[FoRK] Misunderestimating "The" Tea Party

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu Mar 18 14:36:53 PDT 2010

Debugging Russell's mixed-up claim...

His claim was that the Tea Party "largely intersects" the social conservative movement.

The article I pointed to, which Russell apparently didn't read, disproves the very point he is making;  in it, leaders of some of the constituent groups *explicitly* state that the Tea Party movement should divorce itself from the divisiveness of social conservative politics.  QED.

Now, yes, there is substantial social conservative support for the Tea Party constituent parts;  but the claim that it "largely intersects" is certainly not supported and whether all TP groups feature social conservative issues strategically front-and-center is disproved by the very article in question.  It seems that these folks have placed economics ahead of the social conservative agenda.  That's improvement;  it means an improved GOP, should those groups prevail in taking control of the GOP agenda --- assuming the leaders of those groups are honestly expressing the intended strategy.  THIS is the way to grow *a* big tent that avoids the socialist slide on the economic side.

Whether or not the various feet-on-the-ground think this is a reasonable backdoor into allowing the states to e.g. legislate choice is irrelevant;  that's not the strategy of some of the prominent groups, which was the point in question.  Russell's point about the history of state governments vis-a-vis civil liberties is correct, but also misleading.  It assumes something about states that isn't necessarily a universal truth.  It also says something about the democracy / scaling issue that has been brought up repeatedly.  If given the opportunity to form its own "state" --- Russell, do you really think e.g. Austin, independent of Round Rock much less e.g. Dallas, Abilene, or Lubbock, would be anti-choice?

In the end, IMHO, a free market wins.  And a free market with more choices (and less barriers-to-entry for those that would offer alternative chocies) is better than a free market with less choices.  Let's have more choice in government, not less.  Then the otherwise-BS argument "well, if you don't like it here, go somewhere else" might actually have some legitimacy.

Yes, the coercive qualities of larger scale governments may be necessary for certain things.  But let's make sure the trade-offs make sense in net.  I'm not sure they do here, and the argument concerns me:  there's deep irony in making this argument of necessity *for* civil rights.  As William Pitt (the younger) observed:  "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."



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