Friday, September 10, 2010

Tea Party Madness: Leading the Way to the Magical 1850s

Those fun-loving, totally patriotic Tea Parties folks are all the rage these days.

Grab a tricornered hat and an historical flag, and—presto!—you too can assume the role of revolutionary patriot fighting for freedom and basic American values, just like the real Founding Fathers (and Mothers).

Or maybe not.

As USA Today columnist Dewayne Wickham wrote this week in the Tulsa World, the Tea Party has it exactly back-asswards. They say they want Constitutional values, but they actually "espouse views that threaten to turn this nation and its founding documents upside down."

Rand Paul, Kentucky's Tea Party Senate candidate, has said that Congress went too far when it outlawed racial discrimination in private businesses, a position that would effectively reinstitute racial segregation in the South.  Oops!

Paul has now backtracked on that position, Wickham notes.

Or how about Sharron Angle, who has talked about "Second Amendment remedies" to the nation's problems?  Hmmm. Advocating violence against the government doesn't seem all that Constitutional, does it?

Wickham writes, "It's the kind of warped sense of entitlement that plunged this nation into a bloody civil war."

In short, Wickham continues, the Tea Parties blowhards are akin to the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s, a party that "ultimately collapsed from the weight of its own intolerance and blurred political vision." 

Anger and resentment are not the building blocks for a coherent political philosophy. Let's hope the Tea Party folks—some of whom share the intolerance and blindness of the past—meet the same fate at the Know Nothings.

3 comments:

Man of the West said...

I am accustomed to you saying funny things, indeed, I count on it, but I have to admit that this

Advocating violence against the government doesn't seem all that Constitutional, does it?

gave me an especially warm chuckle.

It is true that there is no constitutionally prescribed method of rebellion against tyranny, but how on earth did you miss Jefferson's advocacy of this very thing in the Declaration? And, too, if you've read the Federalist Papers (and every week you give me more reason to believe that you have not), you know that, over and over again, Madison and Hamilton explicitly made the case that the proposed federal government could not possibly badly overreach, because the armed American population would take up arms against it!

I think they had a better understanding of when revolution is appropriate--and of what is and is not constitutional--than you ever will. You, of course, will not agree.

That's why I continue to read your material!

Anonymous said...

Join Chuckles' home-grown militia!

Brookside Bulletin said...

MotW: Thanks for your response. Some interesting ideas from Jefferson and the Federalist papers, to be sure. But we would hasten to point out that Sharron Angle is hardly in the same league as Jefferson or Madison or any other Founding Father, nor does the current political climate resemble the situation facing the Founders. Then there's this bit of political wisdom from our old friend John Locke in On Civil Government The Second Treatise, Ch. XIX. Regarding the "right of revolution" and the "dissolution of government," Locke writes:

"[S]uch revolutions happen not upon every little mismanagement in public affairs."

Violence, in other words, is a last resort, to be resisted when other means of change are available. Contrary to Locke, Angle appears to be advocating gun violence (assassinations!) on trivial grounds with only the slightest justification.