Why Liberals Don’t Get the Tea Party Movement

I had dinner recently with a liberal friend.  When the conversation turned to politics (sorry, my fault) he blasted Fox News and the Tea Party. Nothing specific, just the general sort of “dumb devils” stuff.

So, I asked my usual follow-up questions to verify that he hasn’t ever tuned in to Fox — it’s all what Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow say about Fox — and that he has simply bought into the drivel that the Tea Party are racists who nominate wacky candidates like Christine O’Donnell. Evidence of racism?  None except “they’re all white”. What about 91% of blacks siding with Obama? “That’s different”.  What about candidates like Harry Reid and Alan Grayson? “Yeah, we have some wingnuts, too.”

Always makes me wonder how some smart folks can get so passionate without diving deeper than the sound bites. I don’t question their sincerity, but do question their rigor.

As I’m thinking about this stuff, this op-ed popped up about why well educated libs think the way they do.

Bottom line: that’s what they were taught college, and all of the headlines re: Fox and Tea fit their learned model, so there’s no need to research any deeper.


WSJ: Why Liberals Don’t Get the Tea Party Movement, October 16, 2010

The tea party movement’s focus on keeping government within bounds and answerable to the people reflects the devotion to limited government embodied in the Constitution.

One reason this is poorly understood among our best educated citizens is that American politics is poorly taught at the universities that credentialed them.

For the better part of two generations, the best political science departments have concentrated on equipping students with skills for performing empirical research.

Meanwhile, leading history departments have emphasized social history and issues of race, class and gender at the expense of constitutional history, diplomatic history and military history.

Neither professors of political science nor of history have made a priority of instructing students in the founding principles of American constitutional government.

Then there are the proliferating classes in practical ethics and moral reasoning. These expose students to hypothetical conundrums involving individuals in surreal circumstances suddenly facing life and death decisions, or present contentious public policy questions and explore the range of respectable progressive opinions for resolving them.

Such exercises may sharpen students’ ability to argue, but hey do little to teach about self-government.

Full article:

2 Responses to “Why Liberals Don’t Get the Tea Party Movement”

  1. Chris Says:

    “Neither professors of political science nor of history have made a priority of instructing students in the founding principles of American constitutional government.”

    That;s because the vast majority of them reject our founding principles and agree with statements like the “Constitution laying out negative liberties but saying nothing about what the government has to do for you.”

    They embrace the founding principles of France.

  2. TK Says:

    Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite? I’d never let the French sell me on that!

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