Friday, February 5, 2010

Tea Party People: A Plea for Consistency

The Tea Party is in danger of being co-opted by Republicans, or perhaps centrally organized by some within the party's own membership.

This is a grave mistake.

Such movements, begun for good reasons and carried on by most with sincere and honorable intentions, have historically become financial rackets and bureaucratically ossified once under the hand of some form of central control.

The heart of the movement, it's central inspiration, is the quintessentially American principle of right of self-rule. Self-rule always means local rule, and this is where the tea party must continue; each group must bloom where it is planted. As soon as it is run from the top down the game is up.

Many pundits are now saying the Tea Party groups should be centrally organized to become more effective. The diverse goals and ideals among the various groups is seen as a weakness and many pundits allude to this diversity rendering the movement feckless. I could not disagree more emphatically. This diversity is the health and strength of the movement. It, in fact, is the very essence of the true diversity of American republican governance.

My suggestion is for the Tea Party groups to remain independent and focused on their own local communities, regions and states. This will keep them both healthy and effective, thus American liberty can be rebuilt from the grass roots up.

This concentration on the local, however, should not preclude the formation of a loose Confederation of Tea Party groups, much like the loose alliance formed by the Articles of Confederation. Such a confederation will allow the respective groups to communicate and share ideas and methods while preserving liberty for the Tea Party groups just as it preserved the Liberty of the States between the end of the Revolution of 1776 and the ratification of our present Constitution, with its centralizing tendencies.

The Tea Party people should pay heed to that firebrand of American liberty, Patrick Henry, who has the highest praise for the Articles of Confederation as being an effective means of mutually profitable cooperation while preserving liberty and independence. If a man like Patrick Henry had nothing but the highest of encomium for the Articles should it not be considered as a worthy model today for liberty minded groups?

Such an alliance between groups would be consistent with the party groups' common inspiration of a return to small government and self-rule. In contrast, allowing themselves to be co-opted and run from the top down would be nothing but a structural imitation of the very thing they hate and which is the source of our present dilemma.

In the recent decade we as Americans have learned a difficult lesson: asymmetrical methods can be an effective means of achieving political and military goals when symmetrical means would surely fail.

The Tea Party groups should take a political lesson from the success of the Islamo-fascists. In remaining independent they lay the ground work for an asymmetrical approach to reining back the encroachments and abuses of big, centralized government. This de-centralized, asymmetrical approach is not a weakness, but the key to success where the symmetrical approach will surely fail.

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