The Wal-Mart Hippies

David Brooks disses tea partiers, the ‘New Left’ and conspiracy theorists in the New York Times (where else?):

About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

Today, another social movement has arisen. The people we loosely call the Tea Partiers also want to destroy the establishment. They also want to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

There are many differences between the New Left and the Tea Partiers. One was on the left, the other is on the right. One was bohemian, the other is bourgeois. One was motivated by war, and the other is motivated by runaway federal spending. One went to Woodstock, the other is more likely to go to Wal-Mart.

But the similarities are more striking than the differences. To start with, the Tea Partiers have adopted the tactics of the New Left. They go in for street theater, mass rallies, marches and extreme statements that are designed to shock polite society out of its stupor. This mimicry is no accident. Dick Armey, one of the spokesmen for the Tea Party movement, recently praised the methods of Saul Alinsky, the leading tactician of the New Left.

These days the same people who are buying Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals” on Amazon.com are, according to the company’s software, also buying books like “Liberal Fascism,” “Rules for Conservative Radicals,” “Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left,” and “The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party.” Those last two books were written by David Horowitz, who was a leading New Left polemicist in the 1960s and is now a leading polemicist on the right.

But the core commonality is this: Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence. Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains,” is how Rousseau put it.

Because of this assumption, members of both movements go in big for conspiracy theories…

[continues in the New York Times]

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  • Anonymous

    This is actually quite an interesting phenomenon that is usually not given its proper attention. The anti-tax, small government enthusiasts are fed both by conservatives and baby boomer liberals. It is the unholy alliance of these two groups that has promulgated much of our current political mess. The conservatives are interested in money and greed. Their obsession is taxes. The ex-hippies philosophy of fighting against “the man”, a sentiment that was rightly fueled by the idiot war on drugs and other corrupt and wastefull practices of the government, still informs their attitudes. Together, they have completely driven the idea of government “by and for the people” into obscurity. Sorry fellow lefties but sometimes we need a bigger government presence, in education, science, space research, environmental protection etc. This requires our willingness to pay more in taxes sometime; LIKE RIGHT NOW. Are there any other hippies out there supporting bigger govenment and higher taxes? No I’m not a socialist – AND LEGALIZE MARIJUANA ALREADY FOR CRISSAKES!!!!

  • geraldkamin

    This is actually quite an interesting phenomenon that is usually not given its proper attention. The anti-tax, small government enthusiasts are fed both by conservatives and baby boomer liberals. It is the unholy alliance of these two groups that has promulgated much of our current political mess. The conservatives are interested in money and greed. Their obsession is taxes. The ex-hippies philosophy of fighting against “the man”, a sentiment that was rightly fueled by the idiot war on drugs and other corrupt and wastefull practices of the government, still informs their attitudes. Together, they have completely driven the idea of government “by and for the people” into obscurity. Sorry fellow lefties but sometimes we need a bigger government presence, in education, science, space research, environmental protection etc. This requires our willingness to pay more in taxes sometime; LIKE RIGHT NOW. Are there any other hippies out there supporting bigger govenment and higher taxes? No I'm not a socialist – AND LEGALIZE MARIJUANA ALREADY FOR CRISSAKES!!!!