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Uncovering the Tea Party’s Radical Roots | Common Dreams

Uncovering the Tea Party’s Radical Roots

by Ira Chernus

For decades, Democrats across the country have been holding Jefferson Day dinners, filling their coffers by honoring their party’s founder. Suddenly, along comes the extreme right wing of the Republican Party, snatches up poor old TJ, and says, “Sorry, he’s actually ours. After all, didn’t he say, ‘That government is best which governs least’?”
Neither Alexander Hamilton nor Thomas Jefferson would recognize or accept the notions and hysteria that now make currency among the Tea Party faction and the Republican Party. (Public domain)” />Neither Alexander Hamilton nor Thomas Jefferson would recognize or accept the notions and hysteria that now make currency among the Tea Party faction and the Republican Party. (Public domain)

Well, no, in fact he didn’t. But perhaps he should have. He often expressed skepticism, and sometimes outright criticism, of the growing powers of the federal government. So which side in today’s political divide is most entitled to carry the name of Jefferson on its banner? Exploring those questions led me to a surprising discovery: If we put the Tea Party’s claim to TJ’s mantle in the proper historical perspective, we come out not on the far right but on the far left.

It all began when I was re-reading Gordon Wood’s The Radicalism of the American Revolution(trying to escape from obsessively tracking the DC rollercoaster.) As Wood observes, the Jeffersonians and Hamiltonians divided over basically the same issue that plagues us now: How much of a role should government play in people’s lives? (Though the clash back then was so fierce, and split American society so sharply, that it makes today’s politics look rather mild by comparison.)

But Wood takes us deeper into the substance of the issue. Jeffersonians were willing to limit government only because they assumed that there was “a principle of benevolence … a moral instinct, a sense of sympathy, in each human being.” They were founding an American nation upon the European Enlightenment’s belief that “there was ‘a natural principle of attraction in man towards man’ [as Hume put it], and that these natural affinities were by themselves capable of holding the society together.”This was exactly the point that frightened Alexander Hamilton most. He summed up his opponents’ view quite accurately: “As human nature shall refine and ameliorate by the operation of a more enlightened plan,” based on common moral sense and the spread of affection and benevolence, government eventually “will become useless, and Society will subsist and flourish free from its shackles.” Then Hamilton, the greatest conservative of his day, dismissed this vision of shrinking government as “a wild and fatal scheme.”

The Republicans who now control the House obviously have a very different view of what it means to be a true conservative. But that doesn’t mean they have become Jeffersonians. Not by any means. In many ways they would be closer to Hamilton, who scorned Jefferson’s trust in human nature.

The Tea Party et al. don’t defend their call for less government by claiming that we are all born with an innate sense of benevolence and sympathy toward all other people. On the contrary, they claim “the most sacred right to be left alone” largely because they don’t trust people outside their own familiar circle, so they don’t want those strangers meddling in their affairs.

Yet the current call for less government is a useful reminder of the worldview on which Jefferson and many of the Founding Fathers expected to build the United States. They assumed it was “natural to infer, that a disposition to do good, must, in some degree, be common to all men.”

And this, Wood goes on to write, “was the real source of democratic equality.” Every human being can be equally trusted to make wise decisions for the good of all (the reasoning went) because everyone, simply by virtue of being human, has a natural concern for the good of al—as long as that inborn sense of sympathy and benevolence is not corrupted by a misguided society. Let nature take its course and everyone will be taking care of everyone else so well that there won’t be very much for government to do.

In the mid-19th century Henry David Thoreau drew that line of thinking out to its logical conclusion in his essay “Civil Disobedience“:

I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least” — and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

How would men (and women, to be sure) get prepared for such anarchy, which was really Thoreau’s ideal? He offered no simple rule, because there was none, in his view: “I would have each one be very careful and find out his own way.” he wrote in Walden. “Explore the private sea, the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean of one’s own being.”

Within that private sea of our own being, though, Thoreau was sure that every one of us could find—each in our own way —the eternal, spiritual “solid bottom,” of the universe. “Next to us the grandest laws … all the laws of Nature … are continually being executed.” We can know those laws directly and be guided by them, as long as we “live deep and suck all the marrow out of life.” Then we will find government superfluous.

Thoreau concluded “Civil Disobedience” by “imagining a State” that would let a few people

live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which also I have imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.

It would be a state of perfect Transcendentalist anarchy, where everyone would fulfill all the duties of neighbors and fellow-men not because they were following the government’s laws but because they were letting nature take its course within them, living deep and sucking all the marrow out of life.

