One of the surest indicators of just how successful the Tea Party movement has been is in counting how many ways the Left has tried to imitate it. There were the Coffee Parties, which went nowhere fast. Then there was “No Labels,” another attempt to push back against the Tea Parties. That is also turning into an abject failure.
Well, Mother Jones (no, they’re not dead; they just smell that way) has yet another idea to push back and get their own mass movement going to counter the Tea Party movement, and they’re drawing their inspiration from England.
Man, they really, really, really just don’t get it. And even though I think they’re congenitally incapable of getting it, I’m going to try to spell it out for them.
The movement in England is to buttress the welfare state by taking more and more money (and power) out of the hands of private individuals and organizations and give it to the government, which will then “redistribute” it (after taking their cut, of course) to the poor. It’s about convincing the poor that their status is the result of some grand conspiracy by Big Business to keep them poor and oppressed.
In essence, the British movement is about taking power away from private entities and transferring it to the government. Which is about as far from the Tea Party movement as you can get.
The Tea Party movement is about taking power and money away from the federal government, in the belief that it has accumulated far more than it is entitled to or can be trusted with over the years. As P. J. O’Rourke noted almost two decades ago, “giving money and power to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenaged boys.” As a former teenaged boy, I can respect that sentiment.
The British movement is about holding others responsible for what they see as their sins against “the masses.” The Tea Party movement is about taking responsibility for ourselves.
In theory, the British movement should be an easier sell. It’s a hell of a lot easier to convince people to find someone else to scapegoat for their failings than it is to admit that we, the people, elected these bums who screwed it up, and we, the people, have to take the responsibility for that and take the burdens back on ourselves.
In a nutshell, in England the message is “take what they have and give it to us.” Here, it’s “stop taking so much from us.”
As I said, that should be a very seductive message. But it overlooks one element: the people being appealed to in England are the dependent class. They are used to being handed things, to simply making demands and issuing justifications based on “social justice” and whatnot. In the US, it’s the producing class that is at the core of the movement — the people who are used to going out and getting what they have, to earning things instead of simply demanding them and being placated with bribes.
That is the secret of the Tea Party movement. And that is the one thing that the left simply can’t capture.
No matter how hard they try, no matter how many different ways they try.