- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Two classes define modern America — a political class and a producing class.

I’ll explain by unpacking the modus operandi of our famed two-party system. Political parties exist to provide an apparatus for achieving elected positions. At no point does either party adhere to a specific set of principles — it is merely responsible for cobbling together a coalition of people who loosely share beliefs in order to achieve victory.

A well-run party consolidates its voting bloc by doing more for its constituents than anyone else. Over time, these constituents become supportive of the chosen party, paying little attention to the actual policies generated by their supported political class.

We are then left with Republicans whose primary goal has become to manufacture prosperity as a defense for a complete lack of fortitude, and Democrats whose primary goal is to manufacture equality as justification for their so-called superior moral status — both equally destructive.

At what point does this highly detached political class consider, “Why am I doing this?” or “Is it right?” The system perpetuates decisions and alliances based on the preservation of their electoral apparatus. Intent and rhetoric are valued far beyond method or outcome, and character and principle are easily abandoned in favor of expediency.

All this is possible only when our producing class has disengaged from the political process altogether. Why? They incorrectly made the assumption that the party they support works for their best interests.

Simply compare President Bush’s policy with President Obama’s policy.

Mr. Bush’s was based on blind trust through disengagement that brought us (at the time) the most fiscally irresponsible and greatest entitlement expansion in my lifetime through Medicare Part D, the largest intrusion into free markets in American history through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and the liberty-killing, Constitution-trampling Patriot Act.

Mr. Obama’s policy has continued fiscal irresponsibility in a monstrous stimulus package, new programs and expanded departments, on top of his free-market and liberty-killing health care act, cap-and-trade legislation, and much, much more.

Strangely, both parties defend their respective positions as different from the other. Yes, their agendas are different. Yes, their rhetoric is different.

But their methods and outcomes are identical.

Both use government expansion and influence to achieve their goals. Neither has a problem engineering the economy to fit their needs, and God forbid fiscal responsibility should be a part of either agenda.

So the “tea party” was born — not to rebel against one party or official, but to begin the great American re-engagement of the producing class. Those who were too busy looked at their children, knowing the political classes were destroying any semblance of the American dream, and finally crossed their line.

They knew that democracy’s own prosperity had bred this new entitled lifestyle and therefore saw complicity in the political class’s abuse of power. They recognized this political class had chosen roles as administrators, not statesmen, people had gotten comfortable accepting the idea of good enough to get by, even sacrificing individual liberties as long as it wouldn’t interrupt their lives too much. Comfort was valued ahead of everything else.

And, just as Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America” — they realized the only salvation would be the local independence brought forth by the organization of communities, townships and neighborhoods that still “forms the principle lifeblood of American liberty.”

Liberty was not defined or created by law; therefore, no administrator from the political class could provide it or take it away. Those who gave birth to the tea party remembered that we look not to political parties, but to ourselves, for guidance. We were never meant to have rights administered or abused.

So in the end the tea party movement wasn’t a departure to the right. It was the rebirth of the American conscience — a conscience previously too busy, as members of the producing class, to worry about engaging. Now, they no longer trust blindly nor do they seek to divide, but rather to unite through principles — shared beliefs in limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility.

The tea party movement isn’t about taxes or a third party. It’s the new conscience of the body politic. At its very essence, the tea party movement is the overdue paradigm shift required for the continuation of this “great experiment.” Without a conscience rooted in liberty and accountable through action, the political class will destroy the very fabric of our republic. It will be necessary for some time because a famine of principles has become standard in our political class, infecting both parties with equal virulence.

The political class must be reforged with principles of liberty, not self-preservation, as a guide.

Chris Littleton is president of the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of tea party and other grass-roots conservative groups.

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