Economics

The Anti-Liberty Left and The (Sexy!) "Incremental Loss of Real Freedom"

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In many bedrooms, it already is.

Via Instapundit comes this Shannon Love post at Chicago Boyz that argues

[Leftists] have defined "personal" to mean only those decisions that touch upon sex. Anything that doesn't touch on sex is not personal and is therefore a matter subject to state control. With this definition they can claim to protect personal freedoms while locking down every other freedom. More and more people have to go hat-in-hand to politicians just get the basic necessities. 

As you go through your day-to-day life, watch all the decisions that you make that influence your total quality of life. Each time you make such a decision, ask yourself if a leftist would let you make that decision if they had the power to stop you. Would they let you have your house, your job, your car, your food, your random stuff? Would they let you run your own business? Would they protect your right to free speech if they disagreed with you? Would they let you educate your children as you see fit? Would they let you have input on your minor children's reproductive choices?

Finally, Ask yourself how many of those decisions would you trade for your sex life? 

The Left has learned the first truth of marketing: Sex sells. In their case, it sells the incremental loss of real freedom.

Whole bit here.

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  1. It seems to me, then, that the Republicans could completely destroy the left simply by adopting liberal views of issues dealing with sexuality.

  2. Shouldn’t that read, “excremental loss of real freedom?”

  3. It seems to me, then, that the Republicans could completely destroy the left simply by adopting liberal views of issues dealing with sexuality.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s pretty much that simple.

    The right has lost the culture war. Their only hope is to realize that and let go.

  4. As a donor and supporter to the ACLU (those liberal devils destroying America) I find this article downright inaccurate as we have been defending the assembly/speech/4th Amendment rights of the Klan, Nazis, Rush Limbaugh and other unsavory right-wingers for years.

  5. [Leftists] have defined “personal” to mean only those decisions that touch upon sex. Anything that doesn’t touch on sex is not personal and is therefore a matter subject to state control.

    This is why there are no leftists involved in the fight against the drug war, why no one on the left defends immigrants’ freedom of movement, why the ACLU never attempts to protect conservatives’ First Amendment rights, and why there are no left/countercultural homeschoolers.

    Would they let you have input on your minor children’s reproductive choices?

    Doesn’t that “touch on sex”?

  6. I’ve always maintained that for a political movement allied with pretty much one party (and that party has come to reflect that issue as litmus), that likes to go on and on about how they are “pro-choice,” they might want to consider letting the rest of us be able to have a choice with more than just that one thing.

  7. As a donor and supporter to the ACLU (those liberal devils destroying America) I find this article downright inaccurate as we have been defending the assembly/speech/4th Amendment rights of the Klan, Nazis, Rush Limbaugh and other unsavory right-wingers for years.

    The Klan and the Nazis are just there for the left to stereotype their political opponents.

    This is why there are no leftists involved in the fight against the drug war

    And who would those leftists be?

  8. I feel inclined to say that when I was reading this Love article, I was interpreting “the Left” to refer to left-wing *politicians* and “the Right” to refer to right-wing politicians, so I didn’t see it as including groups like the ACLU or other left-wing activists (after all, left-wing activists have usually been pretty liberal about drug-use and police powers, which Love considers a “wash”).

    However, if Shannon Love IS referring more to politicians, then I think she’s giving the Right too much of a pass, rather than being too harsh on the Left. I would say education, speech, and transportation at the very least haven’t been as liberal under Republican policies as she suggests, even if they have been maybe MORE liberal.

  9. the entire november coalition, for starters?

  10. And of course I was using “liberal” in the freedom sense, not the left-wing sense.

  11. This is why there are no leftists involved in the fight against the drug war, why no one on the left defends immigrants’ freedom of movement, why the ACLU never attempts to protect conservatives’ First Amendment rights, and why there are no left/countercultural homeschoolers.

    But Jesse, those are actual “leftists” you’re talking about. Shannon is talking about the leftards inside your head. They won’t let you do anything!

  12. The ‘progressive’ utopia is a place where you can have as much sex and drugs as you like, but everything else is strictly regulated.

  13. The Klan and the Nazis are just there for the left to stereotype their political opponents.

    They do a fine job of that by themselves.

  14. Shannon Love setting up a strawman! I can’t believe it.

    Anyone got a napkin for my sarcasm?

