Tea Party versus ACORN, etc.
Tibor R. Machan
It looks like the way the Right despises ACORN, the Left does the Tea Party. It may not even be so much about their political stances, although that is part of it for sure. It is sad, though, that supporters of Mr. Obama had no problem with--indeed were proud of--his history of community organization but forget about this completely as they deride the Tea Party. And I am not just talking about Leftist talk show hosts and hostesses but snooty publications like The New Republic and The New York Review of Books. Instead of celebrating this clearly democratic phenomenon, the Left is demonizing it.
It is one thing to be against the ideas of some organization, quite another to be against organizing itself. Why would organizing be proper and commendable for Leftist causes but not for those of the Right? The Tea Party isn't some criminal gang burning down building, upending cars, and so forth--they march, mostly, and now and then shout out loud.
But I suppose what is good for the goose isn't always good for the gander, right? Well, let me add something then to objections against ACORN. Unlike the Tea Party phenomenon, ACORN has a history of freely dipping into public funds in support of its activities, never mind that these are certainly not approved of by all the taxpayers whose funds are being used by the organization. So while the Tea Party has that integrity about it, namely, supporting its mission by voluntary means, the means it advocates for solving problems in society, you cannot say this for ACORN and a whole lot of other Leftists outfits that have no problem with using their critics' funds.
This is something about which the Left has been very hypocritical over the years I have been aware of its political efforts in America and even before. On the one hand the Left, or most of them, opposed, say, the War in Vietnam and wanted to be able to refuse to pay the portion of taxes that funded this war. Yet when it comes to the Right's objection to government funded abortion clinics, this doesn't sit well with them at all. Indeed, whereas many on the Left would wish to withdraw government funding of whatever it is they oppose--subsidies to industries, bailouts, etc.--they seem to have no problem with using such funding for their own objectives.
But this is nothing very new, vis-a-vis the Left's political philosophy. From as long as there has been a Left, the official position has opposed the individual's basic right to private property--the first on the list of what must be abolished, according the Marx and Engels in their The Communist Manifesto. But at the same time the Left insists that the labor of the working classes is being ripped off by capitalists in the employment relationship.
So it seems the right to private property is just fine and dandy when it comes to the labor of the proletariat! However, when it comes to governing actual socialist societies, the Left has no problem with treating labor as anything but private property. No labor is public property; so that the East Germans who were attempting to flee the country could be considered thieves because they were stealing labor from the public! (This is one excuse the government gave for shooting those trying to scale the Berlin Wall back in those days!)
Maybe this is just another feature of a substantially pragmatic political outlook--never mind any principles, just forget ahead any which way you can get away with. Here is how it was put by Lenin: "Only one thing is needed to enable us to march forward more surely and more firmly to victory: namely, the full and complete thought of our appreciation by all communists in all countries of the necessity of displaying the utmost flexibility in their tactics. The strictest loyalty to the ideas of communism must be combined with the ability to make all the necessary practical compromises, to attack, to make agreements, zigzags, retreats, etc." [Lenin, "Left Wing Communism," 1920].