Today’s right-wing extremists would probably run from Thoreau’s view of life even faster than from Jefferson’s. But there is no denying that their obsession with shrinking government stands in a long, distinguished line of American tradition where these two luminaries shine so bright.

Those same right-wingers would probably run fastest of all from another luminary, Walt Whitman, who was surely marching to his own drummer when he rhapsodized about his own transcendental moments: “From this hour, freedom! From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines.” Where the Tea Party would erect fences stronger and higher, Whitman would have every fence torn down.

And in his imagined freedom, shorn of all defences, Whitman found “the joy of that vast elemental sympathy which only the human soul is capable of generating and emitting in steady and limitless floods.” Even Jefferson could not have expressed the Enlightenment faith in benevolent human nature more eloquently.

Whitman gave classic voice to the link between the anarchic Transcendentalists and the Jeffersonians: Live free, follow your natural promptings, and you will spontaneously act upon the elemental sympathy for all that wells up from within you.

So it seems a fitting coincidence that I first heard this tradition voiced by friends at “Leaves of Grass,” my local countercultural bookstore, back in the late 1960s. They summed it up by asking, in Whitman’s words: “What do you need, Camerado? Do you think it is love?”, and answering, in the Beatles’ words, “All you need is love.”

These friends were imagining something not yet anywhere seen: a society blending personal freedom and spiritual seeking with universal sympathy, so that everyone could suck all the marrow out of life. Most of them thought they were the first to even imagine it. They didn’t know that they were only forging the next link in a historical chain of imagining—a chain of political mythmaking—stretching back to the American Revolution.

As for the size of government, I don’t recall it being a burning issue back then outside a small circle of political philosophy wonks. For the rest of us, it seemed just a matter of common sense. The innate sense of sympathy, as well as direct contact with the marrow of life, had been stunted for far too long by a society that valued profits and material goods above people. It would be many years before everyone’s genuine needs would be fully met by spontaneous acts of benevolence and love.

Until then, government should fill the gaps, since only government has the resource to make sure all are filled. But it should stay out where it does more harm than good—most obviously, back then, in Vietnam.

So if we drag the Tea Party and its fellow-travelers (kicking and screaming, no doubt) back into their proper historical context, we discover that the size of the government is not the crucial issue at all. They are here to remind us of something much bigger: a grand mythic vision that appeared at the very birth of the nation and has remained with us ever since, periodically blazing up in individuals or groups who have articulated it in clear and sometimes eloquent words.

So far the spotlight on the Tea Party has done much more to obscure than illuminate this mythic vision. But history has its way of playing unexpected tricks on us. Exhibit A: If it weren’t for the Tea Party’s vehement opposition, the U.S. would probably be dropping bombs on Syria right now, and very possibly sinking deeper into prolonged military involvement there.

So let’s give thanks where thanks are due, recall the patriotic far right’s true roots in America’s radical history, and do what we can to cultivate those roots so that they’ll give rise to a healthier plant in the future.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 LicenseIra Chernus

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Mythic America: Essays andAmerican Nonviolence: The History of an Idea. He blogs atMythicAmerica.us.


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Montague’s Message for October 28th, 2013

Thank you for posting this. I really appreciate where he says to think hard on whether your actions will harm others. We need to get past dogmas of all kinds-religious, political and personal. It is most important to aim for harmlessness to all living beings because if we do that not only will ALL of our personal choices automatically upset the elite/cabal/1% applecart- we will also automatically dissolve all political dogma disputes and achieve unity and love with all on Earth.
(One obvious divisive issue illustrates this well: the ACA healthcare law. I don’t like seeing people distressed over having to pay money they can’t afford OR people distressed, in pain or dying/dead from lack of health care. If we all came together and agreed both those kinds of harm to beings is wrong we could work out a better solution (after we remove the politicos working for big pharma and the insurance industry among others!)
We as spiritually focused people have a part to play in bringing people together and dissolving the pointless hate and division in our communities. Love will overcome all evil but first we have to bring Love into the room.

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Ben Fulford-This Halloween will haunt the cabalists for a long time

I just want to add here that i completely agree with David Wilcock and feel that Ben’s antipathy to President Obama is his own thing. Personally being disavowed by the oil barons is a Huge compliment:-)

This Halloween will haunt the cabalists for a long time
Mon, October 28, 2013
Posted by benjamin fulford

This Halloween will haunt the cabalists for a long timeThere have been many
big moves made against the cabal in the past week and more coming this week,
according to multiple sources. In Japan, there have been a series of late
night battles that have left a group of North Korean gangsters taking orders
from Japan Mossad Chief Michael Green, and rogue CIA run by Kenneth Curtis,
on the Run. As a result, Green and Curtis are in a state of deep fear,
according to Japanese right wingers who claim to have been involved in the
struggle. Ongoing lawsuits against the recent rigged elections in Japan are
also keeping them awake at night.

