On the “tea parties” and “going Galt”
I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but…*
I don’t mind people protesting against massive government expansion and taxation. But do they have to call their protests “tea parties”?
Mailing bags of tea to Congress costs very little and risks nothing. It’s just one step up from sending a strongly worded email, which is only one step up from an online form letter or petition.
Do they know what the Boston Tea Party was about? And if so, what are they implying when they send tea to Congress? We have representation to go with our taxation, more direct representation than the American Revolution established. If the “tea party” protests of 2009 aren’t really related to the original Tea Party, why draw a comparison?
I’d be more impressed if they fired a shot across the bow and coordinated a national day for cranking up their withholding allowances, just as high as they can. They’re planning their next party on Tax Day, right? One might think they’d be interested in ceasing to lend their earnings interest-free to the government. They might take some satisfaction in doing something that actually shows up on the government’s ledger.
I’d be convinced of their sincerity if they subsequently considered actually not paying their taxes next year if the government didn’t change its policies. That would be civil disobedience, as opposed to loud-but-obedient. But still, hold the tea.
The “going Galt” thing has been a bit better — at least it involves refusing to produce — but “John Galt” is a rather radical standard, ladies and gentlemen. Reducing your income so that you don’t pay the higher marginal taxes in the next bracket; partially shutting down businesses and taking more leisure time; retiring early. These are nice, but it’s like “going Martin Luther King, Jr.” without risking jail or invoking the Alamo without risking death.
Galt refused to let the public seize his creations for their (immense) benefit. He led an illegal strike. He accepted nothing more than a night watchman state. He openly scorned all religion and mysticism. His opposition to government was not of the “vote the bums out 20 months from now” variety, or merely underperforming–although he did discuss underperformers in his marathon speech, much of which is dramatized here (note: videos spoil much of the book – the part about underperformers is at 7:20 or so in Part 14).
Not that radical? Not willing to take that kind of risk? Then don’t play dress-up.
Content yourself to call your actions by their proper names. If you know what the fictional character symbolizes, and that’s not a standard by which you judge yourself, it’s better that you don’t compare your actions to his.
* This isn’t a Dennis Miller-style rant. Sorry. If I tried to emulate that, I’d just pale in comparison. Speaking of which…