During the pandemic the left has made the huge mistake of ceding the language of freedom to the right. Rather than offer aternatives to policies that systematically favoured the stay-at-home middle class, granted powers to the police that would have been the envy of the dictatorships the left used to oppose, and prevented us from accompanying family members as they drew their last breath, the left went along with it all.
As a result the word ‘libertarian’ has been completely appropriated by small-state liberals. At one time the left would have fought to recover the word for its own emancipatory project, the bedrock principle of which is that freedom is impossible without the security that can only be provided by the community acting in other-regarding concert. Nothing could be further from the fantasies of the libertarian right, which make a bonfire of the ties that bind people together in mutual aid.
What’s life without liberty? is a question the left has forgotten to ask. It needs to do so, quick, before the freedom train runs away for good.