Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tea Partiers not a mob but '99 percenters' called mob, by phony Republicans

“Mobs” are a Crazy, Liberal, All American Idea

Guest Post by Dr. William Turner

Apparently conservative leaders have taken to calling the Occupy Wall Street protesters and their cousins across the country “mobs.” Think Progress reports that House Majority leader Eric Cantor used that term in speaking about the Ninety-Nine Percent movement, which is who is occupying Wall Street. Some

1. Happily, President Obama’s press secretary had the good sense to point out the gross hypocrisy of persons who celebrated and benefited from the Tea Party protest of 2009-2010 calling anyone a “mob.” I have heard no reports of Ninety-Nine Percenters deliberately disrupting town meetings of members of Congress, as the Tea Party mob did in summer 2009.

2. But the point goes much deeper than that. As White House spokesmodel Jay Carney put it, one man’s democracy is another man’s mob. “Mob,” of course, is a term of derision that persons in power tend to use to try to dismiss any large group of persons who threaten their power. It connotes a group motivated by baser instincts, in contrast to the supposed refinement of the persons in power (I know, extra silly in the current situation, but there it is).

3. One suspects that King James II considered the group that John Locke was a part of, who wanted to chase James off the throne of England, and eventually did so, a “mob.” But that “mob,” or a prominent member of it, produced some of the most important works of philosophy in the Anglo-American tradition, including the book that provided the logic for the American Revolution.

4. Even higher irony still is the fact that the Tea Party in 2009 deliberately took their name and inspiration from the original American revolutionary mob, the men who raided ships in Boston Harbor and threw private property into the water, destroying it (tea is not much use to anyone after it gets wet, as you may have noticed – who wants salted tea?). I guarantee you that King George III, King of England at the time of the original Boston Tea Party, and throughout the American Revolution, regarded the American revolutionaries as a mob. When they closed the Declaration of Independence by pledging their “lives, [their] fortunes, and [their] sacred honor,” they weren’t kidding. They knew that, if they lost the war they had just picked with the world’s leading military power, they would all die.

5. And, of course, there’s one important point that makes the modern Tea Partiers’ pretentions risible in the extreme. Not only is no modern Tea Bagger in any danger of dying for any principle of politics or law in the United States in 2011, but the modern Tea Baggers lack even the justification that their forebears in 1774 had for their protest: taxation without representation. The modern Tea Baggers may find frustrating that they do not control the government, but that fact alone obviously does not mean that they lack representation. They have their representatives in Congress, only not the majority. It’s called a democratic republic. Tough turkey. You don’t always get what you want, and adults just deal with it.

As usual, conservatives want to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to gloat about their electoral victory in 2010 with the help of a group who named themselves after the original American mob, then denounce as a “mob” a group that is truly democratic in that neither they, nor any other powerful institution, in the United States, has any control over.

©2011 William Turner. You can visit Dr. Turner’s blog at:

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