Thursday, April 16, 2009

New York Tea Party

I joined thousands of other protesters yesterday at the "Tea Party" protest at City Hall Park in downtown New York. My sign read on one side, "Reason & Capitalism. No Creeping Socialism!" On the other, it read, "Ayn Rand Is Right." I saw many signs referring to Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand. One Objectivist joined me with his sign that read, "Who Is John Galt?"

We found a strategic spot right alongside Broadway. Many busloads and carloads of commuters got to see "Ayn Rand Is Right" and "Who Is John Galt?" on their way home from work. One person asked us who John Galt was. We told him that if he wants to understand what is wrong with the world and what should be done about it, read Atlas Shrugged. He said he would.

I was pleased overall by the event. It was remarkably secular. There were few references to God and the conservative Republicans only showed themselves in a tentative manner. (I think they know how responsible the Bush-era Big Government and Religious Right Republicans are for the crisis we're in.)

Overall, the impression I had was one of a true grassroots protest. People were angry at the violation of our rights. People expressed it in terms of outrage over spending and taxation.

The speakers weren't very good overall, but they were sincere and angry.

This is the first protest I have ever gone to. I have always thought that the battle of ideas is won through conventionally intellectual pursuits: writing and teaching.

But there is a time to speak out in the form of a protest. This was one of those times.

I hope we see more Tea Parties.

Thank you, Rick "Sam Adams" Santelli for issuing the clarion call that was heard around the country.


Michael M said...

A good future venue would be on the Jersey side where you take the boat out to the statue — a great place to protest the rape of Liberty.

Galileo Blogs said...

There are lots of places we can protest. We can protest at the Statue of Liberty. Or we an protest at the statue of George Washington on Wall Street (where he took the oath of office, I believe), or at the New York Stock Exchange. Or we can protest at the Federal office building on Broadway or in front of the pit of the destroyed and still not rebuilt World Trade Center.

We can protest in defense of the Good, or we can protest to demand the end of Evil in the same manner as Ronald Reagan who said, "Tear Down This Wall."

The best way to battle for reason is still with books, blogs, and conversations, but there is a place for protest, and we are going to see more of them.

Anonymous said...

How did the "Religious Right" help get us in this mess, as you claim? The "Religious Left" (yes, they exist) I can see, but I don't see the "Religious Right" playing much of a role.

Galileo Blogs said...

The Religious Right elected the "compassionate conservative" George Bush. He is their man and embodies their values, which are contradictory. He tries to unite Jesus' Sermon on the Mount with a defense of capitalism. The result is lip service to free markets and capitalism while presiding over an enormous increase in government spending. Expanding welfare, as Bush did, is consistent with the Christian principle of serving the poor. Yet, Bush did this in the name of conservatism, which gives lip service to a "free market." The whole thing is hypocritical and a contradiction, and was bound to result in failure.

That failure is what elected Obama. So, the Religious Right is directly responsible for the mess we're in.

There are other aspects to this. The housing crisis, in particular, is the fruit of Christian and socialist values. Poor people need houses, so government should provide it to them or subsidize it. That is why George Bush presided over a huge increase in government subsidies via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act. His actions built upon the actions of prior presidents, Republican and Democratic, and resulted in the housing bubble. The collapse of that bubble created the economic crisis that further helped to discredit Republicans and elect Obama.

Finally, the overt religiosity of George Bush, who endeavored to violate the separation of church and state also caused people to vote for Obama, rightly in my opinion in this case. They perceived Obama and Democrats to be more secular. They are, although Obama is also disturbingly religous. (He may be an example of the "Religious Left" that you mention, which is also bad for America.)

The bottom line is that Christianity and capitalism cannot co-exist. Bush's presidency represents the failure of the attempt to commingle them. To try to commingle these irreconcilable ideas has been the agenda of the Religious Right.