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The 8/28 Rally

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The 8/28 “Restoring Honor Rally” was held yesterday, and most estimates place attendance above 80,000. I have some serious concerns about this rally as well as the direction the “tea parties” are headed. Despite being in DC today, I didn’t attend the rally for the following reasons:

1) The purpose of the rally was vague. “Restoring Honor”: honor is a quasi-virtue usually taken to mean acting in such a way to gain respect. Depending on the society you are in this could be a virtue (eg., in 18th century America) or a vice (eg., in Nazi Germany). So I couldn’t really gather the purpose of the event from the name alone. It was also stated that this was a non-political event to honor America’s Heroes. This struck me as a pretext. It is true that some emphasis was placed on respect towards soldiers, but there was clearly more going on with the rally. This was not just another memorial day and everyone in attendance knew that the crowd was the tea party.

2) Glenn Becks stated motivations were religious. He printed T-shirts for the event with the founding fathers above the words “Faith, Hope, and Charity” (one t-shirt for each value), he stated on his show that his “12 values” would be promoted at the event: Honesty, Reverence , Hope , Thrift, Humility, Charity, Sincerity, Moderation, Hard Work, Courage, Personal Responsibility, and Friendship. Also there was some additional rhetoric about the solution to America’s problems being a return to belief in God.

3) Beck said not to bring signs to the event. I saw sinister motivations here: in previous rallies there are so many signs that despite any commentary, it has been impossible for any news viewers to honestly conclude that Tea Parties are about anything other than Freedom. Any honest viewer would have to conclude, regardless of what the speakers said, that the citizens at the rally were there to promote the cause of limited government. Without signs, it would be easy to describe everyone at the rally as being motivated by only what the speaker was communicating. In this case: “The focus of the rally was more explicitly religious than political, with many speakers openly professing their Christian faith, including Beck. At points, it felt like a mixture of old-fashioned tent revival and a special episode of Beck’s show. “

This leads me to conclude that Glenn Beck is attempting to hijack the tea parties in order to promote his own religious agenda. Although I enjoyed talking with the Tea Partiers around DC afterwards, I didn’t want to support Beck by letting him put words into my mouth (which is what would have happened if I was in the crowd at the National Mall with cameras rolling and Beck talking).

I’m curious if my assessment is off-base here. What is he really trying to get away with (conciously or subcounciously).. and will it succeed?

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I think Glenn Beck was trying to highjack the Tea Party. And I agree that he was up to something when he asked that people not bring signs...it helps him control the message. Fortunately, I don't think the average Tea Partier is buying what Beck is selling. His rally was nothing but a prayer meeting for the religious right, a group that has been growing more bolder throughout the Bush years.

The Tea Party on the other hand, was partly a response to the religious right in my opinion. Many conservatives are sick of the anti-abortion, anti-gay and fake capitalism the religious right advocates and have seen the devastation to the economy and our individual liberty that their policies have caused. They hate the principles of Beck's followers as much as they hate the policies of the Obama administration.

I saw no religious signs at the Tea Parties I have attended and the people I talked to were interested in one thing...reducing the power of the federal government to intrude into our lives, economically and personally. I think more people are awake now than before the Tea Party movement began and I don't think Beck's revival will make them close their eyes again or move toward religion.

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Beck seemingly is desirous to be seen as a leader. I have no way of knowing what's going on inside his head, but can only go by what he professes. It is obvious that he is motivated by religious belief that this nation has drifted away from God,that this is a cause for societal ills which we see today, and a return to what be perceives as the right path is needed.

Now, we here may disagree with his assessment, our opinion may be that religion is destructive or counter-productive, but the fact is that the vast majority profess a belief in God. For most this belief, and the moral/ethical code taught as part of a religious structure, is necessary. Let's face it, most people are not mentally up to the task of guiding their life by philosophy. Not all religious people are wack-jobs. We may not consider them rational, but it would be a mistake to dismiss them out of hand as potential allies in the struggle to return this nation to a semblance of normality.

