From A Tea Partier To The GOP: Are You Listening?

I’ve been wandering around the web today, reading articles about the GOP taking its lead from the grassroots, hoping to find some satisfaction after all the hard work that I and others have done to get the attention of our party and the nation.  What I am finding instead is frustration and aggravation at the conclusion that the journalists and, apparently, my party is taking from the lesson of this summer.

In unprecedented fashion, the non-liberal, non-progressive grassroots united this summer and stood for a common cause.  We came together to oppose the rapid transformation of our country from nominal democratic Republic to socialist state.  We stood in defense of the Constitution as the foundation of law and government of this nation and redirected the nation’s attention to its timeless principles.  

We have no spokesperson and we have no umbrella organization.  We come together from different parties, philosophies, and ideologies and are united by a particular obsession with freedom that is uniquely American.  We are the Tea Party movement.

The GOP and large Conservative organizations have, at varying times, attempted to jump in front of our parade to carry our banner, as though they are granted automatic admission into leadership of this movement.  Each time such a disingenuous attempt was made, the movement pushed the partisans aside, thereby revealing their deceit.  Our movement requires as much reform from Republicans and “conservative” politicians as it does from Democrats and others.  We demand a return to Constitutional standards and accountability.  Most, if not all, of our current representatives have fallen short.  No one can claim the high ground simply by virtue of having an (R) after his or her name.

By now, the Republican party has received the message that this is not a movement of, by, and for Republicans.  Some have learned to respect us and have earned our return respect by demonstrating more concern for the people than their party.  Others (and I would argue, the majority) have continued to scorn us as unimportant outsiders, detrimental to the Party.  These people are still missing the point.

Sadly, the articles I read today indicate that the partisans are not learning what we are trying to teach them.  They do not yet understand the Constitutional limitations on government that we demand.  They do not yet understand that we want a party that represents us and adheres to its own principles.  What have they learned from the activities of this summer? The Tea Party movement might hurt the Party.

Yes, it is us that is a danger to the Party.  We might drive away those who are more moderate and could bring the Party more votes.  We might cause the Democrats to sneer at the GOP for being populated by unsophisticated, common folk.  

Their scorn has been directed at those who have spoken in our defense as well.  Glenn Beck, the person responsible for exposing radical White House advisor Van Jones and the corruption at ACORN, has been a particular target.  Moderate conservatives are loathe to associate themselves with Beck because they don’t want to be disparaged as “populist,” or “libertarian,” or worse yet “unintellectual.”

Beck, [David Horowitz] says in one of his blogs, has done good things and must be given credit for this and not be read out of the conservative movement. Yet he agrees that Beck must be “reined in” and corrected when he goes too far. If those in the conservative ranks who support Beck do just that, Beck’s excesses can be tempered, and those who do not like him will listen to him more carefully when he is right. Now that Beck has become so important, it is imperative that those who do think he should be supported and who disagree with Frum and Wehner, carefully watch what he says and call him on it when he goes too far. If they do not, only the conservative movement will suffer.

“Our best leaders and best ideas come from the grass roots,” added Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). “It’s individuals taking leadership in their government.”

But it scares some GOP strategists, who privately admit that the party could hurt itself in the long run.

These Republicans are desperate to avoid having their party associated with those … who have called the president a racist or socialist.

Democrats charge the GOP with being taken over by fringe groups and causes.

“It’s not surprising that the Republican Party is being lead around by [Glenn] Beck, [Rush] Limbaugh and the rest of the right-wing noise machine,” said Hari Sevugan, the Democratic National Committee’s press secretary. “That’s what happens when you don’t have any new ideas or leadership of your own.”

The Tea Party movement and Glenn Beck have done more to advance the cause of American liberty in the past 9 months than the Republican Party or these Conservative talking heads have done in the last 70 years.  The Republican Party and the Conservative movement have together been unable or unwilling to stem the tide of Progressivism in any measurable way since the Great Depression.  We are at the end of a long, slow descent into socialism, unimpeded by any push-back by those who have claimed to represent us over the decades.  

Those in the GOP and the Conservative “movement” (shouldn’t that word imply they are going somewhere?) who would look down upon us because we might be a detriment to their organization should be forewarned.  None of us is in this for the advancement of their party or their non-movement.  We are here because we believe in liberty and we will fight for it if necessary.  We are not going away.  They must accept that WE ARE THE PEOPLE, or go the way of the irrelevant.

