Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Barone on Tea Parties

Here is Michael Barone's outline of the difference between the liberty lovers and the lovers of expanding government (Founders and Progressives).  He is right in implying that Obama has raised the issue in a different way than say, Carter, and the Founders' school response then was to argue in favor of lower taxes (and not simply to starve government), and therefore the current (Tea Party) response is different: Obama now explicitly argues for increasing the size and scope of government, and those who want to conserve the freedom in the Revolution response is to argue against that more capacious and aggressive Progessivism by reminding folks that liberty is our goal, and dependence on government is bad for folks who like freedom.
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Curious to know if others think as I do--that while the Tea Partiers are a response to a particular "moment," they are also the trickle-down result of many years of vindicating and promoting the founders on the part of a) Jaffa-ites and other Strauss-influenced types, b) the defenders of originalist jurisprudence, and c) the broader defense of civic literacy conducted by curriculur conservatives of various stripes and partisan affiliations. c) would include those of the 'republican' school on the founding like Gordon Wood who have moderate instincts. To switch metaphors, the scholarship and activity over the years are now bearing fruits more politically quantifiable and tangible than they have in the past. Exhibit A would be the various places in which Mark Levin's influential Liberty and Tyranny cites the (excellent) U. Dallas Jaffa-ite scholars Thomas West and Ronald Pestritto.

Obviously, the Ashbrook center can take a bow for its part in this. Among other things, to those who don't already know, the on-line library here on the side-bar is an absolute treasure trove. The means for producing high-quality autodidacts on things American are there.

Oh, and while I love Barone and this column, I cannot help but say that it's tad too simplistic. Annoying academic tic, I know, but I cannot stop it. The self-understanding of the statist proggies of days bygone, and especially the self-understanding of the statist proggies of today, is not quite what we get from Barone. By no means does this mean that his understanding of what they're about is inferior to their own understanding, as the contrary is the case, but it is important to report as best one can what people really believe about their own activity--this is how the "MSM," after all, has so far blown it in its presentation of the Tea Partiers.

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