Libertarian History/Philosophy

Tea Party/Baby Boomer Watch

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A meme gathers steam, care of pop-ed sociologist David Brooks:

Glenn Beck's dad?

About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

Today, another social movement has arisen. The people we loosely call the Tea Partiers also want to destroy the establishment. They also want to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution. […]

[T]he core commonality is this: Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence. Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. […]

Because of this assumption, members of both movements go in big for conspiracy theories. The '60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks — theories that live on in the works of Noam Chomsky. In its short life, the Tea Party movement has developed a dizzying array of conspiracy theories involving the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters. […]

[B]oth movements have a problem with authority. Both have a mostly negative agenda: destroy the corrupt structures; defeat the establishment. Like the New Left, the Tea Party movement has no clear set of plans for what to do beyond the golden moment of personal liberation, when the federal leviathan is brought low.

Brooks goes on to call TPers "radically anticonservative" (like that's a bad thing!), and warns that, like the New Left, they will "ruin" what "legitimate point" they have "through their own imprudence, self-righteousness and naïve radicalism."

They're coming to take me away, ho-ho!

A few points: 1) When's the last time you heard the phrase "black helicopters" from anyone who wasn't using it to deride conspiracy theorists? 2) That "legitimate point" formulation, however grudging, is still a far cry from Brooks calling anti-stimulus right-of-center people the "Smoot-Hawleys of the 21st century," a pack of "nihilists" who are on a "single-minded mission to destroy the Republican Party." 3) Conspiracy theories thrive wherever people feel powerless. Non-major-party movements (and let's remember, the New Left seriously hated on Democrats in power, at least at first) are by definition collections of people who feel powerless. We should not be surprised that there is a greater incidence of conspiracy-think there. That's not an excuse, but I get the impression sometimes that journalists think the Tea Party movement is nothing but a product of one grand conspiracy theory, as opposed to a rational response to a two-party political system that has for a decade jettisoned all vestiges of the very American tradition of limited-government philosophy.

Methinks the dress code changed a lot between 1965 and 1967

More importantly, 4) Even if we consider the New Left an unmitigated political failure–and I for one do not, because of the Church Commission if absolutely nothing else–there is no denying that the tendency had a profound impact on culture and the law, plenty of it (initially, anyway) in a positive direction. The New Left was on the front lines of fighting anti-obscenity laws, ending military conscription, expanding the limits of artistic expression, generally loosening the necktie on the broader culture, and much more. Judging the New Left purely in terms of political Xs and Os kind of misses the point.

It also hints at an opportunity for the Tea Party movement. If the political goals are measured merely in Republican-vs.-Democrats victories (even with some Republican-on-Republican primary scalps thrown in), the tendency will lose its cultural juice faster than you can "Saturday Night Live." If the eye remains on the not-ready-for-partisan-time prize of reducing the size and direction of government at all levels–similar to the way that the New Left in that first decade always kept at least one cocked eye on the twin prizes of expanding free speech and ending the Vietnam War–then this thing might last beyond November 2010. I look forward to seeing what David Brooks will write then.

NEXT: In Defense of Willie Nelson

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  1. “In its short life, the Tea Party movement has developed a dizzying array of conspiracy theories involving the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters. […]”

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

    1. You know it’s true. I can’t figure out why Brooks left out the obviously racist elements of the movement as well.

  2. “T]he core commonality is this: Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence. Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. […]”

    That statement is idiotic even for Brooks. No one thinks that people are corrupted by the ‘authority structures”. They just want assholes like you to stop taking their money and borrowing in their kids name.

    1. John, that sounds a lot like a (correct) accusation that elites are corrupt and authority structures are rotten.

      1. I think it reads way too much into the Tea Parties. They are not docrinaire anything. They are not hardcore libertarians who think that people can be perfected if only left alone.

        They are much simpler than that. They literally just want a return to small government. In philosophical terms they are all over the map. But they agree on one thing; stop borrowing money and taking over the country via government. It really is that simple.

        1. Oh, I agree. Perhaps I should have specified that the current elites are corrupt and current authority structures are rotten. I have no doubt that most of the Tea Partiers are guilty of the same “if only the right people were in charge” fallacy as liberals — it’s just that they think “the right people” would tax, spend, and borrow less.

          1. I think someone like Brooks cannot comprehend the idea that people just want to be left alone and don’t have a grand scheme to create utopia.

            1. Absolutely. And that is why he fails.

              Oh, shit. He hasn’t failed. Never mind.

            2. Of course some of us consider “people just want to be left alone” to be utopia.

              A utopia with lots of problems, but, you know, some of us are realistic.

