One Word Turns the Tea Party Around

Did you ever watch one of those football blooper reels, where guys run for touchdowns in the wrong direction?


Sometimes they look really good doing it: fast, agile, determined. None of their teammates can catch up and turn them around.

This last year or two I’ve been feeling that way about the Tea Party — not the corporate lobbyists who run the organizations or the billionaires who fund them, but the rank-and-file types who wave signs and bring their babies to rallies. A few are the stereotypic gun-toting racists, but a lot of others are low-to-middle-class folks who have figured a few things out:

  • Honest, hard-working Americans are seeing their opportunities dry up.
  • The country is dominated by a small self-serving elite.
  • Our democracy is threatened.
  • The public is told a lot of lies.
  • People need to stand up and make their voices heard.
  • If we stand together, we’re not as helpless as we seem.

I could go on, but you get the idea. They’re on to something. The country needs people like this carrying the ball, if only they weren’t running the wrong way.

How they should turn around is pretty easy to describe. Tea Partiers think:

The threat to our way of life comes from government, and the solution is to shrink government while freeing corporations from government control.

Just flip government and corporations in that sentence:

The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.

Perfect. Now you can explain things like too-big-to-fail banks gambling trillions on the unregulated credit-default-swap market, sinking the economy, and then getting the taxpayers to cover their losses.

And more: Did the USDA put salmonella in our meat? No, meat-packing corporations did. And they’ve got enough lawyer-and-lobbyist power to keep the USDA regulators at bay. Did the EPA dump raw oil into the Gulf of Mexico? No, BP did. They cut corners on safety and no regulator was in a position to stop them. Did the government kill the 29 miners at Upper Big Branch coal mine? No, Massey Energy did, and had enough clout to keep the mine going even after inspectors had found more than 500 safety violations.

By getting the government/corporation thing backwards, the Tea Party has channeled populist anger into the idea that corporations need even more power. Get those mean bureaucrats off the back of poor, beleaguered Goldmann Sachs. If we just let the Koch brothers’ paper plants dump more phosphorous into Wisconsin’s rivers, the economy will be fine. Let’s kill off the unions, and then the corporations that own the mines and the factories will treat working people with more respect. Let corporate money flow freely into political campaigns, and then the voice of ordinary Americans will really be heard in Washington.

Guys! The goal line is over here!

On the other hand, the government/corporate flip fixes just about all the Tea Party rhetoric. For example, John Boehner was trying to pander to the Tea Party when he said:

The bigger the government the smaller the people.

But what if he had said “The bigger the corporations, the smaller the people”? That would have been really insightful, and (among other things) would have explained why the working class needs more unions, not less.

Go to one of those Tea Party web sites full of their favorite anti-government quotes. Do the flip to make them anti-corporate, and you’ve got rhetoric that’s dead-on:

When one gets in bed with corporations, one must expect the diseases they spread. — Ron Paul

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and corporations to gain ground. — Thomas Jefferson

The corporate solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem. — Milton Friedman

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where a corporation is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission. — Ayn Rand

Ronald Reagan becomes the font of wisdom Tea Partiers believe he is:

In this present crisis, corporations are not the solution to our problem; corporations are the problem.

A corporation is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.

Lord Acton said power corrupts. Surely then, if this is true, the more power we give the corporations the more corrupt they will become.

Man is not free unless corporations are limited.

“We the people” tell the corporations what to do, they don’t tell us.

After the flip, even Sarah Palin makes sense:

People know something has gone terribly wrong with our corporations and they have gotten so far off track.

Grover Norquist is still a radical, but now he’s attacking the right problem:

We want to reduce the size of corporations in half as a percentage of GNP over the next 25 years. We want to reduce the number of people depending on corporations so there is more autonomy and more free citizens.

Here’s another rhetoric-flipping trick: Replace Washington with Wall Street. Then Rand Paul has it right:

Wall Street is horribly broken. I think we stand on a precipice. We are encountering a day of reckoning and this movement, this Tea Party movement, is a message to Wall Street that we’re unhappy and that we want things done differently.

