Monday, May 31, 2010

"They are apocalyptic pessimists about public life and childlike optimists swaddled in self-esteem when it comes to their own powers. "

Via this excellent BHTV diavlog comes a link to this must-read piece on the underlying mindset of the Tea Parties, and the modern conservative movement, by Mark Lilla:

Now an angry group of Americans wants to be freer still—free from government agencies that protect their health, wealth, and well-being; free from problems and policies too difficult to understand; free from parties and coalitions; free from experts who think they know better than they do; free from politicians who don’t talk or look like they do (and Barack Obama certainly doesn’t). They want to say what they have to say without fear of contradiction, and then hear someone on television tell them they’re right. They don’t want the rule of the people, though that’s what they say. They want to be people without rules—and, who knows, they may succeed. This is America, where wishes come true. And where no one remembers the adage “Beware what you wish for.”

Read the whole thing. The way I see it, it's as if they want freedom, for free. Freedom to criticize, free of criticism. Freedom from hard choices. Freedom from expertise. Freedom from the real world. It's as if they say, "give my liberty, and as for the rest of you..."

The anger is real, and a lot of it has to do with real frustration over real crises. Blaming the government, the media, Obama, the Democrats, etc, is easy. Trying to maintain coherence by railing against government, and cuts in Medicare at the same time, is hard. Coming up with solutions is hard. It's one thing to want to be free, but freedom is hard.

Happy Memorial Day, and in which we honor our bravest men and women, who've paid the ultimate price for freedom, and continue to pay it every day.

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