This should in no way be construed as advocating for his position. I agree that the Tea Party movement should stay focused on limited government and individual liberty. Keep in mind that those who are religious are free to be so under those same civil liberties that we all espouse.

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I wonder if the average Tea Party supporter has the ability to continue to focus upon individual rights and fiscal responsibility and to not allow Beck and his like to muddy the waters with religion. On PJTV a few months back Yaron Brook discussed this very issue. He expressed concern that the Tea Party needed a philosophical basis, and he couldn't have been more accurate in his assessment. It remains to be seen if the religious right will hijack the Tea Party or if reason will prevail. If the Tea Party becomes corrupted with the ideology of the religious right, then America is really screwed.

Compromise is the killer. The Tea Party needs to embrace reason and then either take over the Republican Party or become a viable third party.

Is America ready for individual rights, limited government and free markets? Or must Americans face the consequences of statism and the resulting destruction before they are ready to embrace reason? Do we need to endure an "Atlas Shrugged" descent into chaos?

These are interesting and perilous times indeed.

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Beck seemingly is desirous to be seen as a leader.

Could this be seen as viewing his postion through a pair of "power-lust" colored glasses?

Let's face it, most people are not mentally up to the task of guiding their life by philosophy.

People are guided by philosophy. What people are not mentally up to is the task of defining their philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation. Instead, most just allow their subconscious to accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by their subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy.

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Beck is a mess. He had an "interview" on his show about 6 or 8 weeks ago, he title, "Why do Liberals Hate Religion?" or something very close to that. He interviewed a woman who said she was an atheist. She had very little to say at all, and Beck conducted the sham interview without any consideration for the historical and philosophical issues that are relevant to the question. It was disgusting as a piece of journalism.

Remember the saying, "A poor defense is worse than no defense at all,"? Beck fits the bill. Even when he isn't speaking about religion at all, his analyses and diagrams of political relationships and trends are, (what I've seen,) fraught with logical weaknesses.

I agree with the assessments, above, of his motives with regard to the Tea Party. But I think the Tea Party is stronger than Yaron Brooks says. I think its strength comes from its being un-organized. I think their philosophy is that of our founding fathers, for the most part, and that is all it need be. Grass grows again, after it is mowed. People who are willing to make up their own sign and stand beside the road are the essential Americans. The Tea Partiers should NOT organize, issue a manifesto, or become a political party and put up candidates.

Mindy

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Religion aside, I really would prefer that people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin not speak out on the issues even where I agree with them. Even though I agree with their conclusions on a range of issues, their arguments in support of those conclusions are so ridiculously weak and straw-mannish, that I am afraid of guilt by association.

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The Wrath brings up a great point. These people do far more harm than good. The worst possible thing for capitalism right now is a poor defense. If you have ever watched Beck's show, especially when he has pastors and priests on the program, he makes the "argument from depravity" Rand outlined almost every time. "Man is evil, all we deserve is freedom." "If God doesn't give us our rights... then WHO DOES???! OMG!" It's bad. Really, really bad.

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This may be a bad place to bring it up, but National Review continues its tradition of putting its thumb down on everything Ayn Rand. The most recent issue features Miss Rand on the cover (from the commemorative stamp), and two articles bashing her/saying how great Whittaker Chambers was.

I wouldn't say the religious right has been growing bolder, because it feels like they've always been this outspoken.

But never fear, the economy's collapsing anyway. I think Glenn Beck alluded once on his show to a plan that would essentially invite foreign armies (by the President's invitation) to help subdue American rebellion as the government seized land in order to create a new currency that would replace the current one as it becomes worthless.

If that actually comes true, then Mr. Beck will deserve more credit than his best advocates give him.

Unfortunately, he seems to think fervent prayer will protect us...

Actually, to be fair, I read a bit that describes this rally as 'Tocquevillan'. I think that means that by fervent prayer, Beck is advocating personal invidual responsibility. Learning for yourself, maintaining integrity to principles despite what everyone else is doing, and putting forth personal effort for personal gain.

