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It has become conventional wisdom among liberals, especially politicians and media elites, that the tea party and most people in it are racist. This comment about the tea party is repeated over and over in articles, editorials, speeches, interviews and TV shows.
Nobody has stopped to think about why, other than the obvious left-wing McCarthyism, this comment about the tea party from liberals is so ubiquitous. The tea party’s only real policy platform is reducing the size and scope of government. There is nothing obvious about reducing the size and scope of government that should be considered racist.
However, liberals must think that there is. Their knee-jerk, illogical reaction to the tea party actually exposes their own liberal racism. Here’s why:
In contrast to how the liberal media and politicians describe the tea party, its members tend to be educated, affluent and from a broad demographic and geographic base.
They are not just a bunch of rednecks and trailer trash or out-of-touch country-club elites. They’re active in large numbers in every state, even very liberal states. They are such a broad coalition because what they stand for has broad appeal to people. People are fed up with government taking a larger and larger role in their lives. They’re fed up with excessive and punitive taxes and regulations. They want a smaller, leaner government that is more responsive to the needs of regular people, not special-interest groups and bureaucrats. As in any large group, there are probably some individual people who are racist. There are some racists in any large group, including the Democrats and the NAACP. That doesn’t make the whole organization racist.
So why do liberals constantly accuse the tea party, as a group, of being racist? The primary reason is that liberals believe government, and plenty of it, is the only way racial minorities can survive in America. They think that without special help from the government, minorities would be unable to get jobs, have health care, feed their kids, go to school or do much of anything.
The implication of this liberal view of the world is that racial minorities are unable to take care of themselves at all. That’s why government has to take care of them. That’s why smaller government, as advocated by the tea party, is racist. It’s because smaller government, according to liberals, means minorities will suffer. Obviously, this liberal view is extremely racist as well as not accurate on many levels.
First, most of the government spending that the tea party wants to reduce doesn’t even do anything to help minorities in any direct way. Most government spending, especially at the federal level, goes to benefit senior citizens, farmers, big corporations, big unions and government bureaucrats. All of these groups are mostly white.
The amount of money spent on things like poverty programs and affirmative-action programs that disproportionately help minorities is only a tiny part of the federal budget. When the tea party talks about getting serious about cutting spending, they mean these big programs. Some of the smaller programs that help minorities might also be cut, but that isn’t the focus of the tea party.
The tea party wants a large reduction in the size of government. This means cutting the big entitlement programs and the bureaucracy.
Second, there is evidence that the money spent by the government to help minorities does at least as much harm as it does good. Of course it does help some people get a leg up or escape poverty. Unfortunately, poverty programs have been shown to often create a cycle of dependency and increase poverty in certain communities. Even Bill Clinton agreed with that when he supported an end to traditional welfare.
Affirmative action, while it has been helpful to some people getting into college or getting a job, also has created lowered expectations and led to increased racism in schools and the workplace because of the perception of special and unfair privileges being given to certain racial minorities.
Third, there are many ways that big government disproportionately hurts minorities. Minorities are more likely to rely on small businesses for employment and wealth creation. Big government, with its excessive taxation and regulations, hurts small businesses much more than big businesses. This hurts most small businesses, but it hurts minority small businesses even more because they tend to have less capital and resources to handle adversity.
Big government, regulation and high taxes also contribute to reduce economic growth. This reduces the numbers of jobs available. Since minorities tend to have higher rates of unemployment and more trouble finding a job, these big-government policies also disproportionately hurt them.
The most racist thing about this liberal view that minorities need big government to survive is that it assumes they are helpless. It assumes they can’t succeed on their own. This is the worst kind of racism. These liberal-media elites and politicians should be ashamed of themselves for thinking this way, but instead they project their racist attitudes onto the tea party. It’s time that the tea-party leaders, conservative media and politicians start speaking up not only to defend the tea party against these unfounded charges of racism but also to call out these liberals for their own racist attitudes and beliefs.