On the fence?  Here’s a litmus test for you.  If you are concerned that associating with this movement will make you look like less of an intellectual, then you belong to the other side.  Let go of the mistaken idea that being an intellectual makes you smart.  There is no room for intellectuals in our movement.  

Leonard Peikoff on “intellectuals” – 

The hope of the United States lies in the philosophical breach between the American people and the intellectuals.

The people admire material wealth, practical success, technological innovation. The intellectuals dismiss such values as “middle class,” and say that machines are destroying the globe. The people admire self-reliance, productiveness, and the other virtues of the so-called “work ethic.” The intellectuals say that these virtues are impossible, unnecessary, antisocial, and/or “Puritan compulsiveness.”

The people approve of personal ambition, are eager to pursue their own happiness, think that a man should not live on handouts but should earn what he gets, and reject the insistent demands for self-immolation. The intellectuals denounce this – every element of it – as selfish and therefore vicious.

NotListening

Party on, Patriots.  Apparently our students need more lessons.

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8 Comments

Filed under Activism, Constitutional Rights, Democrat Party, Jeers, Republican Party, Tea Parties, Tyranny

8 responses to “From A Tea Partier To The GOP: Are You Listening?

  1. nyp

    You know, I need to take off my liberal troll hat and put on my special “liberal concern troll” cap for this one. Posts like this are further evidence to liberals like me that conservatives like you are headed completely off a cliff, and that your exile from actual responsibility is likely to last for at least a generation.
    “Intellectuals” = bad. “Real people” = good. People who get advanced degrees from prestigious colleges scorn personal ambition and hard work (!), and stand apart from “the people.” They are part of “the other side.” “There is no room for intellectuals in our movement.” With that, not only do you jettison the David Frums, Bruce Bartletts and David Brooks who are desperately trying to save conservatism, but you disassociate yourselves from Buckley, Kirk, Friedman, Strauss, Mansfield, J.Q. Wilson, Posner, and all the other impressive intellectuals who challenged liberalism in the second half of the last century. That tradition of conservative intellectuals has no place in your movement. In their place are cable TV personalities. It is cheap form of wilfully ignorant populism that will keep you away from power for a very, very long time.

    You will not believe me for saying this, but I am sorry about the direction your movement has taken. Our democracy operates best when both sides are operating at full intellectual strength. Without a new generation of conservative intellectuals to critique our governance, we liberals are likely to become lax and make mistakes. But so long as our opponents are unwilling to do the heavy lifting on conplicated “intellectual” subjects like health care economics and financial regulation, as long as you guys confine yourselves to obsessing over irrelevancies like “czars,” and “death panels,” we liberals are likely to stay in control of the future for many years to come.

  2. You misunderstand. The very people I admire who write about the virtue of the common man over the intellectual are “intellectuals” themselves, by your definition.

    The point is, intellectualism is not the virtue to be valued most highly. By and large, intellectuals are the enemies of liberty. They dissociate from reality and posit impractical theses that they wish to impose upon all the common men “for their own good” assuming the non-intellectuals couldn’t possibly know their own good.

    You, like them, make the assumption that non-intellectuals are non-intelligent. Not so. Non-intellectuals are do-ers and thinkers. I give you Thomas Jefferson as a supreme example of such a man. He would have shuddered to have been referred to as an “intellectual.”

    Save your concern. I know what we are about. As far “as cheap forms of willfully ignorant populism”: 1) this is not that and 2) that is exactly what put the Progressives into power.

    Do you actually suggest that the majority of people who voted for the current president did so because they are so “intellectual” and enlightened? You grossly overestimate your base. The mass appeal to your brand is and always will be, “What will the government give me? What can I get for nothing?” If your ilk remains in power, it is not on the strength of your positions. It is on the sheer volume of people you have corralled into dependency on the system.

    Congratulations. There are more dependents in the US than self-sufficient individualists. You win. Does that feel like victory to you?