Go Rand! Go Tea Party!

Now let’s translate the Founders:

A corporation, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. — Thomas Paine

It is error alone which needs the support of the corporate media. Truth can stand by itself. — Thomas Jefferson

If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in our corporations, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin. — Samuel Adams

Like fire, the corporation is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. — George Washington

When you understand who today’s powerful elite really is, many of the Tea Party’s favorite Founder-quotes don’t need any translation:

The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite. — Thomas Jefferson

All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. — James Madison

There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. — James Madison

So true, James. Little by little we are losing our privacy, our access to information, and even our political system to the corporations.

And in spite of the economic collapse Wall Street’s machinations have brought upon us, how do we explain the market-worship we see all over the corporate media? The 19th-century French economist Frederic Bastiat had that one nailed:

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

I got that from the Venango County Tea Party Patriots. Again, no translation is necessary once you know which way to look.

But that’s the real problem with the Tea Party rank-and-file: Like the guns of Singapore, they’re facing the sea when the attack comes over land. They know they’re under somebody’s thumb, but they’re confused about whose thumb it is. So when they strike back, they swing at the wrong guys.

If any Tea Partiers have read this far, I’m sure they think I’m the one who has it backwards. But I ask you, as you run free and clear towards the goal line: Whose goal line is that? Look up in the stands and see who’s cheering for you: The billionaires. The CEOs. The traders on the floor of the big exchanges. The investment bankers.

Isn’t that just a little strange? Have they all suddenly started rooting for everyday middle-class Americans?

Or are you running the wrong way?

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Comments

  • cantabarrister  On August 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Could it not be the case that both corporations AND governments are run by self-serving elites? It seems to me that government was once intended to represent the people and to protect the people from the corporations, but that now government only represents itself, and governments are usually closely allied to the corporations. And this is the case in Britain as well as in the US.

    • John  On August 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Perhaps they seem so similar because government is now in the hands of corporations and other special interests. At least the people could regain control of the government just by electing officials who understand the problem. Getting back control of corporations is a bit harder.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

        I agree with you except I don’t think it’s as simple as just electing other people (though getting some real Progressives into government couldn’t hurt). The problem is how much money it takes to get elected and reelected. It makes politicians slaves to money-hunting. But how do we get money out of elections? Mechanically, the solution is publicly funded elections — that’s simple. The problem is how to get there from here. The politicians can’t vote that in because they are under pressure from funders not to — they could only do it if all of them went for it at once. And there’s no federal initiative process for The People to do it. So, how do we get there?
        The only way to reduce the power of corporations, now that the government is completely in their hands, is to take away their money. Don’t patronize them. That’s pretty difficult. Anybody got any ideas?

      • weeklysift  On August 21, 2011 at 7:44 am

        Following up on Kim’s comment: There are corporations you can’t avoid without totally re-arranging your life, but a lot of them you can. More and more, I’m using a credit union instead of a bank, buying vegetables at farmers’ markets rather than the supermarket, eating at local restaurants rather than national chains, and so on.

        I don’t think that’s a complete solution, but it is a step in the right direction. A slice of every dollar I give to a big corporation is going to be used to fight against me politically. I try to bear that in mind.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm

        Doug — We do the same — We shop at locally owned stores as much as we can, we go to the farmers’ market, we put some of our accounts into a local credit union owned by the workers and investors. But clothing is one thing that it’s hard to get locally made unless you have a lot of money. Thrift shops are a good idea for that. big items like appliances and cars, we are pretty much stuck with big corporations or used. I really miss that website called Buy Blue that let you know where the big companies stood politically.
        The other thing we are going to do is start a factory. We are hoping to do it in a small town in the USA — and try to revitalize the economy of at least that small town by trying to get our employees to also shop and bank as locally as possible. If our product sells well and we are successful, we hope to franchise it and do the same in other small towns. It may be just a dream, but it may really happen too…. (It’s a solar electric generator.)

