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Could it be possible...?

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Could it be possible that all these "Tea Party" movements and the hodge-podge of "small government" advocates springing up lately aren't actually effective in anyway without a deeper philosophical and psychological base for their loud proclamation of their semi-baked beliefs? I'm beginning to think so.

I think that this "movement" will loose steam quickly without any solid principles to base it off of, something conservatives have no ability to do.

It's just my thoughts. What does this board think? Is the "Tea Party" movement shallow?

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It's just my thoughts. What does this board think? Is the "Tea Party" movement shallow?

I think the Tea Party movement is based largely on a sense-of-life rejection of the country's direction in recent years. People know they don't like where things are heading, but they lack a firm set of ideas laying out a positive alternative program. Because ideas ultimately drive history, a lack of them will ultimately lead the movement to collapse. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Tea Parties provide an audience of people looking for alternatives to the status quo. It's up to those who have the ideas (viz. us) to present them, to try to give the movement the intellectual grounding it so badly needs. It's a tremendous opportunity for intellectual activism. I was at a Tea Party rally in San Jose on April 15th; I and some other local Objectivists handed out about a hundred copies of Peikoff's "Health Care Is Not A Right" and a bunch of pins for the newly-formed "Black Ribbon Project". The essence of the activity is captured in an exchange my wife had when she offered a pamphlet to an attendee. She offered him a copy of "Health Care Is Not A Right". He said "I already know that." She said "Yes, but this will explain why." He took the pamphlet.

There's a lot of energy in the Tea Party movement, but it needs direction. There are a lot of conservatives trying to harness that energy and direct it in accordance with their ideas. If they aren't opposed they'll succeed by default. I know what I'm doing to try to prevent that. What are you doing?

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How quick is quick? The movement has been around for about a year now. The energy surrounding Obama's election fueled both his supporters and his detractors, so its possible that was the only thing pushing this movement toward November of 2010. If the movement lasts that long then dies out, you probably can call the phenomenon short lived (important movements last longer). I think it will last longer. I also think that the longer it lasts, the more influence Objectivists will have over the minds of those involved.

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I think they will probably lose steam eventually but right now everyone is backlashing against the incumbents. in the long run, yea they probably will lose because of a fundamental lack to describe what exactly they want i.e capitalism, and the proper way to defend it.

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There is no "Tea Party" movement up here and therefore I may be talking out of my a$$ but it seems to me that Kaight has the right approach. Objectivists should be using these things to spread the word. Its a better place to start than most. The worst thing that could happen is that the Neo-cons co-opt the movement and turn the quest for more freedom and less government into more faith and a more conservative ideology.

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The Tea Party movement is filled with religious and racist nutcases, not to mention libertarians, 9/11 truthers, pacifists, and America-apologists. The original Tea Party events organized by the Ron Paul people were scary enough - now it's a freakin' nightmare. It's no place for Objectivist ethics at the moment, and I think you'll find it extremely difficult to disengage these people from their very canned ideological views.

To answer the original question: Yes, the Tea Party movement is very shallow.

Edited by Andrew Grathwohl

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The Tea Party movement is filled with religious and racist nutcases, not to mention libertarians, 9/11 truthers, pacifists, and America-apologists. The original Tea Party events organized by the Ron Paul people were scary enough - now it's a freakin' nightmare. It's no place for Objectivist ethics at the moment, and I think you'll find it extremely difficult to disengage these people from their very canned ideological views.

It's probably a mistake to view the Tea Party movement as a monolith across the whole country. The character of the Tea Party in a given area depends significantly on the nature of the leaders who have emerged in that area. I understand that in Oklahoma, for example, the Tea Party has been completely taken over by the religionists. There are other parts of the country where that isn't true, e.g. I know that Sylvia Bokor, an Objectivist, has been heavily involved with the New Mexico Tea Party. Ellen Kenner has had a very positive reception passing out copies of Rand's articles "Man's Rights" and "The Nature of Government" at various Tea Party functions in Massachusetts. At the Tea Party rally in San Jose on April 15th I saw a handful of 9/11 truthers, but they weren't speaking and the vast majority of the attendees either frostily ignored them or responded to them with active hostility. Etc.

I'm not saying it would be an easy sell, but that's how you win an ideological battle -- one mind at a time. If you don't think Tea Parties are a good venue for finding potentially receptive minds, present a superior alternative.

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The Tea Party movement is filled with religious and racist nutcases, not to mention libertarians, 9/11 truthers, pacifists, and America-apologists. The original Tea Party events organized by the Ron Paul people were scary enough - now it's a freakin' nightmare. It's no place for Objectivist ethics at the moment, and I think you'll find it extremely difficult to disengage these people from their very canned ideological views.

