It will also mark my entrance into this area of activism. I plan to attend and take an active role in the March, along with my daughter Susan and wife Kathy. I will discuss this further on my blog, Principled Perspectives, in coming weeks.
In the meantime, as my vacation lull continues, I am republishing the following LTEs relating to this subject, along with my commentary response. The letters and my response appeared originally in the New Jersey Star-Ledger Reader Forum of April 22, 2009.
Tea Parties Past and Present
From the Star-Ledger Reader Forum, April 22, 2009
Defends tea partyers
I object vehemently to the charges by reader Lawrence Uniglicht in his letter to the Readers Forum, ("No tea for me, thank you," April 18) that all those protesting increases in taxes and an overspending government are malcontents and clowns. I suggest people look at Govs. Jim McGreevey and Jon Corzine, and Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez if they want to see clowns.
The protesters did not throw tea into Boston Harbor to start a war with England, but peacefully assembled to protest a fearful trend by a Democratic Congress and administration to take away our constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that our founders fought so hard to win. Protesters were from all walks of life. They did not break store windows, overturn and set fires to cars, or fight with the police. They personified what Americans are -- hard-working, law-abiding, and moral citizens.
As for constructive ideas from the Republicans, tea party opponents should know there were many proposals that were denied by the Democrats in Congress, mainly because they would be successful in restoring the economy to the way it was before 2006. That was the year the left-wing voted in a Democratic Congress, and we have been sinking toward socialism ever since.
-- Richard A. Ketay, Newark
History doesn't repeat
Once again, the American people are responding like sheep. A case in point is the recent "tea parties" across the country.
Had protesters been paying attention, they would realize the tax rate on the wealthy will only increase from 36-39 percent, far below the 90 percent rate under President Dwight Eisenhower.
The nationwide tea party, which was created to oppose taxation, borrowed its name from the Boston Tea Party. As a history teacher, let me take the opportunity to remind the American public that the Boston Tea Party was not about taxes. It was staged to protest the monopoly being granted to the East India Tea Company by Prime Minster Lord North, who was a primary investor in the company.
-- James O'Brien, Bayonne
Posted by Zemack on 04/22/09 at 7:23PM
James O'Brien, the history teacher, doesn't understand the significance of today's Tea Parties, or of the philosophical common denominator linking them to the original Boston Tea Party. Richard A. Ketay does. The fundamental principle linking both across a span of centuries is a profoundly moral one...the uniquely American concept that the individual's life is his and does not belong to any "higher power" such as a king, warlord, democratic majority, state, priest, president, or ayatollah. That principle is embodied in the doctrine of unalienable individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
The concrete issues are different, but the principle is the same. Any government-imposed monopoly such as the East India Tea Company is a violation of individual rights because it forcibly bans individuals from exercising their liberty to promote their lives through the freedom of production and trade in a particular market. Today's protestors are not concerned with some narrow issue such as 3% in the income tax code. Rather, the massive confiscation of wealth through deficit spending and the forced transfer of wealth to politically connected failed corporations and irresponsible mortgage borrowers are what concern the protestors. This will be paid for either through direct, massive tax increases or through the inflationary back door...the confiscation of the purchasing power of our money through the government printing press.
Worse still is the use of the financial crisis as a cover for a breathtaking dictatorial economic power grab by government through its regulatory apparatus. This, despite the fact that it was the massive buildup over the years of government interference in the housing and mortgage markets, as well as the central bank money monopoly called the federal reserve system, that caused the crisis to begin with. The statist policies of Bush and Obama are a direct assault on America's founding principles of individual rights and a government limited to protecting those rights.
I find it fascinating that Mr. O,Brien chooses to call today's protestors "sheep" for rising to defend individual rights, which means the right and responsibility of each of us to take charge of our own lives. In contrast, President Obama constantly demands that we suspend our own judgement and our selfish concern for our rights (the "old, stale" arguments, as he puts it) in order to "come together" to solve our nations problems. This language is a euphemism for relinquishing control of our lives to central planning ideologues who seek to consolidate federal control over private contracts and corporate governance, energy, healthcare, education, food production, finance and investments, etc.
Who are the real sheep? It is certainly not the Tea Party protestors, many if not most of whom are attempting to build an individual rights coalition to push back against the rising tide of statism sweeping Washington, D.C.