              1. Realistic is not very utopic, robc. Are you just trying to confuse some of us?

        2. They are much simpler than that. They literally just want a return to small government.

          They ponder the size of their property tax bill (and income tax bill) in, oh, five-to-ten years’ time…and they shutter

    2. How long before we hear this from some silly radical reporter: “JPatrickBedell, a supporter of the values of the tea party movement . . .”
      or
      “Teabagger John Patrick Bedell . . .”

      My guess it will be before Olbermann’s show is over tonight.

      1. False flag atacks and the subsequent coordinated PR blitzes are the best way to stop this Tea Party movement cold. The pentagon attack still didn’t have enough casualties to do the trick though. Something bigger will “slip through”. Lenmitzer taught Wolfowitz well when they worked together unde Ford and the lesson was not new then. The philosophy is alive in Rahm Emanuel just as it was in PNAC: “What we need is another Pearl Harbor Event”.

        I’m not saying it’s a conspiracy, but if the thought model can be used to predict events better than your model then I’ll stick with mine for now.

  3. Driving to Cleveland yesterday I caught about two hours of Glenn Beck’s radio program.
    I’m willing to put my Cosmotarian credentials on the line right now and say I like the guy.

    1. On the return swing I listened to Rush, who apparently has become nothing but a Republican shill. Sad, really.

      1. Me too. I just unsubscribed from his newsletter. Though I disagreed with him on a number of things, I did listen from time to time. He’s gotten to be too much for me.

        1. I am glad to see such wide acceptance of Glenn Beck here. He has been interpetting events like a true master over the past couple years. First he was dead on with supporting the Iraq war and the patriot act, then he figured out that Ron Paul supporters are terroristand something must be done to stop these people and then he came out and strongly denounced the warming denialist nuts. Beck On Global Warming

          We need more libertarian leaders like this.

          1. Ron Paul supporters are terrorists? Did I miss a memo?

            1. The Glenn Beck video doesn’t lie. Ron Paul supporters are terrorist don’t make me get out the html again.

              1. CN, You used to be so much more charming. What happened? I am not as widely for fiercely hated as Lone Wacko, your trying to incite the crowd here against me, but it won’t work. I am not promoting a website and I am not a xenophobe, I also not trying to get people to make youtube videos that I myself am too lazy to make.

                1. If LoneWacko is the least popular guy in class I am more like the 3rd or 6th least popular guy in the class. Guys like Chad and Tony I can always count on to be more widely hated.

                  1. Actually, I hate your unfunny schtick more than I hate Tony or Chad. Seriously, Gabe, go away.

      2. Rush uses “libertarian terminology” but refuses to apply it.

      3. He has been all Republican the whole time I have been listening to him. Just wants them to be more conservative, more free market.

    2. I spent several hours listening to Glenn Beck on the radio in my road trip days. He seemed rather pleasant and inoffensive at the time.

    3. Interesting – I’ve found the same thing. I can’t palate Beck’s TV show, but the radio show seems consciously different (less foaming-at-the-mouth). I rather enjoy his radio show.

      Also still find Limbaugh very entertaining, but only that. It’s all about him, and I just like that he makes so many people angry…and it just builds his audience. He’s a (self) marketing genius…not to be taken seriously, but as a marketing force, the dude is head and shoulders above anyone else in the political-bloviating class.

      1. The genius is to get your enemies to do your marketing for you.

  4. But we can still enjoy the spectacle of the (formerly) radical baby boomers hyperventilating about a movement that has the same anti-statist goals that they (once) espoused, right?

    This is what the progressives would call a “teachable moment,” right?

    1. Didn’t they use to argue that if only we had a president who’d smoked dope, the whole world would be groovy and far out?
      Seems later-middle-aged radicals are just as hypocritical as the later-middle-aged folks they hated in their youth.

  5. Both have a mostly negative agenda: destroy the corrupt structures; defeat the establishment.

    Why are these automatically negative? Destroying corruption is negative? Ending an establishment of corruption or oppression or war-mongering or excessive spending or debt expansion is negative?

    1. Yes, both of those are negative agendas: they aim to stop something rather than to start something. Unfortunately, thanks to decades of pop-psych self-help con-artists, the word “negative” has acquired an alternate meaning as a euphemism for “bad”, and it’s this connotation of the word Brooks is pushing for. (It’s also the connotation “liberaltarians” play on when they criticize minarchist libertarianism as being only for “negative rights” instead of positive rights.)

