Misunderstanding the Tea Party

Posted on October 30, 2010

Today I watched one of Keith Olbermann's diatribes on the Tea Party. Keith truly does not understand the Tea Party and conflates, either intentionally or unintentionally, bureaucracy with cultural progress. Over and over again he says things like "return us back to the days when black people couldn't vote, union leaders were lynched, yadayada.

Just because the cultural center of gravity didn't allow black people to vote the last time a policy was in effect doesn't mean supporting the policy that existed at the time is the same thing as a proposition to deny anyone the right to vote. I mean, UC Berkeley used to be tuition-free for California residents as early as the 60s. But if I proposed to make Berkeley tuition-free again, by Olbermann's logic I'd be proposing to "return us to the days when black people couldn't vote, union leaders were lynched, yadayada". Oh NOES!

On the other hand, many, if not most, of the current Tea Party candidates are implying they will reduce the tyranny of the government through... authoritarian use of the government positions they will hold! This shows that the Tea Party candidates ALSO do not understand the Tea Party.

Elected officials are not the solution. The solution lies in the our ability to solve our own problems. I don't support a government that largely denies us the capacity to do that, which is what we have right now. So to that extent I totally understand where the Tea Party message is coming from. i think the Tea Party we see in Olbermann's piece is a consequence of pre-conventional and post-conventional value systems colliding because they're both 'non-conventional' (in a Kohlberg sense). For every Libertarian who wants to see people solving their own shit you have five cro-magnon dumbfucks who want to institutionalize their own flavor of liberty. The two philosophies are not the same, but from a liberal perspective such as Olbermann's they both undermine liberal objectives to find a system to tend the lowest-common-denominator.

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