    • Anonymous  On August 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      Cantabarraster, you are correct. But it is not our government that is the problem, it is that we the people are not in control of our own government. The balance of power within government is off. Weakening government just makes corporations more in control. The Tea Party solution of liassez faire is completely handing the riegns of power over to an oligarchy. We have no balance between the classes in our government, and it has to be achieved. Being off balance either way is dangerous for all of us, the rich and the working classes.

    • Anonymous  On September 20, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      totally agree….corporations are in bed with government and vise/versa…..all corrupt

  • Dawn  On August 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Brilliant…as usual.

  • Libertarian Conservative  On August 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    “The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.”

    We agree, and once you understand that, you’ll understand why we’re against big government. When corporations run the government, the last thing you want to do is make government more powerful. Corporations can’t rob me of my property or liberty except through the state.

    • weeklysift  On August 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Without government, though, corporations CAN rob you of your life. Ask the widows of the asbestos workers. Without government, nobody is collecting the data necessary to make complex claims against murderous corporations.

    • Kim Cooper  On August 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      On the contrary, corporations can, indeed, rob you of your property and liberty. They do it by convincing people like you to take away government power, so the government can no longer stop them from robbing you.
      The government, in a democracy, is us. It is our representative in the halls of power. By de-powering one of the few bits of power We The People have, you give more power to large corporations, which have no consciences, and have executives who cannot, on pain of losing their jobs, exercise any personal conscience.
      The government can be fixed, the corporations are hopelessly broken and corrupt. Capitalism as practiced in our culture is well past its prime and being kept alive by extraordinary means. The corporations practice socialism and then accuse the government of being socialist, which it isn’t. If the government were functional, all that money that went to high-priced corporate no-bid contracts in war and disaster, would have not gone to them, but to We the People in the form of benefits: stuff we all (mostly) agreed to pool our money for, like free education, roads, inspections, dams, law enforcement, fire fighters, health care, etc. We would have money to spend on ourselves if the corporations and a few individuals weren’t stealing it.

      • Gnuly  On September 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

        Give me a break Ms. Lenin.

    • Amy Zucker Morgenstern  On August 28, 2011 at 4:10 am

      Libertarian Conservative wrote:

      “Corporations can’t rob me of my property or liberty except through the state.”

      Sure they can. They do it all the time. To pick two of literally millions of possible examples:

      Love Canal: a case of a corporation making others’ property uninhabitable through poison http://library.buffalo.edu/lovecanal/

      Transbay Steel: a case of a corporation robbing employees of their liberty by hiring them with fraudulent promises http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-8-06.cfm

      There is a way to prevent corporations from robbing you of your property or liberty, however: the people create a legislature to pass laws, a judicial system to enforce them, and a police force to seek evidence. All functions of the state.

      • Mickey T. Hobart  On September 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        The people did not create a legislature to pass lass, a judicial system to enforce them, and a police force to seek evidence. The state is not “us”. And yet it has the unjust power to enslave you for war, to tell you what you can’t consume, to tell you the minimum price you can sell your labor, to tell you whether you can practice a trade or profession, to take your property as it wishes, to beat you and throw you in a cage if you disobey, and so on.

        The corporate system is a corruption of commerce by the state. It is the state that is the problem.

    • David Burress  On September 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      Libertarians who claim to fear big corporations yet oppose government or labor union power over corporations live in a magical universe. Outside of science fiction, big corporations can’t be opposed successfully by isolated individuals. But any time people try to unite libertarians cry foul. In the real world, you have to join together with the lesser threat against the greater threat.

  • NM Ray  On August 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    King George III would be envious of the power and wealth of the Koch Brothers, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch, and the right wing opinion machine. He never knew that with a little patience, wealth and media expertise, he could destroy all the efforts of those pesky patriots like Washington, Jefferson, Thomas Paine and old Ben Franklin!

