THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 567, April 25, 2010
Authoritarian sycophants in the lamestream media
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
In 2006, the Libertarian Party met in Portland, Oregon. The authoritarians among them led a pogrom against the freedom features of the party platform. Many of these were, I believe, Republicans and neo-conservatives. They eviscerated the party's platform, leaving it an ugly and wretched thing.
In response to this horror show, Tom Knapp put together an alternative party, the Boston Tea Party. You can find it today at www.bostontea.us
The Boston Tea Party was founded around one single platform "plank." That there should be a smaller government on all issues and at all levels of government, and that there should not be a larger government on any issue, nor at any level. The party gained some adherents, fielded some candidates in 2008, and even helped one or two to electoral victory. Today it boasts something over 1,650 members.
Of course, part of the spirit of the Boston Tea Party has been to harken back to the 23 December 1773 attack on the monopoly East India tea company import of tea combined with the hated tea tax. The Sons of Liberty arguably started the world war which became the American revolution with this one event, which put Boston into a year of peaceful anarchy and attracted about 8,000 British troops to "pacify" the city.
It is sort of ironic, and amusing, that in December 2007 one of the more libertarian Republicans in the race, Ron Paul, was the subject of a "money bomb." Organisers including Trevor Lyman put together a plan to raise money on 23 December 2007 in commemoration of the Boston Tea Party. I believe this event was the largest single day of fund raising ever for any candidate, with over $6 million raised. An interesting feature of the Ron Paul campaign in 2008 was the distribution of donationshundreds of thousands of supporters raised tens of millions of dollars with an average donation of about $128 per person.
In November 2008, about 131 million Americans, plus a few whose votes were never counted, minus a few million whose votes were made up, voted in the national election. Out of 308 million or so Americans, about 69 million voted for Barack Obama, and he became president. Later that same month, enthusiasts of Ron Paul's campaign for president showed up on 22 November 2008 at Federal Reserve buildings around the country to protest against the Feral Reserveless System. Some were there to support the idea of an audit of the Fed, which Ron Paul had proposed in Congress.
I attended the End the Fed rally in Kansas City which was a lot of fun. Of course, it was no accident that the rally was held on the annual commemoration of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. Kennedy had been an outspoken critic of the Fed, and had acted against their interests. Among other things, he had monetised the USA government's silver by issuing silver certificates.
I think it was a little later that Rick Santelli made an offhand remark about the economic chaos resulting from the collapse of the financial system, and how another tea party was needed. In any event, in April 2009 there were "tax day tea parties" in dozens of major cities. Evidently unsatisfied with the work of the Sons of Liberty and the significance of the Boston Tea Party, or perhaps in pubic school ignorance of those facts, someone coined the backronym "taxed enough already" for "TEA" and someone else, evidently ignorant of the bulk nature of tea, or any sort of proper tea preparation technology, suggested a tea bag protestmailing tea bags in some instances to members of congress. At one tea party event, a million tea bags were dumped in some prominent location.
Naturally, the authoritarian sycophants in the lamestream media latched onto this minor aspect of the tradition of protest and labelled the protesters "tea baggers." It may come as a surprise to you to find out that there is a disgusting sexual perversion which bears the name tea bagging. Though, given the depths of depravity of contemporary culture, perhaps it isn't a surprise.
A great many Americans showed up at tea party events all over the country. Many of these people were protesting the bail outs of banking gangsters on Wall Street, the nationalisation of General Motors (which should have been sent into bankruptcy to die a final death), and the endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the USAthe war on drugs being one of the oldest, most costly, and least effective of wars.
So of course some Boston Tea Party activists showed up at these events in different cities. Again, I showed up in Kansas City. I found the crowd to be peaceful and very diverse. Lots of signs were critical of president Obama. Some of these signs were more literate than others. Some signs were gung ho about war, and some were gung ho about a big border wall to make another Iron Curtain for the world.
Since 15 April 2009 a number of congress critters have decided they shouldn't bother running for re-election. I went to a few protests to convince Dennis Moore that he should stop representing the third district of Kansas in Congress, which worked well. I gather that there were protesters at a large number of "town hall" meetings where corrupt and obese congress critters meet with the public in their districts and pretend to care what people say.
