You know, I actually think it's a shame the Tea Party gatherings receive nothing but ridicule and not discussion or engagement from the liberal Democrats. Really, what's more of a shame is that they deserve a lot of the ridicule, from libertarians and libertarian-ish people, because the movement has become saturated with neocons and other sad people who think the Republican Party has or will have an interest in individual freedom, economic freedom, civil liberties, or that famed "government accountability" at any point in our lifetimes. They actually delude themselves that there's a major difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and that they can therefore sway the Republicans to return to their imagined roots of limited government, individual liberty, and support of free markets. There are too many Sarah Palin fans (1+) and not enough Ron Paul fans. The membership of America's two best-known politicians of libertarian bent, Ron Paul and Peter Schiff, in the GOP only bolsters this misconception, but that's another topic for another time.
My current concern is the misguided vitriol directed by liberals at Tea Partiers and the former group's lack of any position to be criticizing anybody's politics.
Perhaps the rare liberal who visits our little blag will take issue with the loaded language I used in the title: "haters". My word choice was deliberate and accurate. Most liberals hate the Tea Parties and every single little, last thing that they stand for. Most liberals seem to have nothing but ridicule and scorn for the embarrassing Tea Partiers and their benighted selfishness and racism. Most liberals would not listen to half of what any Tea Partier had to say except to use it as ammunition for their rants about how horrible Tea Partiers have to be to object to all the plans that the liberals have for everyone. I do not say liberals hate Tea Party participants themselves, because I would not put words that personal into other people's mouths, and most people at least recite the empty, semi-Christian defense "I don't hate the person, I hate the act." On the internet, on Facebook, on TV and radio, the sentiment is clear and almost universal: liberals hate the Tea Parties' ideas and demonstrations the way any group with power hates protestations against and threats to that power.
Consider the most recent Tea Party gatherings, the anti-tax protests on April 15th. Obviously I strongly sympathize with their message on that day and agree wholeheartedly with their goal of reducing taxes. What sentiment therein do liberals find so objectionable? "Leave us alone," "Stop taking our money," "Stop spending our money on things we don't want," "Stop threatening and imprisoning people for keeping their own money"? These messages, at least, are completely defensive. "Stop doing this, stop doing that, let us govern our own lives." There is no inherent malice, violence, or any type of aggression behind a defensive message like that, yet liberal Democrats find it worthy of scorn and hatred. Contrast that with the messages almost every Republocrat politician campaigns on: "These are my plans for everyone," "This is what I will do with your money," "This is what I will force everyone to do," "This is what's good for the whole nation." Please don't pretend the plans and promises of politicians require no coercion and carry no threats of punishment for non-compliance, and please don't try to twist anti-tax protests into something the slightest bit coercive. Leave such bald dishonesty for the politicians.
While it's true that I'm probably inserting my own ideas of what I would be protesting at an anti-tax (or other anti-government) rally and not considering the full scope of what various neocons and other dupes have said at other rallies over the past year (for example, here is an issue I agree with liberals on and that does, in fact, make Tea Partiers an embarrassment), I'd wager that the whole of the Tea Parties' message is no more violent than the ideas of their detractors.
I came across a column about the April 15th anti-tax Tea Party in my very own town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was written by a liberal named Rick Keith who made some good points and several bad ones. He attended the April 15th Tea Party on the University of Michigan's campus and reported on the hypocrisy he saw in the Tea Partiers. The worst part, which could have been turned into quite a humorous column, was that Rick Keith pretended to give half a flying fuck about the United States Constitution. Being much more of an adherent to Lysander Spooner's position on the Constitution than to the strict Constitutionalism of someone like Ron Paul (whom I still openly supported in 2008 and would support again in 2012), I would not be too interested in defending the Constitution too vigorously. Keith's purpose in arguing Constitutional points with the Tea Partiers was not, I imagine, to convince them that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are defending the Constitution much better than the Tea Partiers' ideal politician, nor to convince them that he loves the Constitution more than they; rather, he was trying to expose their hypocrisy by showing them that many of the things they want and the things they benefit from are unconstitutional. I don't imagine he was successful, especially at that anti-tax rally, as there was no income tax in the original Constitution and the central government functioned just fine for 125 years without one (excepting Lincoln's war taxes).
He is well informed but misinterprets many things with typical liberal-Democrat bias, so I'll give a brief summary of the lukewarm attacks he managed to make on the hypocrisy of the Tea Partiers and assume he speaks for most liberals:
They recited the Pledge of Allegiance, for some reason, and Keith probed the speaker to tell the socialist, Statolatrist history of the Pledge. He got no response. That's a good point, and I commend him for knowing his history and speaking up about it.
A doctoral student spoke out against government spending and praised private enterprise, even though though the student engages in federally funded cancer research in federally funded buildings at a federally funded university.
Some local conservative talk-radio host confused the TARP bank-bailout program with Obama's stimulus spending package. This conservative "didn't mention the Stimulus's $140 billion tax cuts to the 'We're Taxed to Death' audience, nor the hundreds of billions to create jobs in rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure, increase efficiency and advance new technologies."
Needless to say, Keith disagrees with the Tea Partiers' preferences about what they would like to do with their own money, and he points out that Exxon paid no income taxes to the Imperial Federal Government last year by funneling taxes through offshore subsidiaries. See, Exxon's taxes are relevant because in the liberal Democrat's mind, if one company weasels out of its taxes, that means all companies are rolling in profit and no one is being overtaxed, so the Tea Partiers' complaints about being "taxed to death" are hypocritical and based entirely in fiction!
The Tea Partiers' idol, Ronald Reagan, cut taxes and simultaneously over-spent, and Reagan and G.H.W. Bush bailed out banks and created soaring debt, all of which these Tea Partiers supported or would have supported.
