In other words, republicanism isn’t liberalism.
“For decades Republicans have marketed themselves as the party of freedom. During the 1990s and early 2000s, conservative activists took up the description of the GOP coined by the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist as the “leave us alone” coalition, so named because it consisted of voters whose stated aspiration was to live without government interference. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Republican governors led by Ron DeSantis in Florida gravitated toward unbending opposition to business and school shutdowns, as well as to mask or vaccine requirements, often overriding Democratic-run local governments that tried to impose them. …
Supposedly representing the party of smaller government, Republicans across red states have in recent months approved a wave of intrusive actions as they work to unravel the “rights revolution” of the past 60 years. These measures include authorizing vigilante lawsuits by private citizens against anyone involved in providing an abortion and state investigations of parents who approved medical transition treatment for their transgender children (both in Texas), as well as restrictions on how both teachers and private companies alike can talk about race and gender and how K–12 teachers can discuss sexual orientation (the “Don’t Say Gay” law, in Florida). DeSantis has penalized in various ways the Walt Disney Company, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and the Special Olympics for objecting to his policies. …”
What is liberty?
Is liberty the republican ideal of self-government, OR, the liberal ideal of freedom from government? Abortion highlights the clash between these rival definitions of freedom. The pendulum in the Supreme Court is swinging away from liberalism and back toward the republican understanding of freedom.
The Founding Fathers created a federal republic with a set of liberal rights at the federal level. It was left up to each state to define who was a citizen. The Bill of Rights restricted the power of the federal government and reserved all the powers which were not delegated to it to the states. The natural rights of life, liberty and property of citizens were respected with some states determining that blacks were property and others determining that they were citizens. Some states even had established state churches. Sharp distinctions were drawn between civil equality, political equality and social equality.
The republican ideal of freedom is that communities are left alone to govern themselves. The states are sovereign, not individuals. The states have the authority to define their own members, police their citizens and regulate education and sexuality. Decisions are made collectively. Insofar as liberal rights are protected like the right to bear arms, they are protected by state constitutions.