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Old books and the TeaPot Party

October 5, 2011 - