Friday, October 8, 2010

A Third Party Option: Part I

The Republicans have realized during the last presidential elections that they can't sell themselves any longer to anybody but the most rabid religious fanatics and the wealthiest Wall Street crooks. The young people overwhelmingly supported Obama, and the Republican efforts to attract this promising demographic (for example, Megan McCain's clumsy blogging) have failed miserably. The punishing recession also turned a huge segment of the population against the Republicans whose war-mongering and elitism got us into this mess in the first place.

In the aftermath of the 2008 elections, pundits of all political persuasions started suggesting that the Republicans need to overhaul their image dramatically in order to make themselves palatable to anybody other than members of the fundamentalist fringe. That, however, would require a lot of effort, which is something the Republicans genuinely dislike. So they came up with an idea that is pure genius in its simplicity: exploit the Americans' yearnings for a third party alternative.

The so-called Libertarian / Tea Party movement is a perfect decoy for the Republican goal of bringing the young voters back into the fold and getting them to swallow the patriarchal message of the Republicans. Ostensibly, the Libertarians proclaim an agenda of liberation from all kind of oppressive authority. The young people are understandably fed up with their parents' and teachers' authority over their lives. As a result, they turn to what, in their adolescent ignorance, they confuse for a genuine chance of liberation.

Youth is the time in one's life when one feels strong, energetic, capable of achieving anything and changing the world in the process. So the Libertarian fallacy of complete self-sufficiency and self-reliance appeals to these kids. They are still too young and inexperienced to see how misguided this pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps agenda is. They are incapable of imagining that sometimes unplanned contingencies, such as illness and job loss, can get in the way of even the most valiant bootstrap pulling.

(To be continued...)
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Snarky Writer said...

I read your other post first because that's how they come up in my blogger feed, but I have to say here that I don't think the Tea Party movement is truly libertarian. They may be calling themselves that, but they tend too far to the right of center (where libertarianism is pretty center) for me to consider them libertarian (and I consider myself libertarian, as I've mentioned).

Clarissa said...

SW: As I said on other occasions, I don't have any problem with people who are and havebeen libertarian for a long time and really know what it means because they have studied the sources, etc. I sympathize with many things libertarians maintain. This is why this current Tea Party craze with its undigested bits and pieces of libertarian thought is so annoying to me. These people use the terminology and the philosophy they don't understand to push a decidedly fundementalist, oppressive way of being onto everybody.