When did "teabagger" become acceptable discourse in polite company?

As I've said, I wasn't really following politics closely until Brown's victory in Massachusetts. I posted soon after that about Keith Olbermann's ridiculous criticism of Brown. Part of that tirade involved calling him a "teabagger".

I was shocked that he used that term on national TV. As Urban Dictionary states, teabagging is "Dipping your testicles into the open mouth of another person. Kind of like dipping a tea bag in and out of a cup of water." I have only heard of it as a prank pulled by fraternity brothers on new pledges once they're passed out from drinking.

A couple of years ago, Virginia Tech forward Deron Washington jumped over Duke guard Greg Paulus on the way to a layup. Note the position of Washington's crotch relative to Paulus' face.

In later games, Virginia Tech fans began chanting "Teabag Paulus" in mockery.

This turned into a contentious issue among VT fans--whether the chant was okay, whether it was classless, whether it demeans the University, etc.

So I was shocked that Olbermann used that term on TV. Then I heard Rachel Maddow use the term, and she still uses it. It's pretty much everywhere among the leftist punditry.

When did this become okay? Are we soon going to be hearing about country "blumpkins"?

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CS, DoD, Halo... etc

It was real common in the online first person shooter community before all you old people got a hold of the word. It simply consisted of crouching on your victims face while they waited to respawn, so they got a nice long look at your crotch. It was always better to be the bagger and not the target of such behavior.

Also, when reading definitions on UD try not to lose your Portuguese breakfast.

Don't forget Bear Druids in

Don't forget Bear Druids in WoW with /sit.

I guarantee you the frat use

I guarantee you the frat use preceded the FPS version you young whippersnapper nerds use.

Old people can be so cruel.

Old people can be so cruel.

Here is some background on

Here is some background on the recent use of the term in politics:

http://nrd.nationalreview.com/article/?q=Mjk1YmRjNzIxNmUwMTI0ZWYxZWU4OWU2MzFiOWJmNDE

I'm clearly on the cutting edge...

...of political commentary.

Since when has political

Since when has political discourse been polite or acceptable?

This is a new low

Would Chris Matthews calling a group of protesters "douchebags" be acceptable? Surely not. He'd be tarred and feathered by the mainstream media. But somehow "teabaggers" is?

You mean the same Chris

You mean the same Chris Matthews who publicly forgot Obama was black? Surely the epitome of acceptability, no?

I have seen two excuses for

I have seen two excuses for it. First, they claim that tea partiers referred to themselves as teabaggers and so those calling them that are simply respecting their self-label. Second, they claim innocence as to what it means.

Both excuses are BS.

As to why: most political statements are posturing, are echoing, are signalling among members of the in-group, proving that one is a member in good standing by repeating what everyone else is saying. When Limbaugh was hospitalized, it was an opportunity to display extreme personal animosity toward him, which a large number of people felt compelled to do. When Haiti had trouble, it was not enough to send money. People felt compelled to talk incessantly about it, exhorting each other over and over for weeks to send money, which does send money but which also, importantly, marks a person as one who cares about Haiti. If the problem went on longer then doubtless a new color of ribbon would have been picked, which everyone would then be sure to wear. My point is this: this dynamic tends to produce extreme outcomes, not unlike mass hysteria or financial bubbles.

If you read the article

If you read the article Abner Gromble linked to earlier in the thread, you will find, in the third paragraph, the following:

The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.

So the teabaggers set the tone of the debate. "Respectable" conservatives now don't like the tone of the teabagging movement? Tough luck. Distance themselves from the movement it if it bothers them, but ultra-seriouso conservative tears are quite delicious.

I read the article, but the

I read the article, but the reasoning is patently moronic. Some vaguely identified subgroup uses the term "teabagging", and therefore it follows that "the teabaggers set the tone of the debate"? No, that's simply stupid. Prove that the term was in wide use among the tea partiers before Maddow made it famous. Then we'll talk. You can do that by googling it with data restrictions.

Here's the true history of the term: the person who spread the term to millions is not anyone in the tea party, but Rachel Maddow. She found a clip by somebody I don't recognize talking about "teabagging". It is obvious from date-restricted google searches that that moment in television would have slipped into total obscurity had Rachel Maddow not picked up on it and made it go viral through her treatment of it. Had it been otherwise, I would have found many references directly to the clip that she based her own remarks on, but instead I found the results absolutely flooded with references to Rachel Maddow, and no reference to the original. This is a typical case of Maddow, or the people working on her show, scouring everything written and said by conservatives in an effort to uncover some little tidbit that is embarrassing. It is professional cherrypicking, and it has essentially no meaning apart from its entertainment value.

