A good summary. I find the tea party pretty scary.
I don't see the Tea Party as being a successor to Hippies at all. Most hippies didn't judge others, didn't insist others obey laws they themselves broke, and didn't spew hatred. It's the anti-hippy movement.
There is a certain aspect of libertarianism that isn't judgmental, but most of it is owned by the fundies.
I don't see the Tea Party s a libertarian movement, but perhaps that' because I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt and in the heart of Republican territory, where those who join the Tea Party are the worst of the fundies.
And outside of there, there are some who are not. I'm always surprised by them.
If I ever met any who weren't, I'd be surprised, too.
Hippies judged quite heavily. Even if you ignore the constant judging of who was "The Man," they policed themselves a lot for what was cool and what wasn't. In some ways it was positive, but the hippies were no less judgment than Christ.
We weren't judgmental in the way the Tea Party is. I was (and still am, in many ways) a hippy - a flowers-in-the-hair, sit-in, Summer of Love, bead wearing, peace-and-love hippy. I was there, and I don't recall ever setting rules about was and wasn't cool; we were very much live-and-let-live. Nowadays, hardly anyone really knows what a hippy was. I suppose they can define them however they want. But I stand by the statement that the Tea Party is anti-hippy.
See, I know tea party types who believe in gay marriage, abortion rights, and other things that we identify as liberal. Because what they believe in is the freedom of the individual. But I know that's not what you see where you are.
And hippies did have their own set of judgments, just as liberals do today. The fact that they are things you believe are right should not blind one to the fact that they are still judgments. That's dangerous because it's disrespectful of the fact that people of good will can believe in different things, and it also leads to an arrogant laziness wherein people disdain defending their beliefs.
Also, I don't think people make a distinction between making a value judgment and being judgmental. I'm all for being compassionate towards others and giving the benefit of the doubt, but it drives me nuts when I see some act like making any sort of a value judgment is such a horrible act. (That reaction is ironic in itself!)
As a true sixties hippie, I've thought about that. I don't see the joy and spontaneity. I see the paranoia and delusion (funny, I thought it was the drugs that did it to us, but they manage just on koolaid). I don't see the sense of community and the non-conformity. Although the TP's talk about independence and the individual, all I hear is the same thing from all of them (much like Ayn Rand, who celebrated the indivituality of the artist by draping him in cliches).
I have a hard time understanding why any "control" by a duly elected government agency is bad, but total control by megacorporations is good.
The New Yorker this week sees them as having a very different sixties antecedent: the John Birch Society,
which Glenn Beck is busily recycling on his "Beck University."
Knowing hippies who became conservative, and reading the comments of conservative hippies to the article, I can't simply dismiss his arguments as so much hot air. But I also am not drinking his Kool-aid.
But read the New Yorker article. It's got some details that might interest you.
I'm sorry, you did read it. I thought you were talking about conservative responses to your post.
I'm more inclined to believe that, from most of the Tea Party members I've seen.
The problem I have with the article that you cite is the whole concept of collectivism, which the author defines as essential coercion. And that take is at the heart of my problem with the Tea Party as well as their claim to be the successors of the hippie movement.
See, I think "the natural order of things" is that we are by nature social animals, with an inescapable interdependence. The whole John Galt vision of the noble individual just doesn't describe the world I live it. And I think that's what you're saying in your post. Where the author imagines some Borg-like assimilation, I see community.
What EB White called "Love, the Beloved Republic", or as Auden said, "We must love one another or die."
And things like health care to me are the only way to make love real in a society as huge and complex as ours.
(This is all by way of apologizing for the fact that I didn't see that you had a link to an article on first reading and response. Must. Learn. To. Read. Carefully.)
"And an acceptance of the natural order of things."
This is both the sticking point and the divergence. They have one idea about the natural order of things, which does not necessarily match other people -- and certainly does not match the beliefs of many counter-cultures. They probably do expect everyone to see the same "natural order", but others are not going to.
I find it interesting that they chose as a keyword one of the things we dumped into a harbor when declaring independence from Mother Britannia. Whether the event happened or not, it was a strange choice.
That's not accidental - they consider themselves heirs to those founding fathers and their rebellious act.
If you read the article, the proffered definition of "natural order" is that you can't make people be better or force them to behave in a certain way. Their solution to that definition is that it's not important to offer people help or opportunity to change and grow, thereby alleviating themselves of any pesky guilt over the imbalance of opportunity. However, there is a large component of "our way IS the natural order" packed in.
I can't argue that all government spending is in the best interest of the country, but the tea party appears to want to throw out the baby with the bath water, and then burn the bath house to the ground.
One could say this is another way the two groups are alike: quite often, the ideals espoused are just a pretext for being very dramatic in their spare time.
Except at least the hippy poseurs were cute and in it for drugs and sex, the tea partiers aren't cute and seem to think grim furious patriotism is fun.
I missed the Hippie years by about fifteen years, but when I think about putting hippies in one of two categories --
* human nature is innate — that our personalities and other essential human attributes are built-in, unchangeable, and naturally occurring.
* everything about humans is “constructed” — that we only are the way we are because of the particular cultural environment surrounding us, and that as a result people can be changed
-- I very strongly put hippies in the second category. Have I read too much Robert Anton Wilson?
I think the guy is coming from "hippies wanted to change a government they saw as corrupt, and WE want to change a government we see as corrupt, and therefore we're all alike!!"
Not so much....
While I agree with your conclusions, the idea that a lack of government oversight caused the mortgage crisis is ludicrous, considering the main culprits were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with several White House administrations starting with Clinton who actively promoted risky loans with the goal of getting more people into houses, whether they could afford them or not. The mortgage crisis was one of the main arguments for LESS government involvement in the marketplace.
