This is a memo to America’s hippies:

Tea Party values are hippie values.

You heard me right. The Tea Party is the one social movement in contemporary America that can rightfully claim to be the ideological heir to the original hippie movement that started in the mid-’60s. And because of this, all current hippies and ex-hippies should support the Tea Party, and by extension Tea Party candidates.

I’d like to have a private heart-to-heart talk with my fellow hippies here, so can the rest of you please stop reading now and leave us alone for a while? Thanks.

Let’s Rap

If you, as a hippie, think the thesis of this essay couldn’t possibly be true, you’ve been paying too much attention to the mainstream media. The Tea Party has been intentionally misrepresented, villainized and smeared by the powers-that-be. But this too is a feature that the Tea Party shares with hippies — the hippie movement was itself misrepresented and smeared by a different mainstream media over 40 years ago.

This essay will elucidate in a fresh way how Tea Partiers are the true heirs to the hippie ethos. When you’ve finished reading, you’ll see the Tea Party in a new light and (hopefully) understand that you may have been on the wrong side of the fence until now.

In short, the Tea Party and the hippie movement share four fundamental core values:
• A craving for independence;
• a celebration of individualism;
• joy in the freedom offered by self-sufficiency;
• and an acceptance of the natural order of things.

The Real Political Spectrum

A necessary precursor to accepting any new worldview is to first jettison the previous worldview. So let’s start at the beginning: for the duration of this essay at least, pretend you’ve never heard of the left/right spectrum. Stick with me on this. As an intellectual exercise, just toss the notions of “left-wing” and “right-wing” out the window and begin your political education anew. Because it is this unnecessary (and now inaccurate) dichotomy between “left” and “right” which prevents most people from clearly conceptualizing the way that political thought is actually arrayed.

OK — is your mind clear? Now look at my newly conceptualized spectrum which schematizes political philosophies in a much more sensible and incisive way:

Now, I realize this may take a bit of getting used to. But soak it all in for a while as I explain.

The chart, as you can see, has not just one but two axes along which people’s worldviews are sprinkled:

The horizontal axis measures “government control,” ranging from a desire for less governmental power at one end of the scale, over to a desire for more governmental control at the other end of the scale. Most of you will understand this axis intuitively. But the vertical axis is a little more subtle, but also more eye-opening: it delineates people’s beliefs about human nature. At one end is the assumption that human nature is innate — that our personalities and other essential human attributes are built-in, unchangeable, and naturally occurring. At the other end is the belief that everything about humans is “constructed” — that we only are the way we are because of the particular cultural environment surrounding us, and that as a result people can be changed, through indoctrination, education, and/or alteration of the culture itself. I’ll expound on this more in a moment, but first I should explain the words in the ovals scattered across the chart.

Each oval contains the name of an ideology or social group positioned exactly where it fits on this new political spectrum. Note in particular the lower lefthand corner, where Hippies, the Tea Party, Libertarians and Hobos are all closely clustered together. That’s not random — they’re all near each other because their ideologies are in fact all similar.

(I include “hobos” and “bums” on the chart because the distinction between these two classic types illuminates the nature of the spectrum. In case you’re thinking that hobos and bums are just different words for the same thing, note: A hobo is an itinerant laborer who chooses homelessness because of the freedom it affords him, but who is proud of his self-sufficiency and will take temporary jobs to support himself wherever possible. A bum on the other hand is someone who is poor because he simply refuses to work or support himself, and instead is unashamed to survive on handouts and other people’s generosity. Because hobos celebrate individualism, freedom, independence and their own self-worth, they occupy the “sweet spot” at the bottom left corner of the spectrum, along with hippies and Tea Partiers. But since bums are essentially parasites on society and who survive on either formally or informally doled-out welfare, and often blame others for their predicament, they rightfully belong near the other end of the spectrum.)

On the right half of the chart are all the different varieties of political collectivism, or people who seek to impose or benefit from collectivist government. Those collectivists who think that human nature is malleable and a “cultural construct” are at the upper right; those collectivists who think that “people are the way they are” can be found at the lower right. What unifies the collectivist Nazis, Fascists and Islamists is not just their belief that humans have built-in attributes, but that their specific social, ethnic or religious group possesses built-in attributes superior to everyone else’s.

You will note that I neglected to include many political ideologies and social groups on the spectrum. That’s not an oversight. In fact, my original version of the spectrum did not include any groups whatsoever — I just wanted to introduce the idea of these two interlinked axes, and not clutter up the image with a bunch of other stuff. But I realized that some examples were needed for the illustration to be effective, so I placed some representative ideologies and identities at the appropriate places on the chart. Feel free to add your own. And if you think any particular group or philosophy is misplaced, you are encouraged to argue your case in the comments section — perhaps I’ll issue an updated version incorporating your additions and suggestions.

People who adhere to the outdated and overly simplistic left/right divide may have trouble grokking this new way of looking at society. Newsweek, for example, recently claimed that the Tea Party has an “anarchist streak”. I find this interesting, because the Newsweek writer understood that both Tea Partiers and anarchists are on the same end of the “Government Control” axis, but couldn’t grasp that, viewed from a different orientation, Tea Partiers are at the opposite end of the “Human Nature” axis from anarchists, who want to construct an (impossible) law-free utopia based on the assumption that people can change and control themselves in the absence of any authority whatsoever.

This brings up a good point: Scroll back up to the chart and think of it in terms of “halves.” Leftists want to highlight the fact the both Tea Partiers and Nazis are in the same “half” of the chart — the bottom half, as it is currently oriented (although of course the way I rotated the chart was completely random — there is no inherent meaning in the up-down-left-right placement, and I just as easily could have designed it to be 90 degrees or 180 degrees a different way). Of course, as mentioned above, the crucial difference is that Nazis and other totalitarians want to use government to enforce their idea of the natural order of things, whereas Tea Partiers have the exact opposite urge — to have no government enforcement at all, and to let the natural order of things play itself out — naturally.

On the other hand, The Tea Partiers (and I) want you to notice that all the “bad” ideologies, including Nazism and communism, also share space on the same half of the chart, in this case the “more government control” half.

So, the chart is viewpoint-neutral; each person can express their pre-existing political bias by pointing out how this-or-that political enemy is at least in the same half as some identifiably bad ideology. It just all depends on what angle from which you choose to view the spectrum.

About That Vertical Axis…Bill Whittle to the Rescue

I was scouting around with some frustration trying to find an existing concise encapsulation of the Tea Party movement when, as if on cue, Bill Whittle released “What We Believe, Part 1,” a pitch-perfect summation of the Tea Party’s core belief system, brilliant in its brevity. And in the process Bill just happens to solve my other problem: He lays out in crystalline tones an explanation of the “Human Nature” vertical axis of my political spectrum. Since I can’t top Bill’s calm and reassuring demeanor, I’ll just let you watch him yourselves; the full video is several minutes long, but the part relevant to this essay begins at 0:52 into the clip and ends around 5:21:

I realize not everyone wants to interrupt their reading to watch a video, so here’s a transcription of the key section of Bill’s monologue, with the passages explaining what I mean about the difference between “constructed” and “innate” human nature highlighted in bold:

Let’s recap for our conservative friends, and introduce to our liberal ones, some of the key points of what we conservatives, especially Tea Party conservatives, would call our core beliefs. And we’ll start with the two biggest ones: Small government, and free enterprise.

OK — why do we like small government? Well, the first and most important thing you need to know about us is that we don’t believe that human nature can fundamentally change. You may not hear this a lot, but when you get down to it, it really is the basis for conservatism in general.