      But when you think about it, WW2 and the Cold War had essentially negative goals, and indeed any just war has negative goals — to stop an aggressor. Negative things are not necessarily bad.

      1. My test came back negative. Phew!

        1. Perfect example. How many TV shows and movies have had a character hear the test for some horrible disease came back “negative” and freak out because they assume “negative” means “bad”? I can think of George in the Seinfeld epsiode “The Pilot” and the main guy in Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human just off the top of my head.

          1. Actually happened to me. Had an STD test in college and the nurse gave me the results. I shiver went up my spine until I realized what she said was accurate and meant I was clean…which I expected.

            Ah, the hoops we go through to please girlfriends.

    2. To Progressives, yes.

  6. Some rather pedestrian commentary on the tea party effect here.

  7. It’s apparent that our current crop of mainstream political pundits understand the Tea Parties about as well as Sea World trainers understand orca safety guidelines. Let’s hope for some similar results.

    1. +1

    2. Even orcas want to be free.

    3. Like the orcas, I think our mainstream political pundits should be released 30 miles from shore.

      1. Simultaneously with the orcas would be best.

        1. No, we want it to be slow.

          1. Orcas like to play with their food.

  8. Like the New Left, the Tea Party movement has no clear set of plans for what to do beyond the golden moment of personal liberation, when the federal leviathan is brought low.

    I think the plan is to bring it down and keep it there. TPers know exactly how they want their government to behave.

    1. Spot on, and this is where Brooks’ skewed outlook on the TP becomes clear. To him, only plans for government action count as “plans for what to do next”. The idea that people just want government action scaled back and kept scaled back so that they can get on with living their lives simply does not compute for national greatness types like him.

    2. Like the New Left, the Tea Party movement has no clear set of plans for what to do beyond the golden moment of personal liberation, when the federal leviathan is brought low.

      He says that like not having a plan to implement your own version of the Total State is a bad thing.

      What an utter ass. And how telling that Brooks is what passes as a conservative in elite media circles.

      1. Yeah, I saw that and came running to post what RC and Tulpa have already said so well.

        The entire problem with Brooks can pretty much be summed up by the fact that he can’t conceive of not wanting to have a plan.

        “But – but – but what will I write about, if the massive role of the state in society is decreased? Pundits gotta eat, you know!”

  9. Get a hair cut!

    1. Hellfire man. I’ll get em all cut.

    2. + two bits

  10. So, the Tea Party is the bastardized hybrid of Troofers and Hippies? Is that kinda the message Mr. Brooks is giving us here? So now they are Trippies? Are they dirty and stoned all the time too?

    1. It sounds like Brooks set out to show that the tea partiers are just the hippies all growed up but wasn’t able to get the data to work out.

    2. Is that bottom picture supposed to be cleaned up hippies or something else?

      1. Iconic moment in New Left history.

  11. One thing the article fails to mention is that the New Left was very anti-war back in those days. Today TPers dont mention foreign policy at all or support the status quo.

    1. And the New Left didn’t give a shit about reducing taxes or govt spending except to support the status quo. They’re different movements with different issues they care about.

    2. Actually, unfortunately the Tea Partiers do mention foreign policy, and when they do its usually what always keeps me from supporting the Tea Parties.

    3. Which Tea Partiers?

      The Tea Partiers blamed for “ruining” the CPCC vote certainly don’t support the status quo.

      1. I’d say the tea partiers you see on tv and one the news and at the actual protests. Most of the signs are “libs are socialists” and “obama is a terrorist” and if you dare bring up scaling back our foreign policy you will quickly be labeled a hippie, a socialist, a liberal, etc..

  12. Would a Ron Paul/Sarah Palin ticket win in 2012? No, but would the pairing be any weirder than Dukakis/Bentson? Oh wait, they didn’t do so well….

    1. Any plausible GOP ticket with Ron Paul on it would be a weird pairing. The only non-weird pairings I could see would be with Jeff Flake or Gary Johnson, and as most of the GOP hates all three of their guts, such a ticket wouldn’t happen.

      1. Paul would never get the nomination. It would have to be a Pailin Paul ticket. But that would never happen. Pailin would be talked into some boring establishment Republican for gravitas.

        But you have to admit, Pailin and Paul would be the most interesting and subversive major presidential ticket in history.

        1. They would raise some serious money, that’s for sure.

          1. Yeah. And could you imagine Paul debating Joe Biden.

            1. If it’s anything like Paul debating John McCain and Mike Huckabee, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight. I agree with most of what he says, but he doesn’t play to the audience very well.

