A recent offering from syndicated columnist David Brooks, the "conservative" voice of the New York Times, is a prime example of the Ruling Class mindset that gave rise to the tea-party movement. His column, "No compromises: Fanatics take over the Republican Party," appeared in my local paper (the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record) on July 6.
I will address the absurdities of Brooks' piece in the order in which they appear, beginning with the term "fanatic." According to Webster's, a fanatic is "a person with an extreme enthusiasm or zeal." There is nothing inherently menacing about enthusiasm and zeal. My two Golden Retrievers pursue falling leaves with enthusiasm and zeal; my two feline companions stalk and pounce upon shoelaces with enthusiasm and zeal. Equally frightening is the tea party's "fanatical" devotion to certain principles, such as limited government. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were limited-government fanatics, and so are we. For this, we do not apologize.
Brooks writes that Barack Obama needs to reach a deal with Republicans on the debt ceiling "so he can campaign in 2012 as a moderate." But one would have to be ignorant of both Obama's record and the fundamentals of political philosophy to believe the president is a "moderate." Obama's ultra left-wing, statist ideology – and its catastrophic failure – is obvious to everyone who has any business within 100 yards of a voting booth.
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The Republican Party is not "a normal party," Brooks argues, because it appears willing to reject spending cuts if they are accompanied by "revenue increases." It may surprise Mr. Brooks, a highly educated man, to discover that even we, the doltish, toothless hillbillies who comprise the tea-party movement, are aware that the term "revenue increase," which he utilizes repeatedly, is merely a synonym for "tax increase." In fact, contrary to Brooks' assertion, the GOP has a long history of capitulating and abandoning principle. We can only hope that, this time around, conservatives will be as stubborn and belligerent in opposition to "revenue increases" as Mr. Brooks claims they are.
"The members of this movement," Brooks writes, "do not accept the logic of compromise," and they "do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities." If "compromise" includes accepting the demands of collectivist, nanny-state liberals while defiling the principles of limited government and self-reliance, then yes, conscientious conservatives should reject compromise.
One glance at the economy raises grave concerns about the competence of the "scholars and intellectual authorities" Mr. Obama has placed in charge. We accept the legitimacy of scholars who speak and write in defense of the ancient, tried-and-true principles at the foundation of our republic, including limited government (as expressed in the 10th Amendment) and free enterprise. The Obama administration is not only hostile to these principles, but continues to defend – in "fanatical" fashion – principles that have demonstrably failed.
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Because of his squishy, moderate, self-aggrandizing positions, constitutional conservatives have never considered Mr. Brooks an ally. (By definition, a moderate believes deeply in nothing.) His columns are "conservative" only in comparison to the left-wing militancy that prevails at the New York Times. With his column on "fanatics," Mr. Brooks has aligned himself with our adversaries: the arrogant, inside-the-Beltway, tax-hiking, big government-loving Ruling Class. The scholar and intellectual authority at the heart of the tea-party movement – James "Little Jimmy" Madison – would reject in no uncertain terms the "compromise" Mr. Brooks toots his own horn for embracing.
Charles Davenport Jr., a proud member of the tea party, is a freelance writer in Greensboro, N.C. Contact him via e-mail.