    • Ivan  On January 31, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Happy Wordless Wednesday Love the attitude!Come by and link up to my linky too . . . and check out the Cool Canines! Have a wodefrnul Wednesday . . . GinaGina Alfani recently posted..

  • Rowan  On August 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    It’s axiomatic that by shrinking corporate influence you downsize the needed government to oversee it.

    The “less government” deregulation was the cause of the banking crisis. Of course, then the banks went screaming to the government for their bailout.

    Bill Maher was right when he said in his 5 August 2011 New Rules that we need bunch of crazed, no-compromise, Keynesian liberals in congress to throw the down the gauntlet to the tea baggers until they relent.

    Doug, that was perfect! loved it. Traveling throughout Australia for the past couple of months, I’ve seen the exact conditions from conservative politicians wreck havoc on middle-class Aussies who, like Americans, continue to vote against their own best interests.

  • Shane L Harris  On August 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    This is a genius post.

  • Paul Cubbage  On August 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    All of you working for corporations should tell your boss that it needs to be shrunk and BTW, you are going to work for the benign government. It’s the only honest thing to do when you are employed for evil purposes.

    I’ve heard stupider ideas but not much:
    “The threat to our way of life comes from corporations, and the solution is to shrink corporations while freeing government from corporate control.”

    Shrink them enough and there are no taxes and no government.

    • gregory  On August 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

      @paul, don’t you believe in the free market? limit the size and power of corporations, and if they leave a void to be filled, then small independent businesses will again rise to fill the gaps. not only do giant corporations treat workers as inhuman expenses to be cut and controlled, they also use their massive leverage to either buy out or crush small business competitors. besides corporations are government created entities, you ever hear of a corporate charter? to form a corporation, you have to fill out a charter application and pay the government regular charter fees, or it would not exist at all! corporations are not natural, they are not individuals, they are not people.

      • Paul Cubbage  On August 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

        ..don’t you believe in the free market? limit the size and power of corporations…
        That’s an oxymoronic statement with an emphasis on moron. If corporations are limited in size and power they are not free in the market.
        Quite a generalization about corporations. Is that all corporations, some, those you don’t like, or just those in the New York-Washington nexus?
        Government licenses and regulates corporations, it doesn’t create them. Ma and pa are natural. Get them to build a skyscraper for you.
        If taxes are 100% there is no business but lots of commissars. If taxes are 0$ there is no government nor order. We’re looking for the best mix. (See Laffer)

    • Kim Cooper  On August 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      “Shrink them enough and there are no taxes and no government.”

      Now, that’s one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard. If there weren’t big companies, there would be small ones. There would be more jobs, therefore more taxes paid, and the government would be doing just fine as to income.

  • Marianne Kramer  On August 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    One of your points in the begining about the “low to middle class folks who have figured a few things out” is not valid because we live in a REPUBLIC, not a democracy. See, your bullet-points are pretty good, except you don’t know what kind of government you really live in. We have always had the people with the most in charge and property owners – from the start. I’m glad of that because the average Joe can’t even figure out how far up his pants should be and I see too many butt-cracks every day… GOD BLESS OUR REPUBLIC!!!

  • Andrew Yool  On August 26, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Great article, and magnificent sporting analogy. That said, to be fair to the corporations, they’re just behaving in the manner one should expect of organisations set up with the primary purpose of maximising the financial gain for themselves (CC-PP game). If that means interfering in elections they’re not entitled to vote in to improve stock price, then so be it – it’s not illegal after all. One should be surprised (and suspicious) if it were any other way. It makes them blind to anything that happens off the balance sheet, but as long as we (The People) appreciate that and ensure that governance is enacted to counter this, it isn’t the end of the world. In their proper places, corporations and governments serve different, and complementary, ends. We don’t need to get all “good” and “evil” about it.