As for the person who made the term "tea party" go viral, that was Santelli, and he did it in February. He was pro-tea party, obviously. So Santelli spread the term "tea party", and Maddow spread the term "teabagging". Anderson Cooper evidently picked up on Maddow's use of it, and many people first heard it from Cooper, rather than Maddow, but going on what I found Maddow was really the main force behind the spread.

It is professional

It is professional cherrypicking, and it has essentially no meaning apart from its entertainment value.

You have discovered the deeply kept secret of talk radio, Fox News, MSNBC, and The Daily Show. Congratulations.

Please note that the article linked is from National Review's website, the flagship publication of the conservative movement. If you have a problem with the facts cited in the article, take it up with them.

I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with the facts, I have a problem with the reasoning from the facts - as I stated. Pointing out that National Review published the article does absolutely nothing to support the reasoning. The reasoning is bad for the reason I explained.

You should use your own head on occasion rather than simply accepting patently bad reasoning merely because you noticed it was published by the National Review.

My reasoning or the

My reasoning or the reasoning of the author of that article? I was the one who made the claim about the unserious, impolite tone of the teabaggers, and the implicit argument that with an unserious, impolite tone comes an unserious, impolite epithet: teabaggers. The article simply stated the fact that the teabaggers themselves were the first to use the term teabagging to refer to their own activities. Yes, Maddow played off that and popularized it. So what? Maddow does her job well.

My reasoning or the

My reasoning or the reasoning of the author of that article?

Him, though you assisted. He wrote:

So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.

That is defensible only because it does not use the definite article. He didn't say "the conservatives started it". He says "conservatives started it". I.e., some unknown number of conservatives - possibly one, possibly two, possibly more - started it. However, the gist of what he's saying is that "the conservatives started it". He's slipping an illegitimate inference through an equivocation.

Then you write:

So the teabaggers set the tone of the debate.

You've added in the definite article, made explicit what was implicit. Combining what you wrote with what he wrote (but I really blame him), this is a classic example of argument through equivocation. One argues from A to B, which argument is legitimate only with one interpretation of B. Then one argues from B to C, which argument is legitimate only with another, different, interpretation of B.

Together, you and he went from the fact that some vaguely identified person or persons inside the tea party movement used "teabagging", to the conclusion that the tea partiers did this, which credits them as a group for the actions of some particular individuals.

It's blatantly bad reasoning. If you were truly serious about trying to discover whether the tea partiers really referred to themselves as teabaggers, or to what they did as teabagging, you would check to see whether the term was in common use among them to describe either themselves or their activities. My date-restricted Googling showed me that it was not, and that it entered into common use following Rachel Maddow's popularization of the term.

The article simply stated the fact that the teabaggers themselves were the first to use the term teabagging to refer to their own activities.

No, it argued for that conclusion, barely defending its conclusion by failing to use the definite article, but of course implying it, in a classic example of equivocation.

ultra-seriouso conservative

ultra-seriouso conservative tears are quite delicious.

You would saw your own foot off to upset a conservative. Here is the imperfect wikipedia overview of the tea party movement:

The Tea Party protests are a series of nationally coordinated protests across the United States since 2009.[1][2][3][4] The events are part of a Tea Party movement opposing big government,[5] President Barack Obama,[6] the U.S. federal budget and, more specifically, the stimulus package, which the protesters argue are wasteful government spending and unnecessary government growth. They oppose the increase in the national debt as well.[7] The protesters also objected to possible future tax increases[3].

Let's extract their platform as a series of bullet points, shall we? I will mark the bits which are patently untrue.

  • Oppose big government
  • Oppose Barack Obama (not true - oppose certain policies)
  • Oppose the U.S. federal budget (not true - the opposition is to specifics, not to the very existence of a budget - these are not anarchists)
  • Oppose the stimulus package
  • Oppose wasteful government spending
  • Oppose unnecessary government growth
  • Oppose the increase in national debt
  • Oppose possible future tax increases

Removing the two false characterizations (which are true at most of very small subgroups), we have a platform which lines up with libertarian ideology perfectly. It is not libertarianism: libertarianism is different from the tea party platform in that libertarianism is more thorough, more systematic, and more extreme. But the direction in which the tea party is pulling, relative to the current state of things, is in every respect in the same direction as libertarianism. This makes the tea party movement natural allies of libertarianism.

This makes the tea party

This makes the tea party movement natural allies of libertarianism.

And you think that's a good thing?

The teabaggers aren't even natural allies of Ron Paul.

Please, take the Birthers and the Sarah Palins. We don't want them.

