PBS Cues Guest to Slam 'Infantile' Conservative View of Freedom

 PBS Cues Guest to Slam 'Infantile' Conservative View of Freedom

On Thursday’s Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International, the show gave an unchallenged forum to liberal MSNBC contributor Anand Giridharadas — who also hosts a show on Vice TV — to promote a universal health care system and more regulations on businesses as he also derided the conservative “obsession” with “freedom” as being “paranoid,” “infantile” and “childlike.”

After Hari Sreenivasan — who also hosts the weekend edition of PBS NewsHour — finished interviewing the liberal activist, host Christiane Amanpour even lauded Giridharadas for “keeping them honest,” and declared his show, Seat at the Table, to be “must-see TV.”

As the 16-minute segment began, Giridharadas recalled that minorities and people of a lower social class have been more heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and Sreenivasan soon followed up by setting his liberal guest up to complain about the conservative view of freedom:

HARI SREENIVASAN: One of the segments on your program recently, it was called … “The War on Government” — that there is a pretty sizable movement among supporters of the President that seems pro-freedom. It also seems anti-government. We recently had the author and professor Tom Nichols on, and he said, “You know what, that freedom is confused with the type of freedom that children have.” But you also went on in your program and talked about how there is a certain tyranny in life with no government at all. Explain that.

The liberal activist got right to negatively portraying the right-leaning definition of freedom as he began his response:

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: You know, many Americans have a child-like understanding of freedom, as you say, and what that consists of is an understanding of freedom that in many ways goes back to our founding, of freedom obsession I would say, these Americans have, in which freedom is defined as the absence of government or government doing as little as possible or government leaving you alone.

He further condescended to conservatives over their view of what freedom is as he added:

GIRIDHARADAS: But for a great many Americans with this infantile understanding of freedom, that is it. That is freedom. Freedom is being left alone by the government. And it’s being paranoid about the government being more interested in you than you are actually interesting, right? Government’s coming for your guns, government’s coming to, you know, regulate your food away. Government’s coming to, you know, tell you who you can meet. Government’s coming to manipulate you through, you know, its allies in the fake news, I mean, this kind of paranoid attitude, of government coming to get you.

After arguing that government is needed to prevent private businesses from infringing on “freedom,” the liberal activist concluded his answer:

GIRIDHARADAS: And so this childlike freedom obsession that tens of millions of Americans unfortunately have is literally killing us in this pandemic they are so focused on government oppressing them through lockdowns that they don’t understand that you can end up way more oppressed by a virus — you can end up way more oppressed by not having economic security — you can end up way more oppressed by having the kind of health care system that encourages people to stay home instead of get tested.

As the end of the segment neared, Giridharadas argued that universal health care actually helps capitalist countries in Europe because it makes it easier for employees to move between companies while companies are not burdened with paying for health care costs. He then concluded: “It is actually better to live in a decent society, and when Americans start to wake up to that in greater numbers, it’s going to be a great day.”

After Sreenivasan promptly wrapped up the segment, Amanpour appeared on screen and gushed: “Anand keeping them honest there. That show is going to be must-see TV.”

Not mentioned is that most of the major advanced countries in Europe that have universal health care have had a higher per capita death rate from Covid-19 than the U.S., thus undermining the notion that such a system is more likely to get better health care results.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, May 21, Amanpour & Co. on PBS and CNN International:

HARI SREENIVASAN: When you talk about choice, there’s also  — one of the segments on your program recently, it was called, I think, “The War on Government” — that there is a pretty sizable movement among supporters of the President that seems pro-freedom. It also seems anti-government. We recently had the author and professor Tom Nichols on, and he said, “You know what, that freedom is confused with the type of freedom that children have.” But you also went on in your program and talked about how there is a certain tyranny in life with no government at all. Explain that.

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: You know, many Americans have a child-like understanding of freedom, as you say, and what that consists of is an understanding of freedom that in many ways goes back to our founding, of freedom obsession I would say, these Americans have, in which freedom is defined as the absence of government or government doing as little as possible or government leaving you alone.

Now, I would be the first to say that is an element of freedom. There’s a whole bunch of things, right, that I don’t want the government intervening in my life, and I share that — everyone listening to this would share that. But for a great many Americans with this infantile understanding of freedom, that is it. That is freedom. Freedom is being left alone by the government. And it’s being being paranoid about the government being more interested in you than you are actually interesting, right? Government’s coming for your guns, government’s coming to, you know,  regulate your food away. Government’s coming to,  you know, tell you who you can meet. Government’s coming to manipulate you through, you know, its allies in the fake news, I mean, this kind of paranoid attitude, of government coming to get you

And the point we made on the segment is what this has done is obscure the way in which a large aspect of human freedom is actually not threatened by government, but by private actors, right? A bank screwing you over speculating in ways that lead to you losing your home is also a threat to your freedom. It doesn’t mean government is not a threat to your freedom, but the threat can also come from over there, right? A company dumping toxic chemicals into the creek where your kids play is also threatening your freedom and their freedom, but it’s not government. What we have often failed to understand as a culture and certainly these millions of Americans who feel this way is that when the threats actually come from private actors, your best bet against those kinds of threats are the government.

If you are hungry because you are paid seven bucks an hour instead of 15, the government is your best bet to make sure you get paid 15. There’s not another easy way to make that happen. And so this childlike freedom obsession that tens of millions of Americans unfortunately have is literally killing us in this pandemic they are so focused on government oppressing them through lockdowns that they don’t understand that you can end up way more oppressed by a virus — you can end up way more oppressed by not having economic security — you can end up way more oppressed by having the kind of health care system that encourages people to stay home instead of get tested.

(…)

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: Do you know that those countries with universal health care — you talk l to business people there — they love having universal health care. You know why? Because they don’t have to pay for it. Their companies — they don’t have to actually think about it. When they’re starting a small business, they don’t have to have this huge expense of having to pay for people, all right? When they’re trying to recruit people to their small businesses, they don’t have to deal with this problem of people not wanting to leave a big company because they don’t want to lose their health care. It is actually better to live in a decent society, and when Americans start to wake up to that in greater numbers, it’s going to be a great day. 

HARI SREENIVASAN: The new show is called Seat at the Table. It’s on Vice TV. Anand Giridharadas, t0hanks so much for joining me. 

GIRIDHARADAS: Thanks for having me. 

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Anand keeping them honest there. That show is going to be must see TV.

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