Conservative leader Morton Blackwell
put it well when he said, "Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics."
... He was right.
Outrage at George W. Bush's
policies helped fuel the netroots and fund grassroots efforts to elect Barack Obama
. And now moral outrage is alive and well on the right.
One does not have to search hard to observe reasons
for this outrage.
Even putting aside Barack Obama and the bailouts and other pseudo-socialist schemes, one need look no further than today's today's WaPost
which reports on Christians being fined, fired, or penalized for following their beliefs
-- or today's New York Times
which reports on racial discrimination against white firefighters
-- to understand why many Americans believe they are coming under assault by the changing culture.
And so the upcoming 'Tax Day Tea Party' protest movement is, perhaps, the a natural outgrowth of this outrage.
Though there are last-minute efforts to direct and organize the Tea Party effort (or to "claim credit"), this is, in fact, an organic, spontaneous, grassroots effort -- fueled not by political leaders -- but by outraged citizens.
To those who understand the real nature of conservatism, this makes perfect sense. Whereas liberals have always been more comfortable with a "command and control" centralized, top-down leadership style -- conservatives are, by nature, disorganized
and independent -- just as the free market is an example of "glorious chaos".
Conservative proclivity toward letting "a thousand flowers bloom" is also evidenced by the fact that there are at least three different conservative groups in DC focusing on the tax issue. Liberals may look at this and see wasted efficiencies, whereas conservatives see this as an example of competition forcing the cream to the top.
But I digress ... one legitimate question being asked about the Tea Party effort is whether or not it will be effective
As liberal blogger Bill Scher
recently pointed out to me, the only truly successful demonstration (in the sense that the protest resulted in real change) he can recall was The March on Washington. Otherwise, marches, rallies, and demonstrations appear to be more masturbatory than transformative.
This will likely be repeated by liberal bloggers. The left's dismissal of the movement has become so intense that one DailyKos poster
doesn't even think Tea Party organizers even care
about the issues they are promoting, "Looking at all of this, we have fake outrage regarding fake issues sponsored by non-people (corporations) with a fake symbol (tea)."
However, one wonders why the movement's opponents are wasting so much breath on something that will supposedly fail. It seems as if the chattering classes are practically tripping over each other to yell about how irrelevant the Tea Parties are. If they are really that
insignificant, what's the point?
In fact, it looks like liberals are taking this far more seriously than they are letting on. Furthermore, their underground efforts to disrupt the Tea Parties may even be a tacit endorsement of their effectiveness. Michelle Malkin noted
that, "the tax-subsidized and Soros-subsidized troops are going to try and wreak havoc every way they can. Many readers and fellow bloggers have seen signs that ACORN may send in ringers and saboteurs
But one reason there is reason for liberals to fear this spontaneous movement is that, for years, the nature of conservatism to be a chaotic
movement (in the sense that conservatives are guided by an "invisible hand" as opposed to following appointed "leaders") has been a political detriment. The good news is that technology has finally arrived at a point where this independent nature is no longer a liability.
Already, as Melissa Clouthier notes
, Facebook groups and Twitter feeds dedicated to the Tea Party movement are spontaneously popping up. The hash tag #teaparty will be utilized by many conservatives on Twitter. Additionally, Colin Hanna
of the group Let Freedom Ring USA
(a group that I have advised and long admired) has launched an effort to ensure that the Tea Party movement isn't merely a one-hit wonder. Hanna is urging Tea Party participants to text the word "TeaParty" to 74362
. By doing this, conservatives will be sending an online petition to our leaders -- and conservative leaders will be quickly and efficiently building a list of outraged activists.
But even if this were
a one-hit wonder -- and even if no names were collected -- it might still be a worthwhile effort. Anecdotally, I can attest to having run into more angry people who are -- for the first time ever -- getting involved in conservative politics. This is a phenomenon that I have not witnessed in many years. One can assume that many of the participants will never knock on a single door or start a blog to advance the cause of freedom. But it's also a safe guess that many Tea Party attendees will become inspired to future action -- even if nobody contacts them and asks. So the notion that this is a waste of time is really not a fair assessment.
Still, as I noted earlier, liberal groups like ACORN will plan to infiltrate the events. This is to be expected. The fact that there are so many of these events taking place -- that they are "disorganized" -- and that they will feature political novices (not the pros pulling the strings) -- makes it likely there will be some gaffes committed. Don't be surprised if someone says something radical from the podium, and that ends up on the blogs, MSNBC, etc.
More concerning, is the attempt to mock these events or portray them as some sort of "dangerous" extremist gathering. Unless Glenn Beck
is correct -- and we are in danger of some sort of Obama-led police state -- such attacks by the left are sure to backfire. If the "redcoats" in the media go to war with the Tea Party Movement, it will only reinforce the notion that traditional American values are, in fact, under attack.
Liberals would be wise to take this seriously. Otherwise, they are setting themselves up for quite a surprise.