Monday, November 15, 2010

The Tea Party and History

A brilliant article by Corey Robin in the new Harper's places the Tea Party in the context of the conservative tradition:

"People on the left often fail to realize this, but conservatism does indeed speak to and for people who have lost something. The loss may be as material as a portion of one's income or as ethereal as a sense of standing. It may be of something that was never legitimately owned in the first place. Even so, nothing is ever so cherished as that which we no longer possess...The chief aim of the loser is not preservation or protection but recovery and restoration, and that is the secret of conservatism's success. Because his losses are recent, the conservative can credibly claim that his goals are practical and achievable. Whereas the left's program of redistribution raises the question of whether its beneficiaries are truly prepared to wield the powers they seek, the conservative project of restoration suffers from no such problem. Unlike the revolutionary, moreover, who faces the nearly impossible task of empowering the powerless, the conservative asks his followers to do more of what they have always done."

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