              1. Like Stephen Hawking vs Oswald Bates.

              2. Whenever he was allowed to speak, he did better than I thought he would.

                His problem in the 6-man debates is that he’d only get two questions and one of them would be, “Do you think your supporters think 9/11 was a conspiracy?” In a 2 man debate that wouldn’t happen.

                Of course, in a 2 man debate he might go all squirrelly, so it’s hard to say what would happen.

                1. Anything involving Biden would be squirrelly. He is so apt to say strange things, I don’t know how you engage him.

    2. It would cause the Reason staff’s heads to explode.

      1. Half of them would probably vote for Obama again.

        1. I think Obama will have learned his lesson by 2012. By his second term he will have nothing to lose and since re-election won’t be a issue so he’ll be able to really cut lose with his real ideas and bring the troops home and legalize perrscription Marijuana. Those would be very positive steps right?

    3. This comment was made on the link you posted: Statler N Waldorf said…
      Libertarian thing? Libertarianism is anarchy for the rich and slavery for the poor. It means the government refuses to fill its role as referee ensuring fair competition and allows people with unnatural advantages based int hings other than merit to run roughshod over the disadvantaged. It represents an uneven playing field and a refusal to level it.

      Anarchy is when the government gives up trying to govern and betrays its citizenry. Real anarchy is more humane.

      1. That’s pretty much the standard liberal cant these days about libertarians. They can’t understand that when I say I want everyone to be free, I really mean it. They’ve said one thing and done another for so long, they can’t even conceive of an honestly expressed philosophy any longer.

        1. Pretty much. It leads them to say crazy things like “freedom is really slavery for the poor” and “government control is the only way to gaurentee our freedom”. It is crazy.

          1. Fairness and equality are misused by them a lot too.

        2. Ignorance is bliss. And also all warm and snuggly when coupled with with arrogant self-righteousness.

        3. I don’t think it’s that at all. If anything, I think liberals are so committed to equality at any cost that they ignore the real results of making such a goal paramount.

          Libertarianism at the very least requires giving up on utopian visions of universal brotherhood of man and such shit. For instance, I consider it a travesty and a moral crime that the spawn of a rich person can live comfortably without ever working a day of his life, while a kid growing up in the ghetto, of equal intelligence and physique, can work her fingers to the bone and make less money throughout her lifetime as that rich kid had in the bank when the obstetrician slapped him. However, I recognize that a legal regime which corrected this grave injustice would inevitably lead to far worse injustices as side effects, and that is why I’m a libertarian.

          1. +1

            Plus, you know, one price of a more interventionist state is that the rich kid will get bailed out if his investments explode in his face.

            Really, if the government HAD let the banks implode, maybe it WOULD have fucked up the economy severely. And maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Stir the pot. Lots of rich kids would have lost their fortunes. Lots of poor people would have ended up with some very cheap houses.

            The “capital” those banks were holding is already destroyed. It was turned into unnecessary housing. We’re just pretending it still exists on paper so someone doesn’t have to take their losses. Or can fool some other sucker into buying them.

      2. Actually libertarians are very much in favor of the government being a referee insuring “fair competition”.

        We just think that consists in the government *not* giving anyone any advantages not based in merit.

        Equal property rights. Fair contract enforcement. Simple, minimal, regulations, uniformly applied.

        To be a referee is to be an enforcer of a simple set of fair rules that are applied uniformly to all players. It is NOT to be someone who picks winners and losses and assigns handicaps based on audience favoritism.

        1. Well said. A referee isn’t supposed to influence the outcome of a given contest except with uniform enforcement of predetermined rules..

        2. As well as I’ve ever seen it written so succinctly. Mind if I use it?

          1. Please steal my memes.

  13. The only conspiracy theories I hear come out of the mouths of Obama and Pelosi and the average Democrat. It’s the big banks and wall street!

    Sure I complain about the huge campaign donations and the fact that lobbyist write legistlation that our legislatures don’t even read, but it’s not a conspiracy when it’s done in the open.

    1. You mean it’s not a theory when it’s done in the open.

  14. Brooks goes on to call TPers “radically anticonservative”

    Well, he’s got a point there. They’re more of an alternative right, actually…

    1. More along the lines of annoying Buchananites, god help us.

      1. Well, more like a consortium of Buchananites, libertarians – anything on the right that doesn’t read the National Review…

        1. Have you noticed that the American Conservative has become increasingly Libertarian as of late?

          1. Like every party out of power does?

            1. Im talking about the magazine.

  15. The ’60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks

    which 60’s? the 1860’s would be more like it.

