Right Wing Nut House


Tea Partiers Epitomize the Tension Between the Individual and the State

Filed under: PJ Media — Rick Moran @ 9:52 am

My latest at PJ Media is up. It’s about the tea party movement and the historic tension in American between individual rights and government power:

But regardless of what you think of the tea party people and movement, it should be recognized as being part of the classic American push-pull between the rights of the individual and the purported needs of the state.

Tea partiers are giving much thought to the notion that the rights of the individual supersede the rights of the state to act on behalf of everyone in the “community.” This, of course, is the essence of the health care bill and its individual mandate. Supporters of national health care take a decidedly utilitarian outlook, as they do for most other actions taken by the government that are supposed to help selected members of the community — even at the expense of individual rights.

Utilitarianism is at the core of liberal philosophy, and health care reform is a perfect example of its tenets. The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy defines a utilitarian act:

…if and only if its performance will be more productive of pleasure or happiness, or more preventive of pain or unhappiness, than any alternative. Instead of “pleasure” and “happiness” the word “welfare” is also apt: the value of the consequences of an action is determined solely by the welfare of individuals.

Note the plural “individuals.” The principle of utility has been used the past 60 years to create and expand the welfare state — many believe to the detriment of individual liberty. And the tea party movement has set itself up as something of a barrier to the notion that this can continue without reference to a debate on what such utilitarian actions mean for the first principle of our founding: the individual’s sacrosanct position in the constitutional hierarchy.

They have not only placed themselves athwart history with a sign yelling “Stop!” They also are becoming a sabot thrown into the machinery of government in order to slow it down long enough to have their concerns heard.

Read the whole thing.

1 Comment

  1. [...] more here: Tea Partiers Epitomize the Tension Between the Individual and the State [...]

    Pingback by Tea Partiers Epitomize the Tension Between the Individual and the State | Liberal Whoppers — 4/16/2010 @ 10:57 am

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