  • Jeffery Boes  On August 26, 2011 at 7:32 am

    This is fun!

    “[A corporation] isn’t the answer for running health care any more than it’s the answer for running Amtrak or the Post Office.” — Willard “Mitt” Romney

    • Dinara  On January 31, 2013 at 11:17 am

      There is bound to be a lot of unsatisfactory relsuts from buying glasses online.Not only is the product very cheap ( I don’t mean inexpensive ) , but there is no way a precision instrument like eyeglasses can be done right without even seeing the person.I’ve been doing it for almost 39 years, and I wouldn’t try buying a frame for myself from a picture, so how is the layman supposed to be able to get it right ?And of course most people have no clue as to what type of lens is best for them either, so they just choose whatever , without any knowledge of the advantage or disadvantage of each type in their specific case.So, you put all that together , and most glasses from those places aren’t what the consumer expected at all.I don’t think that a domain like that , that people have taken courses in to learn properly, can be done properly by the layman who’s only knowledge about it is the fact that he thinks he is getting a bargain.At the prices they charge, you really do get what you pay for.

  • stretchwithme  On August 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    It is the activities of government that create opportunities for corporations to corrupt officials. If government weren’t regulating the banks, there’d be no constant corporate pressure to look the other way and then bail them out.

    Consumers would have to decide whether a bank’s risk profile makes sense instead of relying assuming government is doing it, which, as it turns out, is a faulty assumption.

    This even extends to completely banned industries like the drug trade. The more the government interferes with drug trafficking across the border, the more payoffs and threats border patrol officers receive.

    Using force, which is what government is, has many unintended side effects. Voluntary contracts avoid many of them.

    When seeking to help others with their affairs, we individually don’t force others to do what we want. When 2 people make a voluntary agreement, both benefit. When one forces the other, only one typically benefits and the other loses.

    Other than violations of of individual rights, there’s no reason to believe that force is somehow superior to voluntary action collectively for most things. And there are plenty of failures to point to, that’s for sure.

    • Brightwater  On August 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      “It is the activities of government that create opportunities for corporations to corrupt officials.”

      If there were no government regulation of corporations, do you really think that polluters would stop polluting? That producers and sellers of contaminated and unhealthy food would clean up their acts? That companies that treat their workers like dirt would suddenly start offering them health benefits, pensions, and profit sharing again? You have more faith in human nature than I do.

      • Mickey T. Hobart  On September 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm

        It takes an awful lot of faith in human nature to believe that it is just for some group to have the power to preemptively limit what others can do on their property, to tell people on what conditions they may accept or offer employment, to tell people they can consume, to throw people in a cage if they don’t hand over their property, and so on.

  • Todd Adamson  On September 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Truly great piece. I just discovered your site today, and have read a few really good pieces already. Thanks!

    Just this morning, before ever reading this, I was thinking of a situation that is also analogous to a “Wrong Way Runner.” It’s so disheartening to hear all of the criticism of the current administration, especially the more shrill and broad criticisms, coming from the right-wing talking heads. First, it’s disheartening because a good bit of it is true. But what’s even more demoralizing is that most of the people don’t even know *why* it’s true, or more accurately *how deeply true* it really is.

    They’re just regurgitating losing-side talking points that change hands every four years or so. Most of them actually believe that things would have been different with McCain/Palin, or could be different with Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, etc. The arguments stay silly and superficial, never diving into the truly unpleasant truths, thus playing right into the hands of the corporate elite. As long as we think it’s D vs. R, middle-class vs. poor, us vs. them, we will keep getting abused.

    We don’t need to elect different politicians. That will never lead to progress. We need a different economic model entirely, and that won’t come until we have redefined the electoral system.

