Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Washington Post on the Tea Parties

"When you see an otherwise legitimate rally about spending, about liberty, role of government, and then you see one really bad Hitler-type sign, as the token Jew of the RSC staff, maybe that sign hits me harder," said Paul Teller, subject of this story — Once a child of the left, now resolute on the right.

The only "really bad Hitler-type sign[s]" I've seen are ones comparing President Obama to the Führer, like the one above, which seems to me to mean that the Tea Partiers are anything but neo-Nazis. Of course, a conversation posted on these pages a few days ago — Tom Woods Is Interviewed by a Zombie — reminded us that Hitler was rabidly opposed to States' Rights. And what could be more indicative of the "post-racial America" President Obama was said the have ushered in than an image of a half-African Hitler?

Amy Gardner gives us a surprisingly objective and informative report, mentioning the "upsurge in organized classes and book clubs" and the "growing effort among conservatives to teach supporters how to do political battle using an inviolable weapon: the nation's founding documents" — Tea party gatherings on the Fourth mix the educational and the patriotic.

She reminds us of "[t]he view that the Constitution does not permit such federal actions as the passage of health reform, the regulation of the environment or the imposition of educational mandates on the states" and of "the Constitution's 10th Amendment, which grants to the states all powers not specifically given to the federal government."

"Some conservative activists also point to the 17th Amendment, but in this case they oppose it," she notes. "That amendment established direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote rather than appointment by their state legislatures. The thinking in that case is that the amendment removed the powerful Senate from control by the states." She quotes Tea Party organizer Rick Buchanan, reminding us, "The founding fathers were very afraid of a central government."

Perhaps our opinion manufacturers see little danger in folks studying the "quaint" documents upon which our nation was founded, being that they have become dead letters. I pray they're wrong. And perhaps the powers that be have backed off a bit, cutting the tea partiers some slack as they have yet to question our wars and empire. All other issues are secondary.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, in fairness, I have to say that this post is good and balanced. Having hit you so hard before, I owe you that.

~An American

4:54 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Thanks. The name "Howard Zinn" is, if anything, provocative. As I wrote in my obituary, Howard Zinn, Rest in Peace:

"It took me more than a decade to finally get around to reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, with its cartoonish juxtaposition of the Noble savage of the Americas with the 'Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money' on the first page. After finally reading it, I found much of value in the book, even if I had to hold my nose from time to time."

8:47 AM  
OpenID arturovasquez said...

" And perhaps the powers that be have backed off a bit, cutting the tea partiers some slack as they have yet to question our wars and empire. All other issues are secondary."

Bingo. You should read Trotsky on the emergence of fascism. Fascists, contrary to popular belief, did not have some absolute love of a centralized state. At least at first. Usually, it started as a very anti-authoritarian, anti-status quo type movement. Lots of flag waving, lots of pointing of fingers. And then the creation of enemies which can justify any war in the name of a fatherland, a race, an ideal, etc. In other words, totalitarianism always wears the mask of freedom, at least at first.

Flag waving is never good against preventing future wars. Anyone can turn hysterical overnight and sign the government over a blank check to raise as large an army and manufacture as many bombs as deemed necessary to destroy "our enemies". "No freedom to the enemies of freedom", and watch the blood flow.

9:00 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I think having some background on the Left can be very useful in analyzing our current state of affairs.

10:38 AM  

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