Social Justice Versus Liberty• Re: The Irony of the Tea Party• A column dissection of an article by Tim Suttle• Huffington Post
I wrote the following in an email to the author of thecolumn. I have made a few edits. I did not receive aresponse.You said: “If you are a fan you call them colorful, if notyou call them shrill, but if you cannot at least enjoy thewacky element — shrink-wrapped and caricature-ready— then you are taking them too seriously.”I like to respond in kind. Thank you for providing alicense to treat you with the same “caricature-ready”demagoguery you include here. It will make writing thisemail less ‘dry’ for me.Read the following and learn well, grasshopper. I amgoing to bless you by dismantling your “social justice”
gospel right before your very eyes. Neither will I chargeyou for my service, nor will the government tax you forit. I do it solely through that which is called “charity” – inyour case, a sincere compassion for the weak of mind.You said: “The Tea Party has brought the subject ofpersonal liberty to the forefront in American politics.”Good. Liberals are destroying it at every turn,grasshopper.You said: “Nearly every attempt to describe Tea Partydemographics will reference anger and frustration withgovernment infringement upon liberty and personalfreedom as a bedrock principle for most Tea Partymembers.”
A “bedrock principle” of America too, grasshopper.You said: “Yet no movement gains this kind of politicaltraction without hitting on a grain of truth resonatingwith a great many people. The Tea Party’s grain of truthseems to be the size of the federal government.”In fact, the “size of the federal government” is only abyproduct of Tea Party objections, grasshopper. The TeaParty was founded on resistance to the governmentbailouts of Wall Street and other industries – corruptionof the marketplace. But, of course, more than just TeaPartiers object to the bloated growth of government. Onlya very small minority of extremists (hint) think it is notbig enough.
You said: “No society can spend all they want onentitlements, infrastructure and national defense whilesimultaneously lowering taxes.”Well, in fact, it works even less well when raising taxes.Only extremists desire to “spend all they want”,grasshopper (hint again). The Tea Party and mostAmericans want the government to shrink in size. But isthis sarcasm, grasshopper? If it is meant to be, it does notwork. Sarcasm must have an element of truth to work.You seem to presume that “lowering taxes” brings in lessrevenue than does raising taxes. This is where yoursarcasm fails. After every major tax increase of the lastsixty years government revenue increased at a slowerpace than after every major tax cut. (From #8 The Not SoSurprising History of Tax Cuts) This is because the
economy responds better to tax cuts than to tax increases.For instance, Bush’s 2003 tax cuts produced governmentrevenue growth over the next four years of 11% per year.By contrast, Clinton’s tax increases produced governmentrevenue growth over the next four years of only 9.2% peryear. In both cases the deficits were caused bygovernment spending above that of the revenue increases.You said: “Critiquing the size of government is a winningissue with many of our citizens.”More than a “winning issue”, it is one of the mostconcerning issues of our time, grasshopper.You said: “However, the size of government is not theTea Party’s most essential commitment. Their most
essential commitment is to personal liberty as a universalgood.”Taken in isolation as a topic of discussion this is true.Good for you, grasshopper. There may yet be hope foryou.You said: “Personal liberty underwrites the entire TeaParty agenda.”Personal liberty is the foundation of the country,grasshopper.You said: “Their most fundamental allegiance is toliberty as an absolute, and herein lies the difficulty.”
There is something that smells of a setup here,grasshopper. There are few absolutes in life.You said: “Liberty is most certainly a good, but when itis universalized it destroys itself.”Ah ha – you are setting up a straw man to smash withyour brilliant wit and reasoning, grasshopper. I see…You said: “Liberty is only a virtue when held in tandemwith the common good.”Wrong country, grasshopper. You’re talking about thepropaganda from the Soviet Union or Cuba or NorthKorea or some other collectivist utopia.
You said: “Societies do not achieve liberty by pursuingliberty alone.”And no one has said that society should, grasshopper. Butit is not the common good that sets the limits. It is a civilsociety. As well as the wrong country, you’ve gotten thewrong ideology as well. The common good is acollectivist, Marxist concern.[As an interlude, I will explain that grasshopper uses“justice” in a “just society” as a euphemism forgovernment enforced equality of outcomes in society –“common good”. Whereas the justice of a civil society(equality of opportunity) is the enforcement of law andmorals.]
You said: “Liberty is the byproduct of a just society.”Wrong, grasshopper. That is collectivist utopia talk.Slavery is the byproduct of a “just society” (equality ofoutcomes). See the Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea.Liberty has nothing to do with utopia. Those who hold toliberty know that every society is flawed and must bebalanced against a strict adherence to minimal laws andmorals to produce a civil society, not a “just society”. Acivil society preserves liberty. A “just society” isantithetical to liberty.You said: “It is the pursuit of justice which ensurespersonal liberty, not the other way around.”