It's not an awful message, because you have to consider the audience. Still, I do hope he moves on to solid political principles. If you study his political commentary, it's fairly hopeful. Give it a shot - see if you can find out who he has endorsed and why.

Two examples: he didn't endorse Mitt Romney at first despite a shared religion because he thought the guy was a complete phoney. Second, he was much more against the Bush foreign policy than most on his 'side of the aisle'.

Here's my point: I can't stand his appeal to religion, his ADD, his incoherence, and on and on. But he sometimes seems like he could end up being the biggest voice of sanity among those who share his level of influence.

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Here's my point: I can't stand his appeal to religion, his ADD, his incoherence, and on and on. But he sometimes seems like he could end up being the biggest voice of sanity among those who share his level of influence.

But you can't defend reason on religious grounds. You may use the concept, but you simply can't do it. It is contradictory. Any right-thinking person will reject the project that has such a defense. I think it is only those who are already beyond Beck's level of understanding who can thus see through it and survive it. Only we don't need Beck to set us on our path. You can't steal for a good cause.

Mindy

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Beck is a creep. I can't respect anyone with so much influence who tries so hard to fuse the Founding Fathers with Christianity. And I really wish Yaron would quit interacting with him. I don't care how many people buy Rand's work because of it, Beck is just too awful to affiliate with in my opinion.

Edit: In fact Beck's creepy usage of the Founding Fathers with his slogans reminds me of the German-American Bund rally at Madison Square Garden where they used a giant image of Washington.

Edited by IchorFigure
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And I really wish Yaron would quit interacting with him. I don't care how many people buy Rand's work because of it, Beck is just too awful to affiliate with in my opinion.

Appearing on a TV program to promote a message while making your ideological differences with the host very clear (as Yaron Brook has repeatedly done) is not affiliation.

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Religion aside, I really would prefer that people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin not speak out on the issues even where I agree with them. Even though I agree with their conclusions on a range of issues, their arguments in support of those conclusions are so ridiculously weak and straw-mannish, that I am afraid of guilt by association.

I agree. I never have any idea why these two people take the positions they do, and its not as they are both principled actors anyway. I think, at this point, so many people are just hating President Obama for reasons that they cannot even intelligently repeat if they were asked. There are a lot of people out there with a constant, angry, apocalyptic-drama mindset, and are focused on Nov. 2nd, when they can "take out the trash." I can't wait to see what will happen with these people when President Obama is not re-elected; their lives are totally consumed with thoughts about him right now. For many, I think, it's just a game, and if Obama loses, then they 'win' and can go home. I'm fairly certain I will not be voting--once again--unless something crazy happens, like Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck getting nominated.

EDIT: and if anyone knows when this event will be replayed on TV, I'd like to know. Thanks.

EDIT TWO: I just had the scariest thought while thinking of a joke about why a Mormon and Pentecostal would get together for a religious event: To establish a presidential ticket! :worry:

Edited by RussK
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The fact that the Tea Party doesn't have a sound philosophical base is the main reason I don't associate with the party.

There are a lot of religious nuts based on posters and signs I've seen Tea Partiers holding. Although, that is probably a minority among the party, not a majority. Still, the fact that they're even there bugs me. I don't want to be apart of a party that includes religious conservatives. That is not part of my philosophy, and is actually in total opposition to it. How can you have a solid political party, that you want to consider yourself apart of, if there is no solid philosophy, no foundation to build on? Yes, they want limited governement, but so do Libertarians. On what grounds? Why do they want a limited government?

The hierarchy of philosophy (metaphysics > epistemology > ethics > politics) is too important to me. I can't see myself accepting a party that doesn't start at the very base of my philosophy, all the way back to the roots.

Also, I do think that Glenn Beck is trying to hijack the Tea Party. And the fact that it can be hijacked at all is the very reason I don't want to affiliate with it.

