3 Moves After the Tea Party*

It’s 2011.  The Tea Party movement is almost two years old

Two years after the Boston Tea party, the Revolutionary War was well underway. In April, 1775, British Lieutenant General Gage sent troops to Concord, Massachusetts, to seize a garrison held by revolutionaries.  It didn’t go so well for the Brits.


By 1776, the Continental Congress declared our independence from Great Britain citing human rights.  With words that echo through the centuries, we declared that human beings have certain rights, and:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Where does this new American Revolution go now? 

Last night, I celebrated the New Year as do most New Years: by myself, watching subdued, almost depressed events in Las Vegas and New York.  The moment gave me a chance to ruminate as midnight approached: what next?

Here’s a short list that came to mind:

1.  Let’s Have a Tea Party:  After reading the numerous news accounts about 2010 being the Year of the Tea Party, I realized that I may have underestimated the impact of the movement.  That’s easy to do, I think, where you’re in the middle of something.  It’s clear now, though, that the world sees this rebellion as something to advance, to to admire, or to fear.  That deserves a party.

2.  Let’s Paint the Future:  I say and write this a lot.  I will continue to say it and write until it gains some ascendency.   The Tea Party movement – or whatever we call its evolutionary posterity – needs to move from defense to offense.  Offense includes proposing substitutions for the present system.  For example, how do we wind down Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to minimize or prevent disruptions to people’s lives?  How do we restructure the tax system to both pay off our national debt and to encourage economic growth? What will education look like after we eliminate the Department of Education? 

3.  Let’s Broaden Our Interests:  At some point in the recent past, philosophers stopped applying philosophy to the world and began looking at philosophy as an end in itself.  That’s when the world stopped taking philosophy seriously.  The philosophers had isolated themselves from real life.

If we narrowly study only the Constitution, US History, the Founders, etc., we will become very dull, except to the few others who study nothing but this narrow subject. The world will compartmentalize us away, as it has philosophy.

Conservatives need to use our understanding of the founding principles, not as ends in itself, but as a guideline to apply right reason to problems of the day. 

I mention this repeatedly, too,  because I sense many of us becoming insular in our studies. Erudition requires breadth of knowledge, especially in adjacent matters. Depth in some area is central, of course, but it’s not the end.  Once you’ve hit water, digging deeper won’t make the water cooler or clearer.

* I used the term After the Tea Party.  I don’t think the name “tea party” should or will go away.  But I think we need to broaden our thinking.  The tea party era must give way to the leadership era.  If we stop moving, we die. 


2 thoughts on “3 Moves After the Tea Party*”

  1. Because of communities, and governments’ inability to address regional problems effectively, in some areas of the country a new paradigm for solutions is being practiced. It involves convening all of the stakeholders (representatives of business, non-profits, community members, parents, corporations, and others) in a given problem dynamic, and employing a truly neutral convenor (often a professional who should be observed and compared to others for effectiveness, and ability to deeply listen to the ideas offered, who can capably ask questions to clarify the discussion) who will not advocate for any idea(s). All solutions are laid on the table, and no one person or organization has the right or ability to co-opt the group and push their pet solution. The process does not require compromise, but a commitment to effective goal setting and real solutions. Frequently, research must be financed to poll the community, business or other sector about their obstacles and/or values. The best solution is the goal. This can be effectively employed to craft solutions that are innovative, effective (because all parties have a stake in supporting the action(s) agreed upon), and sustainable.

    The answer to your questions may be best addressed in this venue, rather than in an elected official’s townhall meeting, community organizer’s assembly, or a school board. It may also be less expensive because the best solution, thoughtfully crafted, may not include government and taxation to effect it. It also allows the community, rather than the elected official or special interest groups, to determine what, if any legislative remedies may best serve the solution. When the community is convinced that their solution is going to be effective, the community can advocate as a unit for the necessary changes in a variety of venues to achieve the identified goal.

    This is democracy and grassroots at its best, and quite possibly the only way we’re going to get innovative AND effective solutions to the problems that have been dogging us for decades.

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