Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Tea Party is for a Less-Intrusive State

Yesterday I wrote about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I was asked, reasonably, by an anonymous reader to offer an equally even-handed treatment of the Tea Party.

The Tea Party movement, like Occupy Wall Street, began as street theater.  I don't care for political street theater, but I am glad that in a free country the people who like to do that sort of thing can do so.

The main thing the Tea Partiers are mad about is the government telling them what to do and taxing them to do things they did not approve of.  I read the core of the tea party movement as libertarian, rather than social conservative, though there is clearly overlap.  This is not a movement to limit abortion, for example.  Nor is it a movement that is against large government expenditures or even deficits as such.

The "tea baggers," as they originally called themselves, did not mobilize when the federal government ran up giant deficits to pay for the wars of the 2000s.  Instead, they mobilized against the expenditures to cover the costs of poor-risk mortgage holders and people with no health insurance - people the tea party regards as feckless, irresponsible, and not their problem.

Some of my liberal friends regard the tea partiers as simply selfish.  I think this view is mistaken.  Of course there are some people who are opposed to social responsibility as a whole, and naturally some of them will be drawn to an anti-government protest. I do not think, though, that social irresponsibility is the core of what the protest is about.

The Tea Party wants the government to take less and tell citizens what to do less on behalf of irresponsible people. I think this position is not sufficient to make a good social order.  But the Tea Party position is a legitimate part of the argument about how to make a better society.


Peter Hoh said...

I think the best parody of the Tea Party movement came from a sign that may have been carried by a prankster: Get the government out of Medicare.

Princess said...

The most disgusting thing I have heard about the Wall Street protesters is the guy who defecated on a police car. Second place goes to the people blaming rich Jewish bankers for our problems. The term tea-bagger is a derogatory anti-gay slang word from the sensitive left.

Coffeeman said...

The Tea Party is not against people with no Health Care, we are against the government not allowing the free market unhindered access to addressing the issue of of costs, first. If it were allowed to compete across state lines, competition would drive the cost down and quality up. Government does serve a purpose, but it continues to prove that it cannot do more and better on less.

Henry Chambers said...

You baffled me with these words, "...poor-risk mortgage holders and people with no health insurance - people the tea party regards as feckless, irresponsible, and not their problem."
It didn't expect such condemning, judgmental words from you... I don't believe they are even a just and correct descriptions of they partiers.

Pearl said...

It is official. The Nazi Party and the Communist Party now support OWS.