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  1. #1
    jaded bitter joy crusher
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    The original tea party vs. the TEA party

    Ron Chernow is always worth reading. In 1790, President George Washington and his treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton established the principle that article I, section 8 of the Constitution authorizes the federal government is entitled to do all sorts of things that are not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution. Jefferson and Madison opposed this.

    Basically, the notion that the founding fathers agreed on what the nation should be, whether it should have a large and powerful federal government or a small and limited one, whether the federal government could do whatever it wanted except where the Constitution explicitly forbade it, or whether it could only do what the Constitution explicitly permitted... These were contentious issues even among the founders of the country, among the very authors of the Constitution and among our first several presidents.

    Thus, the notion that the modern TEA party somehow gets back to the true roots of what the founding fathers intended is nonsense: there is no such true intention because the founding fathers themselves couldn't agree on how the nation should be run.

    // NOTE: we get a lot of cut-and-paste in PO. Here was a good articulate essay by Chernow, which is worth reading, but which I could not summarize with a short quotation. Thus, I summarized it in my own words instead of quoting it. Others here should do the same rather than paste six, seven, or more paragraphs of someone else's writing when a brief quotation won't do.
    Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing. ---- Cormac McCarthy

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  2. #2
    RIP Funny Penguin
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    Big fan of chernow...his biography of Hamilton is great as well.
    In the time of battle you don't rise to the occasion you resort to the level of your conditioning...

  3. #3
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    phenomenal book.

    haven't read anything else by him.

  4. #4
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    So, no news there Fredke to anyone who's had more than high-school level history about the founders.

    How about this one: which of the founders do you think would support:

    - federal income tax
    - social security
    - medicare
    - a standing army with this level of overseas permanent bases and activity
    - a cabinet positon and related huge bureaucracy devoted to governing schools that are funded and run by local citizens and elected local boards.
    - mandatory transfers of wealth from individual citizens to a few companies chosen by Congress?
    Last edited by Creakyknees; 09-25-2010 at 10:22 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke
    ...These were contentious issues even among the founders of the country, among the very authors of the Constitution and among our first several presidents....
    Key words there: "these _were_ contentious issues" among the "first several presidents"

    Meaning: the issues were resolved; the govt of the early / mid 1800's reflected the winning argument.

    So, this statement was only true for a brief period:
    Quote Originally Posted by Fredke
    Thus, the notion that the modern TEA party somehow gets back to the true roots of what the founding fathers intended is nonsense: there is no such true intention because the founding fathers themselves couldn't agree on how the nation should be run....
    Today, I argue that any of the founders would be more in favor of the tea party platform than anything resembling the Dem / Obama agenda.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    ...

    How about this one: which of the founders do you think would support:

    ...
    in the 1787 country, of 4 million people, or today's with 308 million people?

    which country?
    .

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    ...

    Today, I argue that any of the founders would be more in favor of the tea party platform than anything resembling the Dem / Obama agenda.

    you're wrong, but this is a common misconception among 'baggers.
    .
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    Last edited by bricoleur; 09-25-2010 at 10:41 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bricoleur
    .


    in the 1787 country, of 4 million people, or today's with 308 million people?

    which country?
    .
    Today's would be the relevant question. We already know how they answered the question in 1787.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bricoleur
    .

    you're wrong, but this is a common misconception among 'baggers.
    .
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    I would consider it polite if you would offer some support for your statement.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees

    I would consider it polite if you would offer some support for your statement.
    sorry, that was a bit flippant.

    the whole costume-box activism thing is simple appropriation. a lot of movements, including those on the left, engage in this. some do it in a sense of tribute, some do it in a sense of revision and many do it because it's good PR (to link yourself to a historic event/person/movement that's widely respected). the tea party engages in all three. again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, although the second is questionable, but it needs to be considered when assessing the tea party.

