Redefining 'freedom'? Left-wing figures give it a try

'Freedom to me looks like universal healthcare, free college...'

Left-wing icons have attempted to reframe the concept of "freedom" in terms of guarantees from society rather than liberty from certain restrictions.

That kind of argument surfaced once again on Saturday when gun control advocate David Hogg tweeted: "Freedom to me looks like universal healthcare, free college, housing for all, quality food for all who need it, social mobility and good paying union jobs."

He added that freedom didn't look like a "blind obedience to authority, a massively overfunded military and a couple hundred billionaires that control our gov[ernment]."

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Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., two progressive icons, have made similar arguments in the past.

"Real freedom isn’t living under the thumb of giant corporations," Warren tweeted last December. "Real freedom isn’t living in debt, one crisis away from disaster. Real freedom isn't watching opportunities snatched up by the rich and powerful. Real freedom comes when everyone has the opportunity to prosper."

Both Sanders and Warren have become leading proponents of big government programs guaranteeing what the left has defined as so-called rights, such as a right to health care or a right to taxpayer-funded abortions.

Sanders previously argued that authentic freedom entailed economic security. 

"It is not freedom when you have to work three jobs just to survive," he said. "It is time to say that real freedom must include a living wage and economic security."

By contrast, the framers of the Constitution "sought to protect the basic freedoms that allow us to tailor our own lives according to our own values and beliefs," George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told Fox News.

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"Those freedoms were guaranteed not by a positive grant in the Constitution but a negative prohibition of their denial by the government," Turley said. "Mixing the colloquial and constitutional meaning of freedom can distort our political debate.  It can change what is a choice into what is a guarantee."

Politicians and commentators often morph the meaning of freedom in the colloquial and constitutional sense, he said.

"Indeed, politicians often seem to emphasize the 'free' in freedom like free education, free child care, or other social programs," Turley said. "Many of us agree that such programs are essential to our society, but we choose as a nation to afford them to ourselves and others.  We have the freedom to make such choices."

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