I'm all for regulating stuff so abuses don't happen. I'm not for the government actively running parts of the economy.
The loosening of the regulations on how mortgages could be made, who could make them, and how they were serviced is directly responsible. Allowing companies to turn mortgages into investment trust securities, and opening up a front end awards system to mortgage lending allowed a whole raft of corruption to enter the system. Yes, the mess started with Clinton, but it just kept getting worse. Prior to the regulations relaxing FNMA was simply a mortgage insurance program that was quite successful in getting people into homes and keeping them there.
Thank you! I was gonna say this.
The mortgage debacle began with the Community Reinvestment Act (That was Carter, way before Clinton) and escalated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Private banks could not compete, even if they hadn't been actively forced to accommodate high-risk borrowers by the CRA. Banks had to convert bad mortgages into investments in order to survive in that atmosphere. People who cannot afford to own a house should not be encouraged to buy over their heads. This mess was inevitable. And it was Government who started the ball rolling. People bear partial responsibility, yes. There's the greed factor. But Government caused it in the beginning.
I'm not saying Government doesn't have a place. I was a FED for years and years and years. But the nanny state has gotten way out of hand. Soon we'll be regulated out of existence.
You lead in with "tea party", but then you argue against hard line libertarianism and religious fundamentalism.
I'm arguing what I see as the practical tenets of the movement, rather than the ideals. The ideals aren't so bad; what's carrying the movement in most cases is what alarms me.
Me, too. But I'll carry it a step further and say the whole Republican Party is being preempted by the Fundamentalist movement. I have been a card-carrying Republican for many years, but I feel totally disenfranchised by the Religious Right. I no longer send money, and I'm planning to change my voting registration affiliation to Independent. I won't be able to vote in primaries, but the RNC will know that not all of us are blind sheep. There doesn't seem to be any such thing as a moderate Republican anymore. That saddens me, because I am a fiscal conservative. But there's no place for me anymore.
I find it frankly a bit puzzling how many people I know who have historically complained about the Republican focus on social issues and are now railing against the tea party movement. This election cycle has seen by far the least focus on social issues by Republican candidates in recent history.
What little polling data there is of tea party supporters doesn't really support the kind of extremism that you posit. For example, according to the New York Times the majority consider their current level of taxation to be fair, and an even larger majority (about two to one) support entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. It seems fairly unlikely that opposition to infrastructure spending and food safety is particularly high.
And I'm curious to hear how social issues are carrying the tea party movement. If anything, it seems responsible for muting the emphasis on them this election cycle. There is, of course, significant overlap between certain social attitudes and fiscal ones, but that doesn't imply one always drives the other. Would it be reasonable to me to oppose the gay rights movement because a minority of them are fiscal conservatives?
Do you not consider abortion rights, stem cell research and gay rights to be social issues? I can't address the Tea Party specifically, but, to me, the Republican Party as a whole seems to have adamant positions on all of the above issues, based upon religious beliefs. And so do I, but my views don't agree with theirs. So even though I am fiscally conservative, I resent the notion that, because I support stem cell research, I have no place in the Fundamentalist-run Republican Party.
I'd be tempted to align myself with the Libertarians, except that they go too far in the opposite direction. It's almost anarchy. I don't fit anywhere, so I have to hold my nose and select the lesser of the evils. I don't feel that the Republican Party welcomes such as I. Religion has become their overriding drive. That doesn't work for me. I'm opposed to tax increases and most entitlement programs, at least the more recent ones. So I obviously don't fit the Democratic mold. I'm adrift.
Do you not consider abortion rights, stem cell research and gay rights to be social issues?
Of course I do, but that is an entirely different question from whether social issues are a driving force behind the tea party movement.
Sure, but with the likes of Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck supporting and being supported by the Tea Party, I take it as a given that these issues are part of their agenda. Maybe not overtly, but I think it's a fair assumption. The Tea Party Movement is driven by an "I'm fed up and I'm not gonna take it anymore!" mentality. If they had an actual platform, do you think it would include social issues? All I'm saying is that the candidates they support seem to be extremely right wing, and I'm not sure that's such a good thing, ultimately. It may be that Palin, et al. have hitched their wagons to the Tea Party movement, but they seem to have been welcomed with open arms.
There are pundits and blowhards supporting any movement or organization; likewise any sizable group of people will embrace or celebrate people could be considered distasteful by one metric or another. This is doubly true for anyone with a libertarian mindset.
What is striking about the tea party movement is the near absence of a social agenda or social appeals, regardless of significant consensus on social issues. This is in sharp contrast to Republican strategy during the Bush years, with Rove's strategy of mobilizing the evangelical vote and the arguable pandering to specific demographics (most notably seniors and hispanics).
Interestingly this has been (at least in the short term) something of a loss to the Republican party, as it has provided a political identity for fiscal conservatives who have defected from the Republican party for a number of reasons, including the growth of spending and expansion of government under Bush and the forementioned focus on social issues during previous election cycles.
And to make things worse for the GOP, the gains in so-called value voters was largely short-lived. Evangelical party identification dropped sharply from a high of ~ 55% to ~40% Republican in the latest Pew polls.
Even with the impending wave of Republican gains next month, it is clear their brand is tarnished with both social and fiscal conservatives. The tea party is the triumph of fiscal conservatism in guiding the tenor of the recovery.
2010-10-15 04:47 am (UTC)
Just in case you haven't seen it. It's about tea.
2010-10-15 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Just in case you haven't seen it. It's about tea.
I love that video!