    much of the tea party rhetoric is based on right-wing populism ("They aren't listening to us",) and anti-intellectualism ("Listen to your gut", "We don't need elites telling us...", etc.) both of these sentiments are widely out of step with the founders.

    as to the constitutional comments of tea partiers--the idea of originalism isn't only complicated by the dissension amongst individual framers, but even the idea that the framers intentions are the best source of original intent. many argue that the signers are a better choice. why? because the framers had different opinions and many compromised to create the document. the signers however, saw the document for what it was (rather than thinking "Damn, I don't agree with Madison, but I'll agree to compromise x if he agrees to compromise y", etc)--they viewed the document in its entirety, rather than whether their particular view had made it into the final draft or not.

    as to the tea partiers views--I would look into Tom Paines ideas with regard to social security-type pension, as well as progressive taxation. Washington's ideas regarding national education. to name just a couple. if the tea party wants to embrace founders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are probably the best choice (as Chernow points out). the founders' ideas wrt to the postal service, and in particular its relation to media (pamphleteering [ie newspapers]) and the way they were subsidized would surprise many tea partiers.

    the idea of "small government" itself is even misleading. I think both the democratic and republican party, of today, would be seen as espousing this view. whether one party thinks x5 should be spent on something and the other party thinks x5.7 should be spent isn't much a disagreement. the two parties argue over matters of degrees. neither party is offering up radically different ideas from the other. even though tea partiers have been riled up to think "Obamacare" is some massive affront, none of them complained about Bush's medicare part D entitlement. likewise the current debate regarding a tax increase of 3.5% on 2% of the country isn't much of a debate. the best thing the tea party leaders (Beck, Palin, etc) have probably done is to portray the current administration as if it's somehow radically out of step with the recent past.

    a good topic would be "Facts that would surprise the tea partiers." listing a bunch of the founders' views that tea partiers are opposed to. another good topic would be "Subjects the founders changed their minds about in their later lives."

  11. #11
    Palm trees & sunshine!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    So, no news there Fredke to anyone who's had more than high-school level history about the founders.

    How about this one: which of the founders do you think would support:

    - federal income tax
    - social security
    - medicare
    - a standing army with this level of overseas permanent bases and activity
    - a cabinet positon and related huge bureaucracy devoted to governing schools that are funded and run by local citizens and elected local boards.
    - mandatory transfers of wealth from individual citizens to a few companies chosen by Congress?

    I would say that Hamilton would absolutely get behind most of those agenda issues if he were dealing with America and Americans today. As would any other Federalist. The Democratic-Republicans, not so much but their small agrarian nation was all but gone by the time of the Civil War.

    I'm all for returning to our small, agrarian roots but that's never going to happen. So, unless we're content to let people die in the streets and unless we're willing to give up a lot of other things like clean water, there's a certain amount of dead weight the rest of us will have to carry.


    supervillain

  12. #12
    jaded bitter joy crusher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    Key words there: "these _were_ contentious issues" among the "first several presidents"

    Meaning: the issues were resolved; the govt of the early / mid 1800's reflected the winning argument.
    And Tea Party is just being silly when it says that the federal government is not entitled to any powers not explicitly granted by the Constitution.

    I certainly see a number of folks posting in PO who follow that line, and that's why, although I agree heartily with your comment that this isn't news to anyone who was awake during high school U.S. history, I though this was worth posting anyway.
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  13. #13
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    Damn that George Washington, for ruining this great land.



    PS The term "Tea Party", wasn't coined until the 1830's, when some smartass came up with that jingoistic phrase.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MR_GRUMPY
    Damn that George Washington, for ruining this great land.



    PS The term "Tea Party", wasn't coined until the 1830's, when some smartass came up with that jingoistic phrase.
    I know what you're thinking but it wasn't me.

  15. #15
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    like this

    "I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

    baggers would have no idea how to do with this
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie
    "I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

    baggers would have no idea how to do with this

    Worse, most would deny that TJ ever wrote that.