  16. I really dont get this whole “Tea Party” thing. Can someone please explain?

    Jess
    http://www.fbi-logging.at.tc

      1. Are you responding to anon-bot or an impostor?

        1. Oh my. I guess the Throckmorton Sign is pointing at me.

    1. And don’t ever call them “tea-baggers” even though this was at one time their chosen label for themselves. This will get you branded as “unserious” even though it was that movement which failed to do due diligence on their self-chosen nickname, thus providing endless lulz for pundits great and small.

      1. ….but mostly the small ones.

      2. Right, that’s why we call people who look like Michelle Obama or Jesse Jackson or Oprah “colored”.

  17. It’s as if all he knows is what he reads in his own newspaper …

    Has this Brooks guy actually gone to any tea parties and talked to any actual tea patiers?

  18. The New Left was on the front lines of fighting anti-obscenity laws, ending military conscription, expanding the limits of artistic expression, generally loosening the necktie on the broader culture, and much more.

    And then once firmly entrenched as upstanding members of the ruling class, they turned right around that started re-tightening that necktie.

    Meet the new boss, etc, etc.

    1. Judging the New Left purely in terms of political Xs and Os kind of misses the point.

      Who doesn’t like hugs and kisses?

      But I think what JW says is true of all of us, whether we can admit it or not. We don’t want to be told what we can and cannot do, but eventually freak out when we realize that means the same for everyone. “You’re tell me that my neighbor might be able to get away with something I find unacceptable? No way!” We all inevitably find some liberty that goes too far (for me, it’s 2 girls 1 cup), and from then on it’s just a matter of degrees of authoritarianism. Romanticizing a movement is just a recipe for disappointment.

      1. Cup hater.

  19. meme

    This word is showing up everywhere any more. I propose that its use be banned, at least at Reason.com.

    “Meme” is the new “black” “post partisan”

      1. I think I found the problem:

        “The British scientist Richard Dawkins introduced the word “meme” in The Selfish Gene (1976) as a basis for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena.”

    1. Can we add “ilk” and “sheeple” to the list of over-bandied words being banned?

      1. I like ilk. But sheeple and meme need to go away.

        1. Ilk is awesome. Only a one syllable, three-letter word could acheive such a condensed combination of contempt and dismissal in one neat little package.

          Meme needs to start spawning offspring. I propose we start differentiating between different types of memes, using biological type classification.

          Viral memes – transitory ideas that spread rapidly and burn themselves out

          Genetic memes – memes foundational to a body of thought. i.e. liberty and individualism to America

          Pathomemes – memes that invade other memes and start to take over (see neocons)

          Archeomemes – revivals of really old ideas

          1. “Viral” meme is redundant to the original meaning. Memes are viral by their very nature. Even your definition is the basic definition of just regular “meme.”

            I don’t like the rest, though. Especially the pathomeme.

      2. Libertarians banning words? Banning entire books would be significantly more efficient.

      3. Ilk is a perfectly good and useful word, and I don’t particularly relish it being replaced with “sort” or “type”. “Sheeple”, on the other hand, is an epithet, and I fully support any non-coercive means of discouraging its use.

      4. Let’s be positive here and think of some words that need to be used more. I’ll offer “combobulate” as an example, a word which my high school English teacher marked me off for using in a paper since she claimed it wasn’t a word…yet a few weeks ago I saw it used on a sign made by an official government agency. The TSA labels the zone immediately after the security checkpoint as a “Re-Combobulation Area”, and if I learned anything from Miracle on 34th Street, it’s that if a government agency says something exists it must be true.

        1. I like “copacetic” but it is not as obscure as it once was. I also have an affection for “sward” because it was the first word I remember looking up in a dictionary when I stumbled over it reading book.

        2. Instigate. Rabble-rousing, with just the right spice of righteous indignation.

        3. Wasn’t “discombobulated” made famous by Dan Dierdorf on MNF?

        4. I find “poltroon” has a wide range of applications and does not get used enough in them. But it improves nearly any political discussion (“That poltroon Pat Robertson said that Haiti…” “Al Gore is an enviro-profiteering poltroon”).

        5. Flummox

    2. If you don’t like “meme” think up another short word for “viral idea that outwardly presents as spontaneous arising from multiple sources and uses the frequency of its own use to prove the veracity of its original claim.”

        1. That sounds too foreign. eParadigm, however… That’s totally retro.

        2. “Zeitgeist” is the spirit of the times, or milieu. A meme is by definition transitory. Fleeting, yet sticky at the same time.