  15. “This is why there are no leftists involved in the fight against the drug war, why no one on the left defends immigrants’ freedom of movement, why the ACLU never attempts to protect conservatives’ First Amendment rights, and why there are no left/countercultural homeschoolers.”

    We have a leftist President and Congress and the drug war goes merely on. Whoever those leftists who are fighting against the drug war are there sure aren’t very many of them or they aren’t fighting very hard.

    “why the ACLU never attempts to protect conservatives’ First Amendment rights,”

    The ACLU defends the rights of the occasional nut. Where are they on campaign finance reform? Where are they on libal laws? Where the hell is the ACLU on hate crimes legislation?

    “why there are no left/countercultural homeschoolers.”

    For every one of them, there are about a hundred leftists who kill school choice and use credentialing laws to fuck with home schoolers.

  16. Hazel,

    Indeed Mr. Love’s caricature of the Left is too consistent. I mean, they think it should be legal to inject as much heroin as you want, but Twinkie consumption must be strictly regulated.

  17. We have a leftist President and Congress and the drug war goes merely on. Whoever those leftists who are fighting against the drug war are there sure aren’t very many of them or they aren’t fighting very hard.

    By this standard, conservatives don’t favor small government, given the track record of the GOP the past eight years.

    Glass houses, man, glass houses.

  18. Let’s all build strawman caricatures of our ideological opponents, then set them on fire. Doesn’t solve anything, but wow, look at the sparks!

  19. Leftists don’t like things that come with potential consequences/responsibility or things associated with the mainstream middle class.

  20. Sex doesn’t have consequences?

    Still too simple. Truth of the matter is, leftists don’t like what leftists don’t like. Same on the conservative side. Trying to ascribe some overarching philosophy to them is an exercise in futility.

  21. It is kind of odd, though, that a swathe of the highly visible left has made its most prominent issue the deregulation of an activity that the government really never had any control over in the first place, while standing silently aside or actively encouraging the growth of government control in areas that actually can be controlled by the state.

  22. Gillespie blogging Shannon Love has to be one of the seven signs. Ugh.

  23. Sex doesn’t have consequences?

    I should have been more clear. Leftists don’t like negative consequences, period. In their mind:
    “freedom” = the ability to do drugs without the subsequent responsibility for the live that you’ve created.
    “Freedom” = investing in the stock market or having credit, but not having to pay when you make a bad investment or abuse your credit.

    “Freedom” = having all the different kinds of sex you want with whomever you want, without having to take responsibility for the pregnancies, wounded emotions and diseases that inevitably occur.

    “Freedom” = reproductive freedom, but not having to pay for the ‘choice’ one makes (that’s what the village is for!)

  24. Both sides share in the move away from liberty, albeit for different reasons.

    “”””Each time you make such a decision, ask yourself if a leftist would let you make that decision if they had the power to stop you. Would they let you have your house, your job, your car, your food, your random stuff? “””

    It doesn’t fucking matter one bit what others think of mine, or your decisions, I don’t give a rats ass about what the left, right, or center thinks of me, or what I do. The only thing that come close to making a difference is the laws put forth by BOTH SIDES via Congress!

  25. “Of course we defend the right, too. The Klan! Nazis!”

    And it’s not just so you’ll repeat that bullshit lefty metonymy, either. They’ll totally defend some libertarian or conservative thing, someday. Totally.

    This is why there are no leftists…

    They do feign to do those things, just enough to get chumps to defend them against icky libertarians.

  26. “”Sex doesn’t have consequences?”””

    Tell that to Bristol Palin.

  27. Leftists don’t like things that come with potential consequences/responsibility or things associated with the mainstream middle class.

    Leftists don’t like things that are humanoid in shape, or that are made of straw. They also don’t like my haircut, and they laugh at my shoes.

  28. By this standard, conservatives don’t favor small government, given the track record of the GOP the past eight years.

    You JUST figured that out? I automatically assume that anyone that describes themselves as “conservative” is in favor of corporate socialism and government mandated religion just as sure as those who preach against gay marriage spend lots of time at Minneapolis airport bathrooms.

  29. I mean, they think it should be legal to inject as much heroin as you want, but Twinkie consumption must be strictly regulated.

