Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Poisoned brew, astroturf tea

Tea Party members and sympathizers of the internet: I know you exist, because I’ve visited many of your sites and blogs, and many of you have reciprocated. I address this review, and recommend this story, to you because I understand that most if not all of you genuinely believe in freedom, and you’re concerned to find your liberty melting away as the economy sputters, its vaunted “recovery” reaching to the boardroom, but not to your alarmingly depleted bank account.

Regular marionettes

Regular marionettes: Stanley Milgram would know this
for what it is.
[ Image Source ]

Like most of you, I struggle daily for subsistence. I am no senator’s son, no favorite of fortune, that I can escape or transcend the million converging threats to my family’s safety, health and freedom of choice. I am, in a phrase, scared ----less. And I am angrier than I have ever been in my life.

Fear and fury, however, are strange things. They are instinctual responses to danger and attacks on our birthright as human beings, common to all, and they serve a necessary function: to motivate us to change the conditions that threaten us. But when the threats are diffuse, when their actual source is far from us and hidden, fear and fury can become panic and blind rage.

It is then that plausible liars can most easily manipulate, misdirect and deceive us. And since they, too, are everywhere, it is a terrible and constant struggle not to fall victim to their blandishments.

Such liars fund and control the Tea Party movement, misdirecting the fear and fury of millions of Americans against other Americans who are at least as threatened by loss of liberty and the means of subsistence as they: the poor, the racial minority, the Muslim, the mentally ill, the congenital misfit: the unoffending scapegoats whose sufferings will now be amplified by new miseries as they find themselves the objects of campaigns of vilification directed by the precise people who gain by our national loss. These scapegoats were never our real enemy: They are merely convenient targets, and our real enemy has made unstinting use of them to distract enough of us enough of the time that it can continue to despoil us.

I will not ask you to take my word for any of this. But as you love liberty and hate oppression, as you care for the future world our posterity must inhabit, as you seek truth and despise lies, and as you respect me for my intelligence and integrity, I do ask you to study the Tea Party and the dark forces that shadow its aims as their money provides the substance of the shadow. If you still wish to support it, I will not gainsay your choice; but do so with full understanding of what it stands for: the dark as well as the light, the reality as well as the rhetoric. And consider carefully, as you fight for freedom, exactly whose freedom you are being called upon to defend.

Originally published as a review of a monbiot.com article on the origins of the Tea Party.

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