by Tim Baldwin
Governor Mike Huckabee recently said, “in politics, when you have an all or nothing, now or never mindset, you’re going to get nothing and you’re going to get it forever.” Huckabee’s statement came in response to what some Tea Party purists are demanding that Republicans do in Congress in the face of impossible victories, knowing conservatives have little or no power to change political direction because of their lack of force in all branches of government. Huckabee explains a fundamental problem with TEA Party purists as it relates to accomplishing good for liberty. By all appearances, TEA Party purists have declared war against anything not TEA Party, but in reality, they operate more like a religious cult and as such, harm the liberty movement.
TEA Party purists are ignoring the science of war (and politics), which demands using sound tactics given what catastrophes result when the strategy is careless. Alexander Hamilton said, “War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by practice” (Federalist Paper 25). Hamilton further said, “It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the [soldiers] would be attended with the most beneficial effects” (FP 29). If TEA Party purists are conducting politics as war, they must consider the truth of needing uniformity among soldiers, in addition to having a plan to win the war. However, neither essential ingredient to this science exists among TEA Party purists.
What military general would refuse to add persons to his army that have a common goal of eliminating the common enemy? Likewise, what liberty-loving American would deny the science of politics in conducting his strategy to preserve liberty? Politics in a democratic republic requires numbers (a majority) at every juncture and in every process to pass or defeat laws. When a particular political party or persuasion does not have the necessary numbers to enact or defeat law, they cannot make dogmatic demands and act as if their opinion equates to God's will.
But TEA Party purists reject this science and treat politics as a religion, as if God Himself has ordained their political dogma. They expect every American and politician to be as pure in constitutional mind and deed as they are, and those who aren’t are “enemies of liberty.” Yet, the Founders never believed such certainty existed in our Constitution. For example, James Madison candidly admitted,
[N]o skill in the science of government has yet been able to discriminate and define, with sufficient certainty, its three great provinces the legislative, executive, and judiciary; or even the privileges and powers of the different legislative branches. Questions daily occur in the course of practice, which prove the obscurity which reins in these subjects, and which puzzle the greatest adepts in political science (FP 37).
Yet, TEA Party purists would have everyone believe that our constitutional system is as simple as 1-2-3. They leave out the variables and pressures of human mind, existence and nature, not to mention the different expressions of liberty articulated by philosophers and statesmen.
Huckabee thus sees their error of political purism, warning them, “politics is not theology.”
That politics is a religion to TEA Party purists is seen by their outlandish statements and behavior. They say, politicians should be tried for treason who do not uphold the Constitution. Of course, they will be the judge of that, and anyone who would justify a view different than theirs should be tried for aiding and abetting treason. In short, they desire a cleansing of all constitutional and political views they find objectionable. Similarly, TEA Party purists are so strict that even if a politician believes the same principles as they but uses different tactics, he is denounced as an enemy to liberty and constitutional government.
This pharisaical approach to politics, like a religious cult, is dangerous to liberty’s movement and misunderstands politics’ nature. In truth, it is harder to accomplish “good, better and best” in the face of “bad, worse and worst” than it is to simply say “No!” Denying foreseeable consequences of not applying science to politics shirks one’s duty and allows a disease to corrode the political body faster and does not deter its spreading. This may be considered “evil” by TEA Party purists, but like government itself, this is a “necessary evil,” just as the science of war requires that we ally with others whom we may not ordinarily treaty with in, say, commerce. Political decisions are forced on all of us by the nature of life and politics and the circumstances that affect those things. Wise people make the best of these forced, yet undesirable decisions.
TEA Party purists have made great attempts at raising awareness of certain problems that have existed in our political system, some since the 1800s; but they reject the reality that a ship as large as America cannot change its direction overnight and without much planning and time. Trying to force monumental change in a political society such as the United States too quickly is unwise, unrealistic and even dangerous (assuming dire necessities do not dictate change regardless of human planning).
However, significant change could be accomplished in America if the States used Article V (an amendment convention) to redefine the constitutional rules that allow the federal government to regulate and tax as it has. However, given the nature of their constitutional worldview, TEA Party purists do not accept the fact that amending the Constitution is necessary, despite the Founders’ anticipation that it would become necessary. They see the Constitution like the Bible: all you have to do is follow it (according to their interpretation, of course) and "you shall live." To them, the(ir) only problem is politicians, lawyers, masons, globalists, and everyone who does not think like them, and purists are more than willing to purge these derelicts of their sins, while firmly believing they are doing God service.
But make no mistake: TEA Party purists refuse to amend the Constitution based on political pragmatics. They oppose the most fundamental political remedy in the Constitution because they cannot foresee or they deny the political victory. Thus, they demonstrate that only they can speak out both sides of their mouth and use pragmatics in that political situation while denouncing others for using pragmatics in other political situations.
TEA Party purists are not statesmen raising the flag of liberty. They are like religious cultists whose political ideas are absolutely true, right and pure only because that is the way they see it and anyone who disagrees deserves political death and hell. If they do not repent, the TEA Party will fade with time like the Anti-Mason Party of 1831.