Wrong, grasshopper. It is the pursuit of a “just society”(government enforced equality) that removes liberty andreplaces it with slavery. Again, see the Soviet Union,Cuba and North Korea.You said: “The pursuit of liberty without an equalcommitment to the common good has a trajectory andmomentum which is not trained toward democracy, butfascism.”Wrong, grasshopper. You obviously have no clue whatfascism is, grasshopper. Fascism is an ideology where agoverning elite manipulate society toward utopia. As witha “just society”, fascism is antithetical to liberty.
You said: “In a world of laissez-faire capitalism andabsolute individual liberty, might is the only right —that’s fascism.”ROTFL! On which planet, in which galaxy, in whosecreation, grasshopper? Certainly not on lil’ ole planetearth. No fascist dares leave the marketplace open tolaissez-faire capitalism and individual liberty. Hitler andMussolini had no respect for either a free market orindividual liberty. They would have laughed at yournaiveté. In fact, it was Herbert Hoover who adoptedEuro-fascist policies. FDR loved the idea and doubleddown on it, almost destroying the country with hisprogressivism mixed with fascism, pushing the threat ofthe Great Depression right through to the end of theSecond World War. (This is all explained in #11
Austerity Versus Stimulus - What Is the History? ) Therewas a recession at the end of WWII that was threateningto turn back into the Great Depression. Truman wanted toimplement FDR’s suicidal Second Bill of Rights (morefascism), but a Democrat Congress was terrified of aresumption of the depression with the war industriesclosing and millions of troops coming home looking forjobs. So what do you think Congress did? They cut taxes!Yup, they turned to what are termed today asconservative policies of liberty and cutting taxes, andrefused to go back to FDR’s New Deal policies that hadbeen abandoned in 1942.You said: “A strong commitment to the common good isthe necessary counter-weight to personal liberty.”
I thought you were a Christian, grasshopper. You don’tknow that man is sinful? You can have all of the goodintentions you can muster, but it will not stop sin’s work,or its results. The only way to tame sin and lawlessness ina society is through civil enforcement of laws and morals,or with brute force as with your collectivist “commongood” utopias of the Soviet Union, Cuba and NorthKorea, which is no more than substituting some sins forothers.You said: “The common good forces personal freedomsto be held in tension with the values of community andjustice.”Finally (and inadvertently, no doubt) you make a correctstatement, grasshopper. The key verb in this statement is
“forces”. That is what the “common good” means – forceby government. The “common good” of collectivism isantithetical to “personal freedoms” (liberty), grasshopper.You said: “No one can enjoy absolute liberty withoutundermining the fabric of a just society.”There’s that “absolute” again. Smash that straw man!Beat him well…You said: “Liberty is not an absolute. It must always beheld in balance with the common good and the pursuit ofsocial justice.”You are the only one talking about absolute liberty,grasshopper (your straw man argument). And again, backto the communist propaganda. The balance for liberty is
not the forced equality of outcomes of the common goodor social justice (same thing). The balance for liberty istwo-pronged – adherence to the rule of law (and morals)to contain sin’s rotten fruit, and charity to alleviate sin’sdamaged fruit.You said: “Justice is a non-starter with Tea Party folk.Glen Beck, a big fan of the movement, famously decriedsocial justice as a Christian heresy.”Social justice has nothing to do with Christianity,grasshopper. Social justice (forced equality) is Marxism,which is antithetical to Christianity. The justice of libertyis the rule of law.
You said: “The “justice” Bellamy had in mind was nottrial by jury justice, but social justice: a commitment tothe common good, social equality, and the solidarity ofall humankind. Shouldn’t we all be fans of that?”America stands for equal opportunity in a civil societythat provides the liberty to take advantage of opportunityas one sees fit under the rule of law. A collectivecommitment to common good with social equality(forced equality of outcomes) is Marxism, grasshopper.“Solidarity” is a Marxist euphemism for groupthink.You said: “I don’t expect the plea for justice to be a bighit with the Tea Party patriots.”
Pay attention, grasshopper. I have already explained thatit was the governmental corruption of (legal) justice thatinitiated the gathering of the Tea Party in the first place.The free market cleanses itself through failure of theweak, absorption of their remaining assets back into themarket, and through rule of law. The governmentcorrupted this efficiency of the marketplace, and by sodoing has prolonged what should have been a recession,with effects lasting only a year or two, into the ObamaMalaise with no end in sight. It is your “common good”philosophy of “too big to fail” that is to blame.You said: “Yet to ignore it, they must first jettison theclosing line of the pledge of allegiance: “… with libertyand justice for all.”
Funny how he didn’t say “social justice for all”,grasshopper. And funny that it was never changed to saysuch, in any of its four modifications throughout theyears. It is obviously refers to the legal justice of“liberty” (equality of opportunity), not the social justiceof Marxism (forced equality of outcomes). Was itdeception because Bellamy could see it would not bestomached in America? Or did he actually mean rule oflaw for all? If it was the first, it did not work to changethe minds of Americans to his cause. If it was the second,then maybe he wasn’t as much of a socialist as has beenthought. Or maybe he just did not understand theconcepts – just like you.