          I’m not trying to just be huge dick. A lot of people really hate the term and I’m baffled by the animosity. It describes a phenomenon that has pretty much always existed, is becoming more prevalent as we become more media saturated, and doesn’t (as far as I can tell) have a direct equivalent.

          Ilk is overused, and sheeple (like most portmanteaus or puns) has a steep rate of diminishing returns.

          1. Sug, you’re the best.

          2. I don’t think ilk is used that much. And Sheeple isn’t a word, so it shouldn’t be used.

            And yes Zeitgeist is more general than meme. But really what is a meme but a theme? The liberal meme today is that Obama is reaching out to Republicans. The liberal theme today is that Obama is reaching out to Republicans. Both mean the same to me.

            1. A meme is more specific. Remember the “Paranoid-style of Politics” claptrap that flooded most liberal pundits’ columns last year? (And still does, a bit.) That’s a classic meme.

              While you are right that it is very close to a theme, theme seems to also imply a strain of thought that weaves through an entire mindset. Meme are ideas that can me used as rhetorical weapons for a specific end while seemingly coming from nowhere.

            2. A meme is not a theme.

              Richard Dawkins coined the word meme in 1979 in ‘The Selfish Gene’. It was designed to encapsulate the concept of ideas reproducing themselves within a population, and outcompeting or crowding eachother out.

              1. Or, shorter: Meme = genetic unit of thought.

            3. Sheeple is one of those words that means “I have just called you something which I am a textbook example of.”

      1. Obama?

      2. why not just use the acronym?

        VIOPSAMSUFOUPVOC is easy enough to remember and pronounce

        1. Vee-OP-samzu-foop-vock? Nice.

      3. I like meme. It’s pithy, as Sug points out.

        OTOH. Nonplussed has to go.

        1. Especially since the vast majority of the time people use “nonplussed” incorrectly.

          Instead of “A state of perplexity, confusion, or bewilderment” it gets used to describe having no reaction to something at all.

          1. As long as The Jacket stops using “anywho” (or is it “anyhoo?”) I don’t give a shit what words are common here.

        2. Yes, “meme” is a perfectly cromulent word.

          But then, so it “nonplussed.”

          1. You know what word I’m not comfortable with? Nuance.

  20. Romanticizing a movement is just a recipe for disappointment.

    I would posit that romanticizing a movement is exactly what is needed for it to be successful. You have to generate excitement and unity with something, otherwise, it will fall apart toot sweet or just become a perpetually loose-fitting and frustrated group of outliers with no real political power. :::whistles:::

    I’d like to think that libertarianism is the exception to “power corrupts,” but I suspect we’ll never know.

    1. I think it would go the way of the Costa Rica Libertarian party. Selling out most of their beliefs to stay in power.

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1153316.html

  21. “black helicopters”

    What I want to know is, what kind of helicopters, specifically? Apaches? Blackhawks? Chinooks? Bell 47s? Sikorsky Skyhooks?

    I need to know; for the t-shirt.

    1. Bell triple-deuce. Just cross out “Airwolf” and write in “Trust No One”.

    2. I’d say Soviet Mi-8 Hip. This model was produced in large numbers. Soviet heli dovetails nicely into the story of black helicopters as harbingers of the UN/NWO takeover.

    3. We had 3 CH53s (at least I think that’s what they were)circling over the house the a couple weeks ago. They made 3 passes at about 500 feet. Shook the whole damned house. It was very cool. I love me some helicoptors. I haven’t figured out why they were here at Fort Rucker. My best guess was for refueling.

      1. The only thing circling our house is this huge unkindness of ravens that has adopted our neighborhood. They are gigantic and aggressive, like satanic chickens. At least they have pecked out my eyes, yet.

        1. Never more.

        2. An Airsoft rifle will get rid of them and not bring the government into your area to save you. (If you are sneaky.)

  22. I love all the hand-wringing about how the tea party people are in a futile movement if they don’t plug into one of the major parties.

    The New Left had their biggest impact on the culture rather than elections, the impact on politics came about because of the culture. And as much as the New Left was against the Vietnam War, wasn’t it conscription that really made them happen?

    And here we are in the post-Bush era and the powers that be never really tried conscription like they had during Vietnam. …and I don’t think they avoided things like conscription out of the kindness of their hearts–it was in large part because the larger culture wouldn’t accept it.

    I hope the tea party movement is as successful with the culture in their own way as the New Left was with conscription. They never made a law specifically prohibiting conscription, and maybe they’ll never make a law specifically prohibiting the federal government from using taxpayer money to bail out Wall Street investors and the UAW. …but it might stick in the culture though.

