A Tale of Two Tea Parties

The essence of America is freedom, on this most Americans do agree. The way that this freedom is preserved, however, is the crux of most political debates in our country. The Tea Party movement is no exception, as there are effectively two competing Tea Party philosophies that are starkly different. The first version, which drove the grassroots movement that stormed in nation in 2009 and 2010, has a consistent philosophy of social and fiscal conservatism. This position is, effectively, the combination of policy espoused by America’s founders. The second espouses a libertarian fiscal-only conservatism, which does not provide for the social foundations of freedom. This philosophy is closer to what was espoused by French Revolutionaries than our founding fathers.

Any serious student of history can tell you that the difference in outcomes between the American and French Revolutions is like comparing night and day. America threw-off the oppressive chains of an overreaching monarchial power, and replaced it with a Republic of the people. The French merely threw-off the abuses of King Louis XVI to replace them with the oppression of Emperor Napoleon I. Obviously, America’s formula led to liberty, while the French recipe wasn’t so much a success.

Why? The answer is obvious to a careful surveyor of the facts: America’s Revolution was based on the belief that rights of man come from God, while the French believed that the rights of man come from man, which is the essence of humanism. Thus, while America constructed a constitution that considered the fallen nature of man, the first post-revolutionary French constitution (they’ve had 14 since then) treated man as perfectible. As a result, the American Constitution is structured to govern both the nation and its government, which ensures that the God given rights of all are protected. The French Constitution didn’t base the rights of man on anything more than the whims of the majority, which ensured that no rights were ever absolute.

Though the American and French revolutionaries desired to be free, only the Americans succeeded in securing liberty. Likewise, while both elements of the modern Tea Party desire freedom, only one philosophy can truly succeed in preserving liberty under law. The element of the Tea Party that embraces both fiscal and social conservatism has the creed that can go the distance. The element, namely the Ron Paul element, which embraces only fiscal conservatism, will never succeed in addressing the size and scope of government. That’s because one cannot address the size and scope of government without first addressing the underlying social ills that face America, which drive up debt while growing government.

Take, for example, the issues we’ve discussed recently on “Common Cents.” The economy of our state and nation is jeopardized because of the fall-out from failed families. As children increasingly are relegated to single parent childhood, while moms and dads change marriage partners like some people change jobs, government gets a stronger foothold in the lives of free Americans. Thus, to keep government in check, and to stop it from growing to choke out freedom, we must pursue pro-family policies that enable America to pursue a pro-growth economic agenda. In this way, the liberty of the American people will be preserved by a balanced pursuit of pro-freedom philosophies.

It is a tale of two Tea Parties, and only one has the accuracy to go the distance.

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One Response to "A Tale of Two Tea Parties"

  1. Javier Ramirez says:

    “The element, namely the Ron Paul element, which embraces only fiscal conservatism, will never succeed in addressing the size and scope of government.”

    You are simply wrong. Your description of Ron Paul and supproters as myself as only embracing “fiscal conservatism” is simply wrong. We embrace a conservativism that embraces a politcal skepticism of the entire state. This stands in contrast to social conservatives’ belief in the role of the state to instill virtue at some level or provide at least some moral example. Persons like yourself who have sadly and unfortunately infiltrated the TP provide no forceful and rigourous philosophical argument against the state and for the individual. Instead “social conservatives” have made peace with the state and have never called for any radical reduction in the size of the state and never will. Your simply wrong to say that “The economy of our state and nation is jeopardized because of the fall-out from failed families.” You have the cart before the horse. Our emergent managerial leviathan state has created the breaksown in the family and social fabric. It is precisely because so called social conservatives have sought the long arm of the state to remedy what Gary Bauer called the “virtue deficit”. Fortunatley the TP is not listening to you. They have also embraced this conservative skepticsm of the State’s supposed benvelovent power to bring morality back to society. They understand rightly so that it is private communities (homes & religous faith) that have the transformative power to instill virtue and morals. Its for this reason that we dont speak on these societal issues. Its beause we know what you dont. This is not the job of the state and politicians. Our silence in effect is saying to politicians “We’ll take care of that, you take car of what your supposed to take care of”

    I would argue that your “conservativism” is in fact the progresivism of yesteryear that fought to root out vices with government. It gave us prohibition, it gave us the anti saloon leagues.

    The same skepticism that drove the framers to restrain the poltical power of the state is non existent in your wing of the TP.

    I agree we have a tale of two cities. Mine is the one the framers built yours is not.

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