drieuxster (drieuxster) wrote,

The Problem Space of The Tea Partiers

There are several problems I have with Our Founding Confusion: What the Boston Tea Party tells us about today’s Tea Partiers. by Mark Gimein. The first part of the madness of course is that I thot everyone knew that the Tea Party was a slap in the face to blindly simplistic Free Marketeering, since of course the cost of getting the Tea shipped directly to New England from the East India Company, without pausing to do the London Airs was once well known. The point of the protest was not merely 'the price is right' but the fundamental issue of 'taxation without representation'.

Which has been the problem in the first place with TeaTardia - forgetting that they have the right to vote for their representative in congress. An opportunity the founding fathers did not have!

Mr. Gimein is at least willing to note that there are some structural differences between the TeaTardia myths about their self delusions:
Supporters of the Tea Party like to think they are revolutionaries in the Colonial mode. That’s really not true of a movement that mainly bastes traditional Republican themes with an extra coating of outrage. There is not and will not be a Thomas Jefferson of the Tea Party. But what the Tea Party of today does share with the Boston Tea Party of 1773 is a fervor that transcends economic self-interest.
( op cit )
But tragically he also skips over the core problem that these are also the same folks who not too long ago were ranting about the issues of
Aiding the enemy in a time of war.
a some what problematic point in light of the US supreme court's recent ruling about who can be taken down for engaging in Providing material support to terrorists. So it is possible that on top of the minor issues of their failure to grasp simple history, that they have a problem remembering their own actual positions.

So we must wonder then about the so called retreat into morality:
Underneath the talk about economic policy is a moral agenda...
(op cit - emphasis mine)
Or maybe not?

What if it is an effort to try to make a gambit that would look like
Deadbeats v. The Responsibles
so that we can then proceed along to
But the cultural chasm that has been opened in the course of the debate over government spending has swallowed up any meaningful discussion of economic realities.
( op cit )
so that we can avoid any actual and meaningful discussion of actual real world economic issues and the possible means to fix them?

Which becomes even more painful when the author opts to play with faith as a solution:
But to try to prove to that to Tea Party supporters today is a little like trying to prove to the original Tea Partiers that the net effect of the Tea Act was to lower the price of tea. It may well be correct, but it misses the driving force of the movement. The Tea Partiers may talk about economic growth, but what they really care about is the moral project of rewarding the Responsibles and punishing the Deadbeats. For the movement zealots, it’s the principle that really counts—and even a little Depression may not be too high a price to see it through.
( op cit )
Notice if you will folks, that having started the discussion out erroneously as if the actual american tea party was sorta like it had been about economics, rather than an actual principle, namely self government, with an actual compliance with the actual british policy about actual british citizens. We arrive in the majik land of something about morality, and the hope that some how the next great depression will be some sort of way forward, rather than the catastrophic nightmare that will bring down the next weimar republic.

So let us step back and re-think for a moment here.

How many of those who are trying to pretend that they are buying into this mythological bifurcation are also the folks who have been economically sidelined by the actual liquidity trap? But of course for them to go there, they would need to know what a liquidity trap was. But that would also mean that they were willing to get past their ideological issues and be willing to actually learn about economics, as if it were one more human body of knowledge that could be known by humans.

Clearly this might not be the right time to talk about say "joe the plumber", and, well, the all sorts of technical issues in play there, some of which devolve to the simplistic, "which part of illegal were you unclear about?" rhetorical posturing. But if we were suppose to buy into the DeadBeat Disco, then, gosh, isn't Joe one more Dead Beat? Why gosh, that is also a part of the problem we might want to deal with in terms of Sarah Pallin's posturing, since, well, "which part of illegal were you unclear about?" rhetorical posturing would be viable for the various illegal actions that she has lost in court about. One might make a moral argument that abandoning a government post is not a nice thing. One might even put the killer stressor in there, in a time of war! just to do that kick it up a notch cajun cooking tale to the story.

So yes, why not question which ethical posture were folks pretending to be playing?

Let us grab that story line:
and punish the failure of the irresponsible, who the Tea Partiers tend to believe are largely responsible for their own misery.
( op cit, emphasis mine )
That construct can get to be problematic for some. Especially if they are the ones without a cash flow position, and they are also living in a neighborhood where the value of their mortguage has been dragged under by the default rate around them. Are we suppose to step up and agree with them that they are so clearly to blame for their failure to be responsible?

Would this be a bad time to talk about the 800lb Enron in the room?

Or are we going to gracefully skip over that part of the story, since to discuss SIV would mean returning to that technical economics stuff. Not to mention raising a whole slew of questions about the concerns of regulatory oversight, and, gosh, well, what if the SIV's in other parts of the shadow banking system were to Enron on folks?

Are the people who lose their jobs responsible for their own misery? Are the retirees who lose their retirement money responsible for their own misery? Or is that really the central part of the failure here? That there is this lovely interest in hoping that no one will really ask those hard questions?

Where do we arrive at the bottom of the page? We arrive at one more unpleasant reminder that the most important game to play IF you want to play at professional journalism - start with a false premise - that the original tea party was about a rise in taxes, which educated children new that it was not, but the tea party types of today seem to find as new news. Then one can move through the effort to raise a point of principle, namely representational government, and then hope that this will allow the slight of hand of talking romantically about Producerism like ideological bits, like the deadbeats and the responsibolites, and hope that no one will be well read enough to be aware of "national-syndicalist corporatist productionism" ( cf Fascism ).

Why is that? Why always the leap of faith and slight of hand?

Why the fear about being honest, you know, about all of the technical stuff, as if amercians were once a moderately literate and educated people. Back before all of the funding cutting for actual schools.

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