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The Tea Party movement is decentralized, grass roots movement that is based on the recognition that our Republic is being destroyed piecemeal by a political class that is completely unresponsive to the citizenry, and who, in fact, hold us in contempt. The fact that people are involved who are religious should come as no surprise, as the vast majority of the population of this country are religious. To dismiss these people, to hold them in contempt because of their religious views and to dismiss them as ignorant baboons strikes me as arrogant.

We are at a turning point in our nations history, when our very founding principles are in danger of being overturned and our nation turned into a European style Socialist welfare state, making us virtual slaves. Refusing to participate because one's potential allies are religious is ridiculous, IMO.

As someone once said; We must stick together, or we will surely all hang separately.

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I’m curious if my assessment is off-base here. What is he really trying to get away with (conciously or subcounciously).. and will it succeed?

It seems to me that this was more an orgy of religious nut jobbery than a tea party rally. Becks main motivation is getting altruist/religious beliefs back into the forefront of the political ideology of the U.S. He thinks thats what will turn this mess around. Problems like terrorism, the economy, and supposed racial tension are his means, the christian version of sharia are his ends.

The fact that he requested no signs makes me think he didnt want the "other" media networks to be able to latch on to one group of crazies present, and spin the entire purpose of the rally. I really think he means well, hes just wrong, wrong down to the roots. The fact tha so many tea partiers showed up (way more than the other networks reported, from looking at the pics) just shows how desperate the situation is, and how badly they need to ground their principles in a firm philosophic base.

j..

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The Tea Party movement is decentralized, grass roots movement that is based on the recognition that our Republic is being destroyed piecemeal by a political class that is completely unresponsive to the citizenry, and who, in fact, hold us in contempt. The fact that people are involved who are religious should come as no surprise, as the vast majority of the population of this country are religious. To dismiss these people, to hold them in contempt because of their religious views and to dismiss them as ignorant baboons strikes me as arrogant.

We are at a turning point in our nations history, when our very founding principles are in danger of being overturned and our nation turned into a European style Socialist welfare state, making us virtual slaves. Refusing to participate because one's potential allies are religious is ridiculous, IMO.

As someone once said; We must stick together, or we will surely all hang separately.

I'm inclined to agree with Maximus here.

Unfortunately we don't live in a time of reason.

We live under a system where we have career politicians instead of citizen representatives.

The tea party I've noticed is a pretty mixed bag. It seems 60/40 straight up conservative(including religious/social issues) and 40 percent that just want small government.

Since I see no chance of turning this state of affairs around waiting on an Objectivist party to form and take power I throw my support behind the more reasonable tea party candidates when possible.

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Problems like terrorism, the economy, and supposed racial tension are his means, the christian version of sharia are his ends.

Please explain this "Christian version of Sharia." I'm afraid I am quite unfamiliar with it. Are you implying that there would be separate ecclesiastical courts set up under a Christian Theocracy?

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Becks main motivation is getting altruist/religious beliefs back into the forefront of the political ideology of the U.S. He thinks thats what will turn this mess around. Problems like terrorism, the economy, and supposed racial tension are his means, the christian version of sharia are his ends.

I'm no fan of Beck but the kind of uninformed hyperbole you're using here doesn't represent your case well. Sharia is a very specific thing. If you were to spend about thirty minutes reading about it you will realise your error. Mainly, not in the nature of the laws but their application and the specific structure of government required.

That is not to say that his wanting to blend church and state is desirable, just that more accuracy on your part would better further your point. Church and state blended as advocated by some Christians is surely bad but not any equivelent of Sharia. We're comparing hurricanes and earthquakes here.

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The Tea Party movement is decentralized, grass roots movement

That's part of the problem. It could be hijacked by anyone at any time, which seems to be exactly what Beck has done. I see nothing for myself to gain in affiliating with such a group, and I have no reason to think that there won't be a massive influx of "family values", because of how prevalent religion is. I do not have any reasonable expectations to make, only mere guesses or hypotheticals. If I were to lead my own movement, I would explicitly disassociate myself from the tea party movement even if some ideas would be the same. I do not understand how religion is any less dangerous than socialist-type or mixed-economy-type policies. Maybe most tea party supporters aren't in favor of anything like making abortion illegal, but even granting that, the point is there is no one guiding any ideas. And when it comes to movements, unless there is a cohesive and organized structure to them, they always fizzle out. So the only expectations I have now is that either (1) the Tea Party movement dies out in a year or so, or (2) the majority who support the Tea Party movement, the religious-inclined, will take it over.