If you cut away everyone

If you cut away everyone with strange views, before long you'll have no one. See Volokh about this.

If you want any allies at all, you're going to have to live with the fact that they are going to have some very strange views about this or that.

The Tea Party movement, being a large and popular movement, inevitably includes many people with some mighty peculiar views on this topic or that topic. Applying your reasoning consistently, you would have to reject association with any sufficiently popular movement.

In fact you would have to reject association with libertarianism itself right now, if you want to be consistent.

But of course I know you have no intention of being consistent. I'm just saying, if you were.

I don't need political

I don't need political allies with strange views; I'm not running for office. Nor do I think libertarian policy views (of either the minarchist or anarchist variety) stand much chance of electoral success in the current political environment, barring significant cultural and technological change.

I'm more interested in changing people's minds than forming coalitions of existing nutcases.

Incidentally, I agree with pretty much everything Ilya Somin writes in the blogpost you linked to. The takeway line is this:

If you are genuinely concerned about voter ignorance and irrationality, the best solution is to work to reduce the range of decisions made by the political process.

Working to reduce the range of decisions made by the political process by using the political process itself subjects you to all of the problems of voter ignorance and irrationality from which you are trying to escape. It's turtles, all the way down.

I don't need political

I don't need political allies with strange views; I'm not running for office.

In which case you don't need to cut ties with them either. The point of cutting ties is to avoid association with their bad aspects, and the point of that is political. For example Obama cut ties with Jeremiah Wright for political reasons. He didn't need to, and he didn't, until Wright became a political liability. You do the same thing, have done the same thing all along. You're also in favor of establishing ties for political purposes. You were pushing liberaltarianism a while back. The purpose of that is also political - altering libertarianism, compromising with liberalism, to increase the influence of libertarianism among liberals.

So you're not being honest with yourself here in claiming that your motives are not political. In fact I would say that your activity here and elsewhere has been largely dominated by political motivations. You cut ties with the politically inconvenient and seek ties with the politically powerful (Washington DC insiders are essentially liberal-left and have long been, even through Bush; most of the government is not, after all, the politicians, but the unelected mass of government employees, who, last I checked, lean strongly left; and their close and powerful allies are the press, who also lean strongly left, and the academy which provides the intellectual cover for government action and leans strongly left).

I could predict that you would hate Palin and the Tea Party movement, simply by checking the non-Fox news channels, or the major papers. Palin is hated, the Tea Party movement is hated, by the powerful progressive establishment. Chances are, then, that Micha will hate them. A very smart choice for a politically astute young man who wants to go places.

In which case you don't need

In which case you don't need to cut ties with them either. The point of cutting ties is to avoid association with their bad aspects, and the point of that is political.

Running for office seems to exhaust your definition of the political. My understanding of the political is much broader. To quote something a wise man once said, "most political statements are posturing, are echoing, are signalling among members of the in-group." I might have an interest in forming coalitions with group A, but in order to do so I need to first distance myself from group B.

You cut ties with the politically inconvenient and seek ties with the politically powerful

If you are trying to affect change in the world, is it wiser to influence the politically powerful (who don't already share your views) or the politically weak (who do)?

A very smart choice for a politically astute young man who wants to go places.

Trust me, I'm going no place politically.

I might have an interest in

I might have an interest in forming coalitions with group A, but in order to do so I need to first distance myself from group B.

But that's what I just got done saying about you. In contrast to you, I have no ambition to form coalitions with anyone. Rather, I, as a private individual whose personal ambitions are at right angles to any politics, simply wish some groups success in their efforts, and other groups failure, and am not reluctant to say so. To get back to the tea party movement, I wish them success in their stated endeavor because they seek what I seek. How can I not wish them success in that endeavor? They seek what I seek. Not all of what I seek, but some of it. It's what defines them as a movement. How does the fact that some of them are birthers affect this point? It affects it not at all. I wish them all - including the birthers - success in limiting the size of the government. If a birther helps to limit the size of the government, that makes me as happy as if anyone else helps to limit the size of government. The tea partiers are my allies in this endeavor. In fact they are whether I want them to be or not.

I don't think we are all

I don't think we are all that different, you and I. I gave the example of coalition forming as a hypothetical; in actuality, I'm not really forming coalitions with anyone, but I see the value in libertarians distancing themselves from conservatives in the public's mind, to better influence those on the left (and be influenced by those on the left).

The tea party movement, like all mass political movements, is a mixed bag. Reasonable people can disagree about whether the overall mix is beneficial or harmful to the prospects of liberty, but given their most recent demonstration, it's pretty clear to me at least that the primary effect of the tea partiers will be to make "limiting the size of government" a big joke, rather than actually limiting the size of government.