We don’t think people are perfectable, if only they could make the right laws and rules. We believe that human beings, like every other creature on the earth, are motivated primarily by their own self interests.

Now, many modern people see this belief that we have — that human nature is fundamentally flawed and selfish, and essentially unchangeable — as cynical and pessimistic. On the contrary. It is this belief that generates a society with the checks and balances against the natural human bastardliness that basically wants to tell other people what to do.

These checks and balances prevent the accumulation of too much power in the hands of too few people. And that defiance of these checks and balances by the current political class, of both parties, is the real threat that the Tea Party movement is a response to.

Because all you have to do is open a history book with just the most basic sense of fairness and you will discover time and time and time again that the very same ideas being tried by big government today — ideas which we call “progressive” — have been tried in one form or another all the way back through recorded history, and have always failed. Because they’re based on what people hope and wish that human nature is, instead of what it really is.

Y’know, the British tried Big State Socialism in the ’60s and ’70s. It was a disaster. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was about remaking human nature into the new “Soviet Man,” who would share everything: “From each according to his ability, and to each according to his need.”

…[Litany of communist atrocities]…

The French Revolution was fought for the belief that they could make what they called “The New Man,” perfect and virtuous, once free of religion, income disparity and all the rest. Now, in order to bring about that paradise, thousands of people had to be guillotined each week, in what was called the Great Terror.

And on and on and on it goes. The Romans, in 150 BC, were promoting these same “progressive” ideas.

There’s nothing progressive about progressivism. The belief that you can get something for nothing, that you can get the government to take something by force from other people and give it to you — like, the money for your health care, for example — has been tried many, many times before and it has failed every time.

No, my friends, there’s only one really progressive idea. And that is the idea of legally limiting the power of the government. That one genuinely liberal, genuinely progressive idea — the Why in 1776, the How in 1787 — is what needs to be conserved. We need to conserve that fundamentally liberal idea. That is why we are conservatives.

Is it clearer now? Artificially constructed collectivist utopias require that human nature be altered for any new society to work, because elements of existing human nature — greed, jealousy, lust for power, a need for privacy, and so on — would render the system unfeasible. So utopian collectivists necessarily believe that humans must be changed and can be changed (for the better, of course). This may seem like a minor detail to the collectivist program, but actually it’s the main sticking point, one which the collectivists have never been able to solve (because, as any sane person knows, it’s unsolvable; human nature can’t be changed). But that hasn’t stopped them from trying, again and again, with ever-increasing levels of coercion, to mold the human spirit into the desired shape. Entire fields of philosophy have been devised to prop up “constructionism,” but reality is a stubborn thing.

(As an aside: If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend Stephen Pinker’s 2003 masterpiece The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature, which gloriously demolishes the foundational assumptions of those on the top half of my political spectrum.)

The earliest proto-hippie protests against the Vietnam War were overtly anti-LBJ

But aren’t hippies inherently pro-Democrat and anti-Republican? Hasn’t it always been that way?

Au contraire. In fact, as the photos sprinkled throughout this page show, the mass-movement hippie era first arose during the Johnson administration, and was explicitly hostile to Johnson’s Democratic Party agenda — in particular his foreign policy agenda. Despite a fair amount of after-the-fact revisionism in which Nixon has been retroactively cast as the villain of the Vietnam War, remember that Nixon did not become president until the end of January, 1969, and that for the vast majority of the anti-war protests of “the sixties,” LBJ was president and LBJ was consequently the target of the protesters’ wrath.

This 1967 hippie poster depicted President Johnson’s big-government “Great Society” programs as hell on Earth.

The truth is: Hippies didn’t particularly like Lyndon Johnson, the Democrats, or their ’60s-era “Great Society” big-government programs. Look at the poster on the right for a typical opinion, untouched by the revisionism of later historians.

A popular hippie chant at the time, as you may remember, was “Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids Did You Kill Today?” Now — does that sound like the kind of thing Johnson voters would say?

But above all it was LBJ’s interventionist foreign policy which most outraged the hippies, primarily because they — selfishly, but understandably — didn’t want to get drafted (or have their boyfriends get drafted). So they opposed the war out of self-interest, not really because they wanted the communists to take over Vietnam. (At least not at first — more on that later.)

In fact, which candidate ran as the anti-war candidate in 1968, at the height of the hippie movement? Why, it was Republican Richard Nixon, who won the election in part because of this issue — despite himself being totally disconnected from hippie-dom and having no grasp whatsoever of the counterculture. (Of course, the fickle electorate, having up until that time held the Democrats responsible for the war, rapidly turned on Nixon after 1969 and blamed him for not ending our involvement in the conflict as quickly as he had promised.)

Chicago police massing at the 1968 Democratic convention.

1968: The Hippies turn their wrath on the Democrats

1968 was the apogee of the original hippie era, and it also happened to be an election year. If you knew nothing about actual history, and believed that hippies were from the beginning pro-Democrat and anti-Republican, you would likely assume that hippie protesters must have descended with fury on the 1968 Republican National Convention, intent on showing their displeasure with those nasty conservatives. And, of course, you’d be entirely wrong. The 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach was pretty much ignored by hippies, protesters and the media. But the Democratic National Convention in Chicago — now, that was a different story entirely. Right from the beginning, the Democratic convention was wracked with violent protests, as hippies (along with many other related groups) fought with police and the National Guard.

Throughout the convention, as the clashes between the protesters and the police got worse, Democratic Chicago Mayor Richard Daley was accurately pegged by the hippies as the big-government totalitarian thug that he was. And Democratic presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey wasn’t getting much love either — he was dismissed as just another tool of the system.

So, the hippies of 1968 didn’t particularly like either major political party, but they showed a particular anger toward the Democrats for screwing everything up — while giving the Republicans a shrug. Which, amazingly, is exactly the way the Tea Party feels today: Anger towards Democrats, and a grudging acceptance of Republicans as the lesser of two evils.

Just like the Tea Partiers do today, the early hippies tried to keep their protests peaceful.

Where Are the Tea Party Love Beads?

You might be thinking, “But wait — Tea Partiers don’t take LSD or wear long hair or practice free love or dance barefoot in Golden Gate Park. So they’re not really like the hippies at all.” Yes, all that may be true, but those surface cultural details are not the point; the underlying philosophy inspiring both movements is the point. Don’t confuse the form that a movement takes with the inspiration behind it. For example, the Gold Rush of 1849 and the dot-com boom of the 1990s manifested in completely dissimilar cultural contexts, but the underlying financial excitement was exactly the same. The same is true of the Tea Party and the hippie movement. Actually, considering that the Tea Party demographic skews toward people in their 50s and 60s, it may very well be that many Tea Partiers did wear long hair and practice free love 40 years ago when they were young. In other words, a certain percentage of Tea Partiers aren’t simply like the original hippies — they were the original hippies, but in the intervening decades have grown less ostentatious and these days express their anti-authoritarian urges in a more culturally conventional manner, now that adolescence has worn off.

And don’t fall for the media misrepresentation of Tea Partiers as nothing but a new label for right-wing Christians. Yes, there are some “social conservatives” in the Tea Party — but they’re only one of a wide array of types within the movement. In fact, plenty of Tea Partiers strongly distance themselves from social conservatives. It’s not monolithic.

