What Freedom Means

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photoIn his inaugural address President Bush mentioned it no less than 27 times. But just what does Bush mean, when he speaks of freedom?

Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson argues that Bush is invoking two definitions of freedom. One is the classic version of individual freedom embraced by most Americans today. The other one is the freedom that emphasizes civil liberties and social justice and embodies democracy. But it is Bush's hybrid definition of "freedom," Patterson says, that the rest of the world hears as hypocrisy.

Hear about what Bush means when he mentions freedom and how it compares to what America and the world understand it to mean.


Orlando Patterson, professor of sociology, Harvard University and author of "Freedom in the Making of Western Culture" and of a forthcoming book on the meaning of freedom in the United States

Richard Epstein, professor of law, University of Chicago and author of "Skepticism and Freedom: A Modern Case for Classic Liberalism" and "Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty with the Common Good"

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

This program aired on January 26, 2005.


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