Libertarian History/Philosophy

"The tea party movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but a hostile takeover"

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So writeth Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe, chairman and president/CEO (respectively) of FreedomWorks, in today's Wall Street Jounal. Excerpt:

The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless—not directed by any one mind, political party or parochial agenda.

The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don't taking credit for other people's work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation's capital.

The many branches of the tea party movement have created a virtual marketplace for new ideas, effective innovations and creative tactics. Best practices come from the ground up, around kitchen tables, from Facebook friends, at weekly book clubs, or on Twitter feeds. This is beautiful chaos—or, as the Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, "spontaneous order."

Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge. Let the leaders be the activists who have the best knowledge of local personalities and issues. In the real world, this is common sense. In Washington, D.C., this is considered radical.

Whole thing here. The two have teamed up on a hot-of-the-presses book entitled Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.

Read Kibbe's real time Reason howl against TARP in October 2008, or his contribution to our August "Where Do Libertarians Belong?" package, and watch him talk to Nick Gillespie below:

NEXT: Does Net Neutrality Promote Competition?

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  1. That’s more like it

  2. “We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government.” Yeah, right… as long as we’re not restoring fiscal responsibility by, say, reducing the military and police budgets, and our “constitutionally limited government” still has the authority to persecute drug users and sellers. Oh, and we can add “getting rid of illegal aliens regardless of cost” to limited government and fiscal responsibility as a goal of the group.

    The tea party leaders are no more credible than Republicans and Democrats when they talk about sticking to their principles.

    1. I agree. Better isn’t good enough. We need perfection first.

      1. what’s the good part?

        1. did you read the post? What is to object to it? But no they are icky. Run away. Better to be ruled by cool people even if they are communists who are going to bankrupt the country.

          1. uh, shit yeah! if you are under 30 years old, live in a city in a blue state, and have any sympathies for the right you will have a much harder time dating. coolness counts!

            1. True enough.

      2. It is not a matter of perception, it is a matter of believing anything they say. Another example is social security and medicaid which the tea partiers don’t seem to have any interest in cutting/abolishing. If they aren’t willing to take on the biggest burden on our budget or returning the government to its constitutional limits as the OP said then why the hell should we take them seriously?

        1. Perfection… weird ass typo

          1. The requirment to tackle SS, and Medicare IMO are the core of fiscal responsiblity. Everything else is pretty much smoke and mirros.

            1. I have an $800 billion dollar McHopey Stimulus and a trillion and a half worth of TARP that says otherwise.

              And if fiscal responsibility is totally about those two and the rest is smoke and mirrors, can you please shut the fuck up now about Bush’s wars bankrupting us?

              1. Note that I didn’t say anything about Bush’s wars did I. You must have me confused with someone else.

                The wars are expensive, but in the grand scheme of things not that important. 1 trillion in war spending vs 55 trillion or so in unfunded entitlement liablities.

                Should we go after the small stuff sure. Pairing back our military and cutting waste is always a good thing.

                But not putting the big stuff at the front won’t work.

                1. Sorry. I mistyped. Not “you”. I mean others who claimed that.

              2. …And a $2.5 trillion health care nationalization project…

                …And a $1.2 trillion overseas occupation of the middle east…

            2. How about cutting down the size of the military and stop invading random countries? Or ending the war on drugs? Tea Partiers not only don’t talk about ending these things, they want to double down.

              1. they want to double down

                You got something to back that up or is it just in your head?

                1. I like Google challenges. As for drug policy, I see lots of libertarian types trying to get Tea Partiers to take the libertarian policies, but almost nothing from the Tea Partiers themselves (either pro or against). They seem to be avoiding the issue.

                  As for foreign policy, I’m right on the money:

                  http://www.realclearworld.com/…..olicy.html
                  http://thecable.foreignpolicy……ck_on_iran

                  They are definitely “Bomb Mecca” types. Now, on actual defense spending, they are silent again.