Hippie Roots

Of course, as has been documented endlessly, the hippie movement originally grew out of the Beat movement, and the two primary guiding lights of the Beats, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, were both wildly anti-authoritarian. But that doesn’t mean they were “liberal”: what most people don’t know is that Kerouac, while being anti-authoritarian and unconventional for his era, was in fact politically conservative, something which continues to mystify naive young leftist historians:

At the height of the counterculture, Kerouac declared: “Listen, my politics haven’t changed, and I haven’t changed! I’m solidly behind Bill Buckley, if you want to know. Nothing I wrote in my books,” he confessed in a 1968 interview, “nothing could be seen as basically in disagreement with this.”

In other words, Kerouac was a true individualist iconoclast, a fact that [Tom] Hayden still finds incredibly frustrating.

I don’t see this as unexpected at all: Kerouac’s keen mind noticed and then recoiled in horror from the collectivism and anti-Americanism that had begun to creep into the hippie movement as the ’60s progressed. To anyone who understands the kernel of philosophical clarity which conjoined the Beat movement with the early hippies, it should come as no surprise that Kerouac, the original inspiration for hippiedom, self-identified as a conservative. Individualism was the whole point, from the very beginning of the postwar counterculture. (Burroughs, for his part, seemed stubbornly apolitical; and Allen Ginsberg chased every cultural and political fad that came down the pike.)

In one of those cosmic coincidences which only reveal that the cosmos may not be so coincidental after all, while I was putting the finishing touches on this essay, the New York Times published in its Book Review section an essay comparing the Beats to the Tea Party and touching on some of the same points I make here — though focusing exclusively on the Beats and their 1950s brand of iconoclastic individualism, rather than the hippies. While at first I thought it extremely odd that the New York Times would anoint the Tea Party as the inheritors of hip by publishing such an essay (leaving aside the momentary frustration I felt in having what I thought was an original idea partly scooped a few hours before I posted), the more I pondered it, the more I realized it was inevitable: As the election approaches, the Tea Party is rapidly maturing into a significant societal movement, and anyone with a sense of history who ponders this cultural sea-change will immediately recognize in it the precise same anti-authoritarian attitude which drove earlier American social upheavals.

Mass anti-government hippie protest in 1967 San Francisco — the precursor to the Tea Party?

Communist Co-option

If everything I’ve said so far is true, then why does most everyone associate the hippies with left-wing politics, and why do most neo-hippies also identify as left-wing?

Ah, very good question. And the answer is the tragedy of the hippie era.

After 1968, hippie politics swung very rapidly and very deeply into leftist ideology. And this is because communists and socialists very effectively co-opted the anti-war movement and transformed it during the Nixon era into an anti-American and anti-capitalist movement. This infiltration and co-option of what had been a pacifist/individualist/isolationist movement is actually one of the major turning points of American political history — one which reverberates to this day, because that new framework adopted by the counterculture remains in place to this day and deeply influences 21st-century politics.

Of course, things are not so cut-and-dried. History rarely is. There was a leftist presence in the hippie movement from its very beginnings. That’s undeniable. And most historians now zoom in on and focus intently on those early leftist influences. But between 1965 and 1968, the heart of the hippie era, overt nanny-state leftism was actually just a minor thread in the hippie philosophy, which was more focused on planting the flag of personal freedom and getting away from government influence, rather than demanding that government take an ever-increasing role in our private lives.

And there are plenty of former ’60s-era radicals and hippies who now see the light — that the heady counter-culture and political excitement which swept them up in the late ’60s and early ’70s became contaminated and ultimately ruined by noxious oppressive big-government communists who harnessed the era’s youth energy for ultimately nefarious ends. People like Roger L. Simon and David Horowitz are among the best-known examples of an entire class of former hippies and radicals who now realize that modern-day “conservatism” — including the Tea Party — embodies the true ideals they had been seeking all along as hippies.

And yes, that includes me. I’m not of the same generation as Simon and Horowitz, but I did grow up in a hippie-ish environment and considered myself a “hippie kid” for most of my young life. And I looked the part. Once while taking my first cross-country trip through Middle America I and my fellow young rebels were chased out of a small town by a mob of angry citizens shouting, “Get out of here, you long-haired hippies!” Oh, how we laughed. A moment to be proud of. And yet, years after the fact, I can now almost understand the motivation of those shotgun-toting “bitter clingers” — they saw us hippies as an invading force bringing the taint of leftist ideology into their community. I can sympathize, in retrospect.

But that was long ago. In many ways I still consider myself a hippie (but more of the pure unadulterated Eden Ahbez/Gypsy Boots variety), even if I no longer look like the kind of person you’d chase out of town. I still hew to many of my earlier hippie opinions — I’m an environmentalist, an eccentric, and I pretty much stay away from consumer culture and mainstream society. But, as it is true for many Americans, my natural tendency to drift toward conservatism as I grew older was given a life-altering jolt on 9/11, after which I became more of a foreign policy hawk. But still a hippie in my mind. A hawkish hippie, let’s say.

LBJ announcing escalation of the Vietnam War in 1966. Note the similarity between this image of LBJ and the fictional big-government totalitarian dictator depicted in Apple’s famous “1984″ ad (seen on the right).

Big Hippie Tent

Which brings me back to the beginning. This essay was addressed to self-identified hippies — but I assume that plenty of non-hippie liberals have been eavesdropping on us. And it may very well be that you eavesdroppers may not personally think of yourselves as “hippies,” per se, but you do hold to some hippie-esque values which place you in the Big Hippie Tent. There are all sorts of “neo-hippies” who use other identifiers. And any number of preferences and habits and opinions would make you a semi-hippie, as it were. Do any of these apply to you: Are you a Deadhead? Attracted to alternative spiritualities? Avoid chain stores? Love nature? Listen to ’60s music, reggae or jam bands? Smoke pot? Go to Burning Man? Wear ethnic clothing? Like world cultures? You may not be a full-on hippie, but you’ve been influenced by hippie culture. And because of that you may feel some allegiance to what you have always assumed is hippie politics: left-leaning and “progressive.” And that allegiance, perhaps unconsciously, has prevented you from embracing, or even truly acknowledging, the anti-authoritarian vim of the Tea Party. Tempting, isn’t it? And now you no longer have to resist temptation. Let it all in: your newfound awareness that the Tea Party is the embodiment of the hippie ethos after all.

You’re home at last.

68 Responses to “The Electric Tea Party Acid Test: memo to America’s hippies”

  1. 1Jimash on Oct 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm:

    Chenius !
    Huge insight !
    Incredible resolution of internal conflicts for those who are confused.
    Great damn work, my undead friend.

  2. 2GuyAverage on Oct 11, 2010 at 8:29 pm:

    Man, I’ve thought about this in the context of the TEA Party folks who are now in their 60s and late 50s were in their Salad Days during the days of the hippie movement. Having been to Washington for several TEA party events though, I can tell you for sure that there is a younger demographic that were born in the “Me Decade” of the 1980s as well that is strongly represented.

    I’m in my early 50s age-wise so I was really at the tail end of the hippie movement, but the strongest common thread that I saw and heard both from my contemporaries and those slightly older (who were the true hippies) was the spirit of independence and personal freedom, and innovation as well. The government was seen as the antithesis of that, at least by the folks that I knew. While I’ve voted every time since I was old enough (just missed being able to vote in the Presidential election of 1976 because I was 17 – voting age was 21 up until just before then), I never was aware of most of my friends even being engaged in the political process; in fact, most of them would tell me that they never bothered to vote. They were happy if the government left them alone for the most part.

    Most of the TEA Party folks that I know are desperately hoping that things can be turned around at the ballot box, so that is indeed different than the hippies that I knew back in the day. I’m not at all convinced that it can be done that way, but I would prefer the relatively peaceful attempt to reestablish some sort of Constitutional Republic through whatever framework of law that remains intact as opposed to violence necessitated by the correct resistance to any establishment of tyranny…and that does differ somewhat from the original hippies as well. The TEA Party is strongly Pro-2nd Amendment, which is one of the common threads that unites the fiscal conservative wing with the social conservative wing.

