Some Political Philosophy, Courtesy of the 9/12 Rally
The tea party movement was born, in large part, as a response to a political class that was assuming that no serious public discussion was needed about whether bigger, more centralized government was better, whenever the government declared that bigger, more centralized government was necessary. Contra to this idea, an important feature of the 2009 tea party rallies has been vigorous discussions of the proper scope of government and of the relationship between government and the individual.
Linked below are four short audio clips from Saturday’s 9/12 rally at the Rhode Island statehouse, from speakers who were willing to take on some big ideas about civics, rights and self-government…
- Speaker John Franceschi took up the question of rights, associated responsibilities and basic limitations on rights: “…our rights are only naturally limited by our responsibilities not to infringe upon the rights of others…“
- Speaker Dean Fashon offered a tea-flavored version of existentialism: “We must endeavor to fight the good fight and seize the initiative in all of life’s struggles, to make the best of them and thus make the best of ourselves, circumstances be damned…“
- Though I personally find the objectivist view to be overly stark in places, Speaker Dale Graessle’s full-on objectivist take on the evolution of the meaning of “rights” concisely laid out some issues that should be hashed out in the public square, especially in light of the current healthcare debate: “…today people see rights as rights to whatever they happen to need…“
- Finally, speaker Colleen Conley offered some thoughts that, in a very important way, tied this all together: “The great battles in the defense of freedom are not fought between people of different political parties. The great battles in our history were fought by Americans, Americans of all stripes who resolved to fight together for freedom…“
Starting with Ms. Conley’s remarks and working backwards, what as a society and as a country do we all really all agree on is the foundation for working together, whether through government or outside? Where can Americans reasonably agree to disagree, and where do we have to press harder, towards better mutual understandings?
Signs, literally, of dissatisfaction with America’s current political leaders…