Joseph Farah: Is tea-party violence in the air?

Worldnet DailyPosted: June 18, 2010 1:00 am Eastern

© 2010

To read some of the hyperventilating opinion about the tea-party movement, you would almost certainly have to conclude that its brief history has been littered with at least small acts of random violence.

College professors who have encouraged students to riot, throw stones, barricade themselves in university buildings and disrespect police and military authorities decry the "fierce anger," "seething anger" and "rage" of the tea-party movement. Media people who observe the leftist demonstrations du jour degenerate into chaos and real violence without remotely approaching condemnation are aghast and instilled with fear by the peaceful singing and chanting at the tea-party rallies.

It's not just a matter of predicting that a wave of revolutionary violence is coming from the tea-party constituency, it is an assumption in quarters that have heretofore coddled, encouraged, overlooked, dismissed, enabled and excused such excesses when committed by supporters of "good causes."

"To date, the Tea Party has committed only the minor, almost atmospheric violences of propagating falsehoods, calumny and the disruption of the occasions for political speech – the last already to great and distorting effect," writes philosophy professor J.M. Bernstein in The New York Times. "But if their nihilistic rage is deprived of interrupting political meetings as an outlet, where might it now go? With such rage driving the Tea Party, might we anticipate this atmospheric violence becoming actual violence, becoming what Hegel called, referring to the original Jacobins' fantasy of total freedom, 'a fury of destruction'? There is indeed something not just disturbing, but frightening, in the anger of the Tea Party."

Read Chuck Norris' inspiring foreword to the beautiful new illustrated book "Don't Tread on US!" featuring the most pointed and poignant tea-party signs to date

I'm not afraid of the tea party.

Are you?

I'm more afraid of my government and the way it is exceeding all legal constraints on its authority.

In fact, I'm certain that the tea party – a spontaneous, grass-roots uprising of hard-working, law-abiding Americans calling out their elected leaders and the bureaucratic army they employ on their excesses and abuses – is the answer to our country's crisis.

Thus, in America today, we have a political polarization not seen in this country since the 1960s – one so deep and wide and pronounced that those on either side can't even understand what the other is saying. They are not speaking the same language. They might as well be from different planets.

That's how I feel when I hear people denounce the tea-party movement as a group of angry, bitter troglodytes who don't even know what they want.

Listen to the ravings of Bernstein, again: "In truth, there is nothing that the Tea Party movement wants; terrifyingly, it wants nothing."

In a sense, he's right. The tea-party movement, more than anything, is a movement of people who want to be left alone, who wish to be self-governing individuals in a land of limited government, just as the founders promised.

They're not asking for a bigger piece of the pie. They're not asking for handouts. They're not asking for special rights based on the color of their skin or their bedroom practices. They're asking for government to get off their backs.

That terrifies Bernstein and his ilk. Why? Because it means these people can't be bought off so easily.

They actually want and expect freedom. Imagine that. They actually want to live in a country governed by the rule of law and the will of the people. Imagine that.

Eavesdrop again on the nightmares of Bernstein: "It is not for the sake of acquiring political power that Tea Party activists demonstrate, rally and organize; rather, [Mark] Lilla argues, the appeal is to 'individual opinion, individual autonomy and individual choice, all in the service of neutralizing, not using, political power.'"

The horror of it all! That the tea-party movement would attempt to persuade people they are right without coercion and without attempting to seize power is perhaps the scariest part of all to people like Bernstein and most of the media and political elite in this country.

Yet, it is exactly what is so appealing about the tea-party movement to me.

Here's what I see when I attend tea-party gatherings, as I will again July 15 in Las Vegas: I see love of one's country. I see responsibility. I see commitment to the Constitution. I see the most potent grass-roots political movement to arise in America in my lifetime. And I see hope.