Arriving back at Heathrow late on Sunday night I felt – as you do on returning to Britain these days – as if I were entering a failed state. It's not just the Third World shabbiness which is so dispiriting. It's the knowledge that from its surveillance cameras to its tax regime, from its (mostly) EU-inspired regulations to its whole attitude to the role of government, Britain is a country which has forgotten what it means to be free. God how I wish I were American right now … "Thank God for the Tea Party!" Though it has been typically misrepresented by the liberal media as a rattlers' nest of gun-toting fruitcakes who want to ban masturbation and abortion, it is, of course, nothing of the kind. It is – whatever the increasingly redundant Moonbat may claim – a genuine grass roots movement inspired by the one great political cause truly worth fighting and dying for: the cause of liberty. – UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: The American Tea Party reigns triumphant … and "Thank God."
Free-Market Analysis: Given that American midterm elections have just taken place, we wanted to offer another article on politics – this time with two perspectives that oppose each other. Yesterday we pointed out that an analysis of US electoral perspectives focusing on the American "political class" was probably a fairly narrow explanation for what is now occurring. In fact, we tried to explain (as we have before), the American electorate is turning increasingly small-L libertarian, though the process has not yet been completed.
Today we are focusing on another two articles dealing with the view from "across the pond" regarding the Tea Party. One is from the Christian Science Monitor, which reports on the view of the Tea Party from the European mainstream's perspective. The other is James Delingpole's point of view (see article excerpt above). Delingpole writes for the UK Telegraph, and he is one of the few reporters in Britain who was courageous enough to attack the global warming promotion before it was fashionable. He comes across as a fairly libertarian writer in a country where libertarianism (classical liberalism) has long given way to a kind of Tory conservatism that is more analogous to US neo-conservatism than to any kind of free-market thinking.
Delingpole's view is that the Tea Party (as co-opted as it has become in America) is a beacon of freedom compared to the darkness that currently inhabits Britain. In fact, the British government – despite the change in administration – remains increasingly illiberal and repressive. Britain will likely soon have more video-cameras than people (only a slight exaggeration) and the government has decided to go ahead with a program to capture every single electronic communication made by Brits, a seemingly insane endeavor.
Delingpole is right to be depressed about this turn of events. But we would argue he is reading something into the Tea Party that may not be there. Likewise the analysis of the Tea Party from the point of view of European mainstream media pundits is similarly off the mark. This is the other article we want to present today and it provides a far more condescending view of the American Tea Party – from the Christian Science Monitor, as follows:
Vote 2010: Why European liberals see the tea party as 'a circus of fools' … European commentators have called tea partyers stupid, ignorant, gullible – and worse … From Britain to Germany, newspaper editorialists – albeit for mostly liberal and leftist party publications – have called those who sympathize with the small-government, antitax tea party movement that sprung up in early 2009 "ill-educated," "drooling imbeciles," "rednecks," and even a "traveling circus of fools." … The allegation that the tea party is a Republican fringe over-fixated on race and the past is at the heart of much of the criticism against the movement in the US. …
For many Europeans, however, concerns about the tea party center less on how the movement will affect what America does and more on what it won't do in the world. Tea party stalwart Rep. Ron Paul of Texas can only reinforce that fear with his foreign policy philosophy: "A return to the traditional US foreign policy of active private engagement but government noninterventionism is the only alternative that can restore our moral and fiscal health."
"The world needs cooperative leadership – leadership based on a will for dialogue in financial policies as well as in other areas," counters Norwegian Labor Party Secretary Raymond Johansen on the Huffington Post. "Inward-looking austerity and Tea Party populism is not the answer, neither for the US nor for Europe."
Delingpole sees the Tea Party apparently as a fully formed freedom movement; the elite EU media commentators see it as a "circus of fools" that may have an impact on the potential for world government. In this sense, it is like a giant funhouse mirror. We have our own thoughts. We don't agree that the Tea Party is in any sense a fully formed freedom movement, incoherent and co-opted as it is. Nor do we see it in any sense as a circus of fools. It is, despite its limitations, much more serious than that. It is spawned by the truth-telling of the Internet and by the ruin, domestically, of what once was a vibrant American economy.
The anger that Americans are expressing via the Tea Party has to do not just with the lousy economy but with the larger evisceration of the country. As Americans gaze around at their disintegrating public services and infrastructure, as Detroit is bulldozed and "red states" bleed jobs and populations, the thought has occurred to many that the system is not working. America, in fact, may emerge from its current morass, but with a much smaller middle class and generally restricted horizons where once there was general and even giddy optimism about the future.
This anger is understandable and has given rise to the Tea Party phenomenon. But if we are correct the Tea Party is merely an EXPRESSION of deeper issues. In fact, we have called what is going on a New Enlightenment and we believe this to be true. This is why we emphasize when we can that the Tea Party itself is merely a manifestation of this much larger, underlying societal shift. Much as the Gutenberg press initiated enormous change in Europe, leading to convulsive socio-political movements and ultimately the revolutions both in the new world and France, so the impact of the Internet is making its presence felt in the modern era and with gathering strength.
The mainstream media today shall be full of analyses of who won and who lost in the American elections. Some shall take Delingpole's position and see in the Tea Party victories a resounding vote for freedom. The larger, European mainstream media shall be filled with slightly scornful and nervous analyses most of which will imply that Americans have over-reacted to economic shocks and are in a sense "acting out" with their political behavior. Ironically, these comments will be made as strikes and protests continue to roil Europe and the EU itself meets in secret to try to correct the Lisbon Treaty without exposing it to popular votes that the EU would surely lose.
From our point of view, the Tea Party movement, co-opted as it has been by the Republican conservative establishment, is not nearly what it will be in a few years time. When the budget-cutting debate begins in Washington, for instance, those who supported this movement will discover suddenly that by far the biggest expenses that need to be dealt with involve military and intelligence expenses. This is the debate that is waiting to occur and it will strike at the heart of the American imperium. So far the powers-that-be have staved it off, but it is coming. America's wars, its bloated and authoritarian intelligence agencies, even the CIA itself, will all undergo scrutiny eventually. This is where things are headed, it seems to us. This is where this process will grow increasingly serious. The same thing, we predict will happen in Europe.
Ultimately, what is emerging is a challenge to authority and business as usual. So far the challenges have nibbled around the edges but we fully expect that eventually the entire mechanism of Western regulatory democracy shall be challenged in one sense or another. The Tea Party, like the austerity-initiated strikes in Europe, are merely symptoms of a growing, convulsive change.
It has barely begun. It has expressed itself as the Tea Party in the US and as austerity protests in Europe. But it likely has many more regions to penetrate. When China begins its inevitable descent into economic "recession" – whenever that occurs – we expect that there will social dislocations in that country similar to what is occurring in the US and Europe. South America and Africa are not part of this growing, global change, but we imagine they will get there as well.
We are optimistic, not by nature, but by logic. We think the 21st century may come to be seen as a time of greater freedom and social ferment (hopefully without violence) than the 20th century because of the technological and economic impetuses we have just described. We have also predicted that the Anglo-American elite may have to take a step back as a result – and even may not reach their long sought goal of global government. From our point of view, the evolution encapsulated currently by the Tea Party – evolving as it is and important as it is – is nowhere near its fullness.