Friday, April 17, 2009

The Tea Parties

I haven't written anything about the tea party protests here at Unreligious Right. Given that they were a hot topic throughout the blogosphere, especially on the right, some might wonder why I didn't even bother to put up a single post about them until now. The reason is that I think they are basically useless, like most protests, even if I agree with some of the principles behind them. The following will make me sound like an elitist -- which is not surprising since I am an elitist--but rightly or wrongly, it is how I look at protests.

As long as I can  remember, large scale protests have been mainly a  phenomenon of the left. They've always been something to look down on, idiots carrying signs, chanting stupid slogans, and often engaging in disruptive behavior or even violence. And there are always morons who bring their young children as props, even though they obviously have no grasp on the issues involved. Protests of any type seem to attract radical extremists, people fanatically fixated on single issues, and other irrational elements. Whenever I see a protest I automatically think, what's wrong with these people? Don't they have anything better to do? Why would anyone actually want to stand in the street or wherever, scream about things, and listen to nutcase speakers? Do they think anyone is convinced by their silly symbolic gestures and obnoxious rhetoric?

When I see right-wingers launching mass protests of their own, I find it embarrassing to our side. I don't like seeing people on the right act like a pack of leftists. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems we could find better ways to influence the political process.


  1. > it seems we could find better ways to influence the political process.Like what?

    I'd only be embarrassed because many of the protesters had silly and backward views.

    But I appreciated Jonah Goldberg's defense of the tea parties

  2. Funny, the opinions you express about protests have always been my own as well, and yet there I was at the Tea Party in my town on Wednesday night. I didn't agree with much of what the speakers were saying, nor with a fair amount of what was scrawled on the T-shirts and signs around me. I probably wouldn't have gone but for my husband who was very excited about it, and I must admit, I did get into the spirit. I could cite a number of reasons, but mostly I've just never before felt that we were headed so fast in such a wrong direction. I'm afraid for the future of my country, and I needed to do *something*, and I hoped (and still do hope) that we can get some of the good people who were sitting on the couch last November 4 to get off their duffs and out to the polls next time.

  3. Gherald,

    "Like What?" That's a good question. I'm not really sure.


    I understand the impulse, I'm just not sure the method is useful. Will it motivate more Republicans and bring in new allies, or does it just allow Democrats to make fun of conservatives and dismiss them as a bunch of whackos?

  4. It appears the wackos alienated independents further.

    You can count me as someone who's very sympathetic to the high-spending-means-high-future-taxes-and-that's-bad argument, but I was repelled by all the other unenlightened views expressed.

  5. The tea parties, per se, will not change anything, but I think the impulse behind them is being misread. There's an unfocused movement going on that is basically anti-statist. Many of the protesters seem to be just beginning to understand issues which have been hidden in ignorance for years. This movement will evolve and information will help focus it -- I believe the result of the learning curve will be a pox on both parties.

  6. Mike,

    Maybe. But at the moment it looks like the state is continuing its expansion unimpeded.

  7. Yes, and I believe the state will attempt to move forward even more aggressively. I might be over-reacting, but I believe we're heading for a major stand-off. The elections in 2010 will be a good indicator which way the nation is moving. The danger in these types of pendulum swings is that the swing back to the right could be just as dangerous. I'm hoping that the public understands we need representatives who are dedicated to limited government and classic liberal principles -- and that servants arise from the public to replace the professional statists.

  8. > the swing back to the right could be just as dangerous

    Er, you see that happening any time soon?

    If I had to bet now I'd say Republicans get back a handful of House seats that they lost in 06-08, but Dems bring their Senate numbers up to 61-62 which counts for a heck of a lot more.

  9. Yes, I can see a swing back to the right happening in 2012.