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MSNBC Contributor: Americans’ Obsession with Freedom Blinds Us to Threats Like Climate Change, Viruses

MSNBC contributor Anand Giridharadas said on Wednesday because Americans are so obsessed with the idea of freedom, it leaves the country vulnerable to outside threats like climate change and pandemics. He added government is not the biggest threat to our liberties.


Giridharadas said the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and the government's response will lead to Americans wanting to reevaluate its relationship with the state and federal government. 

"There is a primordial American tradition going back to the Founders of being freedom obsessed, even though we are a country founded on slavery and genocide, being freedom obsessed to the point that we’re always so afraid of the government coming for us that we’re blind to other types of threats, whether it’s a virus, whether it’s bank malfeasance, climate change, what have you," Giridharadas said on "Morning Joe."

Giridharadas said the soft version of distrust in the government stems from Ronald Reagan presidency and even some liberals go along with it.

"And then there is the more recent Trump era twist in this which is the war on government becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, you undermine government, you undermine it, you undermine it, you put someone who can barely read a sentence in government, in the figure of Donald Trump, and it becomes true that government sucks because you made it suck by telling everybody it sucks," he continued. "And I think the most important thing that could come out of this is realizing the government is not the biggest threat to our liberty. It can be a threat to our liberty but we’re threatened by many, many things. And what the government fundamentally does is protect us from a lot of those other oppressions that we in America are often quite blind to."


The state lockdowns that have been imposed across the country have led to what many see as extreme overreach. 

Shelley Luther, a hair salon owner in Dallas, Texas, was given a week-long jail sentence and a $7,000 fine for defying county orders and opening her salon for business on Tuesday. The judge, who said she was being selfish, gave her the opportunity to avoid jail time if she admitted she was wrong for opening before the county said it was okay.

"I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish," Luther said. "I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they'd rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I'm not going to shut the salon." 

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