The Tea Partiers are also apparently hypocritical because the federal government subsidizes all kinds of industries but the Tea Partiers don't want this to extend (further) into health care. According to Keith, federal government subsidies = subsidies that the Tea Partiers support, so suddenly opposing Obamacare makes them hypocritical?...
Either way, I'm sure there are inconsistencies in there, and I'm equally as sure that Keith's exposure of them involved a little bit of reaching and no small amount of hypocrisy of his own. Luckily for me, I am not hampered by any association with conservatism, support of any political party, attendance at any Tea Party rallies, or misunderstanding of history, economics, or political philosophy, so I can tear into Rick Keith's pathetic delusion of American politics at will:
Rick Keith, by your assistance in putting both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in power, you are an accomplice to murder like every other Democratic- and Republican-voting American in the last century. The blood of hundreds of thousands of Koreans, Vietnamese, Latin Americans, Africans, Arabs, Serbs, Croats, Kosovars, Afghanis, Pakistanis, and Americans is on your hands. All of you. Every president you have supported is a war criminal who belongs in prison next to the ones you've hated, and you are an accomplice to their crimes.
The Clinton-led NATO bombings of Yugoslavia/Serbia were unconstitutional and murderous, as are Barack Obama's continuing airstrikes on Pakistan. The Drug War and the very existence of the Federal Reserve are unconstitutional as well. While it is legitimate to bring up the Tea Partiers' inconsistencies in their support of strict Constitutionalism solely to point out their errors, even if you don't support strict Constitutionalism yourself, the politicians you so idolize do swear to uphold the Constitution and are bound by the laws of their office, so by their own rules, they are criminals. Very few of the trillions of dollars your president and your Congress have spent have any remote justification in the Constitution, anywhere.
The boring, lame argument that people who receive or benefit from government money are hypocritical to oppose government spending is simply lazy. It is not possible to avoid government-provided products or services, but we can still point out the injustice of funding them coercively and promote their more efficient provision by companies and communities, privately and voluntarily. It might surprise you to learn that that cancer research student is not solely responsible for the state of public and private education and does not control the sources of funding that pay for biomedical research in this country today. On the contrary, it is your fault that no one can do privately funded research or get a privately funded education in the sciences.
Obama's stimulus plan will have proven to create mostly government jobs and government debt, exactly as Herbert Hoover and FDR did. If you really wanted to improve the economy and unemployment in the long run, you would have supported tax cuts and spending cuts, so that people can spend their money as they see fit and not as politicians see fit.
You fail to mention that Barack Obama voted for the TARP bailouts, making him a contributor to that inflationary, impoverishing debacle. Conservatives are hypocritical (or at least dumb) for supporting Reagan's cut-and-spend policies, debts, and bailouts, so all of the present-day liberals are, too, for calling out the Tea Partiers on it while simultaneously supporting the exact same things when Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Ben Bernanke do them.
Rick Keith's and every other liberal's idolization of Bill Clinton, saying he brought us "prosperity (with tax increases), based on emerging technologies, a new infrastructure and the Information Age," belies a strong bias, something that will probably, unfortunately, survive through Obama's deficits and unemployment. Your misunderstanding of economics is not surprising, so let me tell you a little something about the business cycle and the federal reserve. The "good times" of the 1990's weren't so good, because much of that growth you liberals love to extol was fueled by debt enabled by the federal reserve, which came back to hurt the economy when the tech and dot-com bubbles burst. Inflation enriches people in the finance industry temporarily and impoverishes everyone in the long run, and that's what we've been seeing throughout the existence of the federal reserve, including during the Clinton administration. Government spending can only be wasteful in the long run because those expenditures are not subject to the price system or the profit and loss of the free market, so that spending and investment that made us so rich in the 1990's is one of the hundreds of things that made us poorer now. I repeat: the "good times" of the 1990's weren't so good, just like the "good times" of the housing bubble weren't so good.
Lastly, we come to Obamacare, liberals' standard for all that is great about the Savior of America and Congress's wise spending under the guidance of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. This is disgusting power grabbing and vote buying at its worst. "Debacle" will not begin to describe this when my children are grown up. "Debt" will scarcely mean anything anymore when the printing presses inflate the money supply constantly to give stuff away for free when all the Baby Boomers and unemployed stiffs don't have to pay for anything and health care providers don't have to make any economic decisions. Medical charity, which used to provide for the indigent, has already all but disappeared and will, in fact, be outlawed. The price competition that improves quality, increases number, and decreases price will also be outlawed. In his column, Rick Keith accuses conservative Tea Partiers of working to "tear down excellence" by "elevating mediocrity." The more government controls medical care, the more this becomes true: equality is increased by bringing everybody down to a common level. Outlawing economic calculation on the free market absolutely cannot and will not make anything better or cheaper for the masses. (Not that the market hasn't already been screwed up by decades of government interference.)
The Tea Parties have been infiltrated by neocons, anti-immigration flag waivers, bland supporters of a little less government but only domestically, and straight anti-Democrat simpletons because those are the types of people who predominate in the non-Democrat American populace. Similarly, the April 15th anti-tax Tea Party rallies were so strongly ridiculed because the type of people who predominate in the Democratic ranks are blind Statolatrists who oppose any and all governmental cuts (non-military, of course) and despise the idea of people keeping more of their own money that should be the government's. If this were inaccurate, then liberal Democrats would have something nice to say about the anti-tax protests and would have opposed some of Barack Obama's and Congress's spending/stimulus/bailout actions. But they haven't, and they won't, because they are blind followers of just about anyone with a (D) after their name, especially when those Democrats propose to take more money from people who earned it and give it to others.