Monday, April 13, 2009

Fake Populism in the Form of Anti-Tax "Tea Parties"

Chances are, if you at all like me, you have seen report after report on the so-called "tea-party" protests put on by Libertarians and Republicans all over the country. They are of course promoted heavily by Fox News and the other shills for the individualistic ideologies that the right wing in this country have been duped by. Well, individualist until you bring in the idea of militaristic hegemony across the globe, in which case Republicans love spending taxpayer dollars.

Beyond the fact that they routinely use the term "tea-bagging" (I won't explain), this movement, if it could actually be called anything of the sort, is absolutely full of shit. But before I vent anymore about it, there two things needed; one, some links to these really annoying videos, and two, some background on "tea parties". Here is some video, from Huffington Post, linked below as well:

So, if you took a moment to check out how silly these things are, you will no doubt already realize what kind of insufficiently knowledgeable people we are dealing with here. First of all, the term "tea party", it it's political sense, comes to us from the Boston Tea Party ( Basically, it was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. I'm no historian, but from my limited knowledge of the event, the only relevance of the Boston Tea Party to the silliness of today's "tea party protests" is that both parties were/are protesting taxes. Of course, in the case of the earlier tea party, the taxes were levied upon imported tea from the British government, who still ran the American colonies at the time. It was symbolic, in that it foreshadowed the new drive for American independence. After all, America was indeed founded by a what was essentially a bunch of well-to-do Brits fleeing a revolution that was decidedly against their privileged lifestyle. I mean, hell, why not go and claim land and pillage the savages, right? Sorry, back to the case at hand.

So, it looks like the only real similarity here between the two tea parties is that they both are essentially based on the idea that taxes are bad and money and goods are better without them. Needless to say, that is quite debatable, but let's not waste time talking about a debate to be had between these cop-outs and any normal person who at least understands the basic idea behind taxation, because that's not going to happen. And frankly, that is the most frightening part of this, depending on how you look at it.

It's frightening, because what these people really are demanding is one of two things [and I'm not sure which one yet], taxation without representation, or the absence of taxation all together. Either way, the citizens of this country all lose. And furthermore, those who are holding these protests seem not to understand their own history at all. I would venture to say that not a single person in any of these videos, with the exception of the organizers who sometimes appear, would have any knowledge of what the tax rates used to be in this country only a few decades ago. There once was a time when anyone who made in excess of like $300,000 per year was taxed in the 80-90 percentile! That number is a hell of a lot lower today, to make a gross understatement.

What these people are essentially advocating for is a philosophical civil war between those who believe that humanity is best served through "enlightened self-interest" and the absence of government in the financial affairs of its citizenry, and those who believe humanity is best served by a governmental apparatus capable of creating an acceptable minimum standard of living and access to the branches of governmental power - the original intention of taxation as an idea.

I, for one, would love to have that debate, but not with a bunch of brainwashed right wing nuts who think of nothing but themselves and their own material accumulation.

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