Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tea Parties

There were more tea parties last week and they are now getting some push back from the left.

So what do I think about them? The parties themselves have been focusing on taxes and of course the left is focusing on that. And even when spending is raised, the left counters by asking where "we" were when the Bush administration was spending. Granted, I would argue that many of us were complaining about Bush's spending. Porkbusters for one flashed across the sky like a meteor, even getting under Trent Lott's skin. But while I see occasional references here and there, the whole Porkbusters "movement" just died out.

But further on spending, while Bush was spending too much (and the GOP in the early 2000s was using pork to solidify its position), the "stimulus" act has exploded the deficit. No one read the bill before passage. President Obama reneged on his promise for a public review period for all bills, so no one really read the thing before signing. And while much in the act is probably defensible and good, most of these items should have gone through the regular appropriations process.

This may sound strange, but the whole thing leaves me a little depressed (and generally, I do not believe in getting depressed on matters political). For one thing, as a conservative, I really don't DO the whole protest thing. Other than the tea party a few months ago and the occasional political rally, I have not been to a protest since I don't know when.

But my main concern is more philosophical. My complaint is not really with the taxes but the spending. And not really the spending but about the feeling that the relationship between the people and the state was perhaps irrevocably changing. It has been moving that way for a while, but it seems now to be accelerating.

I am not sure what if anything will come out of the tea parties. But the GOP needs to be kept out. The GOP's hunger for political power through earmarks and pork have helped get us to this point. The GOP needs to prove it can be trusted again on fiscal matters and they are for from proving to me (I am not longer a registered Republican, my disgust raised so high). Some argue the tea parties can turn into a third party, but I doubt it.

If anything, the parties can at least slow down the drift to a managerial state.


Rodak said...

Just think for a moment about how far the quintessential "managerial state", i.e., China, has come in less than 50 years. Go back and read up on China, prior to Nixon's visit.
If we leave things up to the unpatriotic, entrepreneurial thieves who have brought us to the state we are in today, China will have little chunks of Uncle Sam in its stool.

William R. Barker said...

Hmm... sounds like you weren't actually AT a Tea Party, Anthony.

Am I reading correctly between the lines that indeed you did not actually ATTEND one...???

I did.

I attended the Fishkill Tea Party held at Dutchess Stadium. Mary and I were there with a few thousand other folks.

You're WRONG. The Tea Party I attended was focused on SPENDING... on pork, on bailouts, on "stimulus" packages.

Basically, if there was one overriding message, it was that We The People are in danger of losing our country.

Yep. I'm aware - as were the other folks at the Tea Party - that the Democrats took over both Houses of Congress in 2007 following free and (mostly) fair ELECTIONS and that this past November Barak Obama was ELECTED President in line with our Republic's Constitutional provisions.

Nope. I'm talking about the feelings the "Tea Partiers" had - which I share - that whether it's done "democratically" or not, the policies we're now seeing are not what most Americans actually want and that even if they did... that there is a distinct line in the sand between "democracy" and "mob rule" and that even if 50%-plus-one of voters "decide" to drag America down the road of socialism that doing so is ultimately not something that even a clear majority of voters have the "right" to do, that doing so violates the intrinsic and natural rights of Americans no matter their "minority" status.

No, Anthony... don't fear... the Tea Parties won't (I predict... I hope!) become engines of the GOP; just the opposite in fact. With any luck Tea Party organizers will start acting in an organized fashion to push for "Tea Partiers" to actually take over local (and ultimately on up... county, state, national...) Republican AND Democratic Committees and thus the Parties themselves.

Remember... the Parties THEMSELVES are open to change via DEMOCRACY... via collecting signatures to run for and then WIN Committee Seats!


Hey... I'd be THRILLED to have the "Lou Dobbs contingent" take over the DNC!



Anthony said...

I was at the NY Tea Party. I got there late, and left early. As I said, the whole thing left me a little depressed. I am not really a protester type, even when I am not happy with things.

Rodak said...

push for "Tea Partiers" to actually take over local (and ultimately on up... county, state, national...) Republican AND Democratic Committees and thus the Parties themselves.Yeah, that's what we want: a one-party state. No more foolin' around!

ellie said...


I used to be an angry atheist on the left. Somehow, I had the sense of moral superiority, that conservatives were all "backwards" and selfish. I had my own reasons that I felt were "more" ethical for living my life the way I did - it was not about self-indulgence, but a fundamentally different way of looking at morality, economics, and the way the two intersected.

I became a libertarian because of economics. I realized that it is cheaper to privatize than to have the government provide services. I first realized that a uni-payer government system with private health insurance and private hospitals would be far better than what we have now. Then I realized that the more private our system is, the less conflict there would be between the liberal/atheists and the religious.

