Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Getting Ready For The Big Show"

As CPAC gets underway, it's no secret that the Tea Party movement is a mess of contradictions and ideological incoherence. This has been the case from its beginning, which was rooted in two hypocrisies: motivation synchronized solely with Inauguration Day 2009, and action catalyzed by a historically evocative slogan that came from the East Coast "media elite." Important issues like the bailouts and Federal Reserve aside, this is a movement that would be easy to dismiss as amateurish or irrelevant. Profiles like this show it to be anything but the latter:

Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. ...

It is a sprawling rebellion, but running through it is a narrative of impending tyranny. This narrative permeates Tea Party Web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and YouTube videos. ... trumpets "exclusives" reporting that the Army is seeking "Internment/Resettlement" specialists. On, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on "fellow Patriots" to "grab their guns."

Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a "New World Order" and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship.

At recent Tea Party events around the country, these concerns surfaced repeatedly. ...

And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: "I'm cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I'm serious about that, and I bet you are, too." ...

Mrs. Stout said she has begun to contemplate the possibility of "another civil war." It is her deepest fear, she said. Yet she believes the stakes are that high. Basic freedoms are threatened, she said. Economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest all seem imminent.

"I don't see us being the ones to start it, but I would give up my life for my country," Mrs. Stout said.

She paused, considering her next words.

"Peaceful means," she continued, "are the best way of going about it. But sometimes you are not given a choice."

Apocalyptic and dystopia-oriented movements and cults share an intrinsic need: in order to maintain momentum and internal faith, ultimately there must be validation in actual events. Without a "big show," the leaders are discredited and the movement collapses. Manson took his followers to Death Valley to wait out the final war between whites and blacks, after which he would rule what was left. When the war didn't happen on schedule, he tried to move things along. But there is more at stake than movement momentum or leadership credibility. Without validation in events, reality comes crashing down on individual members -- many of whose identities and perceptions of self-worth have become inextricably linked with the movement and its unique worldview.

The result is an urgent underlying need for "something" to happen, either as a distraction from somnolent reality's betrayal, as a trigger for something larger, or as an end in itself. Iran would do nicely, and it's not a coincidence that many Tea-friendly media entities and public figures, including Sarah Palin, also seem obsessed with Iran.

But if in a year or two the internment camps still haven't opened or civil war gets preempted by a new season of American Idol, what happens then? Does this seem like the sort of movement that would be content to fade out or, in its own way, line up in the jungle for cups of laced punch? Or will it decide that the revolution, along with its own relevance, needs a little help?


Anonymous JohnR said...

"But if in a year or two the internment camps still haven't opened or civil war gets preempted by a new season of American Idol, what happens then?"

But, of course, by then it would be too late. What makes you think someone convinced that this was coming would wait until it was here to take action? Once you Know that it's coming, it becomes all too easy to decide that you must head it off by Preventative Action. Heroically alone if necessary, but with some trusted buddies if you feel better having some backup.

2/18/2010 12:00 PM  
Blogger Vijay said...

This post is pretty ironic. It has the same conspiratorial mindset endemic among Tea-partiers.

So let me echo your own question: what happens to this blog when the supposed instigation for revolution does not materialize?

2/18/2010 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

I agree with Vijay. Randy weaver had his wife shot in the head with her baby in his arms for not becoming an ATF snitch. The feds burned women and children alive at Waco. That event caused timothy mcveigh to attempt revenge on the feds in Oklahoma. Very misguided but just a reaction to the feds domestic military assaults. I am not scared of any tea partiers. They are mostly well intentioned people. The feds are the greatest force of death, destruction, and impovershment on Earth today. Our government is Today's evil empire. Google the militarization of police... We are more likely to be killed by cops than tea partiers. TCR just can't believe his elite buddies will never be reformed. If there is a chance at reform it will only come after the riots starts and the elite aren't feeling so cozy as they see some of their gated communities go up in flames.

2/18/2010 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

Lew's take on it.... Exactly.

