Understanding All Politics, Through The "Tea Party"

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We're so small, us humans: we use the only thing we have, our minds, to simplify the vastness around us; we think in order to fit the big everything out there into our little heads.

That's why something as rich and sprawling as language is wont to collapse into well-worn cliches. We can't think without banal summations, dumb generalizations, blind ideologies, the cutting down of the everything-around forest to a few simple stripped-down tree statements. "Jesus died for my sins." "The free market is the end of history." "Obama is a socialist." The very falseness of our thought constructs is what makes them useful; their effortlessly bogus effronteries allow us to continue on our not-so-merry way. It may be the reason why Zizek can review a movie without seeing it: he doesn't need the movie to interfere with what he thinks about it.

I've been trying to understand the Tea Party movement, and found it tough and confusing, a vexing bafflement. Tea Party people appear to have no core, no leader, no central anything to latch on to. No simple cliche to sum up the movement. Hence, impossible to think about or understand. Where's the Construct box to stuff them in? So I've invented a personal nutshell, which not only explains the Tea Party, but all American politics. Yep. I am here to verify, instruct, inform curiosity and carry report. Read on.

1. A USEFUL NUTSHELL ABOUT AMERICAN POLITICS

You see, calling the Tea Party phenomenon out as populist rage on the right is not enough for me. Nobody in all the articles I've read about the Tea Party people can tell me what they're for, only what they're against -- and they are against so many things, it's hard to tell who they are.

Their rage is one clue: it affirms that today's politics is driven by blind emotion. Not sweet reason.

Gone are the days of politics as compromise -- when political opponents Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill could sit down with cigars and Jameson's Irish Whisky and hash out a deal, and then exchange Irish stories afterwards. These days we're in Carl Schmitt territory. He defined politics as an existential battlefield: “Just as in the field of morals, the ultimate distinctions are good and evil; in esthetics, beautiful and ugly; in economics, profitable and unprofitable -- so the significantly political distinction is between friend and enemy."

Aha. There you go: politics is about having an enemy. I'll be damned. Nice nutshell, that. Much obliged, Carl. And while you're at it, blow me with a tea cosy.

Full Article:

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2010/05/trying-to-understand-th...

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
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Comments

Basically, applying a label: "Tea Party" to something amorphous is a mistake, lol. Yeah, I agree. It just engenders endless confusion.

But then, why would we need a message board if we didn't do that?

The answer I'd offer to most of the questions raised in the article come back to the source we are trying to ignore as a generally global, spoiled society: an imminent, Triple "E" collapse.

Twentieth Century life that was based on very cheap energy is transforming. The human slaves of the wealthy of former centuries were replaced in the last hundred years by the non human servants ingeniously created out with cheap energy. Oh! we are so marvelous! So advanced! So entitled to plunder the earth of its resources and, oh well, who needs trees and bugs and all those other nasty things. Fiddle dee dee.

The angry white people are suddenly looking at the probability they will have to get their hands dirty soon. They're pissed because the warnings they've been hearing from lefties and those environmental wackos are all of a sudden looking a lot less like scare mongering, which their nice reasonable leaders like Reagan told them it was. Humans as a whole are now reacting in a multitude of different ways.

The first phases of coming to terms with change generally include denial and anger.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Yeah, like whats happening in Greece!!! And will soon happen in Portugal, Spain, Italy..... The people are unhappy their government tit is being threatened. Our trillion dollars in aid will only prop them up temporarily. A trillion WE DON"T HAVE!!! The wonderfully touted socialistic nanny states of Europe are collapsing because socialism is not sustainable...period. The global concentration of those with wealth and political power continues.

I think the "teapartyers" realize we are headed the same direction as the EU. And they are ANGRY!!!

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bufffalo1
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:49 am
Quote bufffalo1:

Yeah, like whats happening in Greece!!! And will soon happen in Portugal, Spain, Italy..... The people are unhappy their government tit is being threatened. Our trillion dollars in aid will only prop them up temporarily. A trillion WE DON"T HAVE!!! The wonderfully touted socialistic nanny states of Europe are collapsing because socialism is not sustainable...period. The global concentration of those with wealth and political power continues.

I think the "teapartyers" realize we are headed the same direction as the EU. And they are ANGRY!!!

Huh. Apparently you've simultaneously missed the point of the article while also confirming its point.

Or perhaps you're being ironical on purpose?

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Common_Man_Jason
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Quote Common_Man_Jason:

I've been trying to understand the Tea Party movement, and found it tough and confusing, a vexing bafflement. Tea Party people appear to have no core, no leader, no central anything to latch on to. No simple cliche to sum up the movement. Hence, impossible to think about or understand. Where's the Construct box to stuff them in? So I've invented a personal nutshell, which not only explains the Tea Party, but all American politics.


Looks like he's not trying real hard. Tea party people are all Fiscal conservatives. Which of course is not inline with Republican agenda.

