600 "edge" people had medicare for all, like Canada has and in Canada we also have lots of "edge" people too, several hundred if not several thousand would start their own business as they are now free from needing an "edge" job just to get shitty minimum health coverage and get off the edge and become middle class small business people and be a lot happier too. Thi is all fact as Canadians create nore new business and move up the class ladder in significant higher numbers than Americans, and they are happier too and bonus, live longer. So that is real freedom, the right wing lies you poor Americans get is not.

  • You never had the word freedom in the first place but that would not likely stop you from wrapping your authoritarian messianism in the term. This is like calling yourselves “progressive” as a means of avoiding what you consider as progress. Why not go all the way and just call yourselves the motherhood and apple pie party.

  • Absolutely agree 100%. Republicans don't believe in freedom; they believe in FREE-DUMB. It is an uninformed, undefined, unicorn freedom. In fact, taxes, regulations and safety nets are essential elements of a FREE society.

  • European countries are not socialist goddamnit ! Socialism is worker or at least State ownership or control of the means of productions. It is that simple. Making such a mistake about the definition of the word is a way to avoid the issue altogether and resort to reform only and not revolutionizing the system.
    Want examples ? Present-day China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal (more than 1bn people), or in the past, all former Soviet-aligned nations and independent socialist (Allende's Chile, Nasser's Egypt per example…).

    Our own welfare program in Europe, like in France where I am, aren't the work of moderate so-called """socialist""" parties, but from Communist Parties. Our own Healthcare was crafted by communists, supported financially by a powerful Soviet Union.

    So no, this "democratic socialism" is a sham. Either you control the means of production or you keep subsidizing poverty, and fail because you let capitalists hold all powers. Moderation is a false option.

  • the American fascists stole the word "libertarian." throughout the world "libertarianism" refers to socialism. only in the U.S., after WWll, were the fascist elite allowed to steal it and rebrand it to refer to laissez-faire economics. this of course is absolute fraud, the elites favorite weapon. its also an excellent example of fire-hosing and astro-turfing. why do the elite on the left and right use fraud, fire-hosing and astro-turfing so much? because it WORKS! if the people really knew what these elite were up to there might actually be OPEN and UNITED REBELLION in this country. lying to is the only way to keep us divided, complacent and compliant.

  • Democrats don't care about freedom. They are set up to destroy it.
    They don't want candidates to run, or voters to have the freedom to vote for them.
    No one matters who doesn't grease their gravy train.

  • Democrats should go overboard with the patriotism the way conservatives do just to confuse the conservatives. That would be funny.

  • You have the "Freedom" to move up the Social Ladder, if your Identity Politics (White), Social Skills and Ability to be Ruthlessness are right.

  • Socialism is relatively tame… why are Drumpfists so scared of it?

    Heck, why is Kochco so scared of it? They'll still be inconceivably wealthy – they'll just need to be fair for a change.

    Is it their desire for absolute power – to be worshiped as demigods?

  • Socialism is a means of freedom for people from poverty. Capitalism almost guarantees that a certain percentage of a population may not be able to find good jobs that pay a livable wage. Whatever the reason for a lack of employment, social safety nets can help until they are able to become fully employed. Free education can upgrade a persons eligibility to better jobs.Socialism can increase national security, and improve a nations status, and ability to work with other nations.

  • For nearly 69 years I have been Wondering how americans can talk about Freedom when hearing more and more about your country and how it does not work …………………..

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