Skip to comments.Are Tea Partiers really conservative?
Posted on 03/09/2010 1:39:29 PM PST by Ronbo1948
I hate it when David Brooks writes a column on a subject that I have been researching on and planning to write about for weeks. And he did it to me Friday morning, with a great column  about The Wal-Mart Hippies.
His central thesis is that the tea-party crowd is not really conservative at all. Both the New Left and the Tea Party movement are radically anticonservative. Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages and structure individual longings. That idea was rejected in the 1960s by people who put their faith in unrestrained passion and zealotry. The New Left then, like the Tea Partiers now, had a legitimate point about the failure of the ruling class. But they ruined it through their own imprudence, self-righteousness and naïve radicalism. The Tea Partiers will not take over the G.O.P., but it seems as though the 60s political style will always be with us first on the left, now the right.
I think that is spot-on, but I would also take it a step further.
True conservatives value one thing over any thing else: societal stability.
When so-called conservatives adopt tactics of the leftlike Alinskys Rule for Radicalsthey help further the cause of the left, which is social instability.
The dictionary definition of conservative is, Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. Russell Kirk, the iconic conservative thinker, considered conservatism the negation of ideology. Edmund Burke, considered by many the father of conservative thought because of his condemnation of the French Revolution, put it this way, custom reconciles us to everything.
But what do the Tea Partiers do?
They march with signs of Barack Obama in a clown face. They spend an inordinate time wondering if Obama was born in America. They attack institutions.
They use Alinskys rules against the left, but by doing so they create anarchy.
Dick Armey, the self-proclaimed father of the Tea Party movement, has been unapologetic in his use of these tactics. James OKeefe, the right-wing provocateur, seems to enjoy channeling his inner Abby Hoffman.
Even the leading lights of so-called conservative talk radio, guys like Rush Limbaugh and especially Glen Beck, use many of these tactics to provoke, to entertain, and to shock the public.
But conservatives should think long and hard about by being right-wing left-wingers.
If conservatives decide to adopt the same tactics of the left, if they decide to be every bit as uncivil as the craziest radical, if they choose to be every bit as rude as the rudest hippy, if they choose to use language meant to abuse and destroy their opposition, who really wins and who really loses?
If we have an uncivil society, doesnt that serve the interests of those who would prefer anarchy? If we treat the left like they treat us, doesnt that mean that they win, because everybody loses?
Conservatives should be defending, not deriding, the democratic process. They should be insisting on civility in democratic discourse. They should practice basic politeness, and they should show respect for those who hold office.
It is altogether fun to bash the political class, and to make fun of all politicians. It must be therapeutic to call them all crooks and to march and protest, and read from Abby Hoffmans playbook.
It is even more fun to follow Glen Becks conspiracy theories, to connect the dots in ways that were never meant to be connected, to speak darkly of the Trilateral Commission and to talk about succession and nullification.
And it must be a lot of fun for people to talk about how they are going to arm themselves and resist against the terrible federal government.
But, that isnt what being a conservative is all about. Conservatives dont look for ways to undermine civil society. Conservatives respect the Constitutional process as designed by our Founders, and modified on occasion by our forefathers. Conservatives appreciate the democratic process, and seek to make society better, not through revolution or radicalism, but through evolution and incrementalism.
Abby Hoffman once said that sacred cows make for a tasty hamburger. He also said that the first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it.
A real conservative doesnt play that game. A real conservative puts a high value on civil society, stability, and a social contract based on mutual respect and equal opportunity.
A real conservative doesnt try to get away with it.
The Rules For Radicals was designed as a guide for the left to use to tear down civil society and build up something utopian in its place. It tactics are not applicable to those of us who value a stable, civil, and prosperous nation.
True conservatives value one thing over any thing else: societal stability.
WTF Is that?
He’s making an argument about tactics. I think that misses the point.
The issue that should concern conservatives is that the Tea Party movement is a populist movement. And populist movements are inherently unconservative.
When liberalism reigns, conservatism is revolutionary and stability is not the highest priority. The “status quo” as conservative dictionary-definition was debunked a long time ago.
The foremost conservative government in the history of the world — the American government — was instituted by revolution. Conservatism is not only about stability.
Moscows First Tea Party
I think this “social stability” stuff is a caricature of wise conservatism. Often earthly shake-ups are good and necessary when we are concerned with conserving or restoring timeless good. Chaos for chaos’s sake is a lefty thing.
I don’t know! I’m a conservative and I don’t have stability on my list!
As soon as I read the coined phrase “Wal-Mart Hippies” I knew this thing was nothing I’d be interested in.
How true. It is about conserving, or restoring if necessary, timeless things that are good.
FTA: “The Rules For Radicals was designed as a guide for the left to use to tear down civil society and build up something utopian in its place. It tactics are not applicable to those of us who value a stable, civil, and prosperous nation.”
My reading of Alinsy’s Rules is that it is about attacking organizational cohesiveness. As such it seems totally appropriate to turn their tactics back on them to achieve that effect and thereby advance conservative candidates. Stability and civility = RINO, IMO. Prosperity results from economic freedom and choice which is certainly not the status quo.
“True conservatives value one thing over any thing else: societal stability.”
The USSR has “societal stability” at the cost of liberty and individual rights. “True” conservatives are not slaves to the state.
One thing I like is the flexibility of the movement. It appears to be “round robin” and free spirited. I’m talking as an outsider, never having attended any. But when I joined the Online Tax Revolt, I chose to march with Joe the Plumber — he’s in the tea party.
I love the online march — easy and hassle free. Over 150,000 strong. Wish there was a healthcare march just like it.
You can view the march here:
This piece has the ring of a thinking hard lefty trying to analyse the conservative movement when he really has no understanding of conservatism.
Having read this tripe I can understand why this guy idolizes David Brooks.
When ‘stability’ equates to maintaining the ‘State’, and its massive bureaucracy; and being ‘radical’ means supporting and advocating the US Constitution — then ‘radical’ it is...
The guy thinks conservatism means "lie back and enjoy it".
No. Sorry. He misunderstands the nature of American conservatism, which is not mere traditionalism and does not make a fetish of stability.
We're constitutionalists. The founders were revolutionaries who bought our system at the point of a gun. We believe in liberty, and we're not going to let the Obamists have their way just in the name of civil stability.
Liberty upturns applecarts on all sides just by its very nature. Constitutionalism defends your right to build and create and prosper or fail, which sets the stage for the most dynamic society on the face of the earth. Its the marxists who want to sink the earth into a feudal stasis, not us. Its the marxists who fear liberty and all the messiness that comes with it. Not us, thats the sea we swim in.
Well, David Brooks and John Feeherty could have saved themselves a lot of verbiage and not looked so totally foolish if they realized the “tea partiers” they speak of who are NOT conservative are the RonPaul et al lie-bertarians who have infiltrated and claimed the TPs for themselves and who are running in congressional and gubernatorial races as Republicans.
Anyone can look at this site and see what the lie-bertarians are up to: http://www.rlc.org/
There also is an area on Free Republic called the RLC Liberty Caucus, which bothers some posters.
When timeless good is honored, society will tend to be more stable, but we cannot put the cart before the horse.