  • Ron  On September 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Great essay, posted it on our facebook page, so our 12,000+ fans can take a look. Ethical Reporters Against Faux News

    http://www.facebook.com/ERAFN

  • Rob  On September 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    There is no way this guy didn’t ride the short bus to school, and it is without doubt he missed most of the days in school

  • Russ Nelson (@russnelson)  On September 19, 2011 at 12:52 am

    The enemy is Mercantilism. That is what Adam Smith was warning us about. Free markets aren’t the cause of mercantilism, they are the solution to it. So the more that progressives call for regulation of corporations, the worse mercantilism gets.

  • Caryl~marie  On September 19, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Very interesting!

  • Matthew Florio  On September 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I like the article, but it gets something basic very wrong. The Tea Party is just as “against” corporations as it is government. It is against concentrated power in almost all forms. Our small-government premise is that if you shrink government and remove its power to defy market forces, corporations like Goldman Sachs would have already dried up and blown away with the wind, victims of their own dubious practices. Government rode to the rescue of the banks and corporations BECAUSE IT COULD. So the choice, for us, is clear. You can either have a government that CAN allocate trillions of dollars of the nation’s wealth as it sees fit, in which case it is the crap-shoot of “who’s in power” as to where those trillions go; or, you can have a government that is restrained from riding to ANYONE’S rescue (in the larger sense. We’re not talking about wholly dismantling all societal safety nets), and let people, and corporations, feel the full consequences, for good or ill, of their own behaviors. There is no functional way to say that government can only spend billions upon billions propping up private companies when you, personally, agree with their intended target. Either they can do it, or they can’t.
    To “free government from corporatist control”, you can do one of two things. You can limit the behavior of people who have money, or you can restrain government from interceding on their behalf. We choose the latter, because it is truer to the ideas of liberty, and that a person may do with their own property as they see fit.

  • Marc  On September 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Great article.

    By the way, the Massey Energy mine was the Upper Big Branch mine, not “bend”.

  • Amy Zucker Morgenstern  On September 20, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Mickey wrote, in a comment that isn’t flagged “Reply” for some reason:

    The people did not create a legislature to pass lass, a judicial system to enforce them, and a police force to seek evidence.

    Maybe we don’t live in the same country. This is from the constitution of mine:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
    establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
    defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
    ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
    United States of America. . . .

    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the
    United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives . . . .

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and
    Excises . . . . [many other powers are then listed] . . . .

    The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under
    this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which
    shall be made, under their Authority . . . .

    Etc.

    You ask the fascinating question of what is meant by “us” (I’m sorry I find your answer too simplistic to be nearly as interesting as the question). The above-quoted document was not, of course, ratified by us. It was not even ratified by the United States citizens of the time. It was ratified by their chosen representatives–representatives chosen by a small minority of the residents, arbitrarily given that power when others of a different race or sex or ethnic background were denied it. Nevertheless, I think it holds up pretty well, and it most definitely creates a legislature and judiciary, who in turn empower the police.

    We could of course throw out constitutional government and do away with a state altogether. I personally don’t want to live in a stateless land where whoever is physically strongest or fortuitously richest makes the rules. I could happily be an anarchist in a land of Odonians, but you don’t sound very Odonian to me. Too fond of property.

  • Granni G  On September 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Good job!

  • Granni G  On September 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    GOOD JOB!!

  • The Ghost  On September 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Companies make war not governments. Companies have dictatorships, have imprisioned millions unjustly and have murdered tens of millions not governments. Companies never go bankrupt even when they have no money, but governments do. Companies are only dissolved through violence, not governments. Companies are never held accountable and the leaders cannot be sued, only governments. People prefer to live in dangerous and bad countries rather than work for dangerous or bad companies. It is harder to leave a company you hate than it is to leave a country you hate. Never trust a company and always trust the government. A government would never enslave its own people but a company would. People in government are good, trustworthy and know what’s best. They always have and always will be that way. If people comprise both governments and companies, then the issue must be with people. If companies are evil, then what of a government that spends $4 trillion a year, has a military, biological and nuclear weapons, controls the educational system, has the ability to print money, can pass and execute laws, can financially rescue companies it sees fit to do so, has never made a vaccine, a car, a toy, a tv dinner, an iPod, a train. I think my fear is not with companies. My fear is with government and ALL those think they know what is best for me and relish in its being. When leaders and journalist prop up oppressive governments under the guise of explaining the error of my ways begin to fear me, then that is liberty. If a government is corrupt enough to take a bribe from a company 1/1,000th its size and you complain that the company is taking advantage of the government, you have to be kidding me. Making it bigger certainly won’t make it any better. It obviously isn’t working the way it is. So why not make it smaller, more accountable, and go spend the dollars on something more fruitful.