    In any case, extremely interesting post and very, very well done, just as I have come to expect from you, Zombie. Thanks!

  3. 3eots on Oct 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm:

    Zombie, you are awesome.
    Could it be that “fundamental core values” shared by both hippies and the Tea Party are some basic underlying core American values? Also when did punk rock get co-opted by socialism? I have a post/posts coming up about that.

  4. 4eots on Oct 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm:

    Oh, and I think you’ll find Glenn Beck/Grace Slick connection interesting:

    While I was trying to recall Beck/Slick I found “Glenn Beck is the new Abbie Hoffman”:

  5. 5Doragoon on Oct 11, 2010 at 11:04 pm:

    G.K. Chesterton has a great analogy on collectivists not realizing their policies don’t work. A nanny is trying to feed a baby a new brand of formula, which the child refuses to eat. So the nanny, knowing nothing could possibly be wrong with the food, throws out the kid and looks for a new child that will eat it.

    Even a hundred years ago it was obvious that the reason collectivism wasn’t working was that the are more focused on finding the right people to force their system on, than finding the right ideas to work with the people they have.

  6. 6Bakunin on Oct 12, 2010 at 8:19 am:

    The tea party isn’t anti-authoritarian. The Tea Party is anti-”any authority but them”.

    Look at the most recent polls and it will show that the tea party is the extreme wing of the christian conservative movement which wants to ban all abortion, teach “intelligent design” religious dogma in schools, anti-sex (hippies championed sexual liberation) with a healthy dose of conspiracy theory and white supremacy. All the stuff about “core values” of individualism, freedom, etc is just rhetoric.

    Absent from the tea parties ideological similarities with the hippies is a pretty obvious one: LOVE. That is because the tea party is fueled by unadulterated partisan hatred above all else. The hippies set up communes, while the Tea party would rather a fire dept. watch as a families house burns down.

  7. 7zombie on Oct 12, 2010 at 8:40 am:

    Bakunin, your perception of the Tea Party is utterly without basis. Despite being an anarchist, you seem to rely on mainstream and liberal news sources for your information gathering.

    I’ve been to some Tea Party events and did not hear one word about abortion, evolution, sex, or race. All of that is just a smear concocted by the big-government apologists whom you seem to have climbed into bed with.

    Look at me: I’m an evolutionary biologist, I’m pro-choice, pro-sex, and anti-racist. Why in the world would I feel a kinship with the Tea Party ethos if the Tea Party was against all those things? What would I gain by promoting them?

    Are there Christians in the Tea Party? Obviously. But mostly such people express their religious beliefs in other venues, and their economic beliefs with the Tea Party. There are pot-smokers who go to baseball games too; that doesn’t mean that all baseballs fans are potheads, or that baseball is all about marijuana. The presence of Christians in the Tea Party does not make it a Christian movement.

    That alright, Mr. Self-defeating-anarchist. Defend the big-government collectivists currently in power who impose the antithesis of your beliefs on the nation. Maybe one day you’ll see the light. Today, however, does not seem to be that day.

  8. 8Bakunin on Oct 12, 2010 at 10:14 am:

    The American Values Survey has found that tea partiers are mostly social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and less than 1-in-5 (18%) support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry ( There is a growing trend of links between the tea party and the ultra-racist, violent English Defense League. While your individual experience at “some” tea party events maybe sufficient for you, there is enough evidence to show across the tea party experiences that there is a line of extremism that often crosses the boarder into racist territory. Your individual experiences, being shaped by your local, cannot be considered the norm (go to a deep south tea party event and see all the neo-confederate regalia and see what I mean).

    The tea party, for all it’s rhetorical flare on “liberty” and “freedom”, do not offer anything more then “Vote Republican!” and seeing how authoritarian the republicans have been the last 8 years and longer (one of the largest expansions of government happened under Reagan, all while pursuing an interventionist policy proping up rightist thrid world dictators in the third world) , that’s not enough. The enemy of my enemy is NOT my friend if they are still my enemy. Like I’ve said, there enemy is not the state as such, but a state that they don’t control.

    So while I will continue to attack the Obama administration, I’m not going to go over to the same side of a different coin, and worse, one that is even more extreme.

    One note: on the boogy man of “mainstream and liberal news”. I’m assuming that you aren’t suggesting I get my news from, do you? Of course not, you *probably* mean I should only consume right-wing news sources. Life shouldn’t work like that. I read Huffington post,, LGF, CNN, PJM, your blog, and a veriety of others in order to get a holistic sense of debate and ideas. The whole whining about “mainstream and liberal news” is really conservative-speak for “WATCH FOX”.

  9. 9mercanaire on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:56 am:

    RE: #3 – I was a punk rocker early on – late ’70s and well into the ’80s, still listen to a lot of that old stuff today. I recall back then all the anti-Reagan stuff – the bands, the songs, the imagery, etc. and even then, I was wondering, WTF did he do to you all? How did this guy become the focus of such rabid vitriol? Reagan in particular (Margaret Thatcher, if you were in the UK), and republicans and conservatives in general, were the target of vile and often violent words and images, the products of (in the US) mostly middle class young people.

    The early Dead Kennedys songs seemed to me rather libertarian, with songs satirizing politicians, yuppies, large corporations, religious organizations, and more. But Flipper (still a favorite after all these years) were pretty much apolitical, their songs instead focusing on human pathos rather than political posturing, were pretty much despised by the more politically correct bands and fans, at least in the Bay Area.

    So then we come to the new century, and here similar bands are still, but with a new bogeyman – George Bush. Pearl Jam lead singer once at a concert trashed an effigy of GWB on stage. And if you were listening, so many bands seemed to make the 43rd president a focus of their hatred. And again I wondered (as I did two decades earlier,) what did this guy do to deserve this?

    It is so clear now that the left influenced, even infiltrated the bands of that era and well into more modern times. After all, wasn’t that part of the “How To Turn America Socialist” plan all along? Control and /or direct the content of popular culture and media?

    Anyway, Zombie, terrific article and chart, thanks for all you work.

  10. 10zombie on Oct 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm:

    9. mercanaire

    Wow, another Flipper fan! Never in a million years would have expected such a thing to pop up here, of all places. I used to love Flipper too. Welcome aboard!

    And as for the Dead Kennedys, never forget that their biggest hit, “California Uber Alles,” savagely attacked Jerry Brown and his leftist ideology as being inherently totalitarian:

    “California Uber Alles”

    I am Governor Jerry Brown
    My aura smiles And never frowns
    Soon I will be president…

    Carter Power will soon go away
    I will be Fuhrer one day
    I will command all of you
    Your kids will meditate in school
    Your kids will meditate in school!

    California Uber Alles
    California Uber Alles
    Uber Alles California
    Uber Alles California

    Zen fascists will control you
    100% natural
    You will jog for the master race
    And always wear the happy face

    Close your eyes, can’t happen here
    Big Bro’ on white horse is near
    The hippies won’t come back you say
    Mellow out or you will pay
    Mellow out or you will pay!


    Now it is 1984
    Knock-knock at your front door
    It’s the suede/denim secret police
    They have come for your uncool niece

    Come quietly to the camp
    You’d look nice as a drawstring lamp
    Don’t you worry, it’s only a shower
    For your clothes here’s a pretty flower.

