Monday, May 24, 2010
Here is an interesting response to Professor Mark Lilla's sobering essay on the Tea Party movement, sobering because as a professor, I always find it sobering to read another professor write about something he evidently does not understand very well. There's a there but for the grace of God go I sort of feeling it induces, a kind of, holy shit, I hope I never make a fool out of myself in this way, feeling. But he probably need not worry too much, as his ideological compatriots will read his essay uncritically and his ideological opponents, such as I, can be dismissed as Tea-crazed.
If you have not read the Lilla essay, you really should. It is a quick education in how NYC and other urban elite intellectual types are likely to view the Tea Party. Though, to give those elites credit, I find it hard to believe that all of them would be as innocent of American history as Professor Lilla apparently is. I mean, US history is practically one darn popular irritation after another; it's really hard to miss that. You have all those original Revolutionary patriots, through the Whiskey Rebels, to abolitionists, various evangelical revivalists, those darn Jacksonian Democrats (!), free soilers, Latter Day Saints, Wobblies, Free Silverites, I mean come on. American history is a veritable pageant of roiling individuals impatient of being governed. You get a bunch of restless, anti-authoritarian Americans, and Lilla wants to call them Jacobins?! That like announcing to your class, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the thing to remember about American history is