The Tea Party as a Leaderless Movement «

This morning on NPR, Jonathan Rauch of the National Journal was analyzing the Tea Party as a deliberately leaderless, non-hierarchical movement. Its people are not interested in political power as such,  he said, but in changing people’s minds about big government. This, I thought, is the libertarian revolution. But as long as the Tea Party is mired in Republican abstractions like the budget deficit, while accepting and even promoting the empire and the police state, it will not really effect those in power. Still, the heart of the Tea Party is libertarian, in concert with its leaderless, ultra-decentralized organizational principles. Broadly speaking, the Tea Party is split between the Palinites and the Paulians. Indeed, the first Tea Parties, anti-tax like the original, were held by Ron Paul in 2007, and he has influenced many subsequent developments by his example. As a real libertarian, he has never sought to be a top-down controller of a movement, or a country. Instead, he has put the ideas of libertarianism and Austrian economics in the lead.

Rauch reported on a sociologist who predicted the leaderless structure cannot last, and either the Tea Party would go out of existence, or it would end up having offices, a leader, and a staff in DC, the graveyard of principle. A Tea Party activist responded, “He would say that, wouldn’t he? He’s a traditionalist.” Certainly taming the leaderless opposition is what the regime desperately wants. But the Tea Party should have a leader, said Rauch, so if some nut waves an ugly sign at a rally, the leader can say, “‘That man does not represent us,’ and excommunicate him.” Such wavers are often agents provocateurs, of course, who seek to demonize the resistance…

The Tea Party as a Leaderless Movement « Blog.