    DIE on organic poison gas
    Serpent’s egg’s already hatched
    You will croak, you little clown
    When you mess with President Brown
    When you mess with President Brown

  11. 11Ringo the Gringo on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm:

    Saw both Flipper and Dead Kennedys quite a few times back in the very early 80′s…..I also used to party with another band from that neck of the woods back then -zombie, you remember the Pop-O-Pies?

  12. 12zombie on Oct 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm:

    10. Ringo the Gringo

    You mean “The Catholics Are Attacking” Pop-O-Pies? Of course! How could I forget? Loved ‘em.

  13. 13J.N. Kish on Oct 13, 2010 at 5:54 am:

    Great Article! I’ve linked to it here -
    Hobo’s, Hippies, Bums and the True Political Spectrum

  14. 14ZZMike on Oct 14, 2010 at 12:31 am:

    “…this belief that we have — that human nature is fundamentally flawed and selfish, and essentially unchangeable.”

    Doesn’t that argue for more, bigger government, more rules & regulations, in order to keep those flawed, selfish, unchangeable people from hurting one another?

    The problem is, those moth-like folks attracted to the flame of power end up wanting to overdo it, to control every aspect of our lives, like whether we’re allowed to smoke if we want, or if we’re bright enough to make our own savings plans for retirement, or decide what kind of health insurance we want, …

    Whittle is near the top of my list (I’ve been following him, on and off, ever since “’), but this time I think he goes too far. True, we can’t be “perfected” (to quote the immortal line from “Some Like It Hot”: “Nobody’s perfect”). And we certainly can’t be made more perfect by someone out there with a carrot, or a whip, or a Law. We can be made more perfect from within, by thinking and reading and trying.

  15. 15zombie on Oct 14, 2010 at 7:02 am:

    Bakunin: 8Bakunin

    Check this out in today’s Washington Post:

    Few signs at tea party rally expressed racially charged anti-Obama themes

    Tea party signs by the numbers
    A graduate student at UCLA studied the signs at the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington. Here’s what she found.

    A new analysis of political signs displayed at a tea party rally in Washington last month reveals that the vast majority of activists expressed narrow concerns about the government’s economic and spending policies and steered clear of the racially charged anti-Obama messages that have helped define some media coverage of such events.


  16. 16mercanaire on Oct 14, 2010 at 8:16 am:

    Yep! Saw the Pop O Pies at Al’s Bar (LA) back in ’84 or ’85. Joe is good guy, and not only made fun of the Catholics, and Grateful Dead, on his myspace page he says “Yeah yeah, anti Reagan and all that stuff man”. I’m pretty sure he pokin fun at all those kids from those days.

    Like Flipper? Ha! You should my tattoos! 3 smaller to larger Flipper Fish on a swirling water background across my shoulder and clavicle, (right above my anarchy skull/spiderweb/lucky dice/suicide king on my bicep and back bicep)

    So it appears others have similar background – nice to know. Hardcore politics is not always mean leftist I guess.

  17. 17Bakunin on Oct 14, 2010 at 9:01 am:

    Check this out in today’s Washington Post:

    let’s go through this step by step:

    1) According to an intern at the Cato Institute
    2)The 9/12 event organized by Dick Armey and the Koch Brothers organization FreedomWorks
    3) FreedomWorks admits to monitoring sign messages

    So, the 9/12 event’s, unlike the original regional tea party events that where largely hastily organized “grassroots” gatherings, national 9/12 events where organized by a national, billionaire funded organization that monitors the message of its attendees.

    AND unlike the survey I posted that shows that the majority of tea partiers are radical christian conservatives who want to ban abortion and homosexuality, this report does not release the raw data. Essentially I have to take this guys word for it, which, why should I? It’s not like the Washington Post, FreedomWorks, or the Cato Institute has any political interest in trying to refute reality of the very vocal white supremacist tendency within the tea party.

    Your whining that vocal minority has given the wrong impression, ’cause vocal extremist minorities, no matter weather it is “left wing” media or “right wing” media, will get all the attention, because that’s whats more interesting for viewers (Idoglogical leader of the Tea Party Glenn Beck has made a career of it). It is good that FreedomWorks is monitoring the signs, it would be better if rather then just trying to hide behind the rhetoric of “core values are x,y,z, so how can we be racist?!” or the paranoid “infiltration” myth, that tea party groups step up and publicly repudiating racism that exists.

  18. 18poignarbiter on Oct 14, 2010 at 10:34 am:

    Zombie is ranked #2 in the most recent Poignant Conservatives Power Rankings.

  19. 19Drang on Oct 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm:

    Zombie: So there I was, writing a blog post about definitions/perceptions of left/right, collectivism/individualism, when I read this post. S*I*G*H.
    Anway. Are you familiar with the Pournelle chart (Wikipedia)?
    Or any of the other attempts at graphing the socio-political landscape discussed in UpWord: Left Or Right, Liberal And Conservative?

  20. 20Ringo the Gringo on Oct 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm:

    After looking at the various charts in Drang’s link, I must say that, in my opinion, zombie’s chart more accurately reflects reality than any of the other ones.

  21. 21Ringo the Gringo on Oct 14, 2010 at 7:20 pm:

    And while we’re on the subject of bums vs hobos, Heather MacDonald has a good article on the San Francisco’s bum problem…

    The Sidewalks of San Francisco

  22. 22eots on Oct 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm:

    mercanaire, Zombie,

    Jello recently disavowed the Jerry Brown version of California Uber Alles. He has some ridiculous opinions, like that the government should support the bands, which is incidentally what they do in Europe.

  23. 23Katz on Oct 15, 2010 at 4:11 am:

    Ask the TEA Party rentamob what they think about hippies.

    Case closed.

  24. 24Ringo the Gringo on Oct 15, 2010 at 6:34 am:


    Jello has stupid ideas about everything. He thinks that the “government” has trucks which contain traveling crack and meth labs that drive around poor and urban areas delivering drugs in order to keep minorities and the poor to dopped up to rebel against the system. And that’s just one of thousands of crazy ideas he promotes.

    And to think that in my youth I thought he was some sort of profound thinker; now I realize that Jello Biafra is just a clown, and a wanker too.

  25. 25William O. B'Livion on Oct 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm:


    “Rentamob”? Project much?


    If you’re quote a “poll” conducted by a hard-left organization funded by foreign grown billionaire(s) (Soros) you don’t get to whine about American billionaires spending their money to organize.

    More of the “it’s ok if we do it but not if you do it”. You can get away with that crap on CNN or WaPo, but not here.

  26. 26Katz on Oct 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm:

    @William O. B’Livion

    Ask the TEA Party patriots what they think about hippies.

    Case closed.

  27. 27eots on Oct 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm:

    Ringo the Gringo, yeah, he’s a clown. I do give him a lot of credit for putting his money where his mouth is. He does try really hard to keep his record label afloat for the sake of the bands that he signed.

  28. 28William O. B'Livion on Oct 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm:

    @ EOTS:
    > Also when did punk rock get co-opted by socialism? I have a post/posts coming up about that.

    I remember reading in a sort of protracted obit to Joe Strummer the writer mentioned the trotskites (ala “permanent revolution” etc.) working to co-opt punk. Also IIRC Strummer was the son of a English Diplomat and heavily invested in a socialist/revolutionary POV.

    There was a bit of English Punk that wasn’t heavily socialist but at least some of them got labeled skinhead (Sham 69 etc.), and as is usually the case if you weren’t part of the in crowd it was a lot tougher to get ahead.

  29. 29William O. B'Livion on Oct 15, 2010 at 9:01 pm:


    They get their information about Hippies from the same place you get your information about Tea Parties.