Edited by Eiuol
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The "party" in Tea Party is not the concept of a political party, or only indirectly so. It means a get-together, a shindig, a "Let's Party!"

I think it has more effect if those words remain a kind of event, spontaneous and responsive to political trends. It would then be a constant threat to politicians who think their being elected is an unlimited franchise to alter America.

Mindy

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I still do not want to associate myself with them.

What is it the Tea Party wants? Lower taxes, smaller government, a trend towards capitalism (although I don't know if they've explicitly stated this).

Why? Because socialist policies aren't effective.

But, even more important than that, socialist policies are immoral. Do you think any of the Tea Partiers understand that, or even want to? I've seen no evidence of it.

And no, I can't belong to a party that has a major religious following, not when they're advocating capitalism, or capitalist policies. That makes them some of the biggest hypocrites on the planet. A 'religious capitalist' is worse than any Libertarian. How can they possibly assimilate the two, religion and capitalism? It can't be done. Not according to any religions I know of, and certainly not Christianity.

Again, it goes back to a solid philosophical foundation. I realize the Tea Party isn't very organized, and maybe can't technically be called a political party at the moment. I understand that sometimes it starts with a feeling, a buzz. They know something isn't right, although they can't explain what it is or why. However, until the day comes that they can explain it, I won't affiliate with them. I don't think it's productive, or in my best interests to do so.

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I watched Beck today for a few minutes.

He went into a fair amount of pseudoMormon doctrine. Hell, he even told everyone to pay their tithing (I know ftw)?

He's declared the Tea Party to be the third great awakening. He's basically insisting that this is going to be about God. That's not an endorsable aspiration.

However as a religionist, he seems firmly convinced that religion means personal faith and personal salvation. Mormonism holds that knowledge is necessary for salvation. What knowledge, you ask? Good question, the answer is what makes Mormonism a total crock. But there is nevertheless an appeal to individual accountability for acquiring knowledge and for making choices. Glenn Beck is trying to force out any other interpretation of religion from the public sphere. Interpretations that include collective salvation and social justice.

Religionists don't rely on solid evidence to construct their concepts. As a result they are more 'flexible' than academics. This has obvious drawbacks, but I have come to conclude that it gives religionists - particularly in American society - a phenomenal advantage in their inductive reasoning over the Left. Yes, they employ too many pseudo concepts - but this allows them to employ a broader inductive process.

That's why they know that individual knowledge and choice is important, but they don't know why exactly. That's what Beck is appealing to: the reason they don't know they have.

I don't like Beck's movement, but I'm happy about the possibility of it driving back Obama's. And this isn't a point about the lesser of two evils. I think we can hope that Beck will be influenced to identify the role of reason in his message. Or someone. Because we can't convince these people to give up God.

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Religionists don't rely on solid evidence to construct their concepts. As a result they are more 'flexible' than academics. This has obvious drawbacks, but I have come to conclude that it gives religionists - particularly in American society - a phenomenal advantage in their inductive reasoning over the Left. Yes, they employ too many pseudo concepts - but this allows them to employ a broader inductive process.

What does that mean? Induction is the process of forming concepts from observing reality. How do pseudo-concepts make for broader inductive reasoning? Pseudo-concepts are the result of the opposite of induction (arbitrary acceptance of other people's fabrications/generalizations), not broader induction.

God is not a concept that comes from any type of inductive thinking, neither is Glenn Beck's version of "rights". "God" comes from reading it in the Bible, "rights" come from reading it in the DOI. He justifies both exactly the same way, which is why leftists (and pretty much everyone except his few, temporary followers) are comfortable ignoring it.

Because we can't convince these people to give up God.

Sure we can. People give up God all the time.

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