Understanding the TEA Party

Over the last few months I’ve seen the TEA Party people accused of racism, violence, extremism (see my last post) and more. And most recently, director Rob Reiner has expressed the fear that the stupid TEA Party participants are ripe to be manipulated by a charismatic leader.  By the way, the irony of that opinion coming from an Obama supporter must break irony records, if there is such a thing as an irony record.

Today I was eating my tuna sandwich and pea soup combo with MSNBC playing in the corner of the deli when I heard unidentified MSNBC pundits explaining that the TEA Party couldn’t be very effective in the future without some kind of organization or leadership.

This leadership thing really has the media suffering a case of cognitive dissonance. The Left has a real problem coming to grips with the idea that Philosopher Kings are unnecessary. That might say something about their willingness to parrot the opinions of the Central Committee. Moreover, they’ve been searching in vain for a TEA Party leader to be the focus of their demagoguery and venom and they are frustrated with their failure to find such a target.

But the organization of the TEA Party movement isn’t that hard to understand if you are willing to look outside the Marxist Dialectic or the latest Move-On talking points. In fact, the answers are a couple of hundred years old. I think it was Adam Smith who first explained the notion of spontaneous organization or self-organizing systems. Today there is ground breaking research in self-organizing systems in such fields as bionomics.

Say you are in a theater or a shopping mall and a fire breaks out. Would you need a “leader” to tell you what to do? You would either fight the fire or flee. Either way, you and your colleagues in tragedy would work together to solve the problem.

Now say you lived in a country with politicians who were completely irresponsible and even destructive, threatening you with unmanageable debt and the failure of several Federal social institutions. Would it take some kind of fearless “leader” to motivate you to do everything in your power to depose said politicians? And if a great number of your fellow citizens felt the same way and were also motivated to depose politicians, wouldn’t the result be effective even without the fearless leader? Well, there you have the TEA Party movement.

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