    As long as it’s ‘organic’ heroin.
    We don’t want those Afghan poppy farmers using nitrate fertilizers. And it must be strictly rotated with hemp to avoid monocultures.

  30. Rick H. – if you have another crack at an overarching theory, I’m all ears.

    So far as I can tell, the Left’s MO and main purpose in anything it advocates is because it thinks “freedom = individual action and socialized absorption of the consequences”

  31. Shouldn’t that read, “excremental loss of real freedom?”

    If that’s what you’re into, man.

    shrike, try again. You still haven’t used the term “Christfags” yet today.

    As far as left vs. right goes, my position remains: can’t they both lose?

  32. Once upon a time, commenters used to show up and complain that Reason was going to hell in a handbasket and turning lefty, and it was all Nick Gillespie’s fault. Now Gillespie is linking to Shannon Love.

    The more things change, the weirder they get.

  33. We have a leftist President and Congress and the drug war goes merely on. Whoever those leftists who are fighting against the drug war are there sure aren’t very many of them or they aren’t fighting very hard.

    By this standard, conservatives don’t favor small government, given the track record of the GOP the past eight years.

    Glass houses, man, glass houses.

    Exactly. If the GOP favored smaller government, they had 6 years to at least take some steps in that direction. They did not.

    If the Dems really believe in personal freedom, sin taxes, hate crime legislation and the war on drugs will soon be attacked.

    I do note that one of the first things that this president signed into law (SCHIP expansion) was a tax increase that disproportionally affects the poor, attempting to restrict their personal freedom via taxation. Another was to kill the DC voucher program restricting some people’s choice in education. If the people want smaller, more dangerous and more fuel efficient cars why does the government need to force those cars down their throats? Pro-freedom and allowing people a wider range of choices it ain’t. I’ll bet alcohol excise taxes are next. Wanna take me up on it?

    Neither major party is pro-freedom. People seek elective office to either enrich themselves or lord it over others. Almost all “left” or “right” politicians seek to control the polulace.

  34. The Atlantic’s Chris Good writes: “A bus full of kindergarteners got turned away from the White House Thursday, 10 minutes late for a tour. (An event with the Pittsburgh Steelers prevented White House staff from letting them in.)”

    Jim Treacher writes: “Sorry, kids! Obama doesn’t change his schedule for anybody but Dick Cheney.”

  35. @J sub D – You speak good words, my friend.

  36. We have a leftist President and Congress and the drug war goes merely on

    Love spoke generically about the attitudes of people on the left, not the stances of one liberal president and various liberal legislators. You can find lefties who are bad on just about every issue, including sexual ones. But the legalization movement is filled with lefties; it’s the place where libertarians and liberals are most likely to work together. Using your standard, Love could have claimed that no conservatives care about abortion because Bush was president for 8 years and the practice is still legal.

    The ACLU defends the rights of the occasional nut. Where are they on campaign finance reform?

    Strongly opposed, actually.

  37. Its worth noting that the much-maligned Barney Frank is sponsoring a bill to legalize marijuana and another to restore internet gaming (thanks for that one you liberty-loving GOPers).

    shrike, try again. You still haven’t used the term “Christfags” yet today.

    Us secularfags are driving a stake through that beast (no homo)

  38. “the Klan”

    The word “Klan” is racist. The word “Klansman” is negative stereotype going back to at least the nineteenth century. It is a terrible, terrible word and I respectfully ask that Reason and its bloggers stop using the word “Klan”. In fact, there are no such things as “Klansman”. They are just white people undeserving of this sterotype.

    True, some people self-identify as “Klansmen”, call one another “Klansmen” and even dress up in saggy robes while hanging together, but they really are just white people. There are no such things as “Klansmen”. So again, please stop using this hateful, terrible word. Thanks in advance.

  39. For every one of them, there are about a hundred leftists who kill school choice and use credentialing laws to fuck with home schoolers.

    Again, that isn’t the point. Of course there are tons of people on the left who are bad on education issues. (The NEA’s on the left, isn’t it?) But the modern homeschooling movement is as much an invention of hippies as an invention of Christian fundamentalists. That’s a rather inconvenient fact for Love’s thesis.

  40. “Would they let you have your house, your job, your car, your food, your random stuff? Would they let you run your own business? Would they protect your right to free speech if they disagreed with you? Would they let you educate your children as you see fit? Would they let you have input on your minor children’s reproductive choices?”

    The ones I know of? Yes they would.

  41. Using your standard, Love could have claimed that no conservatives care about abortion because Bush was president for 8 years and the practice is still legal.

    Try again, Jesse. Aside from their desire to keep abortion a hot issue for a segment of their base for crass mercenary reasons, a conservative Congress and President couldn’t make abortion illegal until SCOTUS said they could. Roe v. Wade, remember?

    But the legalization movement is filled with lefties; it’s the place where libertarians and liberals are most likely to work together.

    That, I’ll agree with, and support making a strategic alliance with the lefties on that issue.

  42. “The Klan and the Nazis are just there for the left to stereotype their political opponents.”

    Exactly. Neither even exist.

  43. “They do a fine job of that by themselves.”

    Racist.

  44. Using your standard, Love could have claimed that no conservatives care about abortion because Bush was president for 8 years and the practice is still legal.

    I don’t recall Bush mocking pro-lifers as Obama has done to pot legalization advocates. Bush also did not have federal agents raiding pro-life organizations like Obama’s administration still raids medical MJ dispensaries.

  45. “Again, that isn’t the point. Of course there are tons of people on the left who are bad on education issues. (The NEA’s on the left, isn’t it?) But the modern homeschooling movement is as much an invention of hippies as an invention of Christian fundamentalists. That’s a rather inconvenient fact for Love’s thesis.”

    If only you could be so forgiving of the Right Jessee. Sure, a lot of people on the right are terrible about the drug war. Sure a lot of them think that homosexuality should be illegal. Sure, a lot of people on the right bought into big government over the last 8 years. But that is not the point. The modern small government movement started with Republicans.

    Both our statements sound pretty rediculous don’t they Jesee?

  46. Granted this is an example from England, a place that has gone insane, but I doubt too many American lefties would find this objectionable.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6350237.ece

    “GIVE up lamb roasts and save the planet. Government advisers are developing menus to combat climate change by cutting out “high carbon” food such as meat from sheep, whose burping poses a serious threat to the environment.

    Out will go kebabs, greenhouse tomatoes and alcohol. Instead, diners will be encouraged to consume more potatoes and seasonal vegetables, as well as pork and chicken, which generate fewer carbon emissions.

    “Changing our lifestyles, including our diets, is going to be one of the crucial elements in cutting carbon emissions,” said David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change.

    Kennedy has stopped eating his favourite doner kebabs because they contain lamb.”

    Love is right. Lefties have no problem with the government controling every aspect of people’s lives that doesn’t involve sex. And even then they are not consistent. The left “save the children brigade” are just as much a part of the “every picture taken of a naked child is porn” and any teenager who sends a naked picture of herself to her boyfriend needs to go to jail movement as the Right.

  47. Unless you pledge fealty to whatever it is “the Left” or “the Right” believes, what difference does it make which one favors greater liberty on more issues? Given the widely disparate definitions people have for many of the key terms in play here (starting with “the Left” and “the Right”), I don’t understand how a discussion that begins with Love’s post can be anything but an exercise in semantics.

  48. “Using your standard, Love could have claimed that no conservatives care about abortion because Bush was president for 8 years and the practice is still legal.”

    First, as RC pointed out, the Supreme Court prevented him from doing much about it. No such problem exists for drug legalization. Second, a lot pro life people will claim that they are taken for granted and used by the Republicans for cheap votes. Couldn’t pro legalizers say the same thing about the Dems?

  49. Try again, Jesse. Aside from their desire to keep abortion a hot issue for a segment of their base for crass mercenary reasons, a conservative Congress and President couldn’t make abortion illegal until SCOTUS said they could. Roe v. Wade, remember?

    You (and Tulpa) missed the point of the comparison. It’s not whether Bush would have preferred to ban abortion; it’s whether it makes sense to make a broad generalization about what “leftists” or “conservatives” believe based on the policies a liberal or conservative president enacts.

    Both our statements sound pretty rediculous don’t they Jesee?

    If someone had written a reverse-Shannon Love article making wild generalizations about how conservatives feel about gays and the drug war and the Bush administration, your comment would have been a perfectly fine response.