    And if the culture becomes fiercely adverse to people being used as a backstop for Wall Street and Detroit, then who cares which party wins this or that election? If both parties are in bed with our enemies, then maybe there is no way to defeat Wall Street or the UAW at the ballot box. …but if we’re going after the culture, then maybe that doesn’t matter.

    The New Left couldn’t get a seat at the table either.

    1. Trying to bring back the draft has been long viewed as political suicide I think the only one who actually tries to introduce a bill from time to time was Rangel.

      1. Yeah, I suspect part of that may have been because making the military small and nimble was one of Rumsfeld’s bright ideas, but the only people who were pushing for a draft were people worried that blacks were serving disproportionately.

        …there’s no way people would have backed conscription anyway. It seems like every war or two we make a little progress. We didn’t have internment camps like we used to either–it’s just unacceptable. That’s the way winning the culture war works–when you win, politicians stop voting on the issue. It just doesn’t get proposed anymore.

        There’s no more debate about segregating public schools. We might have to fight that fight all over again sometime in the distant future, but then not using tax payer money to bail out a behemoth multinational that was too big to fail is what the original Tea Party was about too. We won that battle generations ago, and it stuck, but only for so many generations. We can fight it again.

        But none of the important stuff gets done by the politicians. Even the battle over abolition, that war was fought by politicians only after the culture war had already been won in the North.

    2. The DoD itself has been officially against conscription for 20 years now. It took them some time, but they realized the advantages of an all-volunteer military.

      1. A “all volunteer army” certainly has its advantages. Especially when if they try to quit we can make them slaves. “STOP LOSS” BITCHES!

        Best of both worlds!

  23. The only thing circling our house is this huge unkindness of ravens that has adopted our neighborhood. They are gigantic and aggressive, like satanic chickens. At least they have pecked out my eyes, yet.

    Ravens are totally bitchin’. There’s a shitload of them, out here.

    1. Yeah, they’re fuckin’ awesome.

    2. Yeah, but there’s nothing creepier than a crown of crows coming home to roost at sunset. Little filthier either, a couple thousand rather large birds, shitting all over the place.

      1. And they ate Sugarfree’s eyes.

        1. At first I only thought they wanted to sip my tears.

    3. Really? Ravens around human habitations?

      In our county they mostly avoid even the farmland and stick to the county forest over to the east.

      1. I’ve gotten fairly close to them. They are much too big to be American Crows and they have the typically longer and thicker beak. Maybe they are just giant crows, mutated by junk food and too many violent video games.

          1. I appreciate the information, but since that is not an avian ultimate fighting site where I can watch brutal bird on bird beatdowns, you have ultimately left me disappointed.

  24. You know what’s really gay?…The New Left and the TP’ers are nothing alike. The TP’ers want a smaller government, so in essence, they have more in common with the what Republicans *should be*, not what they’ve become. How is it possible to pick sides anymore when both parties are exactly the same? For those of us wanting to shrink government, where are we supposed to go?

    1. I suggest a hypersleep chamber. Get back with us when the economy is not in recession.

      1. With you guys in charge in the interim, it’s going to be a long sleep indeed.

        1. Keynsianism has seen a great resurgence, The recession is already over! Look at the huge growth we saw last quarter! Those silly Austrians and their chicken little theories. We will show them.

    2. Start with your local government and work your way up.

  25. How is it possible to pick sides anymore when both parties are exactly the same?

    Are you CRAZY?

  26. How is it possible to pick sides anymore when both parties are exactly the same?

    Paul Krugman thinks you’re CRAZY.

  27. This piece is sort of like saying, in the 60s, there was rock music, and then later, the same impulses found their expression in the piano stylings of John Tesh.

  28. I’m a little late to the meme-bashing party, but the problem that I have with the word [although I’ll use it myself from time to time] is pretty simple:

    Implicit in the term is the idea that memes are competing among themselves Darwinistically, and that we don’t actually think thoughts, but merely are the passive recipients and transmitters of disembodied concepts that are the actual motive agents of mankind.

    There’s no reason to use the word “meme” instead of the word “idea” unless you’re trying to demote the individual from agent to object.

    Darwinian evolution can be a useful metaphor to describe how individuals interact with ideas in a social context, but meme theory says it’s not just a metaphor. And if it’s not just a metaphor, then what we think of as “Man” does not exist, and the collectivists were always right.

    1. I disagree. People originate new memes regularly. It’s just that not *all* of your thourghts may be original. And memes can combine and gestate new memes in a different brain.

