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Shooting the Sleeping Dog

March 30th, 2010 by Jim May · 17 Comments · Uncategorized

There’s a huge, full-court press on right now to paint the Tea Party movement as being just the usual “right-wing extremism“.  Even Obama is doing his bit to feed this meme.  It’s sufficiently pervasive that even my non-political friends are noticing it — and some of its participants are hyperventilating so fast that they are literally seeing things that aren’t there.

As I’ve occasionally heard and said, you know you are over the target when you start receiving flak.  This action confirms to me that the Left is extremely scared of the Tea Party movement — and as is usual with these things, the surface details being fed to us by the mainstream media are meant to obscure and misdirect, not to inform.

As we all know, if the Tea Party really were the sort of racists that the Left says they are — if such people really were “the core” of that movement –  the Left would not be this frightened.  Racism of that sort remains on the fringe — and the sort of racism that IS given a pass is Leftist in origin anyhow.  The Left is comfortable with this sort of “enemy”.

What they fear, is the potential return of their old, genuine foe:  Americanism, and the Enlightenment notion of the morally sovereign individual it expresses.  It’s not the bigoted crazies that they are afraid of –  it’s the politically sane people who might be there amongst the Tea Partiers; actual Americans, who know at some level that the alternative facing us is individualist liberty, or collectivist bondage — not merely a choice of rulers.

They are afraid of those who might pass this simple test.

Of all the sleeping dogs that might wake up, those are the ones the Left wants to stay asleep — permanently.

Does the Tea Party in fact portend a revival of Americanism?  I don’t know.  Conservatives are already moving to co-opt them, and I think that the common, misguided association of conservatism with Americanism greatly facilitates that.

But the Left doesn’t seem to share that expectation.  They clearly fear the potential return of Americanism — and I hope that fear is justified.

17 Comments so far ↓

  • madmax

    Regarding the Tea-Parties-as-Racist meme, it is so pervasive, Letterman, during his monologue, made a joke – something to the effect “its got as much black in it as a Tea Party rally; i.e. none.” The audience gave a big laugh.

    Even broader, if you go to any serious left-liberal’s blog, you will see post after post arguing that the Right is becoming radicalized and extremist and violent. The Left’s strategy here is to paint the Right as so inherently dangerous that they need to be regulated out of existence. And that is the Left’s ultimate goal – to eliminate all non-Leftist ideas and movements from America. They want to destroy the Right-Wing totally. This is standard revolutionary Marxism and yet they paint themselves as moderate.

  • Fareed

    I’ve always wondered why the left dislike individual moral sovereignty. For example politico described Ryan’s (R) healthcare proposal as “dramatically different approach in which much more risk is loaded onto individuals and their families” as if its a bad thing. Then you have other senators who suggested that his reform would leave citizens to “Wall street’s whims”

    what exactly do they despise about it. Is that the fact that we will be less dependent on them

  • Myrhaf

    The left was successful in the ’90s at linking the militia movement with mainstream Republicans. Clinton blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on Rush Limbaugh. Thus I do not think the recent FBI raids on militias is a coincidence. I believe Obama wants people to associate the Tea Party movement with the militias. If people think, “They’re all a bunch of crazies,” then the Democrats don’t have to answer the right’s objections. Better to demonize than to have to defend statism on its merits.

  • Kyle Haight

    This could also be the purpose of that astroturfed ‘Coffee Party’ pseudo-movement. The decline in the left’s political fortune is driven by their loss of support among independent voters. What to do? A two-pronged solution — paint the Tea Parties as racist and violent, to drive the independents away, and create a seeming alternate safe haven for them to move to. The stick and the carrot. Of course it should go without saying that the carrot’s ideological core is thoroughly altruist and collectivist, ensuring that those pesky individualistic ideas don’t get a hearing.

    If this is correct, expect to see a push for a really bad immigration reform bill sometime before the election. There’s nothing like immigration to let you paint your opponents as racist. This will be doubly dangerous as the Tea Party’s likely position on immigration is inconsistent with the principle of individual rights, which makes the issue an exploitable ideological fracture point.

