Those materialistic, constitution-loving Tea Partiers!

There's a new book out by WorldNetDaily bigwig Joseph Farah, titled "The Tea Party Manifesto: A Vision for an American Rebirth."

While I have not read it, if what Farah says here is any indication, I think the book is his attempt to redefine the Tea Parties and basically glom onto* a movement started by others:

...too many Americans who say they are trying to restore America's promise have bought into the materialistic arguments of the socialists. They say tea partiers and conservatives and Republicans should stick to economic issues and avoid what they euphemistically call "social issues."

In other words, some of the opponents of socialism have bought into the most fundamental tenet of socialism - materialism.

In my new book, "The Tea Party Manifesto: A Vision for an American Rebirth," I explain how that strategy represents a recipe for a stillborn, impotent movement.

When you hear someone telling you the only winning issue is the economy, understand that you are listening to a materialist.

First of all, the TEA in Tea Party stands for the very materialistic slogan "Taxed Enough Already."

Not "Teed Off Over Abortion," (TOOA) or "Ticked Off Over Gay Marriage." (TOOGA)

Second, has the Tea Party Movement ever stood for the idea that "the only winning issue is the economy"? Since when has most important come to mean only?

While there are all kinds of people involved in the Tea Parties (and there is no way to stop anyone from going) from the get-go, the agreed-upon Tea Party principles have consisted of the following:

  • Fiscal Responsibility.
  • Constitutionally Limited Government
  • Free Markets.
  • That's more than just the economy. (Is Farah also prepared to denounce concerns about the Constitution as "materialistic" in nature?)

    Third, to say that "opponents of socialism have bought into the most fundamental tenet of socialism -- materialism" is like saying that "opponents of gun control have bought into the most fundamental tenet of gun control -- the material nature of guns." Defending what your enemies want to take away may be materialistic in a certain sense, but to criticize someone as "materialistic" for wanting to defend his property from confiscation is one of the most disingenuous arguments I have seen in a long time. (I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. As a libertarian, I have unfairly been called "materialistic" for years, but I have noticed that for whatever reason, conservatives are more likely to take umbrage at the charge. Leftists equate "materialistic" with selfish, BTW, so it's a nice trick, if you enjoy demagoguery.)

    Fourth, there is a perfectly good reason to "avoid what they euphemistically call 'social issues' " -- and that is revealed by Farah's failure to mention what they are. Perhaps that explains his euphemistic use of the phrase "euphemistically" -- by which he hopes to make it look as if his failure to mention them specifically is the fault of others.

    What are the social issues? Abortion? Gay rights? Animal rights? People who are freaked out about the imminent collapse of the US economy have many different opinions about these issues, as I saw the last time I attended a Tea Party meeting. Two people were insisting that the local Tea Party get active in the fight against abortion, and this generated much grumbling and muttering. Finally it was pointed out that while many Tea Partiers are strongly in the pro-life camp, not all are, and that there are existing groups and organizations which are devoted to them full time. I do not doubt that there were a number of different opinions on gay rights and gay marriage in that room too.

    So, it's not so much that Tea Partiers want to avoid talking about these issues or prohibit anyone from talking about them -- for anyone can talk about anything. It's just that they're savvy enough to know that if they attempt to stake out formal positions on issues which have never been Tea Party issues, they can expect raucous debates, and then no matter which side "wins," the people on the other side will no longer show up. According to the most basic math, that would mean fewer people supporting the Tea Party.

    But I guess math is a form of materialism too.

    * Glomming on to what others have done is nothing new. Herbert Marcuse (an elderly German Communist) tried to glom onto the sexual freedom movement in the 1960s. It was no more "his" to than the Tea Party movement is Farah's.

    posted by Eric on 07.07.10 at 11:50 PM


    Tax policy is a window into the morality of governance. Not only do I find the current federal income tax policy lacking economic sense (in providing a marketplace that inspires confidence and entrepreneurial risk), it lacks moral sense as well.

    A hyper-progressive tax schedule and byzantine tax code are immoral. A flat income tax rate of 10% (15-20% leaves DC with WAY too much money IMO) is ALREADY progressive! The $50K earner, the $500K earner, the $5M earner, and the $50M earner each pay 10 TIMES the previous fellow respectively. And I dare say that the $50M fellow DOES NOT draw 1000 times from government in services as the $50K fellow.

    You can deduct either nothing, or perhaps medical expenses and charitable giving. Just PLEASE STOP with the deductions for Haitian born basket weavers living in Iowa.

    Vouchers can be provided (no means testing; strictly per capita) to purchase education and health insurance in the private marketplace (this further "progressivises" the tax rate without actually paying tax credits).

    That's it. This is moral. Choosing individual taxpayers for special treatment or special punishment is IMMORAL.


    Kenneth Greenlee   ·  July 8, 2010 9:39 AM

    One more re: the comment above:

    Setting all tax rates at 10% (corporate, dividend, capital gains, etc.) makes withholding and compliance a breeze. People with "complicated" income streams file a postcard at the end of the year and either give or get a few dollars to settle with the gummint.


    Kenneth Greenlee   ·  July 8, 2010 9:52 AM

    First of all, the TEA in Tea Party stands for the very materialistic slogan "Taxed Enough Already."

    Really? I think that must have been tacked on afterwards. The original "tea party" was concerned with more than taxes. They were concerned with social issues - such as no taxation without representation.

    Steve   ·  July 8, 2010 12:13 PM

    Herbert Marcuse (an elderly German Communist) tried to glom onto the sexual freedom movement in the 1960s.

    You continue to misrepresent what the Frankfurt School was and is all about. Which is curious, since you're smart enough to know batter.

    Steve   ·  July 8, 2010 12:16 PM

    I find it interesting that, according to the left, if I work or provide a service and get well paid I am greedy, but if I live off entitlements (social programs) I am not greedy.
    I always thought living off the avails of someone other than myself was greedy.

    Hugh   ·  July 8, 2010 1:25 PM

    I've read Marcuse's thoughts on sexuality, and it is my opinion that he was opportunistic. He advocated -- but did not invent -- free love, and I think that attributing his thoughts as motivations for the behavior of people who never heard of him and were doing what they want is dishonest.

    Reminds me of the way people blame sex and porn on Alfred Kinsey:

    Just as people would have (and did, and do) enjoy sex and porn without Alfred Kinsey's help, people would have become atheists, agnostics, drug users, or gay had Antonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse never been born.

    I think too many people are giving the Frankfurt School more credit than it deserves.

    I do take issue with the belief in some circles that sexual freedom, pornography, and gay rights are "Cultural Marxism." If anything "misrepresent[s] what the Frankfurt School was and is all about," it is that type of thinking.

    Eric Scheie   ·  July 8, 2010 1:32 PM

    Steve, no taxation without representation is NOTHING but a taxation issue.

    SDN   ·  July 10, 2010 2:56 PM

    Since the Tea Party doesn't want military spending cut, or social security cut, or medicare cut (maybe medicaid, it does go to a lot of poor and/or brown people after all, but it's a mere fraction of medicare's costs), i really no longer think that people involved with it are interested in fiscal conservative actions.

    I also don't notice any Tea Partiers campaigning for local services to be cut that aren't parks.

    It seems to me they aren't interested in cutting government spending at any level except in very small ways where it might hurt people who don't look like them and/or are poor. But not where it might lead to eventually balancing budgets or paying off excess borrowing.

    yay   ·  July 13, 2010 5:54 AM

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