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Patriot or Redneck?

Posted by Chance on April 22, 2009

If you dissent against the government, typically you are a patriot.  Unless you protest against tax and spending policies, then you are a racist redneck.  I don’t get that.

Disagreeing with the government is a good thing, as long as it is done so somewhat respectfully.  Liberals are known for distrusting authority, and I think that is a good thing for the most part, hence my libertarian bent.  However, some of these same people who have no problem crying out against government when it comes to the military, the police, domestic policies against terrorism – all worthy things to keep an eye on – see Tea Party attenders as nothing but backwood rednecks. I’m not speaking to all liberals, as far as I know its just CNN and some Hollywood types that are making a big deal.  But I am speaking to a general attitude.

But this is a theme that has gone on for some time.  People who protest wars and such are simply seen as radical and free-thinking.  People who protest taxes and/or spending are seen as uneducated country boys with confederate flags.  Not that there isn’t a grain of truth; rural areas tend to breed conservatives.

The point I am making is this:  for some reason, protesting the authoritarian roles of government (military, police, FBI) is seen as cool.  Protesting the welfare state and tax system is not.   I think it is important to question both sides of government.

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7 Responses to “Patriot or Redneck?”

  1. Dan Trabue said

    1. There is certainly room for protesting taxation. At some point, taxes CAN become oppressive (see biblical history).

    2. Conversely, there is also plenty of room for taxation. We ARE a Republic, not an anarchy. Some amount of taxation is to be reasonably expected.

    3. Having said all of that, the teabag crowd (I believe) seems to be representing a rather negative view of taxation that is outside the norm. They seem to think MOST taxation is bad. And not only bad, but evil and socialist and designed to deliberately take away freedom.

    4. I don’t think this is the viewpoint of most americans, who according to a recent Gallup poll, believe that we are taxed about the right amount.

    5. So, the teabag crowd has come across (it seems to me) as being very much not wanting to pay reasonably to be part of this commonwealth. They appear to be protesting out of self-interest (I want what’s mines!!)

    6. Anti-war protesters, on the other hand, are just about by definition, protesting on behalf of others, in some cases, even our “enemies.” This gives them the appearance (rightly so, at least partially, I think) of protesting for some greater cause than self interest.

    That, to me, is the root of the difference between the two groups of protesters. Does that seem fair?

    (That is, even if you think that protesting taxation and welfare ARE for the greater good, can you see that they tend to come across as self-interested and not protesting something more noble than mere “keeping my own money?”)

  2. Dan Trabue said

    IF the Right could see how the two types of protestations can appear at their root to be vastly different (the Left being more just and noble and the Right being less just or noble), then perhaps the Right could begin to come to grips with how best to represent themselves and make their case.

    After all, as you rightly note, the Left is VERY distrustful of big gov’t. This could be an area of agreement between the Left and the Right, if properly approached. We might be able to find some common ground and both become stronger and better represent ourselves as well as better understand each other, IF we could take a slightly less acidic approach to our policies. And, at least from my point of view, most of that acidity comes from the more Right-ish of folk, who often tend to think, My way or the highway!

    Seems to me.

  3. Chance said

    “hey seem to think MOST taxation is bad. And not only bad, but evil and socialist and designed to deliberately take away freedom.” I don’t get that impression at all. I had the impression that their protests had to do with the surge in government spending. Yes, it would have been nice if some of these people protested government spending before the Obama administration, but I think the protests have something to do with the record spending in such a short amount of time. As Randy said http://newfromclt.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-first-tea-party.html, his remarks
    “…there were also some good points that were brought out that require more research – a call for thinner waste lines on government (pardon the pun), more transparency in government, accusations of overstepped constitutional bounds (discussion on six provisions in the Constitution given to government).” You can read more of his post there. So no, I don’t think it has to do with the idea that taxes are bad. Either that or it is a remarkable coincidence that the spending surge and the tea parties happened in the same year. I don’t think it is so much the taxes, but what is being done with them. Same with the Boston Tea Party; the Tea Party didn’t happen, to my recollection, because taxes were too high.

    And, at least from my point of view, most of that acidity comes from the more Right-ish of folk, who often tend to think, My way or the highway!
    Dan, the past 8 years have been a case study, in many instances, of how to not protest. I know that “my side” isn’t perfect either, but I have seen so much hate and vile from the left toward Bush the past 8 years. I could list certain examples but the point isn’t to keep score. Maybe we both just happen to see it from the other side. I think I would be generous in saying both are the same.

    I do agree that the Right has to present their case carefully – you make a good point there; that is what I touched on a few posts back, how it’s not just about “keeping what’s mine” (as far as “keeping what is someone else’s” which is so much more noble 🙂 ). I do get the impression that those protesting the taxes are not the ones with the money to lose. Some I know personally were far from rich people. Again, that’s not the point you are making, but I do want to point out it is not just a bunch of rich folks, but everyday people.

  4. Chance said

    “Anti-war protesters, on the other hand, are just about by definition, protesting on behalf of others”.

    So are these people, to some degree. It has to do with combating generational theft; the idea of bailing us out now and let our kids and grandkids foot the bill later. Not wanting America to be burdened by so much debt… that’s noble enough for me.

  5. […] Patriot or Redneck? […]

  6. Chance said

    3. Having said all of that, the teabag crowd (I believe) seems to be representing a rather negative view of taxation that is outside the norm. They seem to think MOST taxation is bad. And not only bad, but evil and socialist and designed to deliberately take away freedom.

    4. I don’t think this is the viewpoint of most americans, who according to a recent Gallup poll, believe that we are taxed about the right amount.

    The Gallup poll showed that this is split about half and half. I don’t consider 46% of Americans “outside the norm.” It seems you are trying to illustrate that these Tea Party people are some fringe element, and maybe many of them are. However, when almost half of the population thinks taxes are too high (even if 48% think they are about right), there has to be something with the Tea Parties that resonate with a significant portion of society.

    Most conservatives don’t think taxes are inherently evil. I have grown up with them and spend time with them. No one likes paying taxes, but they are not inherently anti-tax. Many libertarians are, but they are simply not powerful enough to organize something like this. The LP is about as useful as my tonsils. But yes, people do think heavy taxes equate to tyranny.

    What surprises me is that more liberals aren’t outraged with what is going on. Government welfare, in the form of these bailouts, seems anathema to what liberals believe in. Our money gets sent to CEOs of failed banks and you wonder why conservatives aren’t rallying for a “more noble” cause.

  7. […] who protest against strong powerful government that is seen as the enemy.  That was the point of this post.  I saw an inconsistency in some groups that thought it was noble and patriotic to question the […]

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