      It’s not endorsing collectivism to observe that ideas can replicate in a population, even if you consider the individual members of that population agents.

      Anyway, memes exist at this level of superficial social interaction that resides in that top 2% of all the processing going on in our brain. And just because you absorb a meme, doesn’t make you an automaton.

    2. The word “meme”, as an analogue to “gene”, conveys an incredibly useful concept — that culture and thoughts and ideas aren’t random; ideas and values that can be passed on experience the same sort of fitness testing that genes do.

      Ideas whose nature encourages the sharing of those ideas are more likely to be shared and crowd out other ideas. It sounds obvious, but it means that many ideas and values will simply fade over time if they are harmful (directly, or indirectly — for example, by damaging the society those individuals belong to) to the people that carry them. It suggests that culture and thought will tend to improve over time in the same way that our bodies have. Of course, cultural and philosophical values aside, technology is the most obvious and straightforwardly beneficial group of memes.

      The “viral meme” is the exception to the rule — it doesn’t necessarily provide any benefit to the transmitter, but it is very effective at using minds to spread itself, which is all that matters to memetic selection. But, because it is at best useless, at worst harmful, there is an evolutionary pressure on minds (memetic or genetic) in favor of resisting such memes, so viral memes must mutate or burn out eventually.

      The idea that our minds are passive transmitter of genes makes as much sense as assuming that our bodies are passive transmitters of genes — as if using our intelligence, strength, endurance, opposable thumbs wasn’t as important as the fact that they are written into our code. Perhaps the analogy fails due to the fact that we can choose (to some extent, only) which memes we adopt, while our genes are imposed on us at conception. But as genetic enhancement technology progresses, that distinction will become less clear over time.

      1. I understood every word of that, but still do not understand why we need a new-four letter word (meme) for an old four-letter word that means the same damn thing (idea).

        You know why I hate meme? It’s overused, abused, used in the wrong contexts and is void of meaning. Screw that word and the pretentious d-bags who use it. SRSLY – just ’cause you say the word “meme” does not make you cool. say “idea”.

  29. How does one write about the New Left without mentioning its most important accomplishment: Civil Rights. Not only were groups like SNCC and SDS vital in manning the frontlines in the battle against apartheid in the South, but they also created the backdrop for expanding the role of government in protecting the rights of other oppressed groups as well. Comparatively speaking, ending the draft or challenging anti-obscenity laws were trivial accomplishments indeed.

    1. Ladies and gentlemen, STEVE SMITH!

  30. Predatory Lending is a major contributor to the economic turmoil we are currently experiencing.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about:
    Scott Veerkamp / Predatory Lending (Franklin Township School Board Member.)

    Please review this information from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley regarding deceptive lending practices:
    “Steering payments were made to brokers who enticed unsuspecting homeowners into deceptive and expensive mortgages. These secret bonus payments, often called Yield Spread Premiums, turned home mortgages into a SCAM.”

    The Center for Responsible Lending says YSP “steals equity from struggling families.”
    1. Scott collected nearly $10,000 on two separate mortgages using YSP and junk fees. 2. This is an average of $5,000 per loan. 3. The median value of the properties was $135,000. 4. Clearly, this type of lending represents a major ripoff for consumers.

    http://merkley.senate.gov/news…..925F046B6F

  31. IS it BS? Read “The Creature From Jekyll Island” about how and why the Federal Reserve was developed and then come back and say it’s BS. It’s easy to just say these atrocities don’t exist, but once you do your homework, it’s not that easy any longer.

  32. Always felt there’s something amiss with the Boomers… whether it’s the preachy Boomer lefties who go to the kinds of protests that I attend, or the preachy Boomer righties who shouted down a discussion about healthcare reform at my local town hall. As a politically active Gen-Xer who does the unglamorous grunt work, I’m sick and tired of having to deal with this overwhelming and unwelcome self-congratulation that pervades the movements.

    Boomers broke it: they traded idealism for materialism, both steeped in extra gooey helpings of narcissism. Now our economy has crashed… corporate capitalism has replaced capitalism… nut jobs around the world are targeting our tall buildings and people and legitimizing this with the injuries we’ve inflicted on others… and we Xers (a small generation, only 60% the size of either the Boomers or the Millennials) are stuck with this enormous mess. I’m not a Democrat… but I want Obama to succeed because so many Boomers secretly believe that any President from the X-generation wouldn’t cut it.

    Boomers: if you’re not going to put in the hard work and take responsibility for your actions, please shut the hell up and step aside! We Xers will spend the rest of our lives quietly cleaning up after your garbage.

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