                  My theory, which will be attacked, is that the vast majority of the individual people who align themselves with this movement want to double down, but Tea Party meetings avoid these topics because they know it looks hypocritical.

                  1. No doubt there are a lot of Republicans and would-be Republicans in the constituency of the Tea Party movement, but the Tea Party itself doesn’t seem to address any foreign policy issues.

                    The “Tea Party Caucus” has no more right to state the position of the Tea Party than the Bourbon Caucus. It’s just a bunch of Republicans, some endorsed by the Tea Party on purely fiscal grounds, that want to co-opt the movement.

        2. “Another example is social security and medicaid which the tea partiers don’t seem to have any interest in cutting/abolishing.”

          How do you know that? And further, if they abolished half of everything but those two, that wouldn’t be a better than what we have now?

          I wonder if people who post this stuff are not just liberals trolling.

          1. Back during the Obamacare passage there were tea partiers freaking out about medicaid cuts.

            As a young person those two are absolutely the top priority for me. You can’t believe in limited government and expect me to spend the rest of my life paying for your retirement when I know that the system will collapse before I receive any of it back. It is a ponzi scheme and I’m at the bottom of the pyramid.

            1. I have paid a lot more money into those things than you ever have. And yes they need to be reformed. But it is not the only game in town. And unless you are going to private school on your own dime, you can’t exactly throw stones about other people wanting money from the government.

              1. Actually I am going on my own dime. Plus, nice straw man argument. You drive on government roads so you can’t bitch about spending durka durr durr durr.

                “I have paid a lot more money into those things than you ever have.”

                So we’ll just keep passing the buck down until we run out of people to pay for it? It has to end somewhere and I say it ends now. We don’t need reform we need to abolish it. Plan for your own retirement.

                1. “Actually I am going on my own dime. Plus, nice straw man argument. You drive on government roads so you can’t bitch about spending durka durr durr durr.”

                  No but I can’t call people who also do sponges either. You miss the point. The point is not that you can’t complain. It is that you can’t engage in personal insults against people who are worried they will lose their Social Security and Medicare.

                  “So we’ll just keep passing the buck down until we run out of people to pay for it?”

                  Which part of “they need to be reformed” is so difficult for you to understand?

                  1. How can they possibly be reformed in a way that isn’t passing the buck on to a later generation? I never insulted the people afraid of their cuts or called them sponges. All I said (which was my original point) is I don’t trust them to limit the size of government.

                    1. Simple. You privatize it medicare and make it a voucher system for insurance. And you do the same thing with SS. You tell people under a certain age, they won’t get it when they are 65, but they get to keep most of what they are paying this day forward and invest it on their own. YEah, they have to pay for current benefits. But the people getting those benefits have to pay to in that they had 15% of their salary taken away for all those years and never got to save it on their own.

                      It is a shit sandwich for everyone. But that would solve the problem.

                  2. It is that you can’t engage in personal insults against people who are worried they will lose their Social Security and Medicare.

                    The generation who is living off of the labors of their children and grandchildren are the fucking scum of the earth. Possibly one of the richest generations in the entire history of mankind and they continue to steal from future generations.

                    The only reason that you can’t personally insult someone on SS or Medicare is because their is no lower insult than stealing from children, especially their own.

                    1. Yeah because they never worked or had any of their money taken to pay for those programs or anything. My father is on both. And he worked his ass off and saw about 50% of income in good years taken by the government. And he sure as hell never voted or wanted to create any of that stuff.

                      And if you think those programs are only popular because of old people, you are a moron. Those programs are popular because the young middle class doesn’t want their parents showing up penniless at their door. If your generation were willing to take care of their parents like every other generation in human history, we wouldn’t need those programs would we?

                      And what has the current generation ever done besides bitch and moan and vote for Obama in overwhelming numbers?

                    2. If your generation were willing to take care of their parents like every other generation in human history, we wouldn’t need those programs would we?

                      Science H Logic, John! This is the most absurd and twisted argument I have ever seen you create, and that is saying something.

