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The Tea Party

Posted in liberty, politics by dingodonkey on December 8, 2009

I’ve been hearing more and more references lately to the Tea Party movement as a third political party.  Rasmussen even polled a generic three-way ballot for congressional races, finding D-36%, T-23%, R-18%.  T is for The Tea Party, the fictional third party that could be imagined arising out of the movement bearing its name.  And it’s beating the Republicans.

I’m very sympathetic to this movement, because I share with it a common cause — defending liberty and the American way against a power-hungry and increasingly-gluttonous federal government.  But just to be clear, I doubt that a third party will emerge from this movement, unless it is large enough to supersede the Republican Party, in which unlikely case it would just be the second party.  No, Tea Partiers will mostly vote for Republicans, because that’s the party out of power and the party that used to be somewhat sympathetic to their cause, and because they know that dividing the electorate amongst these three groups would only cement their worst case: total Democratic control for years.

There’s a lot of anger all around directed at the federal government, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Pres. Obama, and former Pres. Bush, among countless other power-wielders inside and outside the government.  Many of the angry people at these rallies are not overeducated pundits carefully articulating their grievances.  They are consequently easily caricatured by a media hostile to their causes, and a widespread belief has emerged amongst the elites that they are not a movement built on coherent beliefs, but rather on rage.  This is a grave error that the elites could suffer for making.

Suppose for the sake of discussion that there were such a Tea Party.  We already have a left-wing party and we already have a right-wing party.  The Tea Party is not some new party that falls in the middle of the two, or to some farther extreme.  The Tea Party is generally right-of-center, but does not have to be (in many ways it’s not… there are strong anti-war and anti-corporate factions).  You’ll notice before that I did not say it was despised by the left, but by the elites — and therein lies the difference.  The Democrats and Republicans may be on different sides of the left/right, progressive/conservative split, but they do align, at least in their leadership (which is what counts at the end of the day), on an altogether different axis.  Some years, the Democrats run the government.  Other years, the Republicans run the government.  They volley back and forth for one thing: power.  The other axis is about the allocation of power — collectivism/individualism, totalitarianism/anarchy, tyranny/liberty.  Being close to the side of collectivism/totalitarianism/tyranny is beneficial if you’re one of the guys sharing power, one of the elites, the tyrannical totalitarians directing the collective.  Some years it’s Democrats, and other years it’s Republicans.  The leadership of both parties benefits from being near the totalitarian side.  The rest of us suffer.

The Tea Party may be right-of-center, but that’s not the reason it exists.  Its members may not all be able to articulate it clearly yet, but they do understand this.  I talk to people all the time who tell me they are angry and afraid, that they feel duped by the system, that at the end of the day, no matter who’s in power, they’re getting screwed.  The Tea Party isn’t about anarchy because it recognizes that government is necessary, but it is about being closer to that extreme than to the other, it’s about valuing the individual, it’s about restoring liberty.  The Tea Party wants to back away from a powerful government and restore personal liberty.  History has shown that the two simply cannot coexist.

The top Democrats and the top Republicans want to control our lives.  The Tea Partiers don’t want to control anything except their own destinies.  And that, my friends, is the real difference.  And that’s why I’d vote for them any day, even if they are gun-totin’, Bible-clingin’, unrefined hillbillies.  Sounds like my kind of people.

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One Response

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  1. George said, on February 22, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I like what you write. I studied Philosophy and Math and Environmental Design (whatever that is) in college.
    In response to this article:
    I am coming from the other end. Instead of wondering where all the liberty went? I am working to reconnect folks to areas where we entrusted our personal responsibilities: to other professionals, to the doctors, therapists, lawyers, churches, schools and such. Not that these are inherently bad but rather that we seem to have become too obsessed with making money or something else. We have off-loaded our natural obligations to ourselves, our children and our ancestors to others. All this may have built up a wonderful economy, however, in the long run, no one is home minding the baby.

    I feel that it is each individual’s task to rekindle an interest in what is going on in their own bodies, minds and hearts and take a courageous stand. Without this process of “remembering” taking place how will the individual know what they are for?

    I feel that other cultures bring with them this sense of an on-board belief system that relates to family…one’s ancestors, one’s children and one’s gods. Because they still have this in tact, because they they have learned to sacrifice their own interests for the interests of their group, they will succeed us. No sense in us getting angry about the South Americans rushing across our boarders, making money at low-paying jobs we don’t want and sending half of that money home. What we need to do to solve this and many such problems is to rekindle our imaginations, reacquaint ourselves with what our bodies need (learning this from the inside, from nature and from shamans- whatever) not from the pharmaceutical industry or media).
    First we have to start living responsibly, then perhaps we would be able to handle living with liberty.


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