Naturally, the lamestream media have lampooned these people for daring to disrupt the war effort, the important subsidies to big banking and big business, and for daring to challenge the authoritarian system of government. No doubt the press has forgotten that the first amendment which pretends to guarantee their freedom to publish has a provision about peaceful assemblies and another about petitioning the evil government for redress of grievances.
So we arrive in 2010 at the silly season once again. Primaries are being held, or have been held, to pick candidates to pretend to care what people think. Elections for all of the house of representatives and a third of the senate are going to take place in November.
And once again, I'm being asked, "what's this Boston Tea Party stuff on your profile page, Jim?" And my answer is very simple, and very clear.
The Boston Tea Party continues to identify and endorse candidates who agree with its platform. Again, that platform has only one sentence. If a candidate is for a smaller government on all issues and at all levels, and for a bigger government at no level and on no issue, then they can be supported by the Boston Tea Party. There's a national committee which handles endorsements in states which have no state affiliate. And there are (or were) state affiliates in about a dozen states. In 2008, Dr. Walter Block of Loyola University and the Mises institute noted that he felt our list of candidates were carefully selected and worth supporting.
Do I believe there is any prospect for altering or reforming the system of government by working within it, especially by means of electoral politics? No, I do not.
So what purpose does it serve to have a Boston Tea Party? Why bother?
I think a lot of people are looking for solutions to problems they see around them. The economy went bust in 2008 and about 22% of the working population is unemployed, according to shadowstats.com. The greedy and evil bankers got trillions of dollars in Feral Reserveless and congressional bailouts. The greedy and evil death merchants have gotten trillions and trillions of dollars in contracts to make death machines. Thousands of Americans have died in the recent wars, and despite promises of peace and "withdrawing a brigade or two a month" from places like Iraq, American soldiers and civilians continue to be killed. The drug war continues, again despite promises by Obama to end it.
It isn't obvious to everyone that there is no prospect for change by working within the system. It is hard to believe that the system is operating the way those in power want it to operate. But it clearly is. It is corruptly allocating trillions of dollars, it is feathering the beds of the politically powerful politicians and bureau-rats, and it is generating obscene profits through confiscation and illegal barriers to entry for well-connected crony capitalists. So of course it can't be fixedit isn't broken. If you think breaking it would be good, you'd find yourself working against the interests of millions of people who are paid by the system to keep it going just as it is.
Okay, then, why have a party to identify candidates who really are for smaller government? First, it helps illustrate how few of these candidates there are, and how few of them win office. In 2008, I think we found something on the order of three dozen. One had already been elected when he got involved in our party, and one of those we endorsed won election to some minor position in Florida. That's out of about 468 national races with at least two candidates each, and out of tens of thousands of state and local races. So, really, nearly no one in 2008 was for a smaller government on all issues and at all levels.
Second, it helps people who are interested in change to learn about the system, how it works, how it fails to work, how it is stacked against third parties, how those who count the votes and register the parties abuse their power, and how little chance there is for change through electoral politics. These people are in many cases very earnest, willing to spend long hours on campaigns as volunteers, and do amazing things with next to no budget. Radicalising these people is a good idea.
Third, I think it is important to continue the tradition of the Sons of Liberty, protesting out of control government, protesting abuse of office, and protesting high taxes. I think the work they set out to do in 1773 with their Boston Tea Party was extremely useful in reducing the size and scope of government for about a dozen years or so thereafter. Although their revolution was betrayed in 1787 by a counter-revolution, I believe there was merit to the work they began. It remains to be completed. And I do not want some overweight uniformed pig with bigoted ideas about wars of aggression, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and religious oppression to be the tea party goer of the 21st Century. I want to hold up the "don't tread on me" Gadsden flag and the "come and take it" Goliad flag, and tell the tyrants and the bigots and the authoritarians of every stripe that they cannot take our Boston Tea Party from us.
Next month, the Boston Tea Party hosts its national convention on its web site. You can participate in that convention by signing up as a member at BostonTea.us which is a nice DruPal site. You don't have to go anywhere to attend the convention. There's even a "Facebook event" to indicate your RSVP if you wish. You would be welcome to join in, express your views, and be a part of the Boston Tea Party. It is time to party like it is 1773.