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An MSNBC contributor called out “freedom-obsessed” Americans and their aversion to big government amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas blamed Americans obsessed with the idea of freedom for creating a vulnerability in the country to threats like climate change, speaking in the topic during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.
“Something has to change so this doesn’t happen again,” MSNBC co-host Willie Geist said to Giridharadas. “What do you think we will learn from this as we look out over the horizon?”
“One of the fundamental questions to me is, what’s going to be our relationship to government, the idea of government after this?” Giridharadas replied.
“There’s a primordial American tradition going back to the founders of being freedom-obsessed, even though we’re a country founded on slavery and genocide, being freedom-obsessed to the point that we’re always so afraid of the government coming for us that we’re blind to other types of threats, whether it’s a virus, whether it’s bank malfeasance, climate change, what have you,” he said.
Giridharadas contended that even liberals fall for the distrust in the government, which he claimed came from the Ronald Reagan presidency.
“There’s also a more recent, kind of 40-year version of this, which is the Reagan war on government, government is the problem, right?” he said.
“That’s not just an idea on the right. There’s a hard version on the right, there’s a small-c ‘conservative’ kind of militant version of it, but it has also infected many people on the left in this passive sense, like ‘I believe in government,’ but ‘I would never go work there,’ or ‘I believe in government but, you know, I kind of like don’t like my taxes too high, or I use trusts in the Cayman Islands,'” Giridharadas continued.
“And then there is the more recent Trump-era twist in this which is the war on government becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, you undermine government, you undermine it, you undermine it, you put someone who can barely read a sentence in government, in the figure of Donald Trump, and it becomes true that government sucks because you made it suck by telling everybody it sucks,” he ranted.
“And I think the most important thing that could come out of this is realizing the government is not the biggest threat to our liberty,” Giridharadas declared.
“It can be a threat to our liberty but we’re threatened by many, many things,” he concluded. “And what government fundamentally does is protect us from a lot of those other oppressions that we in America are often quite blind to.”
With state and local lockdowns imposed across the country in recent weeks as governments attempted to control citizens to stem the spread of the virus, many would probably not be quick to agree that the frequent cases of overreach are just the government trying to “protect” people.
Twitter users slammed Giridharadas for his take and “utter contempt” of Americans.
The government will protect us. seems like a great idea
— Yos (@MindOfYos) May 6, 2020
Oh he does. He just has utter contempt for them akin to the contempt that Soviet apparatchiks has for us.
— Rafael G. Nendel-Flores (@rnendelflores) May 6, 2020
OMG “obsession with freedoms”
When will he be moving to Cuba?
— VeronicaCorningstone (@andreaUSA7373) May 6, 2020
Obviously this guy loves the sound of his own voice and thinks whatever he has to say is brilliant. 🙄
— DeeRody (@Dee_Rody) May 6, 2020
Wow. People need to try some American History.
— donna cutlip chaky (@sansuri) May 6, 2020
We elect candidates to represent us, not rule over us and tell us what to do.
— TexLex (@TexLex) May 6, 2020
Joseph Stalin approves of this message….
— Rich Jones (@rjones138) May 6, 2020
Throughout human history governments have consistently been the biggest threat to human liberty. Everywhere, always.
— Holden Mitchell (@wildmanwilly94) May 6, 2020
He sums up the liberal viewpoint well.
— Tom Maldonado-Passage (@tomburkart) May 6, 2020
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