I’ve been thinking about “freedom” in light of the recent “freedom convoy” trucker protests. There are a great many working class Americans who gravitate to the Republican Party at least in part because they like the emphasis on “freedom.” And I think part of that may come down to the fact that they’ve experienced very little genuine autonomy in their working lives. They’ve been subjected to dehumanizing working environments that have robbed them of their creativity and intrinsic motivation. In other words, efforts like the “freedom convoy” are, at least in part, an exercise in deficiency-need gratification (in the Maslow sense). The irony is of course the Republican Party, despite its mantra of “freedom,” is perhaps the most active defender of the dominator hierarchies that have left these workers feeling sapped of their autonomy in the first place.

Expand full comment

Glad my post stirred this up. I like your reminding us that freedom for many iis a very vague cloudy but mesmerizing thought field.

Want to unpack the Maslow reference a bit ? I assume it fits into his hierarchy idea but I don't get it .

Expand full comment

Yes, apologies. Deficiency need gratification is the end result of deficiency need motivation. Here’s how Maslow described the process: “The human being has, as part of his intrinsic construction, not only physiological needs but also truly psychological ones. They may be considered as deficiencies which must be optimally fulfilled by the environment in order to avoid sickness and subjective ill-being. They can be called basic, or biological, and likened to the need for salt or calcium or vitamin D because—

a) The deprived person yearns for their gratification persistently.

b)Their deprivation makes the person sicken and wither.

c)Gratifying them is therapeutic, curing the deficiency-illness.

d)Steady supplies forestall these illnesses.

e)Healthy (gratified) people do not demonstrate these deficiencies.”

Expand full comment