by Sam Wells
The American tradition of limiting the scope of government by law and constitution, resting on the 17th century British heritage of the idea of individual rights to self and property, has been increasingly abandoned since the War Between the States and especially since the 1930s when FDR threatened to pack the Supreme Court if it did not go along with his massive new interventionist programs. Since that time the scope of federal power has mushroomed well beyond any true constitutional justification.
The tea party groups, which arose as a grass-roots movement in reaction to the obvious excesses of the current Pelosi/Obama/Reid regime, seek to take back the nation and restore some measure of constitutional restraint on the federal Leviathan.
I fervently hope the tea party movement will maintain its pro-Constitution stance and not be influenced or distracted by various outside factions — populists, Ron Paul fanatics, neoconservatives, or anarcho-statists. The populists are “well intentioned” (patriotic) but wrong-headed nuts. The neoconservatives are not popular because, rightly or wrongly, they are perceived as shilling for a foreign country instead of pushing for an independent foreign policy for a fully sovereign United States. The Ron Paul zealots would have Ron Paul forfeit his House seat and instead help Obama get re-elected to the Oval Office. And gawd help us if the anarcho-whimarchists (neoRothbots, Rockwelites) ever get any political power; that would really be a reign of tyranny and terror.
In short, I hope the tea parties stay on the constitutionalist conservative (American conservative) course and emphasis as much as possible.
Of course, I would like as many people as possible, in and out of the tea parties, to read books like Atlas Shrugged, Textbook of Americanism, Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, Bastiat’s The Law, Hazlitt’s Economics In One Lesson, George Reisman’s Capitalism, as well as articles and books by Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, and other champions of market capitalism — but with the understanding that in the long run a durable revolution toward the Laissez-Faire Republic politically will require a more fundamental philosophic sea change. That will not occur any time soon, unfortunately. In the meantime, a political holding action may sustain sufficient freedom and provide sufficient time for those more basic changes to set in and take hold. That will not happen over night. The key war of ideas is a long-term struggle.