Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Personal Responsibility Among Tea Partiers

Atlantic Magazine has published an essay by Michael Kinsey that contends there is nothing patriotic about the Tea Party Patriots. In it Kinsey makes an astute observation about the concept of personal responsibility among Tea Partiers:
"Personal responsibility" has been a great conservative theme in recent decades, in response to the growth of the welfare state. It is a common theme among TPPs -- even in response to health-care reform, as if losing your job and then getting cancer is something you shouldn't have allowed to happen to yourself. But these days, conservatives far outdo liberals in excusing citizens from personal responsibility. To the TPPs, all of our problems are the fault of the government, and the government is a great "other," a hideous monster over which we have no control. It spends our money and runs up vast deficits for mysterious reasons all its own. At bottom, this is a suspicion not of government but of democracy. After all, who elected this monster?

This kind of talk is doubly self-indulgent. First, it's just not true. Second, it's obviously untrue. The government's main function these days is writing checks to old people. These checks allow people to retire and pursue avocations such as going to Tea Party rallies. This basic fact about the government is no great secret.

1 comment:

Sam Davis said...

I remember an old song by Gary McSpaden titled, "Our Kids Are Listening to the Things We Do."
People in the TEA Parties can talk all they want but it's their actions that define their movement. Not al are racist or espouse violence but they show no impetus in toning down the rhetoric.

I'm hoping this is just a passing fad; if not we could be in for a long rough ride.