Tim Pawlenty and the Rhetoric of Freedom

It’s slightly on the silly side, but I think this Tim Pawlenty self-promotional video is ultimately pretty awesome:

I continue to be fascinated by the way in which the rhetoric of “freedom” is always so closely associated with authoritarian populist nationalist movements. Absolutely nothing in the imagery of the video or the policy agenda of the Republican Party is suggestive of freedom. It’s full of flags and grim-faced folks and bourgeois respectability and military jets flying in tight formation. It’s an ad from a conservative politician that’s about exactly what an ad from a conservative politician ought to be about—about preserving a way of life against Muslims, freeloaders, sexual deviants, and other threats.

Contrast Pawlenty’s video with an advertisement that’s actually about freedom:

You could totally imagine Job Cohen using that music and those images to talk about how the Netherlands is the most successful country on earth because it’s also the freest and actually meaning that Dutch people enjoy an unusually high level of personal freedom. And wouldn’t he be right?