Then, when I started to think that there might be a way to truly reduce conflict between the atheists and the religious of the world, I stopped feeling like my belief system was threatened and needed defending. My heart opened to the possibility of God.

ellie said...

I still retain many of my liberal beliefs, but not all of them. Once I envisioned a world where each person could go to a private hospital and not/pay for an abortion, I was better able to consider what the true pros/cons of that might be. My heart and mind have moved to the middle as a result of not feeling defensive, and more importantly, I am more humble about my own beliefs and interested in considering "what if I am wrong?"

Please do not give up faith. I see libertarianism as a world where we can all get along better than we do now. Our current system rewards aggression, it rewards people feeling like they each have to "defend" their ethical position.

What I find miraculous is that there is only a handful of issues that we all disagree on - the fact that there are no big contentions regarding the rest of the law is pretty amazing.

The church is also open to change - it was not so long ago when anti-miscegenation laws were common, and the church believed that marriage between people of different races was against God's will. Who knows what social change is good, or bad - we have tradition, the Bible, and our personal relationship with God to guide us, but it is impossible to KNOW what Jesus would have thought of our world. I have great empathy for those who want to welcome gays into the fold, in a monogamous, loving, family relationship, and also great empathy for those concerned that will harm the sanctity of marriage. So long as we do not feel morally superior to one another, and discuss these issues with true humility, we are ALL likely to benefit.

ellie said...

I believe Jesus would have treated me more lovingly as a free-sex, liberal atheist (when I was one) than the pro-life people who called me a sinner and a whore. At the time, I believed I was an ethical person. Everyone around me agreed that my behavior was ethical - except for the "hateful" people who called me names.

It took a Libertarian Catholic who had faith that I was a good person, willing to hear my side if I was willing to hear hers, a person who believed that I was trying to live ethically in the world (which I was), and who was willing to speak kindly and intelligently to me without making me feel like I was without question morally inferior, to change my mind.

Please do not give up faith. If we adhere to the following ideals, I truly believe a Libertarian society will happen, and - what is even more of a miracle - the meek shall inherit the Earth:

We will not use force, or threat of force, against another person unless that person is in turn using force or threat of force. We will not use angry words or angry voices, or a feeling of moral superiority, to try to change one another's minds. We will assume that every human being is trying to become the best person that s/he can be, and treat him/her accordingly. We will have true humility about our own beliefs of right/wrong where there are many good, ethical people who intelligently disagree, leaving open the possibility that we are wrong. We will reward pacifism and humility by opening our hearts to one another, and truly listening.

I went to a liberal, far-left college, where we were taught that gender is a spectrum, and that religious people are bigots. However, I have seen that same sense of moral superiority among the more aggressive, activist religious people.

What we don't realize is how many peaceful, non-activist, loving, intelligent people there are on BOTH sides, who are ready for a different way, who are ready to listen to one another.

I do have a few suggestions for anyone who truly wants a Libertarian, more ethical America, one that saves money and is less hostile to religion:

ellie said...

Try to give liberals the benefit of the doubt. Yes, there are angry liberals - but they feel threatened, they think religious people want a "religious extremist government" that is hostile to what they believe is right.

Try to start with baby steps: moving from public admin and enforcement of public law to private admin and enforcement of public law, for example.

I am a Libertarian, but I am also a practical person. It would be chaos to make any big change quickly, with a lot of government employees suddenly unemployed, and no private infrastructure yet to take over.

Try to speak to liberals as if their views might be correct. Tell them that you are humble about your own religious beliefs, that you are willing to talk it over calmly and peacefully, that you do not want to use the law to enforce your religious values on others. Tell them that you just want to live according to your own conscience, in peace, without hurting anyone.

Make sure to tell liberals that you are not angry. Liberals see religious people as being angry, scary zealots who want to use force to "make" everyone believe exactly what the religious do. Make sure to tell them that you disagree, but always peacefully, and that you protect their right to disagree in turn, without judgment, and with love.

Tell liberals that society is always changing, and some people are more comfortable with fast change, and others want more of a "wait and see" approach - and that each of us should be allowed to conduct our own social experiments in peace. Interested in why we differ, and communicating peacefully, and trying to convince one another of our own version of right/wrong - but never, ever by force.

Give liberals the example of the current law against discrimination - how, if we include gay couples, that means that a religious wedding photographer would be forced to artistically express herself in a way she did not feel was valid, or go out of business. Try to show liberals how the law truly does prevent you from living in peace according to your own conscience.

Make sure liberals do not feel threatened. If you possibly, possibly can (I know it is hard, but this is the way to change peoples' minds) - let liberals know that you want them to have access to abortion at private hospitals, that you do not believe in using force of law to prevent them from living according to their own conscience. (Although you would love to have some conversations with them about that, separately!)

With love and faith for the future,