Here is Michael C. Moynihan of Reason, who tends to lean to the right of most of the other Reason correspondents:

But there is a nugget of truth in the Tea Party denunciations. I have previously written of my experience at the big September 12 Tea Party confab in D.C., where I met a handful of nutters and a whole lot of reasonable folks worried about ever-expanding deficits. But the leadership of last week's Tea Party convention in Nashville, for instance, thought it wise to invite Joseph Farah, the lunatic editor of the lunatic website WorldNetDaily, who received a hearty ovation for denying that President Obama was an American citizen. Nor did they blache at schedualing a morning seminar entitled "Correlations between the current Administration and Marxist Dictators of Latin America." Between such madness, a pastor named Rick Scarbourgh, author of a delightful little volume called Liberalism Kills Kids, led the assembled in prayer. And of course, nativist conservative Tom Tancredo wondered whether Obama voters could speak English or "even spell the word vote."

Tip to the Tea Party conventioneers: If you don't want the "mainstream media" to mock you, stop making it so damn easy.

The cause of freedom was hurt tremendously by conflation with Bush-style corporatism. Associations matter. Tarnishing ideas of limited government and free markets with people like Tom Tancredo, Rick Scarbourgh, Sarah Palin, Joseph Farah, and various war mongers is precisely the same mistake libertarians made during the Bush administration by aligning themselves with the right. Are they really going to make the same mistake again? I hope not.

I wish to see the Tea Party succeed

American populism is likely the most libertarian populism in the world. That doesn't mean Americans are raving minarchists. But in the imperfect world we live in, it's enough to limit 20th century horrors to the New Deal rather than communism or fascism.

I don't foresee the US turning into a minarchist state in my life, so I'll take imperfections that are much better than the status quo. In the choice between the one-party state of Bush/Obama and the Tea Party, I'll gladly take the Tea Party. The perfect is the enemy of the good, and for that reason, I hope the Tea Party succeeds just like I hoped the Free State Project had succeeded, just like I'm glad there's an ACLU and a Reason Magazine and even a Heritage Foundation that puts out an economic freedom index. These are the institutions, however imperfect they might be, that drive American libertarian populism and have since its birth. It's a tradition I'm proud of and thankful for.

Micha, if you'd talk to actual Tea Party-goers in real life, you'd learn that Birthers are a tiny insignificant subset. And in any group of millions, there will be some who believe the President isn't a US Citizen just like there will be some who believe Elvis is alive.

Further, the Tea Party is a truly organic entity and various groups will claim to represent the whole even if they don't, so I don't doubt that some will embrace Palin while others will distance themselves from her. Some will love Paul, others despise him. (Plus, I seem to remember you yourself having some harsh words for him, no? From your past words, it seems you're not a natural ally of Paul either.)

Whatever the Tea Party turns into, it's clearly a net positive after a decade of big government. It saved us from a massive health care bill and cap-and-trade. That alone earns my respect. In the dirty sphere known as politics, the Tea Party is something I will cheer for.

I seem to recall that some

I seem to recall that some regulars of DR attended a tea party gathering, particularly Arther B and Brian Macker. Was this not the case? It might have been something similar. Brian with his paper pitchfork. I googled brian macker pitchfork, and found this article about a "Tea Party" protest. In February.

Right on this blog, Brian

Right on this blog, Brian Macker announced the "Tea Party" protest. And as a virtual founding father, or at least minuteman, of the "Tea Party" movement, Brian Macker explained his goal:

I'm fed up with these stimulus bills.

Brian also points out, in the comments:

Lots of crazies got up to speak. Arthur and I were laughing at some of the comments. Some nut dressed up quasi-military style with a patch reading "Border Patrol" came up behind us and Arthur pretended to be nervous.

The crazies do not, however, define what the protest was about or why most people were there. We know why Brian was there because he told us. We know why Arthur was there because we know Arthur.

And we even have a member of the public hopefully treating DR as the go-to place for Tea Party scheduling:

Please keep up the updates as to when/if/where the tea parties will be held in the future

Here's another post by Brian a couple of months later

Pitchfork post.

Whatever the Tea Party turns

Whatever the Tea Party turns into, it's clearly a net positive after a decade of big government.

Might that decade of big government have anything to do with the intellectual cover Republicans and conservatives received from their libertarian allies and the free-market, limited government rhetoric they borrowed, distorted, and never followed through on?

Too damn true! Corporatist

Too damn true!

