David Brooks tries .. I mean tries hard to put the current Tea Party movement into the same realm as the liberal radicals in the 60’s. The article points out that both groups were focused on government conspiracies:
..both movements go in big for conspiracy theories. The ’60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks — theories that live on in the works of Noam Chomsky. In its short life, the Tea Party movement has developed a dizzying array of conspiracy theories involving the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters.
While the radical right certainly is concerned about possible government intrusion upon the rights of the citizenry, the Tea Party seems more to be focused on fiscal responsibility. Most of the Tea Partiers are trying to wake up Congress and remind them to take care of the country, the whole country, not their own seats.
While blathering on about how similar the Tea Party is to Alisnky-blinded 60’s hippies, the author stumbles a bit. He vaguely references a Salon article where Glenn Beck is compared to Abbot Hoffman, founder of the “Yippies”. I am not quit sure how a youth-movement, anti-war, and possibly white supremacist is in any way like anything the Tea Party is doing.
The article tries to right itself by saying that the Tea Partiers are .. anarchists:
They don’t seek to form a counter-establishment because they don’t believe in establishments or in authority structures. They believe in the spontaneous uprising of participatory democracy. They believe in mass action and the politics of barricades, not in structure and organization. As one activist put it recently on a Tea Party blog: “We reject the idea that the Tea Party Movement is ‘led’ by anyone other than the millions of average citizens who make it up.”
I have not been to or hear of a T.P. gathering that calls for the abolishment of the current government. Certainly they want spending brought under control, do not agree with the fiscal recklessness in the current administration, and are worried about the infringements on the rights of individuals, but that is a far cry from hoping for the collapse of the current form of government.
David Brooks over-reaches greatly in his comparisons. No Tea Party leaders have been arrested for conspiracy (as Abbie Hoffman was), nor is there clearly identifiable leader. This is a grass-roots movement of citizens that are not willing to pass their mistakes on to be paid for by their children or grand children.
The “New Left” that Brooks speaks of was about blaming someone else for their troubles. The Tea Party is about taking responsibility back from those that are not utilizing it in the best interest of these United States.