Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When I was a boy, Ctd...

The entire original article about the Tea Party can be read ungated here.  Besides a fuller explanation of declinism, it introduces another theme: producerism.
Simmering economic frustration also accounts for the final historical strain that defines the Tea Parties: They are part of a tradition of producerism that dates to Andrew Jackson. Jacksonian Democrats believed that workers should enjoy the fruits of what they produce and not have to share them with the merchants and bankers who didn’t actually create anything. The Populists of the late nineteenth century invoked this ethic in denouncing the Eastern bankers who held their farms hostage. Producerism also underlay Roosevelt’s broadsides against economic royalists and Bill Clinton’s promise to give priority to those who “work hard and play by the rules.”
During the 1970s, conservatives began invoking producerism to justify their attacks on the welfare state, and it was at the core of the conservative tax revolt. While the Jacksonians and Populists had largely directed their anger upward, conservatives directed their ire at the people below who were beneficiaries of state programs—from the “welfare queens” of the ghetto to the “illegal aliens” of the barrio. Like the attack against “big government,” this conservative producerism has most deeply resonated during economic downturns. And the Tea Parties have clearly built their movement around it.
This idea as well I hear often in rural America, since we clearly belong in the camp of "producers" and can point to tangible output.  It is a tricky mindset going forward since most of working America will not be making things, but performing services. 

Regardless, the whole article is very illuminating information, I think.

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