    I wonder if the tea baggers can point to the part in the Constitution that gave Jefferson the authority and power to execute the Louisiana Purchase.


    supervillain

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie
    "I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the same coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

    baggers would have no idea how to do with this
    I don't think that is altogether accurate. We can all agree that we evolve and our values change with us but changes in the laws that govern our society should be slow and deliberate to avoid social upheaval and division.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenB
    Worse, most would deny that TJ ever wrote that.

    I wonder if the tea baggers can point to the part in the Constitution that gave Jefferson the authority and power to execute the Louisiana Purchase.

    And for all the attention paid to Paine's Common Sense you never really hear much of anything about The Age of Reason.


    joe
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snakebit
    I don't think that is altogether accurate. We can all agree that we evolve and our values change with us but changes in the laws that govern our society should be slow and deliberate to avoid social upheaval and division.
    yeah, we don't need no Civil Rights Act. And Lincoln was a fool to stand up and abolish slavery in one fell swoop.

    We should take our time with that stuff, we should still be pondering the consequences of such action, we should still be working that stuff out. Otherwise, people's feelings might get hurt.
    Eff the King's Guard. Eff the city. Eff the King.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snakebit
    I don't think that is altogether accurate. We can all agree that we evolve and our values change with us but changes in the laws that govern our society should be slow and deliberate to avoid social upheaval and division.
    Jefferson was a believer in social upheaval for the right purposes.

    "Societies exist under three forms, sufficiently distinguishable: (1) without government, as among our Indians; (2) under governments, wherein the will of everyone has a just influence, as is the case in England, in a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one; (3) under governments of force, as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics.

    To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs.

    I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."




    Jefferson would cheer the mere fact that the tea baggers are rebelling but being a an enlightened, progressive liberal, he wouldn't support them and their ultimate, regressive, goals.


    supervillain

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rufus
    yeah, we don't need no Civil Rights Act. And Lincoln was a fool to stand up and abolish slavery in one fell swoop.

    We should take our time with that stuff, we should still be pondering the consequences of such action, we should still be working that stuff out. Otherwise, people's feelings might get hurt.
    Lincoln was up to his ass in aligators when he made that decree and losing support for a war already underway to bring it about. Some say that war is still ongoing. The Civil Rights Act was a piece of legislation, an act of Congress which is the process of deliberation I was refering to. It may not guarantee universal acceptance, we have the recent events in Iraq and the two faced positions taken by Democrats on that to illustrate it, but it is the proscribed method of change we should follow. If we evolve past portions of the Constitution we have a designed path to change it. Some think it is called SCOTUS but I don't think that was what was originally intended or expected.

  22. #22
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    it is of no importance

    Quote Originally Posted by Snakebit
    I don't think that is altogether accurate. We can all agree that we evolve and our values change with us but changes in the laws that govern our society should be slow and deliberate to avoid social upheaval and division.
    it is Thomas Jefferson, it is a Founding Father

    it is antithetical to what Tea Partiers think our FFs thought
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  23. #23
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    he'd also be appalled

    Quote Originally Posted by KenB
    Jefferson was a believer in social upheaval for the right purposes.

    "Societies exist under three forms, sufficiently distinguishable: (1) without government, as among our Indians; (2) under governments, wherein the will of everyone has a just influence, as is the case in England, in a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one; (3) under governments of force, as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics.

    To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs.

    I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."




    Jefferson would cheer the mere fact that the tea baggers are rebelling but being a an enlightened, progressive liberal, he wouldn't support them and their ultimate, regressive, goals.
    at their anti-intellectualism
    they'd (Tea Movement) crucify him for being a pointy headed elitist
    one nation, under surveillance with liberty and justice for few

    still not figgering on biggering

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenB
    ...


    Jefferson would cheer the mere fact that the tea baggers are rebelling but being a an enlightened, progressive liberal, he wouldn't support them and their ultimate, regressive, goals.


    potm
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    .

  25. #25
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    this 3+ minute clip explains the history of teabagging in America.




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