Monday, January 18, 2010

The Tea Party Coalition: The Same Subject Continued

Another way of framing the debate between statist domination and limited government is by way of a debate between Thomas Hobbes and James Madison (Montesquieu being the famous forebear of the theory of checks and balances).

Hobbes' introduction to Leviathan's Part II reads:
THE final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants…

Hobbes explicitly argued against limited government and thought it expedient at times that a sovereign could repeal freedom of speech and assembly. (A good introductory essay to Hobbes' thought can be found here.)

The immediacy of the debate between statism and limited government, whose crux is so pivotal for the direction of this nation, and the tea party movement, illustrates that we are engaged in a war of ideas that should be framed as the re-emergence of Pre-Enlightenment regressive statism masked as "progress," and liberty-preserving limited government.

We all benefit by being engaged with the historical and philosophical background to this key political debate. The tea party movement is beset by enemies on both the left and right due to the synthesis of oligarchy and corporatism on the right and a kleptocratic democracy in the form of the welfare state on the left. The Federal Reserve is the engine of economic destruction that fuels this corruption of the republic on both ends of the ideological spectrum, due to the steady inflation of the money supply's ability to mask the effects of malinvestment and inefficient, wasteful government.

Corruption by either the left or the right can be sustained for a period of time, due to the "deal of ruin" in a nation; but the convergence of both destructive forces can truly imperil a people and bring their economic and political system crashing down. The tea party movement needs to mobilize the middle class and the great ideological middle, who are generally for fiscal sanity and economic prosperity. We need to do this by engaging in both intellectual and activist leadership.

Obsession with controversial social issues like gay marriage can sidetrack or even derail the movement. (I will explain how freedom and state's rights are the proper platform for the tea party movement, and social conservatism should be relegated to a state-level matter, in a forthcoming article.) We all have our social preferences, but the likelihood of people from the Bible belt and those on the coasts agreeing on them is very dim. For a national movement to succeed, we need to understand the political theory of the founding, which did not propose a government to homogenize a people in terms of social preferences. The federal government was founded with the assumption of preserving liberty, and this was to be ensured through checks and balances, divided powers, and an active and informed citizenry.

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