  • L-C

    And immigration could also provide a “look over here!” effect that takes the focus away from the ongoing construction of the welfare state. Such immigrants might be “encouraged” to vote for…? Yeah. And opposing that …? would paint you as a…!

    Might be speculation on my part, but immigration and welfare are synergistic tools in the context of statism.

  • madmax

    I agree with L-C. Immigration is a powder-keg of an issue and it has the potential to discredit the Tea Party movement. As it is, Tancredo is a big hit at Tea Party rallies and his main point is anti-immigration. The Left thinks of Tancredo as a racist because of this and because he (quite rightly) believes that Islam itself is the enemy. If the Tea Part were to come out strongly against open immigration (which it will), then this would make it a sitting duck for accusations of “racism”.

    If I were a Leftist, I would push even harder for amnesty then I did for socialist medicine. Amnesty will bring out the absolute worst on the Right. Further, it will create a civil war atmosphere on the Right as well as many Rightists think that anyone Right-Winger who believes in open immigration is a traitor. I have seen myself how many Conservatives HATE Objectivism because of its open immigration position. Obama’s presidency is a Blitzkrieg on liberty. There is no respite from the Left’s despotic intentions.

  • dismuke

    The problem and potential danger for the Left is that painting the Tea Party participants as racist flies in the face of reality which is immediately obvious to anyone who has ever been to such an event. The utter injustice of such a charge serves only to strengthen the resolve of the Tea Party participants and further moves them down the path of realizing that the Left is not merely misguided but has an agenda that is profoundly evil. And for independents who actually know Tea Party participants who they know are not racist – well, it undermines both the credibility of the Left and their dutiful shills in the Walter Duranty media.

    A lot of time, I suspect that the primary purpose of such accusations is not so much to convince non-Leftists but rather as damage control to keep their own sympathizers in line and docile. So the Tea Party raises points and makes arguments that clearly exposes the Left’s authoritarian agenda. Well, those nasty words make people feel uncomfortable and it is not like the Left isn’t authoritarian. Things like words and facts and arguments are potentially dangerous – they might wake people up out of their stupor and cause their minds to actually think for themselves and challenge what they have been taught all their lives. So accusations that the Tea Party is nothing more than a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic kooks basically gives the Left’s sympathizers permission to dismiss any doubts that the Tea Party might have raised in what’s left of their minds and go back to sleep. It is basically a way of telling them: “pay no attention to WHAT they say – just focus on WHO is saying it and take our word that they are nasty, mean and naughty people.” And for those who are far more than mere sympathizers with the Left – such accusations serve as very convenient rationalizations to EVADE anything and everything uncomfortable that their opponents might bring up.

    As for immigration – well, that too could backfire big time for the Left. Sure, the Right has some major problems when it comes to this issue. But it is not like the Left is exactly in favor of immigration because it is concerned about individuals seeking liberty and opportunity for a better life brought about by upward mobility – the Left is thoroughly contemptuous of both. And certainly the Left is not in favor of it because they are concerned about the rights of businesses to hire whoever they would like.

    The Left’s primary concern with regards to immigration is to import as many future wards of the State and, therefore, clients of the Left as possible. They want more people to add to the welfare rolls, to the public housing roles, to the Obamacare rolls. America doesn’t have enough victims to prevent Leftists from being thrown out of office. And there are no longer enough union members – non governmental union membership is now a very small percentage of the workforce. So their solution is to import new victims and new union recruits. These immigrants may come across the border in search of liberty and a better life – but that is NOT what the Left has in mind for them.

