Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's the Tea Party About Anyway?

The media have launched a smear assault on the upcoming tea parties, from Rachel Maddow (who, apparently, is in fact an 11-year-old boy) spending thirteen minutes talking about how much Republicans love teabagging Obama (not kidding, she actually did) to the widespread portrayal of these rallies as for sore-loser Republicans who aren’t happy with the president.


Well, no. That’s not true.


I am not a conservative, strictly speaking; I’m a right-leaning (in that I oppose abortion and like secure borders) libertarian. I am not a member of the Republican party, or even a supporter of Republicans generally.


So why am I going to a tea party? Because of all of them—all the big-government hacks in Washington who are intent on destroying our freedoms, shredding our Constitution, and burdening our grandchildren with an insurmountable debt.


I’m not just mad at Obama and the Democrats. To be sure, they’ve contributed a lot to the problem. But we knew that ahead of time. Democrats have favored a huge, intrusive government with a massive budget for almost a hundred years.


What’s really gotten me angry is the Republicans—the party of responsibility, balanced budgets, and small government no longer. It’s you, George Bush, who tripled the size of government. It’s you, John McCain, for wanting to continue the same thing. It’s every one of you senators and congressmen who go along with big government agendas. It’s every member of Congress who went along with George Bush’s huge government because he’s “one of our guys,” but have now suddenly discovered conservative principles to stand against Obama’s even bigger government. Spare me. If you believe big government is wrong, you believe it’s wrong regardless of what letter is next to the name of the person pushing it.


I’m mad because people are losing their love of liberty. We’ve become a nation of slaves. And the new slavery doesn’t have whips and chains, it’s a nice, happy slavery—but it’s still slavery. The new slavery is government handouts—we can have free housing, free healthcare, a guaranteed job or a guaranteed paycheck, free food. All we have to do is accept the terms of the people providing these things—buy the kind of food they think we should eat, go to the doctors they want us to see…but hey, it’s the least we can do when they give us so much free stuff. Well, no. I refuse to be a slave. I would rather fail as an individual than live comfortably at the will of another. Government dependence is as evil and destructive as the slavery of the nineteenth century, and I will fight it with everything I’ve got. I may not be able to make a difference (at least as far as changing the outcome), but I will be heard.


I’m mad because our leaders think it’s not only acceptable but noble to run over the rights of some, as long as more people benefit. And many people want to go along out of sincere, though misguided, compassion. But they’re wrong. It is never proper to trample one person’s rights. Could you feed an entire city by confiscating all of, say, Bill Gates’ assets? Of course. But it isn’t right: not because feeding people is wrong, but because when you ignore one person’s rights you ignore everyone’s. If you can arbitrarily run over this person, as long as others will be helped, than you can arbitrarily run over everyone. And I reject that outright. I respect the individual. I believe that one person’s rights—life, liberty, property—are sacred. Individual rights are worth more than any public good. People are not tools of the government; the government is a necessary evil that we should tolerate ONLY to protect our individual rights. And when individual rights become a necessary sacrifice for collective needs, there is no more free society.


I’m mad that our debt—not including our massive unfunded social programs—is so massive that every American citizen will owe over $50,000 to pay for it. I’m madder that this fact has produced no desire by politicians of either party to spend less. On the contrary, the rate of spending has accelerated exponentially in the last eight months as one company after another has become “too big to fail”—code for “big enough that we want to control it.” I’m mad that within ten years the deficit—let alone the actual debt—will be almost equal to the value of everything we produce in a year. I’m mad that our grandchildren are being burdened with this massive obligation—the ultimate “taxation without representation” as our habits levy enormous taxes from people who haven’t even been born yet.


So it’s not about the president—he’s just the latest face on this impending disaster of tax-spend-and-let-future-generations-worry-about-it politics. It’s not about party, or being a sore loser—I opposed this when George Bush was doing it, and if I’m more vocal it’s because Obama has condensed eight years of Bush’s government growth into a few months. The issue’s been there all along, and I’ve spoken about it often. I’m going to the streets now only because it’s accelerating so fast that a crisis point we may have avoided for another couple of generations has suddenly been pushed up—a lot. And if we don’t change how we do this now, we may not get another chance.


That’s what this tea party is about.

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