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Divide and Conquer: Mother Jones Attacks Tea Party Patriots

Posted on February 15 2011 5:16 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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The Mother Jones piece appeals to the same idealism, laying out charge after supposedly scandalous charge meant to support the thesis that TPP has become the very thing it was formed to fight, a lobbying organization which is constantly fund-raising and playing footsie with politicians in Washington. However, the mission of TPP was never to fundamentally transform how politics works. TPP is tasked with “securing public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.” The anti-activists, and the staff at Mother Jones, apparently think this can be done without political or financial capital.

The dichotomy which anti-activists like Boatright impose, and which leftist opportunist like Mother Jones gleefully take advantage of, is between a romanticized but wholly useless view of “grassroots activism” and a political reality where affecting public policy requires coalitions of power. This romanticized view of grassroots activism is not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself. Like the starving artist who revels in their “authenticity,” the anti-activist wears their irrelevance as a badge of honor. In their mind, the system is so thoroughly corrupt that effectiveness within it is sure evidence of corruption.

I begrudge no one their belief in the total depravity of government. However, if that is your position, what exactly do you hope to accomplish outside of it? This is a question anti-activists never answer, because the only rational reply would be revolutionary. In this way, their rhetoric becomes as duplicitous as the Left’s, which likewise conceals revolutionary intent. Both the leftist and the “liberty” anti-activist appeal to a vision of what ought to be instead of dealing rationally with what is.

It is a truly bizarre phenomenon, this incestuous relationship between the Left and the anti-activist wing of the liberty movement. Surely, Ms. Boatright knows what Mother Jones is. Surely, she knows they are not ideologically allied with, or remotely friendly to, the Tea Party. Why then would she provide them with fodder to drive a wedge within her own movement? She does so for the same reason that leftist revolutionaries are willing to cannibalize their allies. It’s all for the cause! It’s all about the vision for tomorrow, the imminent populist revolt for which there is no concrete plan to either accomplish or follow up on.

The future of the Tea Party movement depends entirely upon which of these paradigms becomes dominant. If the [anti-activist] revolutionary mindset prevails, the movement will fade into obscurity as pragmatists who expect results become fed up with stagnation and either seek alternatives or succumb wholly to frustration. If the [activist] prevails, the movement will be free to build the necessary coalitions to advance from principle to policy.

Mother Jones knows this as well as we do, which is why they so eagerly advocate on behalf of the former.

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