    The difference is that if a Hippie shows up at a Tea Party rally and doesn’t act like a left wing fuckwit (but I repeat myself) he’ll be accepted.

  30. 30Buttered Biscuit on Oct 16, 2010 at 9:08 am:

    Love your blog. but…this article….

    Overwrought…I disagree that the vacuous years of hippie fogs map to the modern Tea Party. We are fiercely pro-America and pro-Work…this movement is not about dropping out and getting high and living a dirty slum existence on the edge of consciousness. The Tea Party is about being involved, informed and making a difference in a very practical way that can be felt and seen and enjoyed…no drugs required. If you want daisies in your yard…plant some.

    But, that being said…I read your entire article and found the exercise interesting and exhaustive. I think you’re onto the edge of something…but the idea is still forming. You’re dead on about the Tea Party as an ideology rather than a cult of personality. Put not your faith in man…after all, they’re only human.

  31. 31Katz on Oct 16, 2010 at 3:09 pm:

    W O’B, you appear to be very confident about the source(s) of my information about TEA Partiers.

    The difference is that if a Hippie shows up at a Tea Party rally and doesn’t act like a left wing fuckwit (but I repeat myself) he’ll be accepted.

    What if this person behaves like a left wing intelligent person? Or do I detect a soupçon of projection on your part?

    And as for my first observation, Buttered Biscuit #30 has wandered in to add evidentiary weight to it.

    Thanx BB!

    More generally, I dispute the characterization of hippies as adhering to a view of human nature as “innate”. The whole lysergic project was predicated on the proposition of altering the mind. How many of you have forgotten that they were called “mind altering drugs”?

    Tsk, tsk.

    Hippiedom was notoriously loose-wrapped. but they definitely belonged closer to anarchist streams of thought, though hippie communitarianism cannot properly be described as ‘individualism”. And for that matter, anarchists aren’t “individualists” either. Many anarchists adhere to a project of self-regulating communities, sometimes known as “communes”.

  32. 32Bakunin on Oct 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm:

    After looking at the various charts in Drang’s link, I must say that, in my opinion, zombie’s chart more accurately reflects reality than any of the other ones.

    actually, zombie’s chart is probably one of the WORST there is. Why? ’cause it is completely subjective to the creators ideological world view. It is not based on a series of questions that can be filled out and charted based on individual statements by candidates. it cannot be objectively re-created in a scientific and statistical manner.

    Also, it DOESN’T reflect reality. Take “hobos” and “unions”. they are on opposing sides of the individualism/collectivism axis, YET during the Golden Era of Hobo (late 19th century – 1940s) ‘bos joined en-mass the Industrial Workers of the World, a revolutionary ideologically-communist labor union. These weren’t people co-opted, but active participants, being instrumental in removing more doctraniere Marxist Daniel DeLeon from the union.

    “Social Conservatives” occupy a place in the “innate” section, but most social religious conservatives, being dominionists, believe that society is a can be reconstituted to fit christian cultural values. This is most shown in the push against gay marriage and it’s support for the “ex-gay” movement. reality is that homosexuality is innate trait in the human being, and the social conservatives struggle against gays as gays reflect an ideology that “human nature is malleable” to “cultural constructs”, so long as they are ultra-conservative christian cultural constructs.

  33. 33Katz on Oct 17, 2010 at 10:00 pm:

    What Bakunin said.

  34. 34Winslow on Oct 17, 2010 at 10:36 pm:

    And what on earth did Bakunin say?

  35. 35Bakunin on Oct 18, 2010 at 6:01 am:

    That we should use objective and rational methods to determine who goes where on a Political spectrum. I know, I know, being objective and rational is really out of fashion these days, but still, can’t we try?

  36. 36luarvikl on Oct 18, 2010 at 6:41 am:

    Interesting essay. I have not read Kerouac, but I think you quote him very selectively. In the essay you link to, he is described as having little sympathy for those “hippie flower children out in the park with their peanut butter sandwiches and their live-and-let-live philosophy.” – note his negative attitude toward the “their live-and-let-live philosophy”, not their leftist transformation (which has not completed by the time Kerouac died.)

    He is also described as “a deeply religious man wed to his Catholicism.” Nothing puts a person on the “constructed human nature” half of the map you designed as a Christian religious faith, especially Catholicism with its belief in salvation through faith and denial of predestination – no?

  37. 37Ringo the Gringo on Oct 18, 2010 at 9:02 am:


    Just curious…Where would you place yourself on zombies spectrum?

  38. 38Capt Curt on Oct 18, 2010 at 9:24 am:

    You truly have a delicious and impressive

  39. 39Some Guy In Iraq on Oct 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm:

    Thank you Zombie. For years I have tried to explain how my mother could be a card carrying John Birch Society member and a practicing “hippy” with all the trappings as seen in our diet, cloth over rubber/plastic, off the grid as often/much as possible, home/commune schooled, recycling before it was institutionalized, herbal only medicine cabinet, et all.

    Couple that with a post where I found Pop O Pies references (last saw them with the Leftovers at a show in Garberville) and it has shown me that the harmonic convergence is upon us as all this fractionalized enlightenment begins to align my chakras with the ley lines.

    Please keep up the good work. It keeps many informed and many humble; two attributes often lacking in our great society today. The truth has now become an act of treason due to the vast universal deceit.

    And to close with a Jello quote, “We can’t destroy society in a day; but we can start, by not treating people like dirt.”

  40. 40Bakunin on Oct 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm:


    It’s really difficult to place myself using the terminology of “The Zombie Spectrum”.

    I would self-describe as an “anarchist” or an “anarcho-syndicalist”.

    I suspect that Zombie would place me as a “trustafarian anarchist” what ever that means (I don’t have a trust fund, I have to work hard for a living, I’ve never smoked pot or pan-handled). I would probably place myself on the same y axis point as “true anarchist” but closer to the fade on the z axis, although still on the side of “individualism”, but I can’t really tell you seeing how this chart is pretty nonsensical .

  41. 41William O. B'Livion on Oct 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm:


    actually, zombie’s chart is probably one of the WORST there is. Why? ’cause it is completely subjective to the creators ideological world view. It is not based on a series of questions that can be filled out and charted based on individual statements by candidates. it cannot be objectively re-created in a scientific and statistical manner.

    Oh nonsense.

    You are, of course, familiar with the MMPI? A (long) series of questions that must be answered yes/no, questions repeated in slightly different ways, etc. etc. designed explicitly to determine subjective mental states.

    It would not be trivial to do this, but one certainly could generate a (largish) set of questions that would fairly accurately place one on any given political spectrum, be it one, two, or three d.

    Now there are many who would kick and scream about this as they don’t WANT to admit that their philosophy is about “more” government, or that they take a “constructivist” view of human nature AND want to mold minds in specific ways, but it certainly can be done.

    Also, it DOESN’T reflect reality. Take “hobos” and “unions”. they are on opposing sides of the individualism/collectivism axis, YET during the Golden Era of Hobo (late 19th century – 1940s) ‘bos joined en-mass the Industrial Workers of the World, a revolutionary ideologically-communist labor union. These weren’t people co-opted, but active participants, being instrumental in removing more doctraniere Marxist Daniel DeLeon from the union.

    The Wobblies were VERY different from what we in America understand Trade Unions to be, and they were basically over as a force by the early 1930s. I’d not be surprised that Hobos would gravitate to certain types of unions (like for example the modern SEIU) since having that card would make it easier for them to pick up day labor work wherever they happened to be (again the nature of work and labor was vastly different in the early 1900s). There also seems to be some literature that calls into question the distinction between “hobo” and “bum”.

