Category Archives: Tea Party

Tea Party Barbarians vs. Democratic Tax Farmers

In a speech to AFL-CIO union member, Vice President Joe Biden said:

This is a different kind of fight. This is a fight for the heart and soul of the labor movement. This is a fight for the existence of organized labor. You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate!

Time to teach Joe Biden a history lesson. While the barbarians “sacked” Rome, they did not destroy Rome. The Roman people destroyed Rome. The barbarians just destroyed what was left of the city, which was just one-tenth of what it used to be in terms of population.

In his Considerations on the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and their Decline, Montesquieu writes:

Pursued by tax farmers, the citizens could do nothing but seek refuge among the barbarians or surrender their liberty to the first person who wanted to take it.

So even if we the tea party were barbarians, the Democrats then represent Tiberius Gracchus, Nero, Caligula, Commodus, Septimius Severus, Claudius Gothicus, and Diocletian: the men who slowly but surely destroyed everything that was great about Rome.

Tea Party Tyrants

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) called the tea party “tyrants” in a tweet on August 7 because its members supposedly blocked a bigger and better deal from being approved.

Disregarding what effect the tea party had on the debt ceiling negotiations, there is absolutely no comparison between the tea party and tyrants. Aristotle writes:

A tyrant, as has often been repeated, has no regard to any public interest, except as conducive to his private ends; his aim is pleasure.

The tea party has not promoted a single idea to promote its “private ends.” Instead, it has promoted ideas that it believes would benefit the entire nation. Democrats may disagree with the tea party’s agenda, but it is ridiculous to assert that the tea party’s “aim is pleasure.”

I can hear the liberals complaining that Aristotle’s definition of tyrant is old and out-dated. Let’s turn to a more modern and American definition. A definition that was essential in the creation of the Constitution and our republican. James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 47:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.

Let’s see here. The tea party controls none of the branches of government. In fact, the Republicans do not even fully control a branch of government. (They control half of the legislative branch and 5 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices could be considered Republican, but the Senate is Democrat as is the President.)

But James Madison wrote that more than two hundred years ago. Many liberals don’t think the Constitution and our Founding Fathers are relevant any more. So let’s check an even more recent definition, Merriam-Webster:

1
a : an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution
b : a usurper of sovereignty
2
a : a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally
b : one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power

Hmm, the tea party fits none of those definitions either. The tea party is not an absolute ruler, has not usurped the nation’s sovereignty, is not a ruler with absolute power acting oppressively or brutally, and is not an oppressive ruler acting harshly.

I’d be very interested to hear by what definition the tea party are tyrants.

– Michael E. Newton is the author of the highly acclaimed The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny. His newest book, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution, was released by Eleftheria Publishing in July.

Supporters of Liberty Are Always Attacked

Members of the tea party have been called tea baggers, extremists, racists, and Nazis by opponents of the grass-roots pro-liberty movement. While this shows the lack of “civility” of the left, supporters of liberty are always attacked for their beliefs.

Socrates spent his life fighting for freedom of speech and freedom of religion and became a martyr for these causes. In 399 BC, Socrates was charged and put to death for disbelieving in the official Greek pantheon and for corrupting the youth of Athens. But Socrates had also angered most of Athens for praising Sparta while the two were at war with each other, insulting the intellectuals of Athens by claiming he was the wisest man alive, criticizing the leaders of Athens, and arguing against democracy. Admitting that he enjoyed stirring up trouble, Socrates said at his trial: “For if you put me to death, you will not easily find another, who, to use a rather absurd figure, attaches himself to the city as a gadfly to a horse, which, though large and well bred, is sluggish on account of his size and needs to be aroused by stinging. I think the god fastened me upon the city in some such capacity, and I go about arousing.” [Plato, Apology 30e.] Socrates’ criticism of ancient Athens’ political system and leadership got him killed.

Demosthenes fought bigger government, higher taxes, and political corruption in ancient Athens. But he is best remembered for his opposition to Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great. For years, Demosthenes spoke constantly against Philip, but had little success gaining allies. Nevertheless, Demosthenes demanded action, arguing it is “better to die a thousand times than pay court to Philip.” [Demosthenes, “Speeches” 9.65.] When Philip finally marched against Greece, his army easily won the battle and occupied Thebes but spared Athens. When Philip was assassinated, Demosthenes again attempted to form alliances and encouraged the territories under Macedonian control to rebel. But Philip’s son Alexander marched on Thebes, which immediately submitted to him. Thebes and Athens rebelled yet again upon mistakenly hearing that Alexander was dead, at which Alexander destroyed Thebes and placed Athens under Macedonian control. When Alexander the Great died, Demosthenes again tried to rally the people for independence, but Antipater, Alexander’s successor in Greece and Macedon, defeated the Athenians in battle, forced them to dissolve their government, and Demosthenes committed suicide before he could be arrested and executed.

Cicero was one of the most powerful men in ancient Rome and its Senate. Cicero fought for property rights, arguing “I do not mean to find fault with the accumulation of property, provided it hurts nobody.” [Cicero, De Officiis 1.25.] Cicero also fought against government-provided welfare, abolition of debts, and redistribution of land and wealth. But he is best remembered for his fight against imperial power. In his quest for power, Julius Caesar asked Cicero to join his Triumvirate with Pompey and Crassus, but Cicero declined, fearing it would hurt the Republic. When Julius Caesar was assassinated, Cicero as leader of the Senate and Mark Antony as consul and leader of those who supported Caesar became the two leaders of Rome. Cicero opposed Antony and made a series of speeches against him, known as Philippics for the similarity of his speeches to those of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon. Mark Antony formed the Second Triumvirate with Octavian, Julius Caesar’s heir, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a former consul and strong supporter of Julius Caesar. They immediately sought to exile or kill their political opponents, especially Cicero. Cicero was captured on his way to the coast, where he had hoped to escape to Macedonia. Cicero’s capturers “cut off his head, by Antony’s command, and his hands — the hands with which he wrote the Philippics.” [Plutarch, Parallel Lives Cicero 48.6.]

