Friday, August 19, 2011

Rewriting the Tea Party's Antiwar Libertarian History

Orwellian Memory Holes keep puncturing the historical record, leaving young people with false pictures of the past (e.g., the ease of flying pre-9/11, or that aid to Israel was originally promoted as a temporary measure, or the Neocons' flip-flop on French courage).

The Tea Party's libertarian roots are likewise being tossed down the memory hole.

Writing for Tablet Magazine, Michelle Goldberg writes:

"The Tea Party was initially mischaracterized as a libertarian movement [my emphasis], but it is deeply imbued with religious fundamentalism, and polls show that a majority of its members believe that the United States is a Christian nation. It's no accident that, upon taking over statehouses nationwide, Republicans elected with Tea Party support enacted a record number of abortion restrictions -- 80 in the first six months of 2011, compared to 23 for all of 2010."

As a progressive, Goldberg is probably honestly mistaken, rather than lying, about Tea Party history. But she is mistaken.

The Tea Party initially was a libertarian movement -- that's no "mischaracterization." Only later (albeit, fairly quickly) was the Tea Party co-opted by pro-war rightists, who then purged it of antiwar libertarians.

In May 2009, a local Libertarian Party officer, Lawrence K. Samuels, reported on how the Monterey County Tea Party united conservatives and libertarians. But by October, pro-war conservatives were purging antiwar libertarians from the Tea Party.

By February 2010, Ron Paul was attacking pro-war Neocons' infiltration of the Tea Party. That same month, Tea Party rightists were likewise attacking Ron Paul.

Also in May 2009, local Libertarian Party officer, Jason Gonella, reported on the Los Angeles County GOP's co-opting of the local Tea Party.

Yes Virginia, once upon a time the Tea Party was heavily libertarian -- and antiwar. But then the Neocon warmongers came, and saw, and conquered.

1 comment:

Eric Dondero said...

And why do you assume that libertarian equals antiwar? It most certainly does not. Only leftwing libertarians are pacifist America-haters. The libertarian movement was founded by staunch anti-communist, prodefensers like Dana Rohrabacher, Ayn Rand, Darlene Brinks, Mike Dunn, and John Hospers. Stop trying to whitewash libertarian history asshole.