    “Social Conservatives” occupy a place in the “innate” section, but most social religious conservatives, being dominionists, believe that society is a can be reconstituted to fit christian cultural values. This is most shown in the push against gay marriage and it’s support for the “ex-gay” movement. reality is that homosexuality is innate trait in the human being, and the social conservatives struggle against gays as gays reflect an ideology that “human nature is malleable” to “cultural constructs”, so long as they are ultra-conservative christian cultural constructs.

    First off those are more “religious” Conservatives than social conservatives. There really aren’t that many of them active (but they’re noisy), and they don’t believe that for most people sexual orientation is “innate”.

    Very few people are hard up against one side of that spectrum (innate v.s. constructed) and I’d bet that it’s the distribution is pretty Gaussian with most people within a standard deviation of “well, some things are, some things aren’t, and if they are then you can control yourself most of the time”.

    There are clearly some things that are innate. Autism for example. Some things are clearly both–according to at least one researcher ( you need a genetic anomaly AND violence during youth. There are some who claim that much to most of homosexuality stems from child sexual abuse (I’m not advocating or agreeing with this position as that is a field that is simply too contentious for good science to be done) and those people would put it squarely on the “constructed” end of things. I’m of the studied opinion that real-world behavior is a mix of the two.


    What if this person behaves like a left wing intelligent person? Or do I detect a soupçon of projection on your part?

    In this case an intelligent person would not show up at a Tea Party rally carrying oppositional signs. In fact, given todays media one would not show up carrying any signs at all since one DOES NOT get clear and honest information.

    I’ve been to a couple (literally) TEA Party events, and I’ve read first hand accounts from dozens of others and gone through enough videos, both professional and otherwise to get a food idea. I’ve seen leftists showing up to protest the events, and if you show up in defiance you’ll NOT get anywhere. But this is true of leftist events as well. If I show up to your Brady Campaign event wearing an NRA hat and a “Kill them all, God will sort them out” T-Shirt I’m going to get flack. If I show up wearing a polo and a Cubs hat I’m going to get some sympathy, but I can ask questions. Carefully.

    An intelligent leftist (And there are some. They’re intelligent, they’ve either been given incorrect information, or have reached incorrect conclusions.) would show up, ask careful questions and watch and listen.


    I would self-describe as an “anarchist” or an “anarcho-syndicalist”.

    If you’re a syndicalist like the ones I hung out with @ the Columbia Anarchist League briefly in the 80s (VERY briefly, a young lady I had some affection for was living there) then you’re way over on the “more government” side of the curve, you just want it to come from the community or mass consciousness or something. Those were some of the most rule oriented folks I’d ever met. Can’t smoke there, can’t cook meat in THIS kitchen, can’t etc. etc.

    But I don’t know you, so I won’t paint you with that silliness.

  42. 42wormwoodpilot on Oct 21, 2010 at 9:09 am:

    Zombie, I have questions.
    Bakunin makes good points. I am left with the impression that the tea party has been taken over by Christine O’donnell, Sara Palin, and Glenn Beck. In fact I am not even sure what separates the Tea Party from the Republican party, seeing as the impression I get is that the big three names thrown out as representation for the tea party believe the following.

    Belief that the earth is 6000 years old: Check
    Belief that sex and marriage is something the government has any business regulating: Check
    Belief that a lack of culture and higher education is valid street cred for a “grass roots” movement: Check
    Distrust of science and “scientists”: Check
    Belief that religious ideology being inserted into public schools and called “science” is a freedom issue: Check
    Belief in small government, unless it is for bloated budgets for hawkish government organizations and defense contractors: Check

    I have not heard much from the tea party concerning environmental regulation aside from climate change, but there are many other pressing environmental issues that affect us all and will not be corrected by a laissez-faire approach.

    How is this any different than the various states of the Republican Party in the last 20 years?

    Also, Social Conservatives (I am thinking evangelicals) def belong on the constructed end of human nature as they want to change societal behavior into their vision as much as any leftist.

    Survivalists as social constructionists? I guess I am not sure what counts as a survivalist. I live in Colorado and most of my friends are libertarians who all have a survivalist streak or would identify as survivalists to an extent. Why are survivalists on the constructed end? I would think they would be more closely aligned with the hippy movement. It is about self-reliance and not being dependent on a society/culture that is somewhat insane. Survivalists I know (a lot of them) are not die hard live in a cave survivalists and all still have normal jobs, but for fun we practice outdoor woodcraft, foraging techniques, self-reliance food preparation etc. It is a fun hobby and an excuse to be outdoors in our off time. There is no talk of forming or re-forming society among any of the survivalists I know, most of whom tend to be atheists or agnostics that are very tolerant of all things except those that would restrict our freedom. Maybe we spend too much money keeping extra food in the basement, but maybe we don’t also.
    I am excluding Mormon survivalists of course, but they fall into the religious conservative category, as the church teaches a self-reliance philosophy (which is not a bad thing)

    Colorado Libertarian looking for answers

  43. 43Rick McGinniss on Oct 23, 2010 at 10:13 am:

    “Also, Social Conservatives (I am thinking evangelicals) def belong on the constructed end of human nature as they want to change societal behavior into their vision as much as any leftist.”

    Wormwoodpilot, I can’t answer any of your other questions but I can possibly help on this one. I think Zombie’s chart was illustrating the difference between ideologies that believe human nature can or cannot be changed, not whether or not the ideology desires to change it. That said, two points:

    1. Evangelicals definitely believe that human nature cannot be changed whether through outward constrictions (civil laws and religious rules) or inward striving (trying diligently to obey religous rules). Unfortunately, that truth isn’t understood by many casual observers and even by many evangelicals themselves.

    What makes Evangelicals evangelical is the good news (the literal meaning of the Greek word “evangelion’) that human nature, though it is hopelessly lost, can be created anew through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection. The Apostle Paul (the greatest evangelical who ever lived – his work in the 1st century was responsible for planting the seeds of Christianity all over the Greco-Roman world) wrote, “If any person is in Christ, he or she is a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come.”

    2. However, even though Paul taught this good news and experienced it himself, he also understood that redeemed human nature will not be made complete in this life. That will not happen until Jesus returns.

    Until then, there will be a battle between the old nature and the new (which is why a lot of Christians – myself included – are still a hypocritical mess). Hence his words in the 7th chapter of his letter to the Romans where he stated (I’m paraphrasing) “I know what I should do, but I don’t do it. And I know what I should not do, yet I find myself doing it. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Christ will” (referring to his return). He also wrote to the Galatian Christians, “If anyone is trapped in some kind of sinful behavior or addiction, you who are more mature help him/her get out of it. But, be humble because you, too, are susceptible to your own temptations.”

    By the way, the fact that humans – even redeemed ones – aren’t going to fundamentally change is why Paul and church-fathers weren’t anti-authoritian towards the Roman Emperor. They believed that laws and government – even a government that was hostile towards them – are primarily intended to keep evil in check. They’re like “the cork in the wine bottle” … to borrow a Lostism.

    Bottom line, if social conservatives = evangelicals, then they are probably in the right spot on Zombie’s chart. However, if they were listed as a separate group, I’d probably put them near the hobos (though Christianity does have a strong collectivism component. But we call it the church, not government). Recent misguided attempts aside, evangelicalism in its purest sense is agnostic towards the political process, which is why biblically-based Christianity has been able to thrive in every political system for over 2000 years. Jesus never told his followers to “change the system.” He said to change hearts starting with our own.

