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Tread Upon: What's Next for the Tea Party?

In the aftermath of the election, we wonder what we could have done better. However, seeking to improve upon failed means will only perpetuate defeat. The Tea Party needs to fundamentally reevaluate its cultural posture and its methods of activism. The popular comforting belief that there exists a silent, center-right majority eager to be led to political victory must be abandoned. We must somberly accept that a century of patient, persistent, planned cultural corruption by self-styled progressives has rotted out from within what no external enemy could breach.

That does not mean that we give up the fight. It does mean we must change our rules of engagement to fit the facts on the ground. In war, you would not enter battle assuming that conditions in the field were somehow better than your intelligence suggests. Yet that is what many of us did throughout the 2012 election season. Never mind the polls, we’re winning! Perhaps no group was more emblematic of this mindset than the diehard supporters of Ron Paul, who proceeded so convinced of their inevitable victory that successive defeats were regarded as sure evidence of fraud.

We have to get real, and the reality is bleak. It prescribes a task far more difficult than crafting “the right message” or finding “the right candidate.” We have to fundamentally transform minds. We have to counter the culture. We have to construct and coordinate a wide-ranging movement as pervasive and unrelenting as the Progressive insurgency of the previous century. Above all, we must subordinate our disparate brands under a banner of common cause.

Reviving a conscience of liberty will require us to embrace means and methods which are outside our comfort zone. PJTV contributor Bill Whittle builds the case for one such method in a recent video blog. What he calls the “Common Sense Resistance” is a shift in engagement from party politics to “parallel structures,” free market alternatives to established institutions. For those familiar with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Whittle is suggesting a proto-form of going Galt. Instead of withdrawing from the statist mainstream, we simply ignore it. We pay our taxes and abide by the law while creating a parallel system of institutions funded by voluntary contribution.

Recall that public education was birthed from an intention to foster a virtuous society. Even though the coercive means of public education have doomed it to blundering failure, that intention was worthwhile. There is true value in educating children.