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Roboute
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May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm

<quote>Looks like he's not trying real hard. Tea party people are all Fiscal conservatives. Which of course is not inline with Republican agenda.</quote>

To say tea party people are "all" anything (other than tea partiers) is dismissive. Fiscal conservatives rail against governement "spending" and programs. Many in the tea party are seniors on Medicare and social security as well as ex or current military that use the VA, which are huge government programs. Based on this observation, I would say the outrage is mostly not against government spending, but against any government program that affects someone else.

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andyfromohio
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote andyfromohio:

To say tea party people are "all" anything (other than tea partiers) is dismissive. Fiscal conservatives rail against governement "spending" and programs. Many in the tea party are seniors on Medicare and social security as well as ex or current military that use the VA, which are huge government programs. Based on this observation, I would say the outrage is mostly not against government spending, but against any government program that affects someone else.


My opinion is based on personal experience and reading Tea party material.
Are you claiming that Medicare/SS and VA are the only things federal Government spends on?

"Most" tea party supporter believe that Government forsaken their Priorities and responsibilities for pandering and electioneering.

Your last sentence is very telling. Federal spending is supposed to affect everyone not just some people. So yes, I would eliminate targeted spending that panders to the few.

Tea Party - Contract from America

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Roboute
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May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm

This thread has gone completely ironic.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
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Quote Common_Man_Jason:

This thread has gone completely ironic.


Prehaps a Nutshell is in order

Roboute's picture
Roboute
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May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm

Or maybe just a better nut. ;)

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drew013
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Tea Partiers see everything collapsing around them...and are totally without understanding as to why it's happening.

In general, the solutions they propose...when they do propose them...are among the causes.

Then, of course, there are non-tea partiers protesting/organizing who seem to have a grasp on things. There is grass roots hope out there.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04302010/transcript5.html

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The fact that we can talk about "the tea party movement" is due to its being publicized and framed by FAUX. If we attempt to find coherence and analysis in the reactionary slogans and glossary of rhetorical inconsistency, what we discover is what we often find in a highly entropic and dysfunctional imperial crash and burn.

This is the end of the Myth of the American Century. At the Populist end, it is a mixture of loss of meaning and purpose connected wtih Manifest Destiny for White "Christian" America. What I will call "cultural populism" is not based in a political mindset of socio-economic analysis. It is about being an average "Joe Sixpack" whose psyche is fed a lot more by the idea of being part of "the greatest country in the history of the world" than about gaining some percentages in the next union contract. Oh yeah, it is not about a union contract. It is about "personal responsibility" and not being force to take help. Goes against the narrative of glory to have to be on the dole.

The military component is essential to the myth of Manifest Destiny, so they are not really the fiscal conservatives who want to get rid of the empire and the subsidies to big corporate. All they are left with is the propaganda about "nanny states" and how unfair it is for their money to be taken to help others who are not really rich and powerful.

They have not made much economically from being in the imperial story. They have little protection against the bankster disasters, but they have to blame government instead of private businesses or they have to go back to the narrative rewrite. Hence the incoherence, passion and dogmatic rhetoric. The letters in our local paper have been pathetically revealing.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Cillier or Ash, whomever he is supposed to be does nothing in his horribly rambling and boring diatribe but fall into the left-right, progressive-conservative ,black-white political agenda established by the corproate-government collusion controlled media. The MSM (Fox, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN etc) purposely establish a phoney polarization of leftvright, big spenders v fiscal conservative to mislead the sheeple and keep them from realizing what they are actually doing. I don't know how to link to it but if one really wants to see what how the MSM is controlled watch LINKTV. It is the only media that excepts nothing but private donations. Sunday,5-9-10 they aired an excellent documentary called Orson Welles Rolls Over in His Grave.

Cillie or whomever has fallen into the same mindset the MSM plays on the sheeple. The monied elite and political elite are one in the same. And their agenda does not include the poor or middle classes.

The agenda of tha msm is to mislead and distract voters from the real issues and events. Most of whom buy their bullshit.

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bufffalo1
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:49 am

It seems to me that the tea party member only pledge allegiance to Americans that look like them and hold to their religious/political philosophies. All other Americans are demonized and made to be an enemy of the American way. When I say the pledge of allegiance I pledge it to all Americans. The tea partier’s have shown that Muslim Americans, black Americans, Spanish speaking Americans, and white Americans that do not hold their religious/political views are not real Americans like they are.

BigBee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote polycarp2:

Tea Partiers see everything collapsing around them...and are totally without understanding as to why it's happening.


You seem to be under the impression that if it is, that they even care. It's like saying your principles are crashing down around you. The tea party is nothing more than a group of people with similar principles. If the tea party movenent does crash and burn it will have little to no effect on thier principles.

It is Telling that 78% of tea party people had never attended a protest rally until now.

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Roboute
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May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm

If tea partiers didn't care that thngs are collapsing all around them...they ouldn't be raising a ruckus. If they didn't care, they wouldnt be defending themslves on the Forum.

Tea Partiers see everything collapsing around them...and are totally without understanding as to why it's happening.

In general, the solutions they propose...when they do propose them...are among the causes.

Then, of course, there are non-tea partiers protesting/organizing who seem to have a grasp on things. There is grass roots hope out there for viable change...and it isn't the Tea Party bunch.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04302010/transcript5.html

Retired Monk - 'ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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