To answer the original question: Yes, the Tea Party movement is very shallow.

I've had this opinion since its inception. The few people who are involved that I can stomach--that are not objectivists--still piss me off and I can't bring myself to converse much with them. The main reason: where the hell were they before? Well, I know, they were constantly telling me how I was wrong, how laissez-faire won't work for anything, and condemning my contextually staunch support of individual rights as un-American. Now it's a reversal, and they are spouting off things, as if they are introducing me to liberty concepts for the first time, just because they are following charismatic television and radio personalities and hate president Obama.

Populist movements never keep their principles. Just like the anti-new taxes, conservative populism that ushered in Reagan and ilk totally evaporated sometime in the mid-90s, so to will this new movement in due time. Then everything will start anew, and everyone will be surprised about the growth of government which will start some new movement. Since a black president can no longer be the startling factor maybe the surprise next time will be a black, woman socialist president. However, though they are unprincipled and don't last, populist movements in the past have brought significant change to the country and how it operates, both good and bad.

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The Tea Party movement is filled with religious and racist nutcases, not to mention libertarians, 9/11 truthers, pacifists, and America-apologists.

So is your local grocery store. Can you explain what you mean by "filled", and tell me how filling the movement with such people effects the stated goals of the movement? I'm especially interested to know where I can find all of these racist nutcases.

Edited by FeatherFall

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I'm not saying it would be an easy sell, but that's how you win an ideological battle -- one mind at a time. If you don't think Tea Parties are a good venue for finding potentially receptive minds, present a superior alternative.

Why are you wasting time trying to find potentially receptive minds?

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Why are you wasting time trying to find potentially receptive minds?
Do you mean this, without any joking or sarcasm?

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The good news is that the Tea Parties provide an audience of people looking for alternatives to the status quo. It's up to those who have the ideas (viz. us) to present them, to try to give the movement the intellectual grounding it so badly needs. It's a tremendous opportunity for intellectual activism.

Going to the tea party rally's, displaying signs and handing out flyers is great activism and does not entail a lot of time or expense. Every Objectivist should be doing that.

But for the more adventurous and ambitious much more could be done.

In my area I helped start a Tea Party group that meets weekly. Every one is considered an equal and can contribute at any level they wish. People attend for awhile and stop, and others start attending. The group spends at least half of the total time on education, reading books & discussing them. They wanted to first learn more about the Constitution. Since I've been studying Objectivism since 1991 and I've acquired a large library of good books from Second Renaissance, I was able to sell them on reading “A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States” by Joseph Story. Over the last past two months, I've listen to the discussions and selected areas of interest that I have a book that addresses that subject and I've given 6 five minute book reports so far. A large number write down the title and authors after-wards. They are starved for good ideas. I've found a couple of Atlas Shrugged fans, their copies are battered and marked up with lots of underlines.

Some things to remember. 1) They are not Objectivists, make allowances and give them time (remember when you first learned about Objectivism, what sold you on the ideas). 2) Let the books sell the ideas. 3) Set up and run a free Google blog for the group (you can filter out most of the weird stuff when you run it, you can sprinkle in articles from Objectivist blogs, but you will have to run some of the so – so ideas to keep the kiddies happy). 4) There are petitions on specific issues you can join or start (our group jumped on the Statewide petition to allow for recall elections in our state, and down the road we are talking about a Sovereignty amendment with some teeth). 5) The group tracts local, state & national politicians (who to vote against and who to vote for). 6) Have fun doing it.

Finally, remember Ayn Rand's advise, “reach out to the better minds among them”.

David McBride

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First of all, this is worse than ignorant, it sounds like intentional misinformation as a means to attack and destroy (as is so typical of the liberal left and the mainstream media):

The Tea Party movement is filled with religious and racist nutcases, not to mention libertarians, 9/11 truthers, pacifists, and America-apologists. The original Tea Party events organized by the Ron Paul people were scary enough - now it's a freakin' nightmare. It's no place for Objectivist ethics at the moment, and I think you'll find it extremely difficult to disengage these people from their very canned ideological views.

To answer the original question: Yes, the Tea Party movement is very shallow.

The following is the best explanation I have seen of what the Tea Party movement actually is, as well as what it should be. I have found Tea Partiers of all stripes highly receptive to this message and this reasoning, even moderate and very liberal Tea Partiers which is of course surprising.

http://aynrand.org/site/DocServer/What_Tea....pdf?docID=2081

wttpmmsf.jpg

And after reading that, they are generally surprisingly receptive to the following as well,

http://www.aynrand.org/site/DocServer/Call....pdf?docID=2121

acftsosae.jpg

People out there are on our side because they really do recognize what is right when they see it. They are so willing to believe and to follow, if only someone would stand up and lead them.

