The Tea Party Movement disproves my recommendation for the path to reforming America

Many folks said I was wrong, and so it proved to be.   We have the mass citizen involvement I long recommended, and it looks like an expression of the delusions that led us along this dark path.  A path well described by C. S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters, chapter VII:

… the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

Unfortunately the Tea Party Movement is fundamentally ignorant, lost in the dreamtime of blaming others for our problem, grasping to hold their government benefits, and unwilling to pay for them.   The polls and their own websites tell a clear story  (See the posts below for evidence).  Additional analysis would be redundant. 

This seems to me more than natural fear for America.  It’s childlike petulance.  Perhaps something good can come from this (anything is possible), but I suspect nothing significant is more likely.  Or it might spawn monsters, always a danger from inchoate or amorphous mass movements — esp those driven by fear.

So I was wrong.  This is another post to add to the FM Smackdown page (one of the reference pages on the right side menu).

I have re-categorized my posts about solutions, ways to reform America, into “futile” and “those which I still believe”.  The latter are thin gruel, for now.

Posts about solutions, reforming America (re-categorized)

About us

  1. Correction to my previous posts – not all citizen activism is good…, 16 October 2009
  2. A look at our government’s debt – rising because we like to spend, 29 December 2009
  3. The similar delusions of America’s Left and Right show our common culture – and weakness, 26 March 2010
  4. Are Americans still willing to bear the burden of self-government?, 27 March 2009
  5. See the very essence of the US government’s financial problems (clue: it’s us), 2 April 2010
  6. Are Americans over-taxed?, 9 April 2010
  7. A poll shows the source of America’s problems, 12 April 2010

Posts on the FM website about the Tea Party Movement:

  1. Are the new “tea party” protests a grass roots rebellion or agitprop?, 1 March 2009
  2. Our ruling elites scamper and play while our world burns, 11 March 2009
  3. The weak link in America’s political regime, 16 September 2009
  4. More examples of Americans waking up – should we rejoice?, 10 October 2009
  5. Does the Tea Party movement remind you of the movie “Meet John Doe”?, 27 January 2010
  6. Listen to the crowds cheering Sarah Palin, hear the hammerblows of another nail in the Constitution’s coffin, 8 February 2010
  7. The Tea Party movement develops a platform. It’s the Underpants Gnomes Business Plan!, 8 March 2010
  8. About the Tea Party Movement: who they are and what they believe, 19 March 2010

Specious solutions, futile ideas about reforming America

  1. Diagnosing the Eagle, Chapter III – reclaiming the Constitution, 3 January 2008
  2. Obama might be the shaman that America needs, 17 July 2008
  3. Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008
  4. What happens next? Advice for the new President, part one., 17 October 2008
  5. What to do? Advice for the new President, part two., 18 October 2008
  6. Light the fireworks – the campaign starts today!, 9 March 2010
  7. Question of the Day, about reforming America, 12 March 2010
  8. The project to reform America: a matter for science, or a matter of will?, 16 March 2010

Possible solutions in which I still have confidence

  1. Let’s look at America in the mirror, the first step to reform, 14 August 2008  
  2. Fixing America: shall we choose elections, revolt, or passivity?, 16 August 2008
  3. Fixing American: taking responsibility is the first step, 17 August 2008
  4. Fixing America: the choices are elections, revolt, or passivity, 18 August 2008
  5. How to stage effective protests in the 21st century, 21 April 2009
  6. The first step on the road to America’s reform, 29 May 2009
  7. The first step to reforming America (the final version), 7 December 2009

Warnings about the teeth of the Hydra, from which grow monsters

4 thoughts on “The Tea Party Movement disproves my recommendation for the path to reforming America

  1. Well yes. The TEAs are trying to keep government from collapsing so they can get back some of the money government stole from them. Perfect? Hell no. But it is a start.

    The same money invested over a working career would produce on the order of $2 million in capital. And it would produce a larger economy to boot. Milton Friedman estimated that if government didn’t take so much money (limited to its core constitutional functions – National Defense and a few others) the economy would grow at 10% a year. That is a doubling every 7 years. An increase of about 100X over a 50 year working lifetime. How much better off would we be if the growth number was just 1/3 of that? 8% a year means about 50X. 6% a year is 20X. Our current rate of 2% (assuming we are eve close to that high a number) gives a total growth in 50 years of about 2.5X.

    The TEAs have the right idea. They don’t go far enough. It is a start. Much better than anyone else is doing.

    1. As M Simon’s comments today continue, they become increasingly un-American (as most people see these things). Comment #20 clearly shows this.

      “The TEAs are trying to keep government from collapsing so they can get back some of the money government stole from them.”

      Taxes are a legitimate excise of government power, and have been considered such for millenia. Under the constitution, they are legitimate when approved by elected officials in the proper form.

      Here Simon asserts that this process is illegitimate, and the these taxes are stolen from people. This is the clearest anti-democratic statement I have read in years. He doesn’t statement what system he would prefer to the Constitution.

    2. They weren’t ordinary taxes. The money was taken with the promise of future payback. Is it unAmerican to believe the government must keep its promises? Well OK. Then I’m unAmerican.

      I have no problem with the Government changing its promises for those with time enough to prepare. But for those very near retirement or already retired the government should stay solvent. I prefer tapering off to a crash program.

      But OK. If you can sell a crash program – go for it. I haven’t seen a bit of that around here.

      In any case you will need allies. That means making deals. The TEAs are the closest thing you have to allies for reducing the size and scope of government. Warren Buffett is not likely to assist you. Nor are the Democrats. Nor Regular Republicans.

    3. M Simon,

      Your reply makes little sense, on several levels. First, replay the tape to see what you said:

      “The TEAs are trying to keep government from collapsing so they can get back some of the money government stole from them.”

      Now what you say in defense…

      (1) “They weren’t ordinary taxes. The money was taken with the promise of future payback.”

      1. There is nothing in your original comment limiting that statement to FICA taxes.
      2. Where is this “promise” you speak of? Let’s examine its terms.
      3. How many people will not get a “future payback” of the money taken in taxes? SSA’s forecasts don’t agree with you.
      4. You are changing your story. Now it’s not that the taxes were “illegitimate”, but that your conservative buddies want to slash social security payments. Did you join the Democratic Party?.

      (2) “But OK. If you can sell a crash program”

      This makes no sense. What “crash program”? Why would I advocate it?

      (3) “In any case you will need allies. That means making deals. The TEAs are the closest thing you have to allies for reducing the size and scope of government. Warren Buffett is not likely to assist you. Nor are the Democrats. Nor Regular Republicans.”

      Did someone put drugs in your turkey? Who is this “you” to which you refer?

      You say that the rest of America opposes the Tea Party people. That suggests that the TP are outliers, and mistaken in many of their beliefs. Which any examination of their beliefs easly verifies. I (and many others) have documented this in detail; see these posts.

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