After noting several stark differences between the hippies of New Left of the 60s and the Tea Party movement activists, such as "One was on the left, the other is on the right. One was bohemian, the other is bourgeois. One was motivated by war, and the other is motivated by runaway federal spending. One went to Woodstock, the other is more likely to go to Wal-Mart." he immediately turns around and says "But the similarities are more striking than the differences."
Uh, it would be hard to find a starker difference than 'one favors liberty, the other collective slavery.'
His reasons only make his position look more ridiculous. Scattered among lesser gems is this 40 carat whopper:
"The core commonality is this: Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence.Right. It's just a conspiracy theory that Federal spending is out of control far beyond already horrendous historical norms. It's just a wacky theory that the Feds have already nationalized two-thirds of the auto industry. It's delusional to believe they already corrupted the financial markets with bailouts, stimuli, and interfering in executive compensation issues. A person is mentally askew if he believes they're trying to complete their control over all health care and insurance.
Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures."
"Because of this assumption, members of both movements go in big for conspiracy theories."
Still, set all that aside. What's most interesting here is that his brain is so awash with pragmatic, middle-of-the-road mush he would simply wash away the clear black-and-white differences between the 60's New Left and the '10s New Right to declare the Tea Party movement morally suspect.
And why? Because the latter wants radical change (in this case in the direction of freedom), just like the New Left did in the '60s (in the direction of statism). In short, what they have in common is a passionate – and more or less consistent — attachment to a philosophy. To a Pragmatist, such a thing is anathema regardless of the actual content of the philosophy.
And how does he defend this position? By invoking an all-too-common conservative notion that is both misanthropic and inherently self-contradictory:
Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin — on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization — in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages...The doctrine of original sin is not equivalent to a belief that humans are fallible or lack omniscience. It's the belief that we are innately evil, or (in weaker versions) that humans have an in-built tendency toward evil.
The concept of "sin" (actions which violate a moral law) is closely related to that of "evil." But the concepts of good and evil can only be meaningful when one has a choice. Alleging we are born evil, therefore, entails a contradiction.
So, basing one's advocacy of "permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages" is illogical (not to mention ahistorical, considering how often that alleged wisdom has been wrong).
Folks, this is the inevitable mental and moral dead end of living by the philosophy of Pragmatism. It makes you dumb.