"[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state -- what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations -- what we can call civil society. ... In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does. ... Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force." ~ Ed Crane
Tea Parties Are Missing the Point
Exclusive to STR
April 16, 2009
Americans, mostly Republicans and conservatives, are holding tea parties across the country to show their opposition to Obama's new budget and the bailout of homeowners who can't make their mortgage payments. The protestors, many dressed up like American revolutionaries in the 1760s and 1770s, gather together to pour tea into a local bay or seaport. They are trying to mimic the real revolutionaries, the Sons of Liberty who boarded ships of the British East India Company and threw the company tea into Boston Harbor . Unlike the conservatives today, the Sons of Liberty did not first purchase the tea from the British East India Company, they stole it and then destroyed it. They were real revolutionaries, not pretend revolutionaries.
I suppose pretending to do something makes these frustrated voters feel better about themselves. Kind of like kids who dress up like cowboys or soldiers, these 'tax protestors' feel a kind of kinship with the real revolutionaries that they are pretending to be. Maybe that's why George W. dressed up like a fighter pilot when he prematurely announced 'Mission Accomplished.' (As can be deduced from the five US soldiers who were killed last week in Iraq , along with an increase in bombings, the mission is still not accomplished.)
Most of their anger is directed towards Obama in spite of the fact that the Republican George W. was president when the first real signs that the Greater Depression was engulfing us and the first bailout plan was implemented. I guess when you're pretending, facts really don't matter much.
This conservative group of voters doesn't appear to have an inkling of what a revolt or a revolution requires. Their real mindset is more along the lines of 'vote the bums out' and then vote in new bums! There is no room in that type of thinking for meaningful revolutionary ideas.
These 'patriots' like to quote the American revolutionary Patrick Henry when he said the famous line, 'Give me liberty or give me death!' Patrick Henry's complete statement was, 'Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!' People in the 21st Century place the highest priority on their lives. So, to answer Mr. Henry from today's perspective, yes, life is so dear that we should not risk it fighting for liberty or anything else that is not ordained by the government.
If we want to see what a real revolution requires, we can study the real Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty were largely made up of blue collar types, tradesmen, farmers, dock workers, etc., who had a strong but secret tie with revolutionary intellectuals like Sam and John Adams. The Adams brothers would be in the spotlight while the Sons of Liberty would, in today's terminology, commit 'terrorist acts' against the government and its bureaucrats. They would usually incorporate some type of propaganda with their violent acts to give a message to the general population and to their enemy, the government. I can't imagine these guys first buying the tea before destroying it!
Unfortunately, in today's world, appearance is much more important than reality. When I was in college, I had a creative writing teacher who was a little upset with some of my revolutionary type of writings, and on one paper she returned to me she actually wrote, 'Scary ideas. It's more important how things appear than how they really are.' We can see by the sad situation we are now in, with a false and crumbling economy and fake money, with fake leaders and a phony media that eventually pretending leads to destruction.
c4">Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com. He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You.
Tea Parties Are Missing the Point