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Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Tea Parties: The Libertarian Awakening

As I have said, the race is on to define the movement. Unfortunately, our media environment is far to simplistic and lazy to try and understand what was driving it. It has been labeled as Republican, conservative, extremist, etc. All of this really misses the point. It should come as no surprise that Ron Paul. Paul is a hero to the libertarian movement. It should also come as no surprise that H.R. 1207 was a mainstay cause at many of the rallies. I also wasn't surprised to find in my pocket a flyer for another rally and fundraiser for the Libertarian Party of Chicago on April 29th.

Conservatives, Republicans, and libertarians often cause paths in their belief systems, and so to opponents, and lazy media, they can be one and the same. They are not, and the crowd at all the tea parties was one that believes in libertarianism. This is a crowd that pays deference to the founding fathers and to the Constitution. It is also a crowd that is virulently afraid of government power. It is a dicey proposition to label the founding fathers, but they were above all else libertarians. In fact, the entire Revolution was fought on this principle. They fought against a tyrannical government.

Those in the crowd in all fifty states see something like the forming. Between bailouts, stimuli, and a massive increase in the budget, they see a government that is growing size, scope, and power. Here is the other dirty little secret. If the movement is defined as libertarian, it will also be clear that its opponents, including the President, are decidedly against liberty. How else can you describe someone that will punish you if you use the wrong sort of energy source? How else can you describe someone that will demand you have to have health insurance? How else can you describe someone that demands that an auto CEO be fired?

Anyone that understands the movement would not have been surprised by by the proliferation of supporters of H.R. 1207. This is a bill that will make the Federal Reserve more transparent. The supporters want to open up their books to much more public scrutiny. Libertarians recognize a powerful force, and they recognize how that force can squash personal liberty. There is no more powerful force than the Federal Reserve. Libertarians see any force that manipulates the money supply by fiat as one that infringes on their own personal liberty. Of course, that is something that is likely not to be explored by much of the media.

The people at these tea parties are just as likely to be against NCLB, the prescription drug benefit, and TARP I, as they are against most of Obama's policies. The Republicans are trying to piggy back onto the movement, but most in the movement are disgusted with the party. For eight years they spent wildly and grew the government exponentially.

This brings me to the main criticism of the movement. Where were they for the last eight years? In fact, liberty has been dwindling since the 1930's. The tenth amendment is now a shell of its former self. Is anyone surprised that Governor Rick Perry received wild applause when he stood up for the tenth amendment? The tenth amendment, the power of the state to decide for itself anything not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, is a bedrock of libertarianism. What has happened is about three generations of the government slowly eating away at personal liberty. Between sales tax, property tax, income tax, county tax, city tax, and even a death tax, the government takes and takes. It feeds a never ending bureaucracy. So, why weren't these folks demonstrating in the last eight years? It's because the straw that broke the camels back was a president that tripled the deficit, fired a car CEO, and demanded that folks that overbought woudl be rewarded with better mortgages. This movement was simmering for several generations and it spilled out when the most anti liberty president and agenda since FDR began to try and impose their will on the population.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is one of the few honest, principled people in office.

Never mind that his policy of non-govt intervention would have led to to worldwide failure of all financial interventions and a run on the banks.

Its easy to be idealistic when your ideas don't match reality.