Corporatist neocon's have taken over the tea parties. They push a hypocritical agenda of War and Low Taxes. Libertarians should not be allying with republicans who only pay lip-service to ideology while compromising and selling out their fellow country men.

Sure, there are some good people in the Tea Parties, but the helm has been grabbed by the monied interest of the fascistic welfare/warfare state.

firedoglake.com/will-the-ron-paul-libertarians-throw-the-neocons-out

To quote a great statesman

To quote a great statesman and vocal advocate of limited government and free markets,

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice — You can't get fooled again."

The decade of big government

The decade of big government is actually the century of big government, and a key player is progressivism, which has taken over even much of the Republican Party. A lot of conservatives (actual, non-progressive conservatives) recognize what's going on and have coined the term RINO to label the more egregious progressives in the Republican Party. Reagan was no progressive but the two Bushes are progressives (anyone who champions "compassionate conservatism" is selling progressivism under a conservative label).

I was active online through the Bush administration (and through the Clinton administration), so, having written down my thoughts, I find it easier to remember them. I opposed the invasion of Iraq, and later, when I was accused (for what reason I do not remember) of being a George Bush partisan, I truthfully wrote that I could not think of anything that Bush had done domestically that I approved of. So I disapproved of both his foreign and his domestic policy, and said so. I could not think of anything about Bush's policies that I approved of, and said so.

Is this the intellectual cover you speak of?

More recently, I have seen progressives go on about how free markets are to blame for the financial mess. I have seen them go on about how Bush's free market policies are to blame. I never said that Bush's policies were free market. So who said it? Progressives did. Who is likely to associate Bush with free market policies? Anyone who spends a lot of time reading crap by progressives.

Which brings us to you. What you say is that libertarians provided Bush with intellectual cover by associating Bush with free markets. What I suspect actually happened is that you've been reading a lot of progressives who have been associating Bush with free markets.

Bush associated himself with

Bush associated himself with free markets, with his rhetoric, but not his actions. Much like Reagan. You consider Reagan to be a "true conservative". Are you satisfied with what Reagan did in office?

Oh, I see it now. Bush

Oh, I see it now. Bush associating himself with free markets is libertarians providing intellectual cover for Bush. How exactly does this work in your mind? Do you think Bush is a libertarian, providing himself intellectual cover? Or what?

You consider Reagan to be a "true conservative". Are you satisfied with what Reagan did in office?

There is much to be said about Reagan both pro and con.

Bush associating himself

Bush associating himself with free markets is libertarians providing intellectual cover for Bush. How exactly does this work in your mind?

Bush is a politician, an opportunist. A significant portion of the Republican party are motivated by fiscal issues, and Bush talked a good talk. He failed to deliver. Instead, he delivered the opposite of what fiscal conservatives wanted. But politics isn't about policy, it's about posturing and signaling. Weren't you just explaining this to me yesterday?

I guess you're never going

I guess you're never going to get to the bit where libertarians supposedly provide intellectual cover for Bush.

So what lessons are you trying to draw from this? Is it this: Bush supported free markets in his words but not in his deeds. The Tea Party movement supports free markets in words and by standing outside in February temperatures in NYC for hours. Therefore the Tea Party does not support free markets in deeds.

Something like that?

And yet, you wrote: "Incidentally, I have watched some of Janeane Garofalo's stand-up, and found that I agreed with much of her political worldview."

So you have no problem pointing out that you agree with Janeane Garofalo's worldview. Okay then, let's look at the first bullet point that I listed giving the Tea Party movement's platform:

The tea partiers "oppose big government."

Do you agree with that? How about the rest of the ones which I marked as accurate:

# Oppose the stimulus package
# Oppose wasteful government spending
# Oppose unnecessary government growth
# Oppose the increase in national debt
# Oppose possible future tax increases

Do you favor the stimulus package or oppose it? Favor wasteful government spending or oppose it? Etc.

How much would it pain you to say: "I looked at the Tea Party movement platform, and found that I agreed with much of it."

I guess you're never going

I guess you're never going to get to the bit where libertarians supposedly provide intellectual cover for Bush.

I think you misunderstood my claim or maybe I was unclear. I didn't mean to claim that specific libertarians intentionally provided intellectual cover for Bush (although perhaps some did; I don't know, and that's not the claim I'm interested in defending here). Rather, my claim is that Bush borrowed free-market rhetoric to provide intellectual cover for his corporatism. That isn't necessarily the fault of libertarians, but it's a reason for libertarians to be wary whenever conservatives spout libertarianish-sounding rhetoric.

So what lessons are you trying to draw from this?