    What is the difference between Obama and Hugo Chavez other than polish and demeanor? I actually make an effort to keep up with what is going on in Venezuela and the ONLY difference I see between the two is the degree to which they are allowed to get away with an agenda that is, as far as I can tell, more or less identical. One of the things that Chavez has that Obama does not have is a HUGE mob of illiterate and desperately poor peasants who live in filthy shanties and hovels in slums around Caracas that extend on seemingly forever. By their sheer numbers that mob has the ultimate veto on anything that goes on in Venezuela – and by buying that mob off that Hugo Chavez has been able to consolidate his power. And, in recent years, he has been radicalizing and arming elements of it so that, in the event he is removed from office by the military (increasingly unlikely as it has now been heavily infiltrated by elements brought in from Castro’s Cuba) or some other type of coup he will have an immediate and very dangerous guerrilla force to defend his regime and, at the very least, to make sure if Chavez is taken out, the whole country will go down with him in a chaotic bloodbath.

    We don’t have anything even remotely like that in the USA – not even in the worse urban ‘hood. But that IS what the Left’s vision of the lower classes ought to be like – not hard working, self sufficient blue collar types living comfortable lives but a desperately poor mob dependent upon the political class for their every ration coupon and crumb of bread. And since we don’t have such people here – well, the Left would very much like to import them. And creating such an underclass won’t be all that hard. Just get the poor fools flooding across the border looking for a better life hooked on the welfare state, indoctrinate their kids in classes taught by teachers who speak a language that most Americans do not understand and hope that the kids make lots of babies and go on welfare as opposed to graduating and trying to pursue the American Dream that once motivated their parents.

    But a LOT of people are on to the Left on this – and in the middle of a recession and massive deficits, the notion of importing people into this country for the sake of putting them on the Obamacare rolls isn’t going to sit well with people.

    When the Left says it is for immigration – well, it does NOT mean the same thing as when I or most Objectivists say that they are for immigration.

  • madmax

    Dismuke’s comment should be its own post. Its just too good to be buried in the comment’s section.

  • L-C

    Good post, dismuke.

    “These immigrants may come across the border in search of liberty and a better life – but that is NOT what the Left has in mind for them.”

    Nor what they themselves will have in mind when immigrating, if such a welfare state is constructed and advertised. Trust me on this…

  • dismuke

    madmax – Thanks for your nice comment. Problem with putting up an actual post is I would have to edit it which takes more time. Just went back and reread what I put up last night. A few sentences do not make sense and the reader has to guess or fill in the blanks on the meaning. And – well, I have this bad habit of saying “well” too much, it seems. I don’t feel as bad about putting “stream of consciousness” thoughts in a comment.

    L-C What we will also see is a completely different type of immigrant than what we are used to seeing. In America, immigrants have tended to come from the very best elements of their home countries. Moving away from everything that is familiar and going to a strange country where people speak a different language and where you are at the very bottom of the social and economic ladder and perhaps even looked down on by many is certainly not easy and, short of fleeing for one’s life, it takes a certain kind of person to be willing to do it.

    Traditionally, immigrants who came to this country have been the sort of people who appreciated and wanted to take advantage of that which made America unique. But, since the economic downturn, many of those people are starting to go back home. Either the jobs they once held are no longer available or employers are now finding that they no longer have problems finding legal workers who are willing to fill the position.

    If the Left gets its way, we will end up seeing an entirely different class of immigrant than we are used to. Those who seek opportunity will not come in as large numbers as was once the case because nobody is going to be allowed to pursue opportunity – the welfare state and its crippling taxes and regulations will ensure European style stagnation which will kill off most opportunity for upward mobility. Instead, the new type of immigrants that will come here will be the type who see that our Obama and Pelosi have much deeper pockets and hand out lots more goodies than the Obama and Pelosi equivalents in Mexico City or Caracas. And this new type of immigrant will also come from that portion of society that has already fallen under the sphere of influence of the not insignificant anti-American Marxist element that exists in most less developed countries. Thus these new immigrants will not only have an entitlement mentality, they will come equipped with a hatred for this country and be more than willing to be radicalized and take marching orders from the Left and assorted union leaders and front groups such as ACORN because they are already familiar with being similarly manipulated back home. In other words, rather than drawing from the best that their home countries had to offer, the new type of immigrants will start drawing from the worst elements in those societies.