In a related development, mass murderer Benjamin Netanyahu announced to the
Israeli press last week that he was going to visit the Pope but the Pope
refused to meet him, resulting in a major loss of face. Bush Jr. and Tony
Blair both visited the previous pope Maledict to ask for protection from war
crimes tribunals after leaving office. They were given that protection in
exchange for converting to Catholicism. It seems the new Vatican regime is
no longer in the business of sheltering war criminals from justice. That
means Netanyahu does not have protection from the P2 brass and is thus
probably doomed.

As this newsletter was going to press a P2 Freemason source called to say
that P2 honcho Marco di Mauro had just been arrested and that a hunt was on
for his associates.
There were many other developments as well. Rockefeller pet dinosaur Henry
Kissinger went to Russia on a begging mission but

was refused a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to
Pentagon sources.

This attempted meeting came just as multiple signs showed the Rockefeller
petro-dollar system was collapsing. The announcement by the government of
Saudi Arabia that it was going to re-evaluate its relations with the United
States and refuse a seat on the Security Council of the Rockefeller
controlled UN means the House of Saud may stop putting its petro-dollars in
cabal controlled banks in the US.

That is because the Saudi regime is in no position to defend itself
militarily and, since the pentagon refuses to fight any more wars for the Al
Qaeda financiers, the regime will have to bow to Putin if it is to survive.
Even then it is doubtful that criminal regime is going to be around much

There are also clear indications that the nation of Turkey too is waking up
to the new geopolitical realities. They have been negotiating a customs
union with Russia, according to Russian news agencies.

They have also announced they are going to buy a missile defense system from
China even though they are a NATO country.

Something big also seems to be happening in Iran, according to news reports.
Long term Iranian top power broker Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who usually has a
very public and visible schedule, has not been seen for three weeks,
according to Mossad linked website Debka.


This could be a sign that the Iranian Sabbatean mafia agents who were trying
to provoke World War 3 in tandem with their Israeli Nazi allies are being
purged. Certainly the public negotiations to end the stand-off with the West
over Iranian nuclear power development are a sign something has changed
under new President Hassan Rouhani.

It is clear from all this that something very fundamental has changed in the
power structure of the Middle East and it is proving fatal for the old
generation robber barons like David Rockefeller and George Bush. Speaking of
George Bush, Bush Sr. contacted with White Dragon Society via the P2 lodge
to say he and his family had nothing to do with the Obama regime and that
Obama was a rogue force acting on his own.

Obama himself is just a spokesperson for what has been the rogue force for a
very long time, the Federal Reserve Board and its Washington D.C.
subsidiary. This gang of criminals is under attack from all over the world
and there are many signs it really is going to be game over for them this

Perhaps the clearest indication of this has been the unprecedented split
with Europe. The European corporate news outlets are full of stories about
European leaderÃÂs anger over the fact the NSA has been spying on them. The
espionage was mainly about stealing corporate secrets and had little if
anything to do with ÃÂfighting terrorÃÂ since the terror all originates with
the US cabal regime and its allies anyway.

The most shocking revelation last week, reported by Reuters and Russian news
outlets but buried by many corporate news agencies, was the vote by the
European Union Parliament last week to suspend the US from the SWIFT
international financial data base. This is the sort of action taken in the
past against nations like North Korea and Myanmar.

We have also been unable to confirm what has happened to the US Congress.
They were all flown to Florida last Thursday by the US military for what was
supposed to be a day trip but have not returned to Washington as of Monday.
It is too early to tell but maybe, if we are lucky, it will turn out the
bribed gaggle of whores has been put in a lock up where they belong.

Speaking about whores, the Japanese puppet regime of actors pretending to be
politicians while working for Mossad is in a state of total funk, as
mentioned above. On October 22nd this writer went to watch one of the trials
in the lawsuits suing the government for rigging the last general elections.
The plaintiffs say Tokyo Supreme Court Justice Takashi Saito, who is one of
the presiding judges in the case, is being blackmailed by Mossad because he
is in the habit of dressing up in womenÃÂs clothing and appearing as
ÃÂVictoria,ÃÂ or ÃÂVickyÃÂ in the Tokyo gay district. The public relations
department for the Tokyo Supreme Court said ÃÂwe are not going to talk about
that,ÃÂ meaning ÃÂno comment.ÃÂ

There is still a few more days until Halloween so, hopefully, there will be
many more truly frightening things for the cabal popping up before then.
Message to the cabalists and Feds: Trick or Treat.