  3. Martha D'Angona

    I truly find myself at odds once more with the foregone conclusion made by some that intellectuals are do-nothing, non-thinking or that they all consider themselves above the common man.
    Labels will get the movement toward constitutional government nowhere.
    And from where does the above definition of intellectuals come and why should any of us accept it as fact?
    It does not serve any of us well to descend into name-calling, labeling or class snobbery. For we will in the end write off a great number of people who are out there with us at tea parties and otherwise, doing their best to bring attention to the desecration of our Constitution. We are all seekers for a rescue of our nation.
    It is a natural fact that some are smarter than others. It does not make either better than the other. Nor can there be meaningful debate if there is class snobbery and an unwillingness to listen to what each has to say with an open mind.

  4. nyp

    So, “intellectuals” are “enemies of liberty.” Except when they are intellectuals that you admire, i.e., intellectuals who denounce intellectuals. As I said, this kicking over the traces of much of what make conservatism a vital force for twenty-five years is reducing your movement to an angry, ineffectual scrum. That is why conservatives have had so little interest to say in the past year about any of the important issues the President has confronted: the global financial crisis, rising income inequality, global warming, the health-care challenge, re-engineering of the regulatory system, etc. All we get is gassious stuff about death panels, czars, the founding fathers, and ACORN.
    By the way, (1) I would never suggest that “non-intellectuals” are not intelligent; and (2) if any American politician ever counted as an “intellectual,” it was Jefferson!

  5. The reason that you both find my opinion that the term “intellectual” is actually an insult is because you both consider yourselves to be intellectuals.

    You really should read Ayn Rand. You might recognize yourselves in her writings. Perhaps then you wouldn’t think so fondly of the epithet.

    Apparently, I am not the only spouter of such “angry, ineffectual scrum”:

    “The historic role of intellectuals if you look, unfortunately, as far back as you go has been to support power systems and to justify their atrocities.” – Noam Chomsky

    You will find that Marxists (like their leader before them) are great admirers of intellectuals for a wide variety of self-serving reasons.

    Conservatives and libertarians – not so much.

    Why would you go into such a frenzy over my articulating an opinion that many others share?

  6. Also, can you help me to understand what a modern Progressive admires about Thomas Jefferson.

    The Sage of Monticello is my hero because he was the greatest champion of Liberty and Natural Law the enlightened world has ever seen. He was also a polymath who never stopped learning to make and do.

    But what part of his total commitment to individual freedoms appeals to the Modern Progressive?

  7. nyp

    To Janeq: You could well be correct that the reason I found your use of the term “intellectual” to be insulting is that I may be considered to be an intellectual myself. However, it is much more likely that I considered your characterizations of intellectuals insulting because you described them as “enemies of freedom.” With that, as I said, you and “your ilk” (as you would say) move away not only from any form of lasting political relevance but from coherence itself.

    Now, I suppose you should win some sort of internet prize for approvingly citing both Any Rand and Noam Chomsky in the same blog post.
    Both, of course, appeal to a certain sort of adolscent sensibility. Chomsky, at least, made a genuine serious contribution to modern thought (although not in politics, of course.) Perhaps it makes sense to pair him with Rand, given her athestical, cultish, inverted Marxism. That does seem to be where you guys are heading.

  8. nyp

    to Janeq: to answer your question about Jefferson. I have a snide/half-serious answer and an more serious answer.
    1. Snide/half serious answer: Liberals like myself (I prefer the term to “progressive”) admire Jefferson’s radicalism and anti-capitalism, of course. Those qualities came into sharp focus during the Federal Period when Jefferson adopted a stance regarding the depredations of the French Revolution that was roughly equivalent to that of Western leftists towards the Stalin show trials of the 1930s. He also displayed a decided anti-private property and anti-law & order sensibility during the Whiskey Rebellion/Shays’ Rebellion crises. Classic progressive historians admired his resistance to the efforts of Hamilton and other Wall Streeter’s to advance the cause of finance capitalism. Then there was also his fondness for all things French, his sexual licentiousness, and his impecuniousness. All qualities that appeal to liberals like me.
    2. Serious answer: In all honesty, Jefferson has not fared well in contemporary historiography. Modern historians generally consider him to have been on the wrong side of history in his struggles with Hamilton. His personality was cold and stand-offish. He was ruthless, even unprincipled in his political maneuverings. His agrarianism was bad political economy, bad sociology, and bad philosophy. Apart from the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition, he contributed little to his country after 1776. That is why in recent decades his reputation has been in decline.
    However, I do admire his wide ranging interests and agree that he was one of the foremost intellectuals of the early republic.