    That said, would evangelicals like to see the world move towards the biblical vision of a redeemed humanity that is productive, peaceful, fulfilled, free, whole, mature, compassionate and loving? Absolutely. We believe that is God’s intention in sending Christ as redeemer. But, again, that is not ultimately achievable through human effort – individual or collective.


    Rev. Rick McGinniss

    P.S. I’m not trying to convert you or anyone else and I’m not a flag-waver for the Tea Party. Your post made me think and I thought I’d try to (hopefully) bring a little bit of clarity to the discussion.

  44. 44MadHatChemist on Oct 24, 2010 at 5:46 pm:

    Fascism is misplaced. They believed that people could be molded via a non-existent and sefl-directing collective will.

  45. 45Scott on Oct 25, 2010 at 6:32 pm:

    To Wormwood:

    Seems to me your evangelical Christian paranoia is affecting your perception of the TEA people. Perhaps you’ve considered that they are free to practice their brand of religion in this country (apparently, Christine O’Donnell knows the First Amendment better than Chris Coons), but seriously, I can speak as a watcher and overall supporter of the TEA Party that this stuff is untrue or distorted:

    Belief that the earth is 6000 years old: Check I am an agnostic and believe in Evolution. Plenty of folks in the TEA movement don’t believe in creationism. I know them. Some do. It isn’t a central focus of the movement.
    Belief that sex and marriage is something the government has any business regulating: Check From Christine O’Donnel’s website: Strongly believes in protecting the sanctity of life at ALL stages. Did you think abortion only happens with married people? Sex too? Be serious.
    Belief that a lack of culture and higher education is valid street cred for a “grass roots” movement: Check Where does this come from? Grass roots is a label assigned to the TEA movement because (shock!) it wasn’t incubated in some think tank, like so many Soros-funded leftist “movements”. ( for one)
    Distrust of science and “scientists”: Check From O’Donnell’s website: Supports a market-based approach to energy solutions that will keep competition high and energy prices low. If that entails distrust of a guy who thinks a tiny fraction of our atmosphere will lead to catastrophic temperature shifts in our lifetimes, and promotes the concept of carbon trading that will only benefit well-heeled leftist entrepreneurs, then yes, it is true. Global Warming theory is worse than creationism, has been debunked over and over, and will continue to make Steven Chu and Al Gore look foolish. Why trust that? But O’Donnell’s statement is pretty straightforward. Let’s let the market decide where we should get our energy, and set aside silly government-funded scientist pillow fights for a more prosperous time.
    Belief that religious ideology being inserted into public schools and called “science” is a freedom issue: Check Again, O’Donnell: Believes our country was founded on core values of faith, family and freedom and will fight to defend those values. Will always fight for maximum choice for parents about where to educate their kids, including private, parochial and charter schools or in the home. In that statement is space for folks who want to send their kinds to private school, parochial school, or a public charter school, and everything else. Choice is what this country is about, no? Obama thinks not, since people who think like he does decided DC parents (as an example) shall not choose their educational options if they are poor.
    Belief in small government, unless it is for bloated budgets for hawkish government organizations and defense contractors: Check Again, O’Donnell: Believes terrorism is an act of war requiring the full force of our intelligence and military resources rather than granting terrorists precious Constitutional rights and outsourcing our foreign policy to the U.N. I read that to mean the UN has outlived its usefulness, and could be cut from the budget. I like that idea. We could invest that in the military, and help defend oh, I dunno, our borders or something. Interestingly, with the debt we’ve amassed in 20 short months, in just a decade, we’ll pay more to service this debt than our entire military budget is right now. Call me silly, but wouldn’t an investment in our country’s security make more sense than servicing debt to other countries?

    I have not heard much from the tea party concerning environmental regulation aside from climate change, but there are many other pressing environmental issues that affect us all and will not be corrected by a laissez-faire approach.
    The perils of our environment have greatly been exaggerated for the purpose of controlling our voting habits. Republicans (and TEA Partiers) like a clean environment, just like everyone else. We’d prefer Market-Based solutions as opposed to more government. That’s all. For evidence, look at the post 8/28 rally on the National Mall, and look at the Al Sharpton event’s aftermath. I trust responsible individuals to keep the environment moreso than people who are always pointing fingers saying the government must DO something.

  46. 46Rose on Oct 26, 2010 at 7:53 am:

    I agree. Before the drug culture destroyed the hippie movement, there were high ideals, individual responsibility, back to the land, live lightly, less consumerism, but above all “I do my thing and you do yours” – quite the opposite of the big government nanny-state dictators and big spenders.

  47. 47DirtCrashr on Oct 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm:

    Interesting confluence between hippies and the Tea-Party. As a 50-something BayAryan who attended UC Santa Cruz, my youthful goal was to be a Hippie when I grew up, and for a while I succeeded, but then I grew-up again and I’m not any more. My college choice was strongly supported by my parents who were NOT hippies, they were fairly strict Leftists and during the Summer of Love (and until later) they decried hippies while supporting the anti-Vietnam-war movement because it accomplished a Socialist goal which was the diminution of the US. They also supported anybody who participated in that, which happened to be a lot of hippies because at the time was 1.) a big threat to their age-group, and 2.) it’s easy to get hippies to “just say no to War” because war is uncool and 3.) Coolness was/is a major goal for hippies. Coolness is a big asset and will get you laid, and among Hippies greater levels of coolness are badges of rank.
    Meanwhile my parents supported my efforts towards Hippydom because it coincided with Mao caps and the outward trappings of Socialist egalitarinaism, and lead through UCSC, where there was a lot of high level, elitist, Left-thought instruction and group-dynamic taking place that would hopefully stick to me, and the baptism would result in a convinced, doctrinaire Leftist like themselves.
    It didn’t take – but I remained confused about the true nature of Conservatism, and following the conventional, local wisdom of a typical left-leaning liberal BayAryan, I believed it was linked to Fascism – my axis was for a long time totally skewed until I finally admitted the truth of my own personality and nature – that I was an individualist not a collectivist.

  48. 48Daniel Noe on Oct 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm:

    If FDR/Obama Democrat supporters are they way they are because of innate nature, we are all doomed! I still have faith that some may be reached peacefully, and they may change their nature. This puts me on the opposite side from the tea party.

    If the tea party people believe that marxists cannot be changed, what do they plan to do? Kill them all?

    I think the chart needs a little work.

  49. 49DrTorch on Oct 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm:

    Best essay I’ve read in some time.

  50. 50James A on Nov 3, 2010 at 10:13 am:

    Another great song from before the hard left takeover was “Political Man” by Cream:

    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    I wanna just show you what my politics are.
    I’m a political man and I practice what I preach
    I’m a political man and I practice what I preach
    So don’t deny me baby, not while you’re in my reach.
    I support the left, tho’ I’m leanin’, leanin’ to the right
    I support the left, tho’ I’m leanin’ to the right
    But I’m just not there when it’s coming to a fight.
    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    Hey now baby, get into my big black car
    I wanna just show you what my politics are.

  51. 51Guess Who on Dec 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm:

    A sign from a supposed “Tea Partier”

    But I think it is from a liberal rally and was intended as sarcasm.

    I was thinking someone who looked at lots of the signs from liberal rallies might be familiar with this one. Especially someone who checks out zombietime on a regular basis.

    I just don’t have the time to search through all of the rallys at Zombietime to see if I find one of these. (I have dial up)

  52. 52منتديات on Mar 21, 2011 at 2:04 am:

    That we should use objective and rational methods to determine who goes where on a Political spectrum. I know, I know, being objective and rational is really out of fashion these days, but still, can’t we try?

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