It’s a steroetype of “blue” America – at least, the “elite” version of it that gets (and makes) the headlines – that liberty, at least the kind that involves something other than waving one’s genitals about and dunking crucifixes in urine – terrifies them.
Stereotypes exist for a reason. Blue Amerca’s official vision is that liberty is a scary thing. Of course, this vision is broadcast by an “elite” that thinks they stand to benefit from living in a society where an elite – including them, natch – makes the trains run on time.
Which is why as calls from the hinterland to open up the economy get louder, you can expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing, equating those calls with scary backwoods guys with un-oiled bears and lots of guns.
Bonus steroetype: why did the New York Times put scare quotes around “liberty” in the headline?