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Rand Paul wins in Kentucky

May 19, 2010

The Tea Party has a success it can point to besides Scott Brown. Prepare for many onslaughts like Marc Armbinder’s in the Atlantic

We still haven’t figured out how to distinguish between Tea Partiers and base conservatives. Here’s the way I propose it: Tea Partiers are best identified by their media consumption habits (Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity) and whether they adopt a specific variant of conservative populism, one that is rooted in an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, a pastoral view of the past, and a sense that the world is escaping the boundaries of their comprehension.

In other words they are stupid.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a Tea Partier, I distrust the idea of the “Wisdom of Crowds”, and I specifically distrust populist movements. The unintended consequences are always much greater than people anticipate. That doesn’t mean however that I think the people who support such movements are stupid. Armbinder’s article is especially ironic because he doesn’t realize his type of attitude is one of the things that drives the Tea Party movement. The feeling that they are disenfranchised and treated like they are stupid.

Anyway the Tea Partiers got what they wanted, now the question is can Paul beat the Dem candidate?

-elsewhere-

Specter is out. Good, I have hated this guy since the Clinton impeachment. I didn’t support the impeachment, but the weaselly way the Specter tried to have it both ways by voting “Not Proven” was just disgusting. What a gutless wonder.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. smitty permalink
    May 19, 2010 7:55 am

    I distrust the idea of the “Wisdom of Crowds”

    Is wisdom or crowds faulty then?
    Does something become foolish beyond a certain tipping point of popularity?
    I submit that wisdom and crowds are separate concepts, and conflating the two may, itself, breed fallacy.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      May 19, 2010 8:48 am

      I submit that wisdom and crowds are separate concepts, and conflating the two may, itself, breed fallacy.

      That’s my point but the idea of the wisdom of crowds is very popular right now – It could be that it isn’t the basic concept I distrust but that it appears to me that there is too much homogenity of thought right now. Both the GOP and them Dems are going on ideological purges, the Tea Party really isn’t any better. I am guilty of it myself from time to time.

      • smitty permalink
        May 19, 2010 7:37 pm

        The Tea Party is preaching the Constitution, and outing Progressives as a pack of twerps. A massive improvement, IMO.

      • jenn1964 permalink*
        May 19, 2010 10:17 pm

        They are preaching their version of the constitution, which is not necessarily the way the founders intended it. As I have pointed out before it is very likely that Thomas Jefferson would strongly disagree with the Tea Party, writing as he did that the constitution should be re-written every 15 years so that no generation is bound by the dictates of the previous one. He also advocated just wiping the national debt from the books saying that no previous generation should be able to leave debts for those following. I would also suggest that Washington would not be particularly enthralled with the Tea Party movement, of course he was against political parties in general, but I think he would find the Tea Parties violate his admonishment –

        Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.—

        It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.—It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the Government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country, are subjected to the policy and will of another.

        I am not impugning bad motives to the Tea Partiers here, just pointing out that standing for the constitution isn’t really that simple. Even the founders disagreed on meanings.

  2. xbradtc permalink
    May 19, 2010 9:29 am

    …and a sense that the world is escaping the boundaries of their comprehension.

    As you note, Armbinder drips condescension here. Rather foolishly at that. If you ask me, the defining characteristic of the Tea Party movement is a recognition that our government is spending at unsustainable levels. It has been for some time, but the recent acceleration in spending has been enough to motivate previously unengaged citizens to political action.

    Further, we know from polling data that the core of the Tea Party movement is middle class/upper middle class citizens, the real engine of the economy. You can doubt the wisdom of crowds, but if you ARE going to listen to a crowd, that might just be the one to listen to. They have real skin in the game. For them it is not just an intellectual exercise or ploy to gain political power for its own ends.

    And while your trepidation for the wisdom of crowds rightly notes that there are unforseen second and third order consequences for any path they may choose, the fact remains there are entirely foreseeable consequences for the current path, and they loom large.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      May 19, 2010 10:12 am

      And while your trepidation for the wisdom of crowds rightly notes that there are unforseen second and third order consequences for any path they may choose, the fact remains there are entirely foreseeable consequences for the current path, and they loom large.

      I don’t deny that there are foreseeable consequences to our present course, but it is highly highly debatable whether the actions that many Tea Partiers are advocating make things better or worse. The object is to make things better.

  3. May 19, 2010 5:22 pm

    I agree with you that the “wisdom of crowds” is overrated at best. We all know the old saying about jumping off a bridge. But I don’t necessarily think populism and/or popularity is a bad thing either (nor do I think you were saying so, just adding my 2 cents). In my book, Led Zeppelin was/is the greatest rock band evah! They are also wildly popular. Yet their popularity takes nothing away from their artistry and musicianship. Yet in some ways, it confirms it.

    I think too many people are trying to pigeon-hole the Tea Party movement. It’s working like a genuine fusion between the Old (traditionalist/libertarian) Right, movement conservatives, neocons, social conservatives, libertarians, and other austerity-minded folks. It’s been a blessing to this country. I hope it keeps going the way it is.

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