Debating with the Tea Party

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I’ve heard murmurs of the Tea Party in circles of debate, but I never bothered to find out exactly what they stand for – All I assumed is that they were becoming a 3rd party in America’s democracy, which I thought was a good thing as a Liberal Democrat. You see, as  a Brit that’s lived under 4 Tory governments, I couldn’t understand the discord with Obama’s politics, which have….well…been successful in boosting the economy with Keynesian style politics, I thought it should be a message to Europe! I still believe in the dangers of multi-national corporations, but this is where I and the Tea party fundamentally disagree.

I always join political groups, looking for a way to gauge world views and philosophy’s, that’s when I stumbled upon PoliticsNsuch. Unknowingly I pretty much joined the unofficial Tea Party page. I advocate a social democracy, and I was literally outnumbered with cries of anger “you hypocrite, YOU save vulnerable children if you care so much” and “It’s my right to not pay tax!”.

The conversation sparked anger within the first two comments, but became reasonable with passive persistence. The premise of the thread, was they believe in living by one soul ‘right’- the right to look after your own interest and property, and to not violate others interests and property. Now is it me?, or does that scream of paradoxes. So Instead, I wanted to question the moral philosophy of this ideal – “What about others round the world, are you going to stop dictators denying them the right you have” This provoked what I can only describe as a squawk of rhetoric, a flurry of definitions of what a “right” means, and, again, the usual insults, Trump style.  How did talking about dictators get to this? In fact they were calling me the dictator for making them contribute to the progress of others.

So on to the next “right” I believe in, the right for clean water. The response was again based around definitions combined with these hilarious responses “Charlies using a laptop and phone, he’s being selfish to the poor!”. Somewhat bemused at what, passive responses and respect can do to these ,reverse- trolls!, I persisted. Eventually the barrage of insults gets fairly unproductive, and I question why I’m not currently doing the dishes in the kitchen, before I simply agreed to disagree and told them, that it’s all part of the democratic process to define rights, and we’ll see.

Finally after a few hours of free-from-Facebook time, so my girlfriend could stop hating me, I stupidly checked the group page, completely convinced that I would not comment to anything. And there was the statement that convinced me to persist, “No one gets to define my rights, I do, and you can f*** off if you think you can”

Not only was there a chance to delve deeper into the humanity of these human beings, but there was also a curiosity about American politics that needed to be fulfilled. So I quoted them the bill of rights was democratically decided, and I promise you it wasn’t until the next day – my girlfriends mood had shifted to infuriated by this point –  I actually received anything but different varieties of “your stupid” in the debate. Isn’t it interesting that the people, that think a mob is shouting down their rights , currently look like a mob shouting down your rights.

So after one reasonably nice lady asked what I was suggesting, FINALLY, I spoke about something very simple, swapping corporation subsidies for foreign aid. –  By this point I’m on my phone locked out of the house – It was peculiar, the host of the page (Elliot) asked me “so your basically saying I have to contribute money to the poor, by ‘the mob’ putting a gun to my head”, now to be fair there were plenty of comments stating that, contributing to the poor was good, it just wasn’t a vulnerable persons right for aid. This ‘Elliot’ persisted throughout the thread “ WHO VIOLATED THEIR RIGHTS FOR WATER!!” I think at this point as empathetic human beings, we fail in debate. Because rather than continue with a debate –  which is turning into twisted definitions that  humans should have blanket coverage with one right , with no contradictions – we try to coax empathy, some shred of understanding for fellow living creatures.

And there-in lies a chink in our armour, our sensitivity. This leads to articles bemoaning delusion people for caring to much with the heart, and not thinking enough with the head. These kinds of people shout “RHETORIC!!! RHETORIC!!!!, whilst simultaneously giving no clear response and calling you stupid – or though by this point its led to members stalking my Facebook page, not for contradictions of moral philosophy, but simply  to make fun of me for being Australian, and my girlfriends complexion. This is both funny and scary, funny because I’m British, scary because it seems like Fox is poisoning peoples consumerist, elitist souls. Ok I’m being very judgemental and hypocritical about their intentions, turns out insults can change you, maybe that’s where humanities problems start.

At what point does this inward looking craze get out of control?. When pressed about how society decides the rights of human beings, a reply said, and I quote “I would bring a gun to the mob table, should even the odds 😉 “ As you can Imagine I asked “what if they all have guns” to be met by another strange reply “we would all decide democratically or have a war of attrition”. Who would you have a war with? with each other? Or are you saying that you would decide as groups, to have war, voting to decide the rights of each group within that war??? By this point – I’m not only very cold outside – but I realized I simply wanted to understand that point of view, I wanted to be in their shoes. But it feels like I’d be joining a life based on people who are angry at tax, a blame mob culture based on self interest, and feel that they deserve more than any other human being on the planet, and they base it on the delusion that they’re in a meritocratic society.

After an amusing attempt by the Tea Party group, to vote me out on a poll, they followed with congratulating each other on their triumph of collective bullying, although I was just amused that they couldn’t see the paradox with their collective thinking, and their mob culture. Then came Godwins law, usually reserved as a defence mechanism for UKIP candidates, I was called Hitler. In fact it went further, I (apparently) believed in the holocaust because Nazi’s formed a majority. Comments by the administrator stated, that in fact, I supported slavery, due to the ‘majority’ belief at the time. Rather than divulge deeper to this point, I simply asked “if a majority believe in something, who are you to say different?”. The very premise lost to these troglodytes, is that rights are definable, the bill of rights is part of a democratic process, rights are called amendments and, well I don’t know if these guys understand the definition of amendment.

Now the pièce de résistance, and the most telling value I can take from what might be a useless, and physically cold, exercise of understanding. Bearing in mind the thread has reached 500 comments with everyone shouting that I either, was akin to most evil people in history, or I’m so incredibly stupid to the point that special schools will have to put me in a down syndrome class, actual quote. The moderator and a few others, stated that the bill of rights was “decided by values of the Creator”, apart from the glaring contraction that people have different definitions of our “Creator”, is this all some subconscious white supremacy/religious issue? It’s one of those contradictions that is so obvious, and so infuriating during a form of mob harassment, you seriously question your own sanity.

For the record, I’ve started to learn more about the movement, and I feel for these Americans, we are all in a system with systemic problems of corporations without rules or regulations, chewing up the very concept of a free market. But the same institutions funnel a divided, self-interest philosophy to these people, focusing hate on any progress towards a truly meritocratic society

Before I leave this useful tool of venting, I want to show a scenario of their dystopian dream of the followers of Madmax. Imagine a world where without any public service, everything is privately owned. There is no regulation, so huge companies aggressively dominate each other economically, that’s apparently not a violation of any rights.

All products will be on a full spectrum of health and safety issues, maybe the richest can afford the only things that work and wont kill you? The reality is, that the Tea Party believe in a world where having the most money and stuff, is the definition of success. And the problem at the root of this, is that they don’t believe in the ability for human beings to enslave people’s rights economically.