                      They should steal from us because we don’t take care of them, even though we are taking such good care of them that they are going to bankrupt the entire country? Either they get to bankrupt us or we are not taking care of them?!!!

                      Oh, you mean, they are going to get theirs and fuck the rest of the world? Yeah, I thought we already determined that.

                    3. You don’t understand the argument. A lot of young and middle aged people support thos programs becase getting rid of them would mean they would have to take care of their parents. What about those people? You act like only old people support those programs.

                      And further, they are not stealing. People like my father worked their whole lives and saw huges percentages of their income taken. You want to give them their money back? If not, then you are stealing from them.

                    4. I notice that your plan above says that folks below a certain age get told ‘too bad, so sad, you get no Social Security check’, but then you have to be really careful about where you draw the line, don’t you? I mean, you know, over the 20+ years I’ve been an adult, employed at least part time, paying into the system, I’ve likely put a high five digits into the pot in tax to support Social Security. If I’m going to be below the age-limit cut-off, do I just get told, “Thank you for your donation, but from now on, you get to keep that 7 1/2 percent — so, you know, roll that all up and forget the stuff you’ve already thrown in the kitty and just hope that 7 1/2 percent over the next 20 to 25 years is enough to retire on”?

          2. John = unprincipled partisan hack. Just like tea partiers and their GOP scum overlords.

    2. Perfect… Yep, it’s still the #1 enemy of the good.

      The tea bag phenomenon needs some work, but it’s a start.

      1. There’s a distinction between compromising in the direction of your principles and being totally compromised.

        1. There’s also a distinction between advocating the continuance of complete irrelevancy versus embracing a chance to bring on a discussion about a substantial portion of your principles.

          1. Fuck… IRRELEVANCE… I’m speaking Palin today.

            1. you’re cute when you try to talk all smart-like

              1. I refudiate that.

    3. Steve, I guess you’re not familiar with Dick Armey’s positions. He was one of the major architects of BRAC, which aimed to close unnecessary military bases. He also supports open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants. I don’t know where he stands on drugs, though.

      1. Good point, DG. I hoped for good things from the Tea Party at the beginning, when it really was about spending, but now it seems like a loose affiliation of right-wing populists, who are then used by other populists, like Palin and Arapaio, as a base. This is ironic, given that Palin, as governor, was a big promoter of Alaskan Pork, and Arapaio is all about more law and order and a bigger police state.

        So to some extent, my post reflects my general experience that political groups, even if initially focused on a narrow topic, get involved in more and more issues and lose focus on their core message. I first saw that in the 60’s when antiwar groups became less about the war and the draft, and more about a very broad notion of “social justice.”

        1. That does happen a lot. I think it happens for 2 reasons — one expansive, the other defensive. The expansiveness results from logrolling, getting A to support your position on X by your supporting A’s position on Y. The defensiveness comes when it appears you’re not making progress on what you organized to do, so to maintain momentum you branch out into other things in the hope that you’ll be able to make progress on something.

          Then of course there’s the March of Dimes problem — what to do if you achieve your goal. Hey, can’t let all that organiz’n go to waste, huh?

    4. Premo, i hate to sound like Nancy Pelosi, but have you heard the expression “The perfect is the enemy of the good”?

    5. The tea party leaders

      I guess you didnt even read the bit above.

      The tea party movement has blossomed into a powerful social phenomenon because it is leaderless

      Bolding added by me. How can a decentralized organization have leaders?

      1. They can have leaders in the sense that they have public figureheads who suggest things but have no real authority to do anything.

        1. REPEAT AFTER ME: Kibbe and Armey have nothing to do with the tea party, a movement not under their founding or control. They are not leaders of our state coalition in any case.

      2. And since they have no leaders, no structure, and no official members, they can’t have a defined policy.

        1. Exactly. And that is a good thing.

          1. robc, and that is incomprehensible to liberals like Tonio

      3. @robc you are so right. And these dumb sheeple accept bogus statements like this from non-recognized ‘leaders’ of the tea party as fact when there is no such push to take over anyone.

