David M. Brown's Blog

August 24, 2016

Let’s not be “capturing” liberty

Filed under: Language and grammar,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:57 am

In a recent post for the Liberty magazine web site about why some people are disinclined to discuss the current presidential election in mixed or any company, Wayland Hunter writes: “I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that people [regard the presidency with cynicism]. The imperial presidency lost almost all of its glamour with the abject failure of Obama (whom, by the way, hardly anybody ever mentions either). That’s certainly good, and maybe it’s permanent. I’m not sure, however, that complete political cynicism is a good long-run strategy for the pursuit and capture of individual freedom.”

I’m not sure that isolating an objective-case usage of “whom” the way Hunter does here is a good long-run grammatical strategy, since it grates on the ear even after the wording that reveals its correctness finally arrives. I’m even more unsure that we should speak of pursuing and “capturing” individual freedom as a positive good. Freedom should never be hunted, wrestled to the ground, captured, tortured, and/or shot until dead. I’m all in favor of achieving and preserving it, however.

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