Category Archive 'Tea Party Movement'

07 Jun 2010

Tea Party Patriotism

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Michael Kinsley sneered at participants in the Tea Party Movement, in the Atlantic, dismissing them as people only interested in a tax cut, and challenging their patriotism. Kinsley admires instead the 1960s anti-war movement, which he describes as “selfless and idealistic.”

Bah, humbug! I was there. Whom does Kinsley think he’s kidding? The 1960s anti-war movement was pure selfishness. The student revolution gave people our age the chance to throw their weight around and they took it. Adolescent hormones, excess energy, and self-importance found expression in opportunistic rebellion against authority powered by the disproportionate weight of an unusually large age group sept. A lot of people back then went out to the demonstration motivated by nothing nobler than the desire to see themselves on the six o’clock news.

The antiwar movement had no problem recruiting. Opposition to the war was morally crucial to justify one’s being at home in college, smoking pot and chasing girls, not on the other side of the world with the less fortunate male members of our generation, marching through the jungle getting shot at. If the war was right and a good cause, then we were a sleazy bunch of self indulgent louses taking shameful advantage of our student deferments while the blue collar crowd went to war in our place. If the war was wrong, we were wiser, better people, too noble to support an imperialist war. How surprising that so many people our age found the second theory so attractive.

But an even better reply to Mr. Kinsley came this weekend at a Tea Party gathering of residents of Douglas and Carroll Counties held at Clinton Preserve in Villa Rica, Georgia. The syndicated columnist and talk show host Herman Cain addressed the crowd, then there was a magical moment:

(Examiner):

The most memorable part of the tea party occurred near the end. A white-haired gentleman let a young woman go ahead of him in the rapid fire line so he could be last. When he reached the microphone, he introduced himself as Louis, a former Marine, and announced that he had recently heard the second, seldom played, verse of the Star Spangled Banner and then began to sing:

    Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto, “In God is our trust”
    And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

As Louis sang (actually the fourth and last verse; find the complete lyrics here), the surprised crowd began to stand to their feet, remove their hats, and cover their hearts with their hands. As he reached the more familiar last lines, members of the crowd joined in, and the entire crowd erupted into cheers at the finale. Upon completion of the song, Louis turned and hurried away, shaking a few hands that were thrust toward him as he walked. He quickly blended into the crowd, not to be seen again, but a photographer from http://secularstupidest.com recorded his performance and posted it on youtube for posterity.

2:56 video

Hat tip to David Larkin, Karen L. Myers, and Bruce Kesler.

05 Jan 2010

The Bitterness of the Elect

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David Brooks is unhappy that ordinary Americans are so ungrateful as to reject the gracious willingness of their betters to take charge of the country, correct its failings, and run their lives for them.

The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.

The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.

A year ago, the Obama supporters were the passionate ones. Now the tea party brigades have all the intensity.

The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation. …

The Obama administration is premised on the conviction that pragmatic federal leaders with professional expertise should have the power to implement programs to solve the country’s problems. Many Americans do not have faith in that sort of centralized expertise or in the political class generally.

In the near term, the tea party tendency will dominate the Republican Party. It could be the ruin of the party, pulling it in an angry direction that suburban voters will not tolerate. But don’t underestimate the deep reservoirs of public disgust. If there is a double-dip recession, a long period of stagnation, a fiscal crisis, a terrorist attack or some other major scandal or event, the country could demand total change, creating a vacuum that only the tea party movement and its inheritors would be in a position to fill.

Personally, I’m not a fan of this movement. But I can certainly see its potential to shape the coming decade.

Being an educated sort of person myself, I find it remarkable that the positions of the community of fashion “educated” class, amounting to Luddite Catastrophism, Hedonism (tinged by a covert eugenic impulse), Appeasement, and Pacifism, really all represent extremist, self-indulgent, fantastical, and intellectually indefensible ideas, universally rejected by the mainstream traditions of Natural Science and Moral and Political Philosophy.

Education seems to have succeeded in inculcating a sense of group identity, featuring a habitual reliance on conformity as a status marker, but it has obviously not succeeded in the generality of its beneficiaries in producing people able to distinguish between established science and unverifiable models. It has produced a prominent and recognizable portion of the population with an exaggerated sense of self-entitlement and an overweening confidence in its own expertise, which at the same time demonstrates a complete inability not only to learn from history, but even to remember more than a couple of years into the past.

Our soi disant educated class typically has none of the fruits of education, beyond that produced by effective training in sophistry: skill in the manipulation of words, symbols, and ideas. Ordinary Americans commonly have a profound intellectual advantage over today’s educated elites in the possession of character and an independence of mind capable of rejecting the impulses of fashion. Ordinary Americans see through Global Warming because they have common sense. What passes for education in Mr. Brooks’s view of the world is the willing subordination of independent thought in favor the echo chamber consensus found in the establishment media. Bow to the Times’, the New Yorker’s, the New York Review of Books’ authoritative positions and perspectives and you are educated.

Some education.


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