  3. Attended a meeting last night where a Tea Party hostile stealth takeover of the county GOP was discussed and launched (with approx. 25% of committeemen already on TP side).

    1. Good for you. Most local party officials are real scumbags.

    2. HOW DARE YOUR COMPROMISE BY NOT DIRECTING ALL YOUR ENERGY INTO POINTLESS VENTING ON h&r TRAITOR DIE.

  4. I think they are all a bit full of themselves!

    Lou
    http://www.be-anonymous.se.tc

    1. Be funnier.

      1. Uh, oh, now the “real” SF is having a discussion with his bot self!

        Complete take over from Skynet can’t be far behind.

        1. There is no “real” SugarFree, just the illusion of me you choose to accept.

          1. shut the fuck up Suggy Wow

  5. It still baffles me why so many here are so hostile to the tea party movement. I consider myself, loosely, a tea party member, and find that most of the tea party stances fall easily in line, with the majority of the things libertarians care about.

    1. 1. Some of the posters are liberal trolls just here to cause trouble.

      2. Some Libertarians just like to lose. They want to be a Casandra minority. They don’t want to ever make any progress because doing so would take away their sense of self righteousness and importance. They are kind of like fans of bands who get pissed off when the band gets popular.

      1. I have a feeling some Libertarians would be like Hamas if they actually gained power: “Holy shit! We won? Does this mean we can’t be terrorists any more? What do we do now?”

        Totally hypothetical scenario, of course.

      2. 3. Some libertarians are really anarcho-capitalists and criticize anything that recognizes the legitimacy of the State.

        1. Which is the effectively the same thing as number 2. The state is not going anywhere. Either work with it and make it better or let it run over your for spite.

          1. The state is not going anywhere

            How is that Roman Empire doing these days?

            1. Replaced by another State, of course.

              1. In robc’s defense, Italy only qualifies as a state for about 6 months at a time before descending into anarchy for a couple years.

                1. He said “The” State, not “A” state. My point is any “the” state has a time limit.

          2. #3 is different from #2 because anarcho-capitalists decline to play the game.

            1. Complete bullshit. You just pretend that everything you do has nothing to do with the state.

              1. self-replying to say I don’t know if you, Cato, are a “anarcho-capitalist”, and it was wrong for me to use the word “you.”

    2. Feel ya. Finally a chance for a genuine legitimate third party to come about in our country if it doesn’t get killed in its crib (or womb, if you are a raging liberal…)

      1. Who, from a third party, do the TPers support? Can you name even one non-republican supported by a major TP organization?

        1. The Tea Partiers are at least smart enough to not do this. If they did, the Democrats would win every seat in the country, even in conservative areas. (If a vote in a particular district was normally 55% Republican, 45% Democrat, but the Tea Partier candidate got 15% of that 55% instead, the Democrat would win.)

          1. ^^This. The TPers offer nothing more than Conservative republicans claim to offer. They should be looked at with disdain where libertarians disagree with them (endless war, drug prohibition, etc) and worked with on things where libertarians agree with them. They should never be considered a ‘libertarian’ movement.

        2. I sympathize with the Tea Partiers and have attended three of their rallies (if that’s the correct term). I’m registered Libertarian and a member of the state and national parties. Having met with Tea Partiers and Libertarian Partiers, the typical Tea Partier aligns too closely with the Security State for my liking, but the typical Libertarian Partier tends to be a bit too, uh, idiosyncratic (ie, kooky).

    3. Tea Partiers are just traditional Republicans, except more so. They believe in big government in all the areas Republicans like big government (the military, the war on drugs, etc.). They are a modern version of the John Birch Society, no more, no less.

      1. The JBS were never establishment Republicans dickhead. They thought Ike was a fucking commie.

    4. I’m not overtly hostile Aelhues, but I’m deeply suspicious. I’ve never heard or seen a TP’er say anything positive about gay rights, which is a big issue for me.

