Are the TEA Party Groups Libertarian?

My eyes just about popped out the other day when I heard someone say the TEA Party folks are libertarian. Not the ones I met.

The TEA Party seems to be about less government spending but not on everything. They use the Constitution to oppose bailouts, but they don’t oppose the Republican plan for healthcare spending. (They do have one, even though the Democrats say they don’t.) A libertarian opposes ALL government spending related to healthcare. Libertarians also oppose government meddling of any kind in healthcare. Government meddling is what got us into this mess in the first place.

The TEA Party supports the wars (undeclared wars) as well as torture. At least the individuals I spoke with think it’s OK to torture suspected terrorists. There was no convincing them otherwise, even when I pointed out that it’s against the law and we lose our moral authority when we tell others not to do what we are willing to do. A libertarian will support a war against a foreign government that attacks us, but not against a group of thugs that ought to be brought to justice by use of existing laws. Our military is not supposed to be used in a law enforcement capacity, we ought not OK treatment for a group that is wrong for individuals…there are just so many problems with all this!

The TEA Party members I spoke with would say that marriage is between a man and a woman. I say that, too, but I question why the state is involved in a spiritual covenant in the first place. Why don’t we allow any two people who want to draw up a legal contract to do so and let churches conduct marriage ceremonies? I pointed out that this takes the discussion – which is really an argument now – to a different level. We could talk to people about their soul and show a bit of love and care for them as human beings, rather than this whole thing being a matter of us telling them what we will allow them to do. That’s when their eyes rolled and their jaws dropped, and I began to think I was not in the company of like-minded folks.

I don’t think the TEA Party is as concerned about the Constitution as they may think they are. The impression I get is they want Washington to follow it as far as they want to go with it. Just ask them to refuse FEMA  disaster assistance, or any entitlement they are entitled to, and see what their reaction is. Their support of candidates is also mixed. They like some good ones, and they like some doozies. I realize there are 387 TEA Party MeetUp groups with 31,688 members, and I only have spoken with a handful. But that handful was not libertarian. Someone suggested that folks like the ones I spoke with are neo-con plants, but I don’t think so. I think it’s probably a pretty mixed group. Until it all shakes down and we can see exactly what they stand for as a group – they are only about a year old – let’s not call them libertarian.

For the curious readers here, I’ll offer this bit of advice. When I want to know more about the libertarian views, I don’t go to the Party website. As we have all seen in recent years, parties can lose their way, and I am not a member of any party. I go to The Future of Freedom Foundation website. (www.fff.org) This is a think tank that advocates libertarian ideas and was founded in 1989 by Jacob Hornberger, who said, “I believe in individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government. Period. No exceptions.” If this idea scares you, you ought to ask yourself why. This is, after all, what this country was founded on.

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