by Brad Nelson
One of the virtues of the Tea Party movement is that it is not necessarily aligned with any party. It’s not an outgrowth of the Republican Party, although we can only hope the Republican Party will become an outgrowth of the Tea Party movement and return to its conservative, freedom-based, limited-government roots.
The Tea party movement is the first step, or at least a step, out of the mindset of politics-as-usual. And this is good because the “usual” isn’t working. We are a dysfunctional nation right now to the tune of trillions in debt and up to 100 trillion in unfunded socialist entitlement liabilities.
What brings up this particular little essay is I remember when Newt Gingrich was making the circuit promoting his book To Save America. I haven’t read it yet but I’ve heard him talk about it several times. The gist of the book, according to Newt, is that the Left is trying to turn America into a European-style socialist nanny state where government bureaucrats gain more and more control over your life via the succor of ever-increasing entitlements and the stick of ever more aggressive statist politics. It’s about substituting individual choice and self-government for the establishment of a thuggish political machine, or what Newt calls “The Secular-Socialist Machine.”
I couldn’t agree more. But aside from those times when Newt is sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi helping to give cover to perhaps the biggest attempted statist scam of all time — global warming — I’m often in agreement with him.
But words are cheap. Newt is also a politician, and politicians will rarely look Mr. and Mrs. America in the eye and state “You’re the problem.” It’s much easier to place the blame elsewhere even as we voters keep voting in the members of this Leftist secular-socialist machine. We’ve done so with such regularity of late that one wonders if Americans possess free will as we seem to be mindlessly bought-and-paid-for by entitlements and promises of a civic heaven on earth where every problem is solved and every hardship ameliorated.
Like I said, I haven’t read Newt’s book yet (and please send me a review if you have), but we are in danger of missing the problem if we put too much of the blame on the “secular-socialist machine.” Given the propaganda and indoctrination that the Left foists on us via education, the media, and much of the entertainment culture, there’s an aspect of this in which we do appear to be but mere cogs in this machine, helpless to choose anything other than what the Secular-Socialist Machine offers us. And there is no doubt that the Left would ultimately like to move us to a Soviet-style society in which they offer up the ballots of their preferred choices. It may look like we’re choosing, but we’re just choosing, as they did in the old Soviet Union, between one Communist Party apparatchik or another.
There is indeed great danger in any kind of Orwellian “secular-socialist machine” type of society. (Or one dominated by spineless RINO Republicans who offer a pseudo-opposition to the socialist state.) With that machine in place, we may grow up knowing little else.
That is the situation in Europe where many of the yutes over there look at us Americans and think we’re crazy, if not Philistines, for not having the good sense to be socialists and having the government pay for everything.
Some of the glamour is coming off of state socialism (and even anti-Americanism) as the EU itself beings to fall apart, starting with Greece. But there are still at least two or three generations of Europeans who, living in the goldfish bowl of European nanny-state socialism, know little else. As ironic as it may seem, far too many of them have become strangers to the very Enlightenment principles of individual freedom that partially originated in their lands.
And this state of affairs can happen to us and is happening to us. The Left is even now constructing that fishbowl for us to live in. But I say, Are we men (and women) or are we a mouse? Are we cogs in a machine doing and thinking as our supposed betters demand of us, or do we maintain individual autonomy and the ability to think for ourselves?
Certainly there is blame to be affixed to a system that very powerfully forms people’s attitudes if only by way of owning them through the distribution of entitlements. And this factor is severely under-appreciated by nearly all conservative commentators. We can argue about politics until the cows come home, but when you own someone’s education, retirement fund, health care, and more, you own them.
But must we remain cogs in this machine that is being assembled piece by piece even as we speak? Must we resign ourselves to it, masking this resignation by mouthing resentment towards it every so often, but not too loudly lest our Masters hear us fuss?
To me, this is where an appreciation for Sam Adams (there already is much for his stubborn cousin, John, of course) comes into play. This is the guy who did more than just wring his hands. He threw tea into the harbor. And, along with his cousin, they started the revolt against state tyranny. And I would posit that the very first step in doing so is adopting an independence of mind and attitude and chucking off the mindset of a subservience.
In a culture rife with the smarmy and plastic “niceness” of political correctness, in which never offending the easily-offended is the driving force, it will be a large challenge to get today’s American to even contemplate throwing tea into the harbor, let alone actually doing so. The equivalent of throwing that tea into the harbor today is defunding Obamacare. But few other than Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are willing to do so. We don’t have their backs.
And we can’t just blame this on “the secular-socialist machine.” Either we are human beings with free will, a mind, morals, and the ability to reason or we cannot be said to be anything but an animal with nice hair and a retirement plan. To quote Shakespeare from Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
We need to take responsibility for what has happened in this country, for it is the habit of blame-shifting and expecting government to fix every problem that has led us down this dire and bankrupt socialist dependency path in the first place. We need to get out of the fishbowl of this mode of thought and choose once again for ourselves. And we should choose freedom. We should wake the hell up.