Cato the Younger was a very stubborn man who vehemently opposed corruption, demagoguery, and immorality. In the Senate, Cato focused especially on taxes and wasteful government spending. When Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus created the First Triumvirate, Cato was an immediate opponent. Cato opposed Caesar’s first major proposal to distribute public lands to the people. “No one spoke against the law except Cato, and him Caesar ordered to be dragged from the rostra to prison.” [Plutarch, Parallel Lives Cato 33.1.] Though the Senate disagreed with Cato’s position, they forced Caesar to free him from his unjust imprisonment. Seeing the growing tyranny, “Cato warned the people that they themselves by their own votes were establishing a tyrant in their citadel.” [Plutarch, Parallel Lives Cato 33.3.] But the people refused to listen to Cato and continued to support Caesar. Ten years later, Caesar and his army crossed the Rubicon, thus declaring war on the Roman Senate. The Senate fled and Caesar chased after them. Seeing that Caesar had won and knowing Caesar would have him executed, Cato committed suicide.

When you are attacked for supporting liberty, know that you stand on the shoulders of giants. And let us thank God and country, for we live in a society in which we have freedom of speech and in which the supporters of government tyranny can do no more than insult their opponents.

“Targeting” Walmart

As seen on Instapundit:

THE “NEW CIVILITY:” A CYNICAL LIE? D.C. Anti-Walmart Protesters March on Developer’s Home with “Target” Flyer. It’s Thursday at 7:30.

Here’s the image of the flier being used to protest against Wal-Mart:

This is obviously an insidiousness scheme by a competing company with a long history of using violent rhetoric and advocating violence, clearly evidenced by its name and logo:

Republican government merely reflects the people it represents

At my speech on Sunday to the Arizona chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, I expressed over and over that republican government merely reflects the people it represents. Let me count the ways:

  • We elect our President. The winner has almost always received the most votes or was in a virtual tie. The exceptions: 1) in 2000 Bush lost the popular vote by 0.5 percent (a virtual tie) but won the electoral count; 2) Hayes lost the popular vote by 3.1 percent in 1876 but still won the electoral count; 3) Harrison defeated Cleveland in 1888 even though Cleveland received 0.8 percent more votes. [Some include 1824, but not all states popularly elected Electors back then.]
  • We directly elect our representatives and, since 1913, we directly elect our Senators.
  • We indirectly choose the political ideology of the Supreme Court. I heard numerous complaints about the Supreme Court and their legislating from the bench, but the Supreme Court must be chosen by the President and approved by the Senate. Thus, the Justices should hold the same values and politics of the people as a whole who elect those who choose them.
  • In my home state of Arizona, our sales tax has risen from 6.7 percent to 9.3 percent in the last 25 years. How can the politicians raise taxes on us time after time thinking we won’t care? But they haven’t; we have. We the people of Arizona, Maricopa County, and Phoenix have voted for new sales taxes to build roads, trains, stadiums, and parks, hire more police and firemen, and support general government operations.

If we have anybody to blame for our government, it is us. We elect these people and often re-elect them, even after they have proven to care little for the Constitution or their constiuents. Heck, we often re-elect these guys even after they’ve been proven to be corrupt. We voted for higher taxes to pay for more government program and then complain about high taxes and government intervention. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Baseball analogy for tea party “victory”

To follow up on my post Has the Tea Party accomplished anything yet?

Over the last two years, the Democrats have scored a lot of runs. They hit a grand slam with health care reform. Another home run with stimulus spending. Another with financial reform. They racked up one run after another.

Finally, the tea party movement struck out the Democrats in spectacular fashion (the biggest electoral turnaround in 62 years) and the top half of the inning is over. Now, it is the tea party’s turn to try and score some runs. But the limited government side is trailing 37 to zero (government spending excluding defense is 37 percent of GDP).

The GOP now controls the House of Representative, but it does not yet have Senate or Presidency. So the tea party movement has a man on first base. But it’s in a deep hole, down by 37 runs, and has to start scoring runs in abundance.

I’m sure you can see why I am not too excited by the tea party “victory” of November 2. Yes, the tea party movement, which didn’t even exist two years ago, stopped the Democrats from scoring more runs, but to win you must score runs of your own. In this respect, the tea party has not accomplished anything.

Has the Tea Party accomplished anything yet?

Many people talk about the success of the tea party movement. While we did something remarkable in the 2010 election, we have not really accomplished anything yet.

I recall this chart of total government spending excluding defense over the last 100 years.

Click on image to zoom in:

In 1910, government at all levels spent about 7% of GDP. Today it is about 37%. Do you see what the tea party has accomplished so far? NOTHING!!!

At best we slowed down the rate of growth or maybe even stopped it. But we have yet to reduce it by a single percentage point after it rose seven percentage points in just two years.

Many in the tea party movement claim that Obama is the worst President ever. Yet, the GOP won just 54.2% of the two-party vote, maybe slightly higher if you add in Murkowski’s votes. The Republicans won 240+ seats, but that’s less than the 257 seats the Democrats won in 2008. Against the supposed worst President in history, that’s all the tea party could accomplish?

I don’t mean to minimize the biggest electoral shift since 1948… OK, yes I do. These accomplishments are meaningless unless they are used for something bigger. I will not be satisfied until I see the vast majority of Americans voting for republican government (small ‘r’ intentional) and that trend line of government moving down instead of up. When that happens, I’ll talk about our accomplishments. Until then, I’m too busy working for the cause of liberty to brag about winning a few seats in Congress.