      Plus, see my 4:18 post above about the problems of simultaneously claiming to be leaderless, and wanting to be taken seriously.

      1. I’ve never heard or seen a TP’er say anything positive about gay rights, which is a big issue for me.

        Gays have the same rights as anybody else so why should the Tea Party weigh in?

    5. Well, I get a little tired of having every genuine Libertarian uprising or reaction hijacked by a bunch of rednecks. Every good idea they have they stole from us.

      And I’m sick of hearing that what we really need in America is more God (Glenn Beck?). I’m sorry, God has nothing to do with it. And that’s not an attack on religion, I believe in God, I guess. But intrusive, monopolistic state power is what’s wrong, God or no God.

      1. Your urban-centric bullshit prejudices are showing.

  6. Say the GOP wins the House and does well in the Senate, and, thanks to the efforts of the tea party, the number of people in Congress legitimately committed to limited government increases from a handful to a slightly larger handful. John Boehner becomes Speaker. They usually begin writing appropriations bills in late Spring. I will make a bold prediction:

    These appropriations bills wil not be be smaller than those the Democrats are passing now. Nor will they shrink should the Republicans win the Senate and and elect a President in 2012.

    What will the tea party do then?

    1. Start a third party. That is what they will do.

      1. Bullshit. The TP will stay quiet in a corner until Ds are in control again when they will start their small government tirade again.

        It’s all about the appearance of wanting smaller government, not actually realizing it.

        Holy fuck do we need a legit 3rd party.

      2. And when the 3rd party does just as badly, what will Tea Partiers do then? Start a 4th party?

        There’s no objective way to tell what effect you’ve had, because you don’t get to see the world that was the same minus your effort. You never know whether without your effort the appropriations bill would’ve been bigger. Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep from being run over faster.

    2. If the tea party wins enough races, DeMint may be majority leader in the Senate. The DeMint v Boehner war should be interesting.

      1. DeMint as majority leader in the Senate is a fucking win for anyone who wants limited government.

        1. Boehner is a win for anyone who wants free spray tan rubbed on their balls by an anchor baby on the Fourth of July.

          1. ooooooh ME ME ME ME!

    3. It depends. If they don’t roll over like the Blue Dogs ended up doing, they can raise merry hell by being the last 15-20 votes needed to drag bills across the finish line.

    4. Ask Bob.

      Because ultimately, the Tea Party movement will be judged on how well it can discipline the GOP than on its ability to beat the Democrats.

      1. You are absolutely right. The enemy is Bohner and company much more than Obama.

        1. In the end, if Obama and the Democrats continue being the party of reckless spending, while the Republicans improve their (now patchy at best) record, that can create a realignment first in the GOP and then in the country. Of course, this depends on a series of big If’s.

          1. It depends on political creatures doing the right thing for the wrong reason. They have a chance to be in power for decades. They just have to do the right thing.

            1. Well then we can safely discount them doing it.

            2. “It depends on political creatures doing the right thing for the wrong reason.”

              Yes to this.

              Almost all politicians are unprincipled swine. All I care about in the political arena is if we can corral these swine appropriately out of fear of losing their jobs.

      2. The goal, as Kibbe and Armey state, is not to discipline the GOP–it is to REPLACE it.

        Think of it as an upgrade-in-place. Tricky to do, won’t happen in a single election cycle, but then, the socialists showed us how to do it with their utter takeover of the Democrats.

        If libertarians want to keep the tea parties honest–let alone keeping the “new” GOP honest, then they really, REALLY need to get involved in a big way in the tea party movement. Well, at least those libertarians who can express their ideas without coming across as sanctimonious holier-than-thou assholes should get involved.

        The rest should probably stay home and keep sniping and griping in reason.com blog comments.

        1. The rest should probably stay home and keep sniping and griping in reason.com blog comments.

          Yes, sir! I’ll get right to that.

        2. If libertarians want to keep the tea parties honest–let alone keeping the “new” GOP honest, then they really, REALLY need to get involved in a big way in the tea party movement. Well, at least those libertarians who can express their ideas without coming across as sanctimonious holier-than-thou assholes should get involved.

