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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Why Statists Are Attacking the Tea Party


The upside to the Tea Party movement — the one that has the welfare-warfare crowd so consternated — is that its members are not behaving as the good, little citizen-automatons that epitomize the statist crowd. The Tea Partiers are asking questions and they’re challenging the establishment paradigm, a real no-no in the eyes of welfare-warfare statists.

There are two primary issues that are common to Tea Partiers: first, concern over out-of-control federal spending and debt, and, second, the U.S. Constitution.

Those two issues are what have statists, both on the welfare side and the warfare side, extremely concerned, causing them to increasingly go on the attack against the “extremism” of the Tea Partiers.

Why are the statists engaging in such a preemptive attack? After all, it’s not as if these two issues — federal spending and debt and the U.S. Constitution — are really all that controversial in and of themselves.

It’s because the statists know that if an increasing number of Americans are thinking — and especially about these two particular issues — they might well come up with the right answers, and it’s those answers that absolutely scare the statists to death.

That’s precisely why statists love the good, little citizen automatons that the public (i.e., government) schools are committed to churning out — that is, people who might complain about politicians or bureaucratic inefficiencies but who are mentally or psychologically incapable of thinking outside the box and challenging the moral, economic, and constitutional legitimacy of the entire statist paradigm itself.

The downside to the Tea Party movement is that most of them have still not figured out the solution to the mess in which statists have mired our nation: that is, abolish, don’t reform, all the federal programs, departments, and agencies on which all that spending and debt are going for, including the welfare-state programs that the Framers never envisioned would be implemented by the federal government and that only came into existence during the statist regime of Franklin Roosevelt as well as the massive Cold War, national-security-state warfare machine that came into existence at the end of World War II.

I’m referring to such New Deal welfare-state programs as Social Security as well as Medicare, Medicaid, public (i.e., government) schooling, unemployment compensation, and welfare, which have their ideological roots in German socialism, not Americanism. It’s not a coincidence that the Social Security Administration has a bust of the Iron Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, prominently and proudly displayed on its website.

The Tea Party types are still looking through a glass darkly. They oppose out-of-control federal spending and debt and uphold the Constitution, but they’re still committed to maintaining the socialistic welfare state and the imperialist warfare state that American statists have foisted upon our land.

Consider the endless occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan or the entire U.S. overseas military empire, with its more than 700 bases in some 130 countries. How often do you hear Tea Party types calling for the immediate end of those occupations, or for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Korea, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and elsewhere, or the dismantling of the standing army or the military-industrial complex?

Alas, hardly ever.

Yet, where in the Constitution is the federal government given the power to establish a vast overseas military empire, the power to police the world, the power to wage wars of aggression, to power to torture, the power to establish secret prison camps, the power to kidnap, the power to conspire with brutal dictatorial regimes to torture people, the power to assassinate people, or the power to wage presidential wars without a congressional declaration of war?


Consider the drug war, one of the federal government’s most immoral, destructive, expensive, and failed wars in history. Where is the federal power to criminalize drugs delegated in the Constitution?


Yet, how many Tea Partiers openly call for drug legalization? Very few.

All too many Tea Partiers think that the solution to the mess in which America is mired is simply to get “new” people — e.g., Tea Partiers — in public office. They have yet to realize that the crisis facing our nation is not a “right person” problem but rather a systemic problem — that is, the rejection of a paradigm based on individual freedom, economic liberty, private property, and a limited-government republic and the embrace of a paradigm based on socialism, interventionism, imperialism, and statism.

The problem with the Tea Party is that it still hasn’t thought through the logical ramifications of the two issues that unite it. But the reason the statists are so nervous and worried is that when people are thinking and questioning, the possibility exists that they might yet arrive at the right solution.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.