Edited by TeaPartier

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Why are you wasting time trying to find potentially receptive minds?

Thank reason you aren't in charge of the intellectual and cultural revolution, we would all be in chains 20 years ago. You might as well head down to your basement and fix yourself up with that attitude. Not much point in bothering apparently.

Edited by CapitalistSwine

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Do you mean this, without any joking or sarcasm?

Yes!

The validity of asking that question comes down to what such activity accomplishes. Going around handing out fliers at an organized Tea Party rally will result in a bunch of non-Objectivists reading Objectivist literature. If this literature is regarding most subjects of politics, then these non-Objectivists are going to agree with the content and not look further. If an Objectivist happens to find his/her way to this Tea Party rally, then all you've done is reiterated something that this person already knows.

The key word in my question is "potentially." The goal should not be to find potentially receptive minds - it should be to find receptive minds. If you wish to enact a certain policy that Objectivists agree with - a policy that would benefit us to have enacted - well, that's what we have the ARC for. Unless you have the level of access to potentially receptive policy-makers (and the money, organization, and influence) that the ARC has, you will never impact any meaningful change. All the time and money (not to mention opportunity cost) you've spent would be futile. I would wager that most here came upon Objectivism by means of their own discovery and searching. This is certainly how I came across it. The way to reach minds on the grassroots level is to engage in intellectual activism - publishing articles and essays, discussing Objectivism at places like this, going to your local Objectivist club, attending/giving lectures, organizing debates, etc. The receptive minds will come to you, and the way that you hook a receptive mind is by providing the intellectual content that they are looking to learn more about. The wrong way to go about it is to go on the offensive, seeking every whim-worshiping prick that decides to belittle their intellectual self-worth by going to illegitimate rallies organized by those such as the Tea Parties.

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Unless you have the level of access to potentially receptive policy-makers (and the money, organization, and influence) that the ARC has, you will never impact any meaningful change.

[...]

The wrong way to go about it is to go on the offensive, seeking every whim-worshiping prick that decides to belittle their intellectual self-worth by going to illegitimate rallies organized by those such as the Tea Parties.

I doubt most people would think of whim-worshipers as potential minds open to Objectivist ideas. I view a potential mind as one that is curious and already willing to change with the right argument. Otherwise, you are right, it is a waste of time and one can just hope for the best, or expect nothing.

I also think you are discounting the acquaintance-level influence that an organization like ARC could never tap in to - people like friends of friends, coworkers, fellow school parents, and so on. This only works if they are a potential mind, but some potential minds aren't interested enough in ideas to search them out alone. They may, however, pay attention to a solid comment in a social setting. And these minds are ones that elect policy-makers.

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Why are you wasting time trying to find potentially receptive minds?

I came to Objectivism from the ranks of the Ron Paul drones. I had not previously had any interest in or knowledge of politics, but as soon as I heard Dr. Paul talk about lessaiz-faire capitalism, I instantly knew that this school of thought is correct. I was able to grasp this because I had a basically good orientation with reality even though I lacked a complete philosophical framework. And when I was finally exposed to Rand, I instantly knew that her philosophy is correct. Many "tea partiers" are people just like me who are able to think rationally even though they are not philosophically literate. They are prime candidates to be turned on to Objectivsm.

Edited by BRG253

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I don't understand. Most Objectivists dislike Libertarians, not because of political differences, but philosophical ones, mainly that Libertarians don't have a philisophical base. How is the Tea Party Movement any different?

Objectivists reject Libertarianism as an ideology, because as an ideology it reject the need for a philosophical grounding of liberty. Some individual libertarians reject the need for a philosophical grounding of liberty, and Objectivists reject them too. Other individual libertarians are simply confused, or haven't considered the issue deeply, and are sometimes possible to convince. There's a difference between someone who simply doesn't have a proper grounding for his ideas and someone who explicitly rejects the need for such a grounding.

The Tea Party doesn't really have a coherent ideology. It's a popular movement based on a sense-of-life rejection of the recent massive growth of statism and a grab-bag of concrete-bound policy proposals, some good and some bad. Many of the individuals in the Tea Party movement, or who attend rallies, are actively looking for ideas to help explain recent events and to chart a better course for the future. Some are the kind of explicit subjectivists or religious nutcases we don't want to support. If we don't work to present our ideas to those seeking to understand, the subjectivists and religionists will present theirs and win by default.

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