You said: “The Christian’s first commitment is always tofollow the teachings of Jesus, who was certainlyconcerned about the common good.”Wrong, grasshopper. If that had been the case, an earthlykingdom would have been set up then. Christ wasconcerned with the righteousness of each individual.Common good has no value in individual salvation.Christ only paid the tax to fulfill the law (that civil societythingy), not because he had some overwhelming concernto support the common good.You said: “The folks he identifies with are those willingto feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the alien,care for the sick and all manner of behaviors which will
not come anywhere close to making the Tea Partyplatform.”Who are you to judge the hearts or actions of men youdon’t know, grasshopper? You have substituted theindividual’s actions with government actions. If you thinkthat this is the path to heaven, good luck to you. In fact,studies show that conservatives are much more charitablewith their money than liberals, also in giving more bloodand volunteering more time. And liberals tend to donateto political causes, environmental groups, the arts andelite educational foundations, whereas conservatives tendto donate to organizations providing for the needy.Indeed, in the generosity index, of the top 25 states wherepeople give an above average percent of their income, 24were red states in the last presidential election (2008). In
other studies it has been found that conservatives aremore likely to give strangers directions, and give food ormoney to a homeless person. But in a cash transactionliberals are more likely to steal an accidental excess inchange. It has also been found that in instanceswhere government programs replace private charity,value to the needy goes down, called the “crowding outeffect”. So, in fact, it is the Tea Partiers’ private charitythat helps the needy much more so than liberals like you,passing off your charity to the government and operasand art galleries. (All of this is explained and sourced in#9 Liberals Are the Compassionate Ones - Really?)You said: “While many Christians seem to have joinedwith the Tea Party movement, the rhetoric of absolute
personal liberty seems to be at odds with the gospel Jesustaught.”And once again we get back to your straw man argumentof absolutes, grasshopper. Bash him! Smash him! Beathim with a stick!You said: “The Christian can wholeheartedly support thecause of personal liberty, but only while supporting thecause of the common good with equal measure.”This statement is a contradiction, grasshopper. Personalliberty is antithetical to “common good with equalmeasure”, which is slavery to the state, not Christianity.Trotsky thought as you do. He contemplated an equalsociety where everyone worked for the common good.
The only problem is that it would only work in heavenwhere there is no sin. Back here on earth evil people,captivated by sin, overruled Trotsky’s good intentions ofa utopia and instead, we had Stalin, who created perhapsthe worst dystopia in history. This is where your goodintentions of “common good” and “social justice” meetreality – the complete absence of liberty.You said: “They never say, “Let our churches andcommunities take on poverty, racism, pay inequality andviolence.” They only say, “No more big government.”Without the next ten words what they are really saying isthat poverty, racism and the lot can fix itself.”I have already explained that conservatives do charity at amuch higher level than do liberals, and to much greater
effect than government – so they have no need to call forthem to be created, grasshopper. They’re already doing it.You said: “Second, the patent anti-intellectual “plain-folks” mentality which covers the flank of the movementleaves the Tea Party devoid of rich theological self-awareness.”Well, if it is your level of intellectuality that they shouldbe striving for, I say let them stay where they are and notstep backwards, grasshopper.(You should know what an intellectual is, grasshopper:intellectual – Liberal who uses a title or degree as alicense to play stupid in their particular specialty. That’sreferring to you, grasshopper.)
You said: “The irony of the Tea Party is that theirattitude about liberty has become so overlyindividualistic that it actually threatens democracyinstead of protecting it. By elevating individual libertiesso far above the common good — without reference tojustice — those who absolutize these virtues unwittinglyundermine democracy instead of shoring it up. If youwant to ensure personal liberty, pursue justice.”Wrong, grasshopper. You don’t win the argument bybeating down men made of straw. You are the only onetalking about absolute liberty. Tea Partiers know there isno such thing. Liberty must be preserved against anarchyand libertinism with strict adherence to law and morality.Your straw man simply does not work. In fact, it is yourcovert Marxism cleverly cloaked in a perversion of
Christianity that is a threat to the American republic (andif you really knew what you were talking about youwould know that America is not a democracy, but arepublic – big difference).You said: “If you want to undermine personal liberty,join the movement to abstract individual liberties andfreedoms from their essential roots of social obligationand the common good.”And there’s that straw man popping up again. It’s likeWhack-A-Mole – sheesh!Individual liberties (equality of opportunity) tempered bylaw and morals are what make America free. Your socialjustice (forced equality of outcomes) is what is destroying
freedom in America, instead making everyone slaves tothe state – think Obamacare.So there you have it, grasshopper. Learn well – andwelcome to the true understanding of liberty, charity andjustice…