Monday, August 13, 2012

Something less stupid.  from August 8, 2012.

Start with observations on the Teaparty.

If you are an old-line Republican, you probably ought to start thinking about voting against 
the new style of Teaparty Republicans.  If you haven't started thinking that way already.

Why?  Because your politics are now a better match for Democrats than to Teaparty.  If 
you are used to your vote being reflected by a mild synthesis of similar opinions ... Well, 
that is not what you get with Teaparty.  A Teaparty vote is newly represented in Congress 
by promises of uncompromising devotion to the most extreme version of whatever policy is 
under consideration. 

You may feel some sympathy for some of the issues promoted by the Teaparty, but a large 
fractions of Republicans, I think, do not feel the same revulsion as dedicated Teaparty-ers 
feel, towards the old Republican Party.  A prominent feature of Teaparty politicians is their 
anger towards politicians of both parties... So far, they have been turning out of office more 
Republican incumbents then Democratic ones, via votes in Primaries.  Some pundits have 
excused Republican unity in Washington as an adoption of a "parliamentary model."  That 
may be so, but I have noticed that the unanimous GOP votes arise on Teaparty issues, and 
Boehner already has great trouble in rustling together votes for conventional issues when the 
Teaparty activists can find even a hint of a reason to oppose. 

First, even when they have gotten their way over the last 30 years (mainly, 3 1/2 Supreme 
Court Justices), members of the fundamentalist core of the Teaparty have felt patronized and 
rejected.  I think this is part of what leaves them with their present no-compromise politics: 
It is not originally a bargaining position, but an emotional statement.  Second, in the more 
recent history -- to the extent that the Teaparty is a collaboration or conspiracy of several 
outsider groups, the strength of the collaboration lies in the mutual pledge to adhere to 
whatever full, exact policy is proposed by another strand.  That, in turn, has led quickly to 
the degeneration of debatable policy proposals to the most extreme fantasies arising within 
each strand.  See "Vaginal ultra-sound" and "Personhood Amendment" and "No tax increases, 
ever" as examples.

What Policies?

Do you oppose modern science?  That covers several of the evils of the Teaparty ... starting 
with, “Creationism (and replacing science in the schools with it)” ... going on to, "gay-ness is 
an evil choice, and not a natural biological phenomenon" ... going on to, "scientists are just 
lying about climate change" ... going on to, theories of economics that are wishful thinking. 

Do you oppose the Natural Rights recognized in the industrialized states over the last 200 
years?  -- Teaparty-ers do not directly *oppose* them....  But the majority of these rights, 
which make up the modern social contract, consist of "freedom from evils of industry and 
industrialization"; and are guaranteed by Government.  Yes, government.  It is not, “More 
government means less rights”, but rather, “Much of modern government is designed to 
protect us against modern ills, and thus, More government of this kind  is essential for more 
rights.”  This was recognized a century ago in1908 by Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes: "Taxes
 are the price we pay for civilization."  Yes.  

This is the social contract that evolved, in place of the class warfare predicted by Marx, or 
the population collapse predicted even earlier by Malthus.  By today, the rights include clean 
air, clean water, free education, safe food, and security in the markets from various forms of 

Oh, consider what we, as a nation, provide to either our poorer allies, or even our defeated 
foes – something like what the Peace Corps long has provided to poorer countries, including 
(even) a free access to some levels of health care.  That is a modern right which the US fulfills 
less completely than any other advanced country.  

Teaparty-ers directly oppose spending any money or government effort for things like ... clean 
air and clean water (EPA); safe work environments (mines, and otherwise) (OSHA, NRLB); 
safe food (FDA); health care (Obamacare).  Of course (again), they don't hate good health 
and safety... but for now, it is enough to re-iterate that they are committed to slashing those 
budgets, and committing to no-compromise. 

How Did the Teaparty take over the GOP?
  - topic for another day. 

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