    If you want a preview, look at Europe and see how well immigration from the Middle East and Africa has worked there. Immigrants in Europe are VERY different than the sort of immigrants we have known over here who have typically had a very beneficial impact on the economy and American society. Because European economies are socialist, they are stagnant so there is little opportunity for the immigrant population to do anything other than to go on the dole and remain in their highly segregated ghettos and stew over the evil of the Great Satan and the West. Immigrants in Europe do NOT eventually integrate into society. Part of this has to do with the not insignificant degree of chauvinism that exists in most European countries. But most of it has to do with economic stagnation. The reason immigrants integrate so well in the United States is because economic integration eventually leads to social and cultural integration. Economic integration is not possible for most immigrants in Europe and will soon be impossible in this country if the Left is not stopped.

    If the Left is not stopped, what you will see over here is a flood of immigrants who do NOT integrate into our society either economically or socially. Rather, they will be despised by most Americans who will view them either as parasites or as competitors for welfare state benefits and union jobs. And this new type of immigrant, rather than being willing to start at the bottom and work their way up, will come here with a pre-existing anti-Americanism and be filled with envy and resentment when they look around and see people with a higher standard of living – which, of course, will only reinforce the contempt that Americans develop towards them which, in turn, will only deepen the immigrants resentments. In a couple of generations, we will have a ticking time bomb just like the one that now exists in Europe. But, there will at least be a reliable block of people who can easily be worked up to go to the polling place every couple of years and dutifully push the “D” button.

    Again, the Left is not interested in immigration for ANY legitimate freedom based reason. We don’t have enough dependent, resentful, anti-American wards of the state rabble in this country – so the Left seeks to import some. And THAT is their ONLY interest and motive when it comes to the subject of immigration.

  • C. Andrew

    Dismuke’s stream of consciousness is more integrated than most of the “thinkers” on the conservative side of the aisle.

    I’ve often thought that the immigrants coming to the US have a better grasp of the American Dream than those raised within the public school system. But if Dismuke is right then that will no longer be true.

    Regarding the mob; didn’t Marat, Robespierre and Danton use them to great effect in the Terror? Given their premises, is there any question that Pelosi Reid and Obama would want one of their very own?

    Perhaps that could be the title of the essay. “A Mob of Their Own.”

  • madmax


    Your comments on immigration are better than pretty much anything that I have read from Rightist pundits and bloggers. But what would the best immigration policy be now given America as it is and given the Left as it is. And what should Objectivists be advocating on immigration? Many Objectivists, especially on HBL, are calling for opening up the borders totally now. Maybe I am wrong, but to me that seems like suicide. Our culture is sick. It just can’t assimilate mass 3rd world immigration.

  • Jim May

    Dismuke: if editing and quality is why you don’t put these things up as posts, consider making use of OEditors. Email Diana Hsieh for deets on that.

    As for the Left’s purpose with immigration, that is why I am not completely sold on opening up the borders right now; for me, that s something that should be done towards the end of the very long process of restoring liberty in America, as a later step in phasing out the welfare state.

    I say that as an immigrant who is intimately familiar with the arbitrary nature of the existing process — and yet who was willing to play by the rules, because the end result was still worth it.

    Here’s an analysis of what the Left may be up to in regards to “swamping the vote”:

    Simply put; they are not legislating for this current electorate. They are legislating for the electorate-to-come, the one that will exist after Amnesty is granted to 15-30 million new Democrat voters.

    I don’t necessarily buy this, but it fits with Dismuke’s point about why the Left favors open borders.

    As with abortion and gay marriage, when the Left coincides with an individual-rights position, it cannot possibly be on the grounds of individual rights, to which they are fundamentally hostile; it must be ulterior motives.

  • Andrew Dalton


    I wouldn’t make the issue of opening our borders a political priority now, and there is a good argument to be made that it cannot be done until other aspects of our government move substantially in the direction of liberty.

    However, it is important to oppose conservatives who argue that our current imperfect condition justifies *more* controls on immigration. That kind of thinking is precisely the statist “ratchet” (controls become permanent and breed further controls) that has been operating since the Progressive era.

  • L-C

    Dismuke, let me express a big “indeed” to your post. Everything you say “will” happen is already a fact here.

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