Coffee, Tea or Freedom?

The Coffee Party is a new movement founded as a response to the Tea Parties (according to the CSPAN subtitles). They talk a lot about being civil and bringing people together to foster understanding and cooperation in politics. Here is the mission statement from their website. 

 The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

All the clues are there. Let’s see what they tell us.

“Give voice to Americans” – awesome, I’m all about that.

“who want to see cooperation in government”. Ok cooperation is potentially good but not always. It really depends on who I am cooperating with and why.

“We recognize that the federal government is not our enemy” – OK – if that’s true can you explain the IRS? If it quacks like a duck… you are starting to lose me here. ..

”but an expression of our collective will” -Whoooa – Sirens blaring, lights flashing… this does not compute..

I do not live in a collective. We are all individual human beings with our own strengths, weaknesses, cultures, hopes and dreams.

Am I overreacting?

I watched a Coffee Party meeting on CSPAN last night. Darrell West of Brookings started by applauding the health care bill and then rattled off a list of  left-liberal causes that have not become law and made it sound like evidence that congress was broken. Apparently the collective will has not caught up with West’s brilliant vision of a better world.  He added that “if he was Czar…” he would reform the filibuster.

Then Linda Killian of the Woodrow Wilson Center spoke. She asked for Republicans in the audience to raise their hands – none raised. Democrats: about half. Independants: about half.  Wait – did she ask for Greens or Libertarians or Constitution Party etc… If you want to understand the opposition talk to some people from those groups.

Coffee Party co-founder Annabel Park, a documentary film maker was an Obama volunteer.  She said the Tea Parties had been successful creating political theater.  It didn’t sound quite so bad in context.  But isn’t that a little dismissive?  Here are few other things Ms Park said. They aren’t perfect quotes but they are very close.

  • We need the federal government to be part of the solution
  • We need democracy
  • We need to adopt a certain language
  • this is what we believe in

So we have substantial evidence that the Coffee Party is a progressive collectivist organization. Ok some people like that sort of thing.

I don’t.

There is no collective will. Collectives don’t make decisions – individuals within the collective do. That means there is a majority and a minority. In a collective the minorities’ interests are sacrificed for the benefit of the majority. That means if you are different you lose. That is not what America is supposed to be about. America is supposed to be a pluralistic society where people of diverse backgrounds and situations can cooperate voluntarily and thrive and become self-actualized. The collective assumes the majority knows better what’s good for every individual and that they have the right to force the collective will on the minorities. The collective mentality is not the solution, it’s the problem. It works against personal responsibility and it is the opposite of freedom.

The Coffee Party stresses civility and cooperation.  As I said before that’s potentially very good but not always.

I see no reason to be civil with liars, cheats, thieves and leg breakers.  I’m not name-calling.  I didn’t call the government any of those things. You decide.

Killian (the one who didnt ask for Libertarians to raise their hands) went on to say people feel ill served by the 2 party system.  She quoted a Pew study of the top 20 words people thought of when asked to describe Congress.  Not one was positive.  She talked about redistricting saying congressional districts are “designed to be safe”.

She said “The people are the supervisors of congress”.  I’m pretty sure Carolyn Maloney doesn’t consider me her supervisor.  I’m pretty sure she doesn’t care at all about what I think.  She refused to attend the Bailout Facts Town Hall we Libertarians ran and which was co-sponsored by the Greens and several civic organizations (she did send a representative who read a canned statement).  Her Republican and Libertarian opponents came, along with a representative of the Green Party.  At her own town halls (now there’s an example of political theater) she refused to take unfiltered questions from the audience. Questions were submitted on cards and she only answered the softballs.  Killian said you can ask to meet with member of congress.  Did Maloney agree to meet with us regarding our thousands of End the Fed petitions – an initiative co-sponsored by a large majority of Congress members? That would be NO.

Shall I go on? Ok I’ll keep it short

  • Presidents who lie through their teeth (which ones? take your pick)
  • Legislators who subject people to laws they don’t read
  • Congress who manipulate laws to hide costs and overstate revenues
  • Earmarks
  •  Congress who shirks their responsibility to declare war ( or not)
  • Congress who take contributions from the entities they regulate
  • Cabinet departments that almost never pass a financial audit
  • Congress that sneaks unpopular measures into popular bills
  • A Federal Reserve that refuses to account for billions
  • Congress that pushes hundreds of billions of debt on to future generations

There is a reason why president’s and congress’s approval ratings are so low. The Coffee Party trio stressed that government is broken. Park said we should forget our differences since this is a political emergency.  And George Washington said “Government is force”.

Be civil and cooperate?

You just told me we all have to get along even if we are being gagged and robbed, our children drugged and brainwashed, our businesses taken over while we are being called selfish and a racist if  we don’t hand over my wallet and control over our own lives.

These things are not overstatements. Every on them is provable. I have no doubt the coffee partiers point to this as exactly the kind of incivility they are working against. But if they really want to understand the opposition they may want to listen to what the opposition has to say.  Maybe they are trying but they sure are missing it.

Were Bostonians civil with the Redcoats at the Custom House in March of 1770? Were they civil with the East India Tea Company in Boston harbor? Were they civil at Concord and Lexington?

I see no reason to be civil with liars, cheats, thieves and leg breakers.  You can decide who they are.  I will be quite civil as soon as they remove their hand from my pocket.

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