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Jubilee 101

Thank you for posting this! What a wonderful resource!

Laura Bruno's Blog

Just wanted to make blog readers aware of a fabulous (and free) online resource for all things DIY and permaculture/organic gardening oriented. The Jubilee 101 site offers thousands of PDF’s, which you can download for free, as well as over 100 videos. You can learn how to quilt, how to passively cool or heat your home, companion planting, how to fix a door, how to harvest rainwater, how to make raised beds … even how to build your own yurt.

This site addresses pretty much anything and everything DIY or permaculture-related, so I’d encourage people to go there and explore. If something nudges your intuition as important for you to know, you’re free (and encouraged) to print out the PDF’s for future reference. On Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, you don’t always know your exact, final destination; nor can you always predict traffic jams, detours or rest stops along the way…

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The Oracle Report Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Third Quarter Moon Phase: realign, revise, reorient, accept responsibility

Moon: Virgo

Solar activity remains high, with an M-4 class flare released yesterday. Spaceweather.com reports the potential for M and X-class flares today.

Last week we had the domiant energy of Mars opposing Neptune in aspect to the Chiron Point (the degree in the sky where Chiron was first sighted). There was much wounding and healing. This week Mars has moved off aspect to the Chiron Point and is directly aspecting Chiron himself! To add more kick, Pluto is in aspect to both.

Chiron and Mars are both warrior archetypes. Chiron is the teacher of the epic war heroes who battle for a reason. Mars battles anything because he’s not about the war, he’s about the winning.

Pluto is a warrior-king, the King of the Underworld.

But, from a different perspective, the energy is less like a brew of warriors and more like a brew of wizards. This, in combination with the time of year some of the ancients called Samhain – October 31 through November – a time when the electro-magnetic-harmonics of the planet enable ethereal forces to enter our realm. This is a complicated way to say the veils between the worlds are thinner.

Tomorrow we begin the Balsamic Moon phase, the time of the lunar month when the veils between the worlds are thinnest.

Consider also the Sabian symbol for the month we are completing: miners emerging from a deep coal mine. We have completed an existential journey toward light and have emerged.

When is a better time to attack than when someone emerges from darkness and is blinded by the sudden light?

Negative forces will heavily influence people the remainder of this week, causing ugliness. This can either be wounding by one’s own personal demons (hurting ourselves with our thoughts and actions) or external beings intruding on one’s sovereign consciousness in order to incite ugliiness. Sugar makes us more susceptible to the intrusion. Why do you think “trick or treat” got hooked up with the “holiday?” When you are a wizard, you control both sides of things. The treat is the trick, so we get the trick either way.

But not us. All wise owls should be aware of the potential for high strangeness. We will continue to hold love and light and find beauty in our Mother Earth while wizards stir their brew. We remain grounded in our connection with the planet and hold tightly to her vision for humanity’s full actualization. We hold faith in Shodashi’s Wave, and the power it brought us to see through illusion. We understand that hijinks by those forces who are opposed to love and life will occur as they continue to be overrun precisely by love and light.

Though this message points out potential darkness, the message is intended with love and light to create wisdom so that we are not fooled. People may get really down and dirty – you may even go there yourself. But you can flip out of it when you realize what is going on and know what it really is. You can walk away from someone is under the influence themselves. If you don’t have any sage to smudge your home, invest in some.

It’s even more important to have fun and laugh when the energy is like this. Can you do it? Let’s re-imprint this energy with our own magic!


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Eliza: On Being Highly Sensitive

Thank you for re-posting this and for sharing your journey with us. I often find simply connecting with others experience and understanding much more enlightening than reading “teachers” and channels who give lessons and directions. I agree with you and with Anastasua that we all have that connection within us and there us no need to seek it externally.

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Tell the FDA: Don’t Impose Unfair Burdens on Local, Organic & Sustainable Vegetable Farms

Thank you for posting this! I grew up on a small mostly organic family farm. When Reagan deregulated land use, farming etc it allowed the unrestrained growth of highly polluting, ecologically destructive and animal abusing agriculture what we now think of as “Big Ag”. (Tho it had been growing before deregulation the changes allowed big ag corporations to almost totally destroy the American family farm.)
Since then, mainly due to organic demand, the family farm started to make a spectacular, tho hard won comeback. Since the 1990’s, big ag has used its considerable financial and political clout to bring in more and more new “regulations” that tho rarely actually enforced consistently on corporate farms, nnearly always cause significant difficulties for small family farms, co-ops and other small producers.
None of this is an accident any more than the complete evil big ag has been up to in India is accidental.
We need to stand together against their every corrupt move and increase solidarity across national borders to stop them in ALL countries not just America.