The Tea Party Movement was born out of a reaction to an abuse of power. The Obama Administration pushed a piece of legislation that quickly became known as Obamacare and in one overwhelming unconstitutional sweep the alarm clock went off for many Americans. It was too much, too fast. While the birth of the Tea Party came at this moment in time, its conception was accomplished long before.
For years they had been slowly moving in our midst, nudging, then nudging a little more. We knew it was wrong, we knew the things they were doing was beyond the scope of Constitutional powers but we were busy with our lives, too busy to care enough to do something about. It wasn’t like they didn’t make great leaps in the past but those leaps were always associated with a crisis; Wars, depressions, national emergencies. During those times the government moved and pushed and we all too willingly stepped aside thinking the government had our best interest at heart yet at the same time there was something in the pit of our stomach that just didn’t seem right.
Obamacare was something different. The Administration had no crisis to respond to, they had an agenda. Obamacare would pass. They would climb any wall ”If we can’t climb the wall, we will jump over it. If we can’t jump over it, we will pole vault over it. If we can’t pole vault over it, we will parachute over it, but whatever it takes to pass the Health Care Legislation, we will do it!” or so Nancy Pelosi claimed to America.
Abuses of this sort of power are becoming more commonplace, or perhaps we are just more aware, more alert to the abuses. Yet at the same time, within the rank and file of Tea Party groups were continue to see those who would rise from within our midst to lord over us, and all too often we willingly settle and allow these things to happen, not really realizing the dangers until the damage is finished.
Without a moral compass to guide us, the power of the Tea Party will be no different than other powers that seek to control government to their own purposes and goals. If we undertake an anything goes mentality to obtain the victory; if the end justifies the means; the victory is a hollow one. All we have done is exchanged one form of abuse with another.
The Tea Party rose to cry for the rule of Law of the Constitution but would we violate the Constitution to get what we want. The Tea Party rose to cry for Liberty, but would we deny the liberty of another to obtain what we desire. These are serious questions we must continue to ask ourselves.
More than 100 years ago Abraham Lincoln addressed the subject of Liberty. He said:
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name———liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names———liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty;
Liberty never means the freedom to take from another concerning that which they are unwilling to yield. Our personal Liberty is dependent upon the respect of the Liberty of others. Once we deny the Liberty of others, we become the tyrants. We must stand firm against those who would deny the Liberty of others. When one individual or group of individuals seeks to take from another by force, intimidation or oppression and we remain silent, we speak; and the silence of our voice is shattering.
Sadly, we would surrender Liberty, if it means ease in obtaining something we desire at the expense of others. True, it is not our own Liberty we surrender but we would take hostage the Liberty of others or at least allow for the Liberties of others to be abused.
Lincoln skillfully captures the essence of that which we should guard ourselves against. True Liberty that is pure cannot survive in anarchy. Anarchy is not Liberty. Liberty requires rules to protect against the abuses of selfish pursuit. There is a sense of the collective to Liberty in that Liberty cannot truly abide where there is only Liberty for some, and not for others. If the expressions of one individual’s Liberty imposes upon the Liberty of another than this is not true Liberty. The one who desires to abuse another may claim personal Liberty but those whom he abuses, where is Liberty for them?
In the debate of entitlements we understand this within the context that it is immoral to take or demand from one to provide for the needs of another. At the same time we accept that it also immoral to ignore the needs of others. That which, on the surface, seems to be paradoxical is only a paradox if we allow the frame of the discussion to go outside the parameters.
When the government exceeds their authority to demand from one group to provide for the needs of another group, Liberty is denied one group to provide, not liberty, but material goods. Giving an individual something for free is not the same thing as giving an individual the freedom to obtain something. This is especially true if the item that is perceived to be free has come at the cost of taking it from another without their consent. In the real world we recognize this as theft. To add to the immorality, by taking from one to provide for the other, you deny the person you are taking from a portion of the right to give freely where they choose.
Liberty also means the freedom to fail. When you take from one to provide for another to “create a level playing field” you deny one the right to succeed based on their labor while denying the other the right to fail even if they have willfully followed a path to failure. In such interference, you are manipulating the results by punishing the success of one individual while rewarding the failures of another. This is not Liberty for anyone yet this is exactly where we have arrived as a society.
Charity, or the individual right to provide for the needs of others, is essential to the survival of a humane society. When a mediator comes on board to declare for Charity, is ceases to be charity. First, the mediator is not making the sacrifice; they are seeking the sacrifice of others. The mediator seeks to escape their personal responsibility by meeting a need through the labor of others. While not engaging any real sacrifice from their own person, what right would the mediator have to expect it from others? Charity only exists where there is personal and willing sacrifice. Government by its nature can never provide for Charity because it always requires the sacrifice of those supporting the government to provide the means for that which the government calls charity. They must take to give and this is not Charity. In charity the Government can never lead by example, only the individual can do this in the realm of Charity and true Liberty would require for the provision for the maximum opportunity for the individual to do exactly that. It is an abuse of the government’s power to claim to provide charity when they are demanding sacrifice of all but themselves.
Abuses of these powers do not exist solely in government. Abuses of powers exist in religions, institutions and organizations permeating almost every level of society. As we witness government using crisis, often creating the crisis in the first place, we need to recognize that individuals use the same tactics to implement abuses in power. We often see this in religions. They will point to problems even if they must exaggerate them, predict doom and then claim to hold some mystical key to biblical interpretation that only they understand. They tell us that if we diligently apply their unique formula, we will find salvation. If the problem still exists after applying their formula, it is always because we have somehow failed, never because their mystical formula is wrong. At the core is a cry for the sacrifice of others while the caller benefits, either through notoriety or financial gain.
The magic formula doesn’t exist any more than the magic pill the snake oil salesmen used to sell solved all your medical woes. The magic pills were only temporary distractions and those magic pills often only made the problems worse.
To the abusers of power, everything must be more complicated that it really is. They must make you feel that you are inadequate for the task of solving problems so they add layers of unnecessary steps to finding solutions. You cannot possible understand the complexities of the problem. You must be told what to do and even if you are already doing that, you must be wrong because you aren’t following their prescribed formula. You must never be allowed to believe that you are capable, that you are adequate enough to make the changes that are necessary. The only way you will ever be adequate is to take a spoonful of Dr. Elitism’s magic formula and carefully follow the instructions, never deviating from them, no matter what new problems you encounter and you will find success. Is it any wonder so few are willing to get engaged when this is what we have been indoctrinated to believe?