Liberal Freedom Means No Republicanism?

This post is an “Interlude,” which means I am just musing. This post pontificates upon the recent Supreme Court ruling to axe part of the Voting Rights Act. Like, in my dissertation, I examine the political languages of authoritarianism, liberalism, and republicanism–and then discover if the languages are empirically present in America as a response to 9/11. This post will ponder the type of freedom SCOTUS advances in today’s decision.

According to

A deeply divided Supreme Court on Tuesday halted enforcement of the federal government’s most potent tool to stop voting discrimination over the past half century, saying it does not reflect racial progress.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court declared unconstitutional a provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act that determines which states and localities must get Washington’s approval for proposed election changes.

President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black chief executive, issued a statement saying he was ‘‘deeply disappointed’’ with the ruling…

The Court’s decision suggests that outdated laws should be rescinded, whereby state’s rights (i.e. freedom) may prevail without being subject to the interference (or “approval”) of the national government.

On its face, today’s decision looks like liberal neutrality. The state should play a limited role–as limited as possible–in obstructing the people’s will (i.e. the will of state representatives). It does not look like authoritarianism, which creates ascriptive hierarchy and second class citizens. And it does not seem very republican, which would surely have kept the Voting Rights Act as an auxiliary precaution–protecting all people from possible arbitrary interference and dominating factions.

When we look at American history, liberal consensus scholars contend that the Alger Myth is indicative of cultural freedom via equal opportunity, which eradicates authoritarian rules and weakens republican laws too. For instance, post Civil War “reconstruction” laws were republican in structure; however, they were loosened and let go. This was by liberalism’s hand–by liberalism’s “equal opportunity.” Minorities were not part of American freedom if they were propped up by the state under Reconstruction. That is not the American democrat (Hartz)! Under liberalism, all have to be equal in opportunity; regardless of conditions, because if you work hard in America–then you’ll truly make-it! Freedom isn’t free–it’s earned, protected, and appreciated.

Indeed, today’s SCOTUS decision is a blow for republicanism, which would prefer that the Voting Rights Act actually be strengthened. To be sure, republicanism cares about previous conditions, for it not only mandates equal opportunity–but it also requires that conditions for citizens less well off than the median voter be provided “resources” in order to actually have an equal opportunity (Pettit 2012). If SCOTUS continues to weaken republicanism, I suspect that republicanism will arise and proliferate as the new language of freedom for today’s young people–those young at heart.



3 thoughts on “Liberal Freedom Means No Republicanism?

  1. Pingback: a classic liberal ? gets answered « Political Pipeline

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  3. Pingback: Differentiating republicanism, liberalism, and authoritarianism | Political Pipeline

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