Lesson #1: Be wary of free market rhetoric coming from conservatives, especially conservative politicians. They have a track record of using this kind of rhetoric dishonestly.

Lesson #2: Figure out what the Tea Party movement is actually for. Are they opposed to Obama's spending? Clearly they are, and that's great. But why are they opposed to Obama's spending? Is it because they think he is a secret Muslim Nazi Communist Socialist Hippy born in Kenya? Were they also opposed to Bush's spending, or is this just partisan bickering?

What does it mean to be "opposed to big government"? Does it mean opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Does it mean bringing the troops home? Does it mean opposing the war on drugs? Does it mean opposing Social Security and Medicare? Does it mean opposing border restrictions? Or is it a nonsensical, fantasy-land form of opposition that involves no trade-offs in spending to compensate for tax cuts?

Lesson #1: Be wary of free

Lesson #1: Be wary of free market rhetoric coming from conservatives, especially conservative politicians. They have a track record of using this kind of rhetoric dishonestly.

Everybody does.

Lesson #2: Figure out what the Tea Party movement is actually for. Are they opposed to Obama's spending? Clearly they are, and that's great. But why are they opposed to Obama's spending? Is it because they think he is a secret Muslim Nazi Communist Socialist Hippy born in Kenya? Were they also opposed to Bush's spending, or is this just partisan bickering?

Because of her immense popularity among conservatives, the prolific blogger Michelle Malkin is probably a good indicator of the trajectory of anti-spending sentiment. Here's what she wrote on October 1, 2008, about the bailout:

Crap Sandwich 2.0 with sugar on top passes 74-25

"Crap sandwich" was her name for the Bush bailout. It doesn't sound as though she liked it.

What about her direct comments about Bush? She wrote this on Oct 3:

Frank snarks that Bush will lead us down the road to socialism. Well, yeah, he has. It’s no laughing matter, Barney.

That's Michelle Malkin, queen of conservative bloggers, saying that George W. Bush led us down the road to socialism.

What does it mean to be "opposed to big government"? Does it mean opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Does it mean bringing the troops home? Does it mean opposing the war on drugs? Does it mean opposing Social Security and Medicare? Does it mean opposing border restrictions? Or is it a nonsensical, fantasy-land form of opposition that involves no trade-offs in spending to compensate for tax cuts?

I don't think those are the only alternatives. For starters, opposition to big government is opposition to the bailout. The bailout was not status quo ante. It's something new and something bad. If that can be undone to whatever degree, that would be an improvement.

If your problem is that Tea Party opposition to big government doesn't go as far as you would like, I agree. But that's what I already said. The Tea Party movement isn't the same thing as undiluted libertarianism. It's movement in the right direction.

Man, I am not speaking for

Man, I am not speaking for Micha, but I take issue with this big time.

The tea partiers "oppose big government."

That statement is false. The neocons now filling the ranks are interventionists, I posted a FDL link earlier that shows this. Now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the federal government employees roughly 2 million civilians. The Armed forces employ over 1.4 million personnel, add DoD non-civilian contractors and HOLY HAND GRENADE OF ANTIOCH!

Over the last seven quarters (March 2008 to September 2009), contractors have represented 65%, 55%, 67%, 69%, 57%, 57%, and 62% of the total DOD workforce, respectively. The data points listed in the table were chosen because they represent the lowest contractor/workforce ratio (55%), the mode (57%), and the mean (average)(62%).

Interventionist, support the troops teabaggers who claim to be for small government are hypocrites at BEST. The two are completely and utterly mutually exclusive.

You do know the Tea Party...

...along with a majority of Americans, and the vast majority of self-identified conservatives opposed TARP, the bailouts, the stimulus, cap-and-trade, and the healthcare bill right?

As critical as you are now of the TP, and as criticial as you were of Ron Paul, I conclude that only an ancap running for President would be pure enough (and even then, you'd probably point to the absurdity of such a thing). Or perhaps you're saying that nobody should play politics at all. Fine. But that's not the actual world we live in. Politics is reality.

American politics, played by the right and the left, not ancaps, is the very thing that kept the gulags and gas chambers limited to Europe during the last century.

Yes, I don't think the game

Yes, I don't think the game of politics is worth playing. To the extent that those who do play it want my advice, here it is: At least Ron Paul was pushing a broadly libertarian message, even if some of the particulars were anti-liberty (i.e. immigration). The Tea Party movement seems to have started with Ron Paul's supporters and the general backlash against bailouts, but is now explicitly being co-opted by the worst elements of the Republican Party and the conservative movement: The Sarah Palins, the Tom Tancredos, the Joseph Farahs, the war mongers, etc. It's long past time for libertarians to jump ship from the tea party express.

