July 07, 2010
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."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:
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.)
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
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