A New Conservative Movement?
Posted by Lew Rockwell on February 18, 2010 09:08 AM
All the old CPACers — stalwarts of the pay-to-play DC culture — are haunted by the Tea Party masses, says Politico. These are the new conservatives, of course, with all the ideological problems of conservatives, but uncontrolled by the DC types, and indeed disdainful of them. That is a good start. The CPAC organizers remind me of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette having cakes in the palace. Outside, people with pitchforks and torches, gather.
UPDATE from Marc Davis:
GREAT ANALOGY, and I can attest. My mother attended a Tea Party meeting at our local library last week. She said it was standing room only, with people being turned away. Inside the people were ready to revolt, pitch forks and all. Ex Republicans AND Ex Democrats. I wonder if the politicians and the MSM really understand what’s happening?

2/18/2010 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Tea Party movement isn't an either/or situation. There is some truth to TCR's observations because there is indeed a lunatic fringe that associates itself with the more mundane actors involved.

Personally, I happen to agree that there are a few fundamental hypocrisies in the Tea Party message, but that doesn't mean that their anger isn't real and that the do not have real reasons to feel that way.

-Medicine Man

2/18/2010 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My theory is that some new person bought the "Cunning Realist" name and is blogging with his identity. Because the person who wrote this post can't be the person who wrote all those "Where's the Anger?" posts back in 2007.

2/18/2010 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think TCR was asking "where's the anger" regarding the financial irresponsibility and fraud, not the anger expressed by this paranoia "Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a "New World Order" and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship".

2/18/2010 5:19 PM  
Anonymous judyo said...

One off or opening salvo?

2/18/2010 5:21 PM  
Blogger Rational Idealist said...

Judyo, right.

The "patriots" who support torturing terror suspects may end up considering terror-type attacks against state outlets as fair game:

2/18/2010 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet, the lunatic fringe is LOUDER.

Tax Protester Crashes Plane Into IRS Office

2/18/2010 9:18 PM  
Anonymous KAIMU said...


Let me take everyone back to a simpler time when the the TECH BUBBLE was in full swing and then President Clinton and some of the same Clinton economic advisers now advising Obama said this:

"President Clinton: The United States on Track to Pay Off the Debt by End of the Decade
December 28, 2000

Today, President Clinton will announce that The United States is on course to eliminate its public debt within the next decade. The Administration also announced that we are projected to pay down $237 billion in debt in 2001. Due in part to a strong economy and the President’s commitment to fiscal discipline, the federal fiscal condition has improved for an unprecedented nine consecutive years. Based upon today’s new economic and budget projections for the coming 10 years from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)."

Nobody bothers to look at the history of the US Public Debt whereby during the Clinton years it steadily moved up not down. Nor did the US Congress stop spending, so that leaves one other BUBBLICIOUS answer to the Clinton "fiscal miracle". Naturally it had nothing to do with any government policies, unless you drank the kool-aid that Al Gore was pouring about how he invented the internet!

Instead just on Friday, 2/12, Obama and the Democrat led Congress added another $1.9TRIL to the US Public Debt, moving it up to $14.3TRIL from $12.3TRIL ...

It is obvious that Clinton and his economic advisers were predicting the TECH AND DOTCOM BUBBLE would last another ten years. No different than the FY2007 BUDGET where Bush and his economic team along with the Congressional "economic sink tank" known as the OMB predicted that in 2012 there would be a surplus thanks to the REAL ESTATE BUBBLE ...

Drinking "kool-aid" is in the eye of the beholder. Who drank the "debt free" kool-aid Clinton and the Democrats were handing out on the steps of the White House in 2000?

2/19/2010 4:42 AM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

I was Kaimu. I was one of the drooling masses back then. Losing the shirt off my back in the tech bubble collapse sent me to studying economics. That is when I discovered the Austrian school. That is when I began buying gold. I have been buying silver the last year because i think it has been a better buy.

2/19/2010 9:50 PM  
Anonymous JohnR said...

KAIMU said:
"Nobody bothers to look at the history of the US Public Debt whereby during the Clinton years it steadily moved up not down."

Is that actually true, though, Kaimu? I don't know what the raw numbers show, but it's my understanding that when you standardize the value of the dollar (think "adjust for inflation"-type standardization), the public debt began decreasing under Clinton for the first time in a long, long time. I'm certain that the tech bubble helped, but the traditionally Republican fiscal policies under Clinton helped as well.

2/22/2010 11:04 AM  
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