American politics, played by the right and the left, not ancaps, is the very thing that kept the gulags and gas chambers limited to Europe during the last century.

This seems a bit... off-topic? Are we now arguing about the wisdom and legitimacy of U.S. participation in WWII (and for that matter, WWI)? Were the decisions to participate in these wars made by democratic referendum, or by the commanders in chief of the U.S. military (and popular support for the war effort subsequently manufactured by wartime propaganda)? Is this what you mean by American politics? If so, how is this in any way relevant to this discussion?

But you were blisteringly critical of Ron Paul

Now you're saying that if they stay with Ron Paul's message, you're okay with it?

My last statement wasn't about the war. I'm saying that leftists in the US weren't communists except on the fringe; they're about helping the little guy, not about nationalizing industries and central planning. In a time when the world had built up a hundred years of Marxist ideas, the conditions were ripe for communist takeover of politics. A large part of the world population either fell under communist rule and at least soft socialist rule. Yet a communist revolution never took place in the US. Why not? Because of actual everyday politics as practiced by the left and right. The big govt we got was much better than the alternative.

Ron Paul's message is

Ron Paul's message is certainly preferable to the message currently associated with the Tea Partiers, yes. I was blisteringly critical of Paul primarily because I'm blisteringly critical of the game of politics in general, and I don't think it is a wise use of scarce resources for advancing the cause of liberty. And that is apart from the many imperfections Paul had. Even had he been the perfect libertarian candidate, I still think it wouldn't be a great idea, because the only benefit I could see would be the free advertising that comes with a presidential campaign, but then you run into the problem of convincing those who buy into that campaign that the only way to win at politics is not to play. You are creating your own set of problems trying to create new libertarians through electoral politics.

I'm saying that leftists in the US weren't communists except on the fringe; they're about helping the little guy, not about nationalizing industries and central planning. [...] Yet a communist revolution never took place in the US. Why not? Because of actual everyday politics as practiced by the left and right. The big govt we got was much better than the alternative.

I'm pretty sure FDR was both about helping the little guy AND about nationalizing industries and central planning, because he saw the latter as a means to the advancement of the former. His hands were tied by the Supreme Court (until he threatened to pack them and they backed down) and by political realities, but he did his best to cartelize, nationalize, and centrally plan.

The modern lefty view of the New Deal is the one you just expressed: The New Deal "saved" capitalism by preventing a communist revolution. I'm skeptical of that claim. I don't think a communist revolution was in the cards in the U.S., at least not until the economy got much, much worse. I'm also not so sure the New Deal was better than the alternative of soft socialist rule. It's a lot easier to demonstrate that central planning of major industries doesn't work than it is to convince old people to vote against their interests and give up Social Security and Medicare. Both the New Deal programs and soft socialist programs (and I'm having considerable difficulty understanding the difference) will collapse under their own weight eventually, or require fundamental reform through increased payroll taxes, decreased benefits, means testing, or postponing the age of retirement. I'd rather the collapse happen sooner rather than later.

American politics, played by

American politics, played by the right and the left, not ancaps, is the very thing that kept the gulags and gas chambers limited to Europe during the last century.

American politics helped create the crisis (WW2) that occurred after WW1 interventionism. Uncle Joe is just another fine example of how American politics helped keep the gulags open through pograms programs like Lend-Lease.

Your beloved American politics also make sure that "Waco on a weekly basis" keeps happening in the middle east.

Listen, you guys can keep hiding in your cyberghettoes...

....throwing barbs at every non-ancap you see (which means 99.999999% of the population) and think of yourself very highly. Keep believing that life would have been peachy without government, that the USG is to blame for every ill that befalls mankind, that no moral dilemmas exist, keep lobbing bombs at people who want to take a step in the right direction because they're not pure enough, burn every last witch in your midst.

I'll keep cheering for the Ron Pauls and the small govt advocates whatever they call themselves.

I didn't see anyone in this

I didn't see anyone in this thread make claims of libertarian purity or even touch on ideas related to ancap. Opposition to WWI (!) does not entail belief that the U.S. government is to blame for every ill that befalls mankind.

We are critical of the tea partiers for the same reason we were critical of Bush-era conservatives: We see libertarian ideas being co-opted for corporatist, interventionist ends. Your rhetoric notwithstanding, hoping the tea party represents some consistent and effective groundswell of support for small government is wishing for a pony. Yes, lots of Americans oppose government spending and increased deficits. But they also oppose cutting spending for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, they oppose cutting spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and possibly Iran if the neocons get their way), they oppose cutting spending for the drug war, and so on. The electorate is insane, irrational, and inconsistent. Educate and persuade the electorate, or work around them, but taking them as they are is a fool's game.

