Why Go To a TEA Party? Why Go Now?

Rasmussen blares the reason why the Tea Party movement is important on its poll results.

Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism

Yes, that’s partly spin and partly obfuscation, but it’s also partly truthful (and lefty ignoramuses at HuffPo love it because it confirms their elitist, socialist illusions). I plan to de-spin it later, but for now let it stand.

skeptics-donutFolks, there’s good news. If we travel back in Rasmussen time we find out that, including leaners, government skeptics outnumber true believers by 75% to 14%. This poll was done by asking people these three questions and counting how many they agreed with or disagreed with.

  • Generally speaking, when it comes to important national issues, whose judgment do you trust more – the American people or America’s political leaders? [People more trustworthy +1, Leaders more trustworthy -1]
  • Some people believe that the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests. Has the federal government become a special interest group? [Yes +1, No -1]
  • Do government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors? [Yes +1, No -1]

Add up your total. Mine is +3. Those with negative scores believe the government is smarter than ordinary people. They are not skeptics. Those with positive scores are skeptics: Skeptics like me, and probably skeptics just like you.

TEA = Taxed Enough Already

Skepticism about government is exactly what the Tea Parties are all about. They are named not only for the Boston Tea Party, nor for a memorable scene in Alice in Wonderland, but for the acronym TEA: “Taxed Enough Already.” TEA is a truly popular sentiment in America that represents those who think that government is too big, costs too much, regulates too much, and needs to be smaller, cheaper, smarter, and do no more harm. It’s a bonus that tea parties remind us the government is a Mad Hatter that is as mad as a March Hare, and that we’d like to knock it on the head and and dump it in Boston Harbor.

The nine most feared words in the English language: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

This was a large part of Ronald Reagan’s appeal to regular Americans across the political spectrum. It’s something that Republicans have lost connection with, because it depended in large part on Reagan’s rejection of the Keynesian economics of inflation. Reagan understood Hayek‘s Road to Serfdom and Mises’ criticism of Socialism. He knew that government is not the solution, but the problem that needs to be solved. He managed to slightly shrink the government, but only temporarily. And that is what the Tea Parties are all about: continuing Reagan’s revolution of people power against the growing, total state. Republicans lost their way when they tried to work with the statists who only want to make the government ever more powerful and remove power and responsibilities from the people, whom statists do not trust. Republicans were also infiltrated by statists who saw a winning political side and decided to join it.

Reagan tried but failed to shrink the federal government, and George W. Bush tried to shrink the federal government by cutting taxes and starving it. Both failed in the long run. Bush actually increased the size of the federal government because he never met a spending bill he disliked enough to veto. Well, that and his tax rate cuts actually increased tax revenues! They almost always do! It’s hard to starve the beast when you’re feeding it more. There is only one way to shrink the government, when you think about it. One way to remove bad regulations, bad Constitutional Amendments, bad taxes, and bad government departments.

It’s called REPEAL!

The Tea Parties are all about repeal! There is only one way to make government smaller. Only one way to lower taxes, shrink federal agencies, fire parasitical bureaucrats and their parasitical agencies, remove bad constitutional amendments (starting with the 16th and 17th), and reduce the federal government to the size our founders envisioned for it. Repeal is it.

We can repeal the Deparment of Education. By “we can” I mean it is possible for someone to do it, given enough will and determination. We can repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments. We can repeal Stimulus 1 and 2, TARP, Sarbanes-Oxley, McCain-Feingold, and whatever other horrible, freedom-destroying bills the Pelosi-Reid-Obama troika of commissars come up with in the meantime. Every single Representative and one out of three Senators are up for reelection in 2010. They can all be fired. This includes both Pelosi and Reid, who are both up for reelection. They should all be fired! We can rehire the ones who shape up. But first we have to fire them all, especially Reid and Pelosi! And then we can get down to repealing.

We can repeal the 16th Amendment, which allowed the federal government to pass a non-proportionate tax and collect it directly. We can repeal the 17th Amendment, which removed the states’ voices from the Federal government and replaced them with a longer tenured and thus more radical version of the radical by design House of Representatives. We can repeal Sarbanes-Oxley, which has cut the profit of public companies (and thus depressed the stock market) by 50%. We can repeal McCain-Feingold, which has limited the 1st Amendment. We can fire all the political appointees in the federal bureaucracy and cut all the departments’ budget by 50-100%, except for Defense, State, and Commerce, which actually have constitutional reasons to be. Leave the empty positions empty. It’s better than putting statists back into power. We can repeal TARP, all the Stimulus bills that still have spending and regulatory impacts, and all the other laws that mandate an ever-increasing federal bureaucracy to destroy our economy and people.


Now back to the question of how truthful the headline actually was… the question and actual results are:

Which is a better system – capitalism or socialism?

53% Capitalism
20% Socialism
27% Not sure

See the first graph for a representation of this data.


Now look at the second graph. When you remove “not sure” from the answers and redo the computations, this works out to 73% in favor of capitalism. And it’s also heartening that “not sure” is more popular than socialism. Rasmussen also points out that earlier surveys indicated that 70% of Americans preferred a free market economy, and that (to summarize the skepticism survey described above) 75% of Americans believe government has become an untrustworthy special interest group that hurts consumers and producers (14% trust government, 11% are not sure). Additionally, only 14-15% believe that government can run auto companies and banks better than private enterprise can.

Remember, again from the Rasmussen poll above, skepticism about government is not confined to Republicans. It is bipartisan. Tripartisan, actually, since Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are all just about equally skeptical. The elitist government true believers are a tiny but very vocal minority in all parts of the political spectrum, and they are wrong.

Economically, Mises, Hayek and the other economists from the neo-Austrian school have explained why freedom and free markets work to create wealth and happiness where state control only creates misery. Demonstrations are plentiful, in the old USSR, current Zimbabwe, and the future USA if we do not turn things around.

Philosophically, Christianity and Judaism teach us that we humans are free to behave as we like. We are created free people. Our lives are not decreed by fate. Our free will gives us the ability to create what we can imagine. And we owe it to God to praise Him with our achievements, freely imagined, freely constructed. This does not mean we let the government force us to behave in some way or other. Not only does the goodness of what each of us does then depend on the goodness of the government, it also takes away our free choice and renders us slaves instead of free people with free will.

Politically, Jefferson, Madison, Mill, Locke, Say, Bastiat, Reagan, and now Mark Levin have described the only sort of government that can support and protect a free society: A Constitutional Republic where the whole is governed by a written document that is set in stone and does not change, while parts of the whole, whether the various states or individuals living therein, are free to make their own choices within the broad, minimal guidelines of the Constitution and the law.

Right now the government is a gigantic monstrosity covered with decades of accreted stone. It needs to be carved down until it is a beautiful, or at least less horribly ugly, sculpture of which we can be proud. The tool to carve the government monstrosity down to size is repeal.

On April 15, go to your nearest Tea Party and start the repeal ball rolling.