What the Tea Party stands for

There is a risk that the Tea Party movement is  sufficiently vague and unspecific to enable everyone to read into what they want, so that people with fundamentally irreconcilable views believe they’re part of the same movement, which is a good way to get people into power so that they can start scooping up some of the gravy, and a bad way to accomplish any political objective.

The original Tea Party was a violent eruption against British Mercantilism.  They threw legal tea on which tax had been paid by a privileged monopoly into the harbor, thus ensuring that everyone used illegal smuggled tea, thus ensuring that everyone resisted big government allied with big business.

Today, we see Obama’s big government alarmingly cozy with big business, both the too big to fail bailouts, and a health care program that pays off every special interest except the voters.  The Tea Partiers are pissed with this.  Like the original Tea Party, they support capitalism, but oppose big capitalists who are in bed with the government, they oppose Wall Street financiers who bet big because winnings are privatized and losses are socialized.

The country is run by a bunch of very smart people, who look down on the ignorant masses from their private jets.   There are some smart people among the Tea Parties, but not a lot.  The difference, however, between the smart people among the Tea Parties, and the smart people flying at forty thousand feet, is that the smart people among the tea partiers know that the smarter you are, the easier it is to make things more complicated than you can handle.

This is a classic problem in programming, the cause of many project disasters run by very smart people, and a classic problem in government, the cause of many economic disasters run by government experts.

As Hayek explained, the more government intervention you get, the harder it is to intervene correctly, the more there will be unintended consequences, the more complicated intervention gets.  And as Hayek also explained, the less those intervening understand what they are doing, the more arrogant they will become, the more smugly confident of their ability to manage the unmanageable, the more confident they become that they comprehend the incomprehensible. Krugman is a classic and extreme example of this smug blindness.

The economy is dominated by a mass of government interventions far more complex than the tax code.  This was a disaster waiting to happen.  Now it has happened.  The tea partiers understand this, some because they are very smart people who read their Hayek, most because they are not so smart but read their bibles.  The very smart elite flying at forty thousand feet in their private jets do not understand it.

2 Responses to “What the Tea Party stands for”

  1. Occupant says:

    It is nice see you integrate some of the basics of human biodiversity into your description of the world.

    People often argue that anarchy is impossible or unstable because in the absence of a terrifying Leviathan, man will act as a wolf to his fellow man, and, in the ensuing war of all against all, people will eventually surrender themselves willingly to a Lord Protector of some sort.

    People rarely argue (but should) that anarchy is unstable or impossible because some people are more bright than others, and that many bright people are often willing to collaborate in an effort to gull the dim into subsurviance to monopoly violence. (Actually left-anarchists often do make some form of this argument, but they do not see it as a refutation of anarchy. Left-anarchists, generally [or is it always?] believe that differences in intelligence are acquired, not inborn. It follows that the route to anarchy is general education.)

    The solution: divide and conquer. Elite rivalry. (Privatize education?)

    • jim says:

      Obviously the separation of school and state, and the mass media and the state, is essential for a free republic – government ownership of the air waves, and government funding of education, is a massive violation of the first amendment. But to have anarchy, we have to privatize defense and justice

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