  50. “If someone had written a reverse-Shannon Love article making wild generalizations about how conservatives feel about gays and the drug war and the Bush administration, your comment would have been a perfectly fine response.”

    Somehow I don’t think the people on here would view it as such. But, if you would, fair enough. You would admit that the Right spends a lot of time apologizing for the people I mention in my paragraph. Shouldn’t the Left has to also explain and apologize for the green wackos and the teacher’s unions and the public health nuts?

  51. You (and Tulpa) missed the point of the comparison. It’s not whether Bush would have preferred to ban abortion; it’s whether it makes sense to make a broad generalization about what “leftists” or “conservatives” believe based on the policies a liberal or conservative president enacts.

    I wasn’t complaining about your point, Jesse. I was complaining about the example you used to illustrate your point. If you want to illustrate the point that you can’t generalize about conservatives because they didn’t do anything about issue X when they were in power, you might pick an issue that the could have done something about. Say, taxes, spending, deregulation, just to name three off the top of my head.

  52. Its worth noting that the much-maligned Barney Frank is sponsoring a bill to legalize marijuana and another to restore internet gaming

    Which doesn’t change the fact that he sucks on everything else, and i mean that in regards to political issues as well as wieners.

  53. R.C.: I was going for the most extreme/absurd comparison possible. But OK, point taken, it wasn’t a precise match.

  54. Shame on you, Nick Gillespie. Thank you, Jesse Walker. There’s plenty of hypocrisy on the subject of freedom from both sides of the political spectrum. But the sexual revolution has something in common with the rise of rock and roll: Though its partisans have often been seduced by the idea of big government, the very nature of the enterprise pays tribute to the virtues of capitalism.

    Look at the lives and reputations of Hugh Hefner, Larry Flynt, and Helen Gurley Brown (who, at long last, is being acknowledged as a true feminist). They can’t help being poster children for capitalism any more than John Lennon could-even when he was writing lyrics like “Imagine no possessions.”

  55. Shannon Love either strawmanning or just missing the obvious? No, couldn’t be.

    What a joke.

  56. Jesse Walker is awesome, on the other hand.

  57. “Shannon Love either strawmanning or just missing the obvious? No, couldn’t be.”

    If it is just a straw man, who are all these people who claim to be liberals who want to control what I can eat, what my garbage should look like, what kind of car I can buy, where I can set my thermostat, what medical treatments I can take (liberals love the FDA), what school I can send my kids to and what I can and can’t do in any number of other life decisions? Are they aliens? Are they really conservatives pretending to be liberals? Conservatives have to explain the evangelicals, they you assholes ought to have to explain these people.

  58. Shouldn’t the Left has to also explain and apologize for the green wackos and the teacher’s unions and the public health nuts?

    Yes.

    Assuming I am parsing that vaguely LOLspeak phrasing correctly. 😉

  59. Love is off on the drug war. Not so far off on free speech. But the other stuff is accurate.

    Wouldn’t necessarily call it ‘leftists’ though. The old socialist left loved industrialized agriculture and heavy industry. (Hence all the propaganda featuring muscular men with hammers.) Very different from modern ‘progressives’ who want to force everyone to eat organic food, ban genetic engineering, regulate fat and sugar content, and make everyone buy locally.

    Of course, progressives tend to produce corporate socialism in the way they want to regulate things like handmade toys. But that’s just because they don’t realize the unintended consequences of making the world a bureaucratic hell for self-employed and small business people.

  60. If it is just a straw man, who are all these people who claim to be liberals who want to control what I can eat, what my garbage should look like, what kind of car I can buy, where I can set my thermostat, what medical treatments I can take (liberals love the FDA), what school I can send my kids to and what I can and can’t do in any number of other life decisions?

    You forgot to mention what kind of toilets and light bulbs you can install in your house. (It turns out that the Left doesn’t really even want to get the government out of your bedroom, since at least some of those light bulbs would go into fixtures there.)

  61. You forgot to mention what kind of toilets and light bulbs you can install in your house.

    Dude, we’re all interconnected! Your toilet affects my life through an obscure chain of indirect interrelationships!

    Therefore, I’m justified in regulating your toilet.

    We’re all in this together. Submit to the borg!