          Winner. But fundies will probably take the whole fucking thing over anyway, considering they actually know how to organize. And they really are holier than thou.

          They’re saved, don’t you know.

          1. The difference is that fundies no longer can win a national election, or even an election fought in anything other than their own safe hinterlands. They will have to compromise with a small government agenda of a “new GOP” / Tea Party in national races, or allow Obamacrats to run the whole show. They know that they might at least be able to keep the Christian purity of their own hinterlands with option 1, so rationally that’s what they should do. Still a coin toss whether they will be rational.

        3. Well, at least those libertarians who can express their ideas without coming across as sanctimonious holier-than-thou assholes should get involved.

          Oh, sure, like any of those exist.

  7. “It’s a cookbook!”

  8. “Full Retard” should be the limit. I guess the “Ultra Retard” barrier has finally been broken. Did the noise of intelligence collapsing in on itself make a loud boom? My windows are rattling.

  9. Remember when the neocons future-proofed the right against exactly this type of splinter movement?

  10. We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government.

    And I’ll believe that when I see tumbleweeds blowing down K Street.

  11. They won’t get anywhere without changing their name, regardless of their positions. I have friends who agree with most or all of the stated goals – and who are dead certain that the tea party is just a bunch of racist wingnuts.

    1. The next name that they choose will be smeared in the leftist media as a racist wingnut organization anyway. Why bother playing the leftist game?

    2. The only way to beat that perception will be local races, where candidates’ names and platforms are known and analyzed.

  12. But fundies will probably take the whole fucking thing over anyway

    Nobody runs for office so they can leave me the fuck alone.

  13. Frankly, I don’t think we have time. We have a massive structural deficit, an economy that is bottom-bouncing, and a ruling class that is deeply entrenched.

    I think the money will run out before all that needs to be done to save us from auguring in, can be done.

    Assume that the economy limps along at 1-2% growth per year (kind of a Japanese scenario, slightly optimistic in that it doesn’t include a double dip). That tells you that tax revenues are essentially flat.

    Assume that it takes 4 – 6 years to uproot the current ruling class enough to start making truly secular reforms (which I regard as optimistic in the extreme). That tells you spending isn’t going down much, while the debt and deficit continue to grow.

    Assuming we haven’t had some kind of major fiscal/currency/economic meltdown by then, it will simply be too late. A meltdown is assured.

    I think the game we are playing isn’t to prevent a major economic and social crash, but to be in the best position to (if I may coin a phrase) not waste the crisis.

    1. I concur.

  14. What does it matter what these two opportunists say? They are NEITHER recognized founders or leaders of the ‘tea party’ which has been around since 2007 so why print this nutty stuff? It is not true – the tea party is a movement and not beholden to or taking over or by any party.

  15. But seriously, the tea party? The macho bubbas who will save our country are all at a fucking prissy pants tea party? Do you people realize the difference between tea and 3 pt bud light?

    1. Tony only drinks Bud-light because he can drink more of them before he falls flat on face and that makes him feel more macho.

  16. A proper analogy might be:

    You have cancer and the doctor says you have 6 months to live. He also tells you that chemo therapy (TP) may extend your life a few years and it could possibly cure you.

  17. The best argument against the Tea Party is a five minute conversation with the average Tea Party member.

    1. Attending local Libertarian party meetings has certainly kept me from affiliating with that party.

  18. UH these two have NO MORE TO DO with the teaparty than my pet PIG. They do NOT set policy. The tea party was started by us RON PAUL supporters on Dec 16 2007 and our goal is NOT to carry water for, be part of, or take over the GOP. Kibbe and Armey should get the hell away from the teaparty and stop using our name! GRRRRRRRR

  19. Further, Freedomworks is NOT a tea party and is about as far away from the real tea party as anyone could get.

  20. Decentralization, not top-down hierarchy, is the best way to maximize the contributions of people and their personal knowledge.

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