Arthur C. Brooks of The American Enterprise Institute describes the new "culture war" in the US, one pitting free-enterprise versus government control. His identification of free-enterprise AS a cultural issue is new to me, and I find it particularly persuasive. Indeed, the contrast of Euro-slaves marching in the streets to protest a feared new era of government accountability, with the Tea Party marching in the US to demand such accountability, is striking. We ARE culturally different than Europe, and the march toward statism her is inconsistent with the prevailing culture.
I see in Brooks' words the first real "root cause" analysis of what is motivating the Tea Party movement--at least the first one I've read that makes sense to me. What we see in the Tea Party is an organic, basic rejection of a perceived threat to our very culture. Words such as Brooks' have motivated the Conservative cognoscenti for years--but it was only when some indescribable line was crossed--perhaps it was TARP, perhaps the auto bailouts, maybe the "stimulus bill", that people began to question whether there wasn't something very, very wrong going on in Washington--far more so than any usual griping and grousing about government. People across the country have awakened to the threat of creeping statism--and they have taken to the streets in a deeply emotional--but also deeply American way.
The Republican Party MUST tap into this emotion, but it must also attempt to shape it with serious policy options and a repudiation of its own time in the leadership of Congress, when it greatly expanded the role of government at the same time it severed the relationship of many of the governed from the government through tax policies that have removed nearly half of all wage-earners from contributing to the general operations of the federal government.
There's work to do, friends. Let's get to it.
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