Last night, I finished reading "Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution". I wanted to share my consolidated notes on the book for those considering reading. I am particularly interested in taking them up on their offer to integrate new ideas into their plan for the next forty years. This is a great opportunity for activism, fighting for a better future.
-They begin by choosing solidly positive values to guide their specific goals / actions. Fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets are good things!
- Their optimism and enthusiasm for America is delightful and gives one hope that the American sense of life is stronger than the counterculture they aptly describe.
- It's awesome that they very clearly state they are not taking any stance on social issues. I think that helps them avoid pit falls (that their founders clear acceptance of god's-will would present). It also helps them appeal to a broader group of Americans who really want the government to focus on economic / political freedoms NOW!
- They have a glorious call to action that puts the power and responsibility back where it belongs, with individual Americans.
- They not only frequently refer to god given rights, the authors all thank god as their primary deserver-of-credit in the book's acknowledgements. Could the Tea Party Patriots be trusted to protect liberty in this area? A pro-liberty candidate must vote on laws in a way that respects individual rights in fields other than just economics.
- In their section on health-care compacts, they again miss the issue of individual rights and seem quite content with the states trampling citizens (just the federal government shouldn't be allowed to impose such systems). p97 "Health-care compacts themselves don't impose a one-size-fits-all approach on any state. They allow each individual state to choose what solution it believes is best for its citizens. Will some states implement systems that aren't compatible with the Tea Party movement's core values of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and constitutionally limited government? Of course. Are we okay with that? Absolutely. Power to the people." That sounds like democracy, the tyranny of the majority and a clear lack of focus on individual rights. The states can say "buy that insurance" (or drink that hemlock), just the federal government can't.
- While making an excellent case for the need for education reform, there is an implied view that states should actually provide the education. It's ambiguous though and many of the suggestions are intriguing. I think they would benefit from this article in The Objective Standard:.
- The repeal amendment idea smacks of democracy, but also offers an intriguing limit on supreme court errors. I'd want to study this idea much more thoroughly, but I see potential value.
- In their chapter regarding popular culture, they quote Ayn Rand's "Romantic Manifesto". On one hand, it fits and supports their point, but on the other hand it's a throw away reference which brings me to my key concern. The argument for actually taking action is on a wobbly base. It seems like what they are saying again and again is:
-The founders did it this way.
-They were really smart.
-We should do it that way.
If they don't think it is morally right that people should have a right to their own property, but only economically effective, they are more of a danger to capitalism than those who present an opposing argument. A weak argument is more detrimental because it can give the impression that the idea is wrong when it's just that the argument supporting it was in error (for example saying the free market has failed in America when what we're dealing with is a super-regulated, mixed economy). I place this concern under the "ambivalent" category because I think the book's core values are good and I think they support individual rights in some aspects. However, when I see states put over individuals as the primary holder of power for both education and health-care, I am concerned that the Tea Party Patriots' support of individual rights is vulnerable.