Sunday, March 01, 2009
We had a Tea Party rally in NYC yesterday, on short notice it drew about 200 people. There is a risk that the urge to self indulgent behavior bleeds over into protests against self indulgent behavior. Most of the rally was excellent but in any voluntary group activity there is the problem that people bring their personal enthusiasms and sometimes the most motivated are the least stable. In other words someone is sure to start ranting about something like religion and conspiracies. This is bad for two reasons. First because it is a distraction from what should be a focused message that unites people in a movement and second because even if they are correct in their perspective, it could be true, the enthusiast is so off putting as to discredit any cause they associate with. Voltaire described the religious enthusiast 250 years ago and his perspective that they are fit objects for derision has guided us since. That is why Sarah Palin aroused such reflexive contempt without regard to the issues intended by the Republicans.
The Obama administration is trying a complicated trick. They want to make the Americans accept a European social compact even as the European model is failing in front of us. This is like Saruman's error in The Two Towers, when he tried to deal with his enemies piece-meal as the others watched.