cross-posted from the LewRockwell.com blog
It was obvious in the beginning of 2009 when all of a sudden many of them sprung up crying out for their liberty, after years of silence under the fascist Bush administration. They focused on culture-war hot buttons and symbolic battles while ignoring the programs that actually threatened fiscal catastrophe: Medicare and Social Security, which the older demographic behind this movement tended always to support since they guaranteed their status as tax feeders. Meanwhile, most of the Tea Party types complained that Obama the alleged Marxist Muslim wasn’t murdering enough people abroad, torturing and detaining enough Muslims and enemies of the state, or deporting enough people for the crime of crossing the border—although in every case, Obama has actually been like Bush but more so.
Now a big Tea Party leader says, on behalf of her movement, that they will support any Republican in 2012—even Mitt Romney, the socialist who doesn’t even have a better position on free market health care than Obama. This is a partisan and hypocritical movement, as many on LRC warned from the beginning (Ryan McMaken and I sounded the alarm more than two years ago; Laurence Vance warned about it consistently, even up to the 2010 election;Lew Rockwell told us to brace ourselves for betrayal). Regime libertarians have been praising this movement for two years, but LRC writers always saw through the subterfuge.
Is this to say there was no one decent in these protests? That no libertarian impulse was there? That no good-faith, everyday Americans frustrated by the status quo jumped on the bandwagon for understandable reasons? Of course not. But in the main, the Tea Party was always even more of a disingenuous coalition than the antiwar movement of 2003, which has turned out to be an anti-Bush movement more interested in electing Democrats and socializing the economy than stopping the slaughter of innocents overseas.
How do we identify a mass movement that’s actually for freedom? The Ron Paul movement, especially its youth, is a great example of one: It is passionate about war, opposed to the central bank, jealous of all civil liberties protected by the Bill of Rights, opposed to the federal police state, wants to end the income tax outright and looks at the entire national leviathan as the enemy, not as savior or an extension of the national will. In short, it loves personal liberty, economic liberty, and peace with all foreign nations, and hates government. If you want to know if someone is serious about freedom, ask him about the last president, U.S. war, or major federal program that he admires. If he names anything from the last sixty years, he is obviously not serious about the short-term threat and long-term struggle for liberty.
UPDATE: Am I being far too harsh? After all, there were pro-Ron Paul “tea parties” in 2007. And grassroots organizers are true patriots who seek liberty—not just Republican victories. Sure, but at some point, whether in 2008, 2009, or 2010, the movement became hijacked. When almost anyone thinks about the Tea Party, they don’t think about the antiwar Ron Paul movement of 2007—they think of the Palin/Bachman/Gingrich movement of the last two years. Maybe it was a good movement that was hijacked sometime ago. But today it is not a pro-freedom movement, just a pro-Republican one. I have changed the title, however, to be slightly more nuanced.