From Eric Hoffer, an Insight Into Tea Partying

From the seminal “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements“:

They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society. The frustrated, oppressed by their shortcomings, blame their failure on existing restraints. Actually their innermost desire is for an end to the “free for all”. They want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected to in a free society.

I find in this insight a clue to the nature of the Tea Party movement and the Republican fringe (which is now the Republican mainstream). Tea Partiers, by and large, are angry white people intimidated by the prospect of a post-racial, multi-cultural America where Christianity is no longer a dominant part of the American narrative. This is why you don’t find black, hispanic, American Indian, or any other non-white group represented in the Tea Party movement. Nor do you find people who practice a non-Christian religion. This part of the conservative movement has become a group of people who virulently condemn intellectualism and do not grant that intellectual or ideological competition in the public discourse is good or desirable.

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3 thoughts on “From Eric Hoffer, an Insight Into Tea Partying

  1. FrankC says:

    Since St Louis has some active Tea Party groups, maybe you ought to make a real effort to find out for yourself instead of repeating the Daily Kos, Huffington etal.. blather.

    Oh and I think Kevin is from Missouri
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Blacksphere/49867377595

    You are sounding very elitist. “virulently condemn intellectualism” Hmmm Have you ever read Thomas Sowell or maybe W F Buckley or Ayn Rand ?

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell1.asp You can even see how his views hold up over time – pick a months worth from 1998 or 1999 or 2002 and lets us know.

  2. Eapen Thampy says:

    I am very familiar with Sowell, Buckley, and Rand, thank you for the suggestions. Black people still retain token status in the Republican party, a claim that is evidenced by the fact that only about 1% of the delegates at the last RNC were black. It’s laughable to suggest otherwise.

    As far as the elitist note, I won’t apologize for being more educated than the average tea partier by at least two standard deviations.

  3. JCC says:

    Actually, when Hoffer uses the term “Freedom” here, he is referring to what are known as positive rights. Actually, he says exactly that when he talks about those who “want to eliminate free competition and the ruthless testing to which the individual is continually subjected to in a free society.” So in this context, Hoffer would not be thinking about Tea Party people, but actually those in support of health care, socialism, etc.

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