  62. It all comes down to money, not sex. The left hates the accumulation of wealth. At their mildest they want to redistribute wealth. But the further to the left you go, they more they hate wealth, until you eventually get to ideologies demanding to do away with money entirely. That’s why the left loves sex (as long as you don’t pay for it), love drugs (so long as they are properly taxed at a high rate), free speech (except for businesses), etc.

    There are many kinds of leftists, many with wild and wacked out ideas. But all share a basic hatred of wealth.

  63. The left hates the accumulation of wealth by other people.

    Plenty of lefties are wealthy, and show no inclination to give anything away.

  64. Count me as another one who finds this left/right paradigm useless and tiresome. Look at the incredible range of opinion among the partisans of either wing. The label means nothing. The more passionately one “side’s” followers attack the other’s, the less I take them seriously as political thinkers.

    If we have to ascribe elaborate motivations to our enemies beyond a simple human desire for power, we are off course. It’s a distraction.

    Can’t everyone just unite in hatred of politicians?

  65. I’ve been saying for years I’m happy to have the government out of your marriage and your sex life, just as soon as you fucks and the fucks you vote for get your hands out of my wallet.

    You have a right to be in my wallet? Then I have a right to be in your bedroom, fuckbag.

  66. Plenty of lefties are wealthy, and show no inclination to give anything away.

    Gates and Soros for the counter example.

    Count me as another one who finds this left/right paradigm useless and tiresome.

    Nonsense. Feeble pundits across the land depend on this paradigm for their living. Would you take the bread from their mouths?
    😉

  67. Truth of the matter is, leftists don’t like what leftists don’t like. Same on the conservative side. Trying to ascribe some overarching philosophy to them is an exercise in futility.

    This seems almost willfully obtuse. Because actually, yes — when large groups of human beings gravitate to certain collections of ideas and goals, there is almost certainly some overarching philosophy involved. It’s not like it’s all some wild happenstance, where these human beings happen to be gravitating to a bunch of the same arbitrary stuff.

    At any rate: The overarching dichotomy, I think, boils down to equality vs. liberty. The left is enamored of equality; the right of individual liberty (or at least of individualism).

    Pretty much everything listed in Shannon Love’s post can be explained with these basic tenets. In fact, I’m genuinely surprised this thread managed to get so far without anybody else identifying them. It’s pretty elemental stuff.

  68. I am the last person to deny the importance of sexual freedom.

    But to concern oneself only with sex-related issues, while ignoring drugs and rock & roll, is too limited a view of liberty.

  69. Seriously though, the whole left right paradigm – as some have pointed out – leaves a lot to be desired. Saying someone is left-wing or right-wing doesn’t give us very precise information on what their principles are, or even what their proclivities are.

    I think there are many groups like the ACLU, that would be considered “left” by most observers but actually have more in common with libertarian-leaning subsets of the “right” than with other “leftist” factions/groups.

  70. I think there are many groups like the ACLU, that would be considered “left” by most observers but actually have more in common with libertarian-leaning subsets of the “right” than with other “leftist” factions/groups.

    BG, I agree, and I belong to that organization because I think they generally do good work. But the ACLU tends toward some pretty fucked-up ideas about “economic fairness” as well which I’m sure some of our more Republican-identified posters will be pleased to point out examples of.

  71. Wow, I am agreement that Nick Gillespie linking to me is most likely a sign of the apocalypse.

    I would note that those who accuse me of creating a strawman haven’t actual identified the straw. What exactly is straw in the statement that the left restricts freedom in work, housing, medical care etc? The left clearly demonstrates a pattern of removing the legal authority to make decisions about these matters from ordinary citizens and instead investing this authority in organs of the state. I don’t think that is straw at all.

    It is fair to say that I made a lot of generalizations but then it was a blog post that I wanted to keep under 1,000 words. I assumed that my readers were intelligent and knowledgeable enough to fill in the gaps.

    The sad truth is the the contemporary left is no longer concerned with the material freedom of the individual. I personally agree with left on gay right, abortion and other sexuality related matters but I have come to see that to many people trade their physical freedom for sexual freedom. This is dangerous because in the long run if the state controls your access to the material necessities of life, they can control your intellectual, emotional and sexual life as well. Once the state tells you what you can eat, what you can wear, where you will live, how you will move about, what medical care you can receive, how you are educated etc how can you call yourself a free person just because you bonk whom you want and get high?

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