The electorate is insane,

The electorate is insane, irrational, and inconsistent. Educate and persuade the electorate, or work around them, but taking them as they are is a fool's game.

QFT.

I didn't see anyone in this

I didn't see anyone in this thread make claims of libertarian purity or even touch on ideas related to ancap.

It's implied. Lesser evils like Reagan are lumped in one big category called "statist". Yes, I support Reagan's accomplishments to the extent that the alternative was French-style social democracy. Similarly, I'm glad the Tea Party helped put a stop to the healthcare bill and cap-and-trade. If all lesser evils are unacceptable, then the only acceptable thing left is ancap.

Opposition to WWI (!) does not entail belief that the U.S. government is to blame for every ill that befalls mankind.

This is a lawyerly parsing of Elmo's words. He did not merely state that WWI was a bad idea, but rather that the US govt helped create WW2. It's a huge Truther/Birther-like stretch to conclude that WW2 wouldn't have happened if the US had stayed out of WW1.

Perhaps Elmo doesn't believe the usual libertarian propoganda of "US govt did X in 1894 which helped cause Y in 1910 which then led to Z in 1986, and if the US govt hadn't caused X in 1894, then we wouldn't have Z in 1986"; if not I give him credit.

We are critical of the tea partiers for the same reason we were critical of Bush-era conservatives: We see libertarian ideas being co-opted for corporatist, interventionist ends. Your rhetoric notwithstanding, hoping the tea party represents some consistent and effective groundswell of support for small government is wishing for a pony.

It's already effective: see Scott Brown, death (knock on wood) of healthcare, neutering of Obama, etc. Whether it's consistent remains to be seen.

The electorate is insane, irrational, and inconsistent.

That's one way to look at your fellow Americans (here I mean: insane). I don't particularly share that view. People who do are usually bitter, angry, live on the fringe of society (Billy Beck), and are hateful. Politics is the mind-killer, but even through the filter of politics, brief bursts of rationality are what keep some semblance of civilization alive. Don't hate the very people who on the margin are making things better.

He did not merely state that

He did not merely state that WWI was a bad idea, but rather that the US govt helped create WW2.

You accurately paraphrase...

It's a huge Truther/Birther-like stretch to conclude that WW2 wouldn't have happened if the US had stayed out of WW1.

...then exchange it freely for the absolute above.

Perhaps Elmo doesn't believe the usual libertarian propoganda of "US govt did X in 1894 which helped cause Y in 1910 which then led to Z in 1986, and if the US govt hadn't caused X in 1894, then we wouldn't have Z in 1986"; if not I give him credit.

You refuse to approach my post with an open mind. Then you assert that the only way you give me credit is if I abandon a belief I do not have?!?

I refuse to believe you are an ignorant man... so that doesn't leave me with many other options, all of which I find more distasteful than the former.

It is the former belief I have a problem with

The "helped create" part. You're right, I incorrectly paraphrased that later; I apologize.

Regardless, the "helped create" part is nonsense. I take it your argument is along the lines of, "US helps beat Germany in WWI. Germans get mad. Germans go nuts in WWII" or something like that. I simply don't believe you can prove such a thing. Every war has a winner and loser. If the US had stayed out and the other side had lost, then who is to say that one of those countries wouldn't have gotten similarly pissed and gone nuts later? The US stays out of WWI; French lose, are humiliated, go crazy, try to take over Europe 25 years later.

What about the all the new states that resulted from WWI? Who's to say how their creation affected geopolitics?

Or what if the US stays out, Germans are on the winning side, and instead of being humiliated, are empowered, and try to take over Europe anyway?

The variables are so many and the matrices so complex it's impossible to come down strongly on a chain of events like, "The US helped create WW2."

In a parallel universe, the US defeated Germany and Japan in WWII, and then followed MacArthur's advice and stomped out the commies in USSR. Millions were saved from the horrors of communism.

What about all the wars the US didn't fight? How did that impact geopolitics?

It's arguments like these that give rise to unprovable libertarian theories about foreign policy and its effects. "If the US had minded its own business, the WTC would still be standing." Yeah? Prove it. This is the kind of butterfly-->hurricanes logic that would never pass the sniff test outside political ideology.

I have no idea why I'm even arguing this or how it's related to the original point so I'll bow out here. My final word is: there's a reason the US is more free and has been historically much freer than the rest of the world. It's the political culture of its citizens, the Tea Party being the populist libertarian expression of such. Don't be haters.