  • Anonymous  On September 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    This makes even more sense when one actually remembers what the Boston Tea Party was all about—Americans were put off by British government support in the form of the monopoly on tea granted to the East India Tea Company. If only the tea partiers analyzed their history correctly, they’d realize that what they should be opposing is government support (i.e., Republican) for corporations who are oppressing them and stealing their money (Wall Street and the banks).

  • Anonymous  On September 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Interesting read , fun and well written. However :
    Do you believe it might be possible that the Americans whom align themselves with the Tea Party movement are patriots that actually get it ? The election of Obama will , in time , prove to be a “just in time event”.
    How else would Americans have become aware of what is happening in our country . Where success is critized , being wealthy is a crime to humanity and large ( anything ) is an affront to those waiting for someone to take care of them. Most Americans are going to work ( 90%+) , taking vacations , attending worship service , enjoying sports events , time with their family and planning for retirement. Unaware of the damage being done to the foundations of their country.
    The Tea Party is like sunlight to a cockroach. The Liberals , Progressives or whatever label they wear are on the run. Even the media provides little cover – thanks to FOX news.
    The elected officials , at all levels , have bankrupted this country ( federal , state and cities ).
    Ronald Regan was right when he stated ” it is not that the Democrats do not know a lot , it is just that what they know is wrong”.
    My hope is that the tide will turn on 2012 when the electorate will send Obama back to where his talents lay , community organizing.
    It would also seem to me that in order to actually believe what you have written , that you have missed a great deal of reading on subjects that have substance and balance.Would like to suggest the following :
    – “Basic Economics” Thomas Sowell
    – “Of Paradise and Power” – Robert Kagan
    – “Liberty and Tyranny” – Mark Levin
    – “America Alone” – Mark Steyn

    In summary , I would like to quote the following:
    “It does not require a majority to prevail , but rather an irate , tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds” – Samuel Adams

    • weeklysift  On September 25, 2011 at 6:48 am

      success is critized , being wealthy is a crime to humanity and large ( anything ) is an affront to those waiting for someone to take care of them

      I know it is an article of faith on the Right that these views are common on the Left, but in fact they aren’t. I think you would have a hard time finding actual examples of people who promote such ideas.

  • Rebb  On September 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Corporations, big or small, unlike the government must manage their money and produce a good or a service that people want to use or buy . If they fail at providing what people want or mismanage their business they are history. Governments job is not to run or interfere in private business, but to protect the public . The governments mismanagement has caused a serious problem of confidence( we now have a AA rating) . “evil” corporations consist of many liberal owners and creators, Ophrah , steve jobs(apple) Huffington , etc. Starbucks, whole foods, and on and on, corporations come and go, but to say they are the problem is simply mindless and ignorant. Government can be controlled by elections and I think they will speak to the heart of this article . The peo ple will vote out those that adhere to this old fashion blather presented here.

  • Gnuly  On September 26, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I can choose whether or not to buy products from, or invest in a corporation. Or to start my own corporation. With the government I have no such choice. You argument is so full of crap, you should call this blog “The weakly sh*t”.

    • Ruptured Structure  On September 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      The irony of people who really believe they have so much choice is always a little amusing. But also completely demoralizing.

      • Gnuly  On September 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm

        You’re right about not having “so much choice”. In fact, I have no choice but to view you as an intellectual idiot. Truly disheartening. Ok, now I’m off to do some real work. In an evil corporation. Good luck sitting on your butt, whining about unions not having enough power, and government not being intrusive enough or confiscatory enough in our lives.

  • Scottie  On September 30, 2011 at 10:23 am

    A well written, but completely misguided article. Corporations are just as evil as governments when they are fueled by a banking system which never needs to risk it’s own capital. You need to read up on Reserve Banking and Fiat currency to understand the root of the issue. We must make go the and corporations financially accountable for their actions by returning to the gold standard, as it dictates in our Constitution. And we must end the practice of reserve banking to cut ties between banks and government. Banks must be forced to risk their own capital, not steal taxpayer money.

    Tea Party parrots like Ron Paul have known this for years and they are not afraid to make End the Fed a core of their campaigns.

    • weeklysift  On November 21, 2011 at 8:03 am

      The only thing I can find in the Constitution about money is Article I, Section 8: “Congress shall have the power … to borrow money on the credit of the United States … to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin.”

      To say that the Constitution mandates the gold standard seems to me as big a stretch as anything liberals have done to the Commerce Clause.

  • Roger  On November 20, 2011 at 3:09 am

    Doug, Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern’s blog mentioned this post, and it’s one of the most persuasive political commentaries I’ve seen for a while. I hope you’ll find a variety of ways to broadcast this message. The closing question, “Who’s cheering for you as you run toward the goal line,” is especially eye-opening.

    Roger Schriner
    Blog: Theists & Atheists: Communication & Common Ground, http://theistsandatheists.wordpress.com

Trackbacks

  • [...] in this week’s lead article, I find myself thinking that people are looking in the wrong direction. Asking why rioters take [...]

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  • [...] I was thoroughly impressed with the pieces I’ve read so far, and I just had to highlight THIS one, comparing the Tea Party to the infamous Wrong Way Marshall. Great piece of work, [...]

  • By Strategies « The Weekly Sift on September 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

    [...] last week, except for continuing interest in Why I Am Not a Libertarian (18K total views) and One Word Turns Around the Tea Party (7K). (Between them they’re still accounting for more than half the blog’s traffic.) [...]

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    [...] reposted to Daily Kos – the first time I ever hit that list two days in a row. Meanwhile, One Word Turns the Tea Party Around was having a third burst of popularity, and is now up to 17,000 views. I don’t know how long [...]

  • [...] The OccuParty has aimed its frustration, anger and outrage at the correct target – Corporate America.  For all its populist swagger, the Tea Party kept trying to blame the government, President Obama, Communists, Socialists, and your grandma for the ills of America.  Much of what’s wrong with America is that we are no longer a nation of, by and for the people – we are a nation of, by and for corporate interests.  The rights of corporate personhood have replaced the rights of flesh and blood personhood.  This is common sense stuff.    For a wonderful curriculum on Corporate Personhood, Constitutional law and the problems it has created for us (and how to fix this situation) see The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund’s Danial Pennock Democracy School online.  I’m certainly not the only one, nor the first one to notice this about the Tea Party. Doug Muder has a great essay about this here. [...]

  • [...] One Word Turns the Tea Party Around, Doug Muder [...]

  • By Milton Croteau on November 24, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Milton Croteau…

    Really enjoyed this blog article. Cool….

  • By The State of the Sift « The Weekly Sift on December 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    [...] views (68K), with 58K coming on one day. Add in Why I’m Not a Libertarian (21K), and One Word Turns the Tea Party Around (18K) and you’re over 100,000. Other posts that got kiloviews are Turn the Shame Around [...]

  • [...] In short, a movement that billed itself as returning power to ordinary people instead has implemented a pro-corporate, pro-billionaire agenda. Vague slogans co-opted well meaning Americans at the grass roots into working to benefit the 1%. (I urged them to reconsider this summer by comparing them to football players who run the wrong way.) [...]

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