Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Tea Party?

As a rule, we're lazy thinkers. We're often too quick to draw comparisons, often leading to boneheaded analogies involving the non-analogous. Witness the plethora of articles in the years after the invasion of Iraq that compared the situation there to that of the US involvement in Vietnam during the late Sixties and early Seventies. Do a Google search for Iraq+Vietnam+quagmire and see what you get. Hell, there's even a book on this non-analogous analogy. Haven't read it, myself. And I'm sure I never will.

And in recent months, there's been some comparisons made of Obama to Carter, mostly by those hoping to see another one term President. No doubt, they're both painfully clueless with regard to the economy. But there's not much more there, really. 

The current comparison du jour? The Occupy Wall Street movement and the Tea Party movement. Ed Feulner and Billie Tucker offered an op-ed on the subject, admittedly from a very pro-tea party perspective. They note that the Tea Party movement actually has some clear objectives and principles, that it's not an anarchist movement, and that its adherents respect the laws of the nation. They conclude:
The Tea Party represents (and respects) America. The Occupiers may be well intended, but their demands would be very different from what the Founding Fathers gave us and would dramatically change America. 
Any comparisons between the Tea Party which desires to liberate We the People from big government and the Wall Street Occupiers who want more government regulation is either misguided or made to intentionally confuse Americans.
That probably seems a little harsh. And I think it's also a little bit wrong. There is some overlap between the two movements, like libertarian minarchists who very much see Wall Street--as the puppet master of DC politicians--as a major part of the problem.

Yet, there's a great deal of truth here, as well. There's been some nonsensical counterpoints from progressive pundits of the sort "the Occupy movement isn't a bunch of gun-waving racists!" Such silliness obscures--intentionally--the reality behind the genesis of the Tea Party movement. Lest we forget, it had its beginnings under Bush, really picking up steam after the Bush admin's bailout plan came out in 2008. The original wave of nationwide gatherings were--true to the name--centered around taxes in general and often took place on Tax Day. Guns? Not a one. Racists signs? Not a one. All of that came much later, as the movement grew and attracted various people with various views on other issues.

Surprise, surprise, now that's happening in the Occupy movement, as well. That's an actual point of similarity, but it's a reality for any movement, so it's hardly a significant point.

But the point is, the two movements--despite the overlap and the above similarity--are fundamentally different, with regard to purpose. The Tea Party movement is about taking back: taking back government from corrupt and entrenched politicians, taking back daily life from government control and/or interference, taking back freedom. The Occupy movement is about taking, period: taking from the rich, taking from government, taking from anyone that has.

The sentiments it arouses speak to a large swath of the population only because people are selfish and envious, more often than not. The fanfare surrounding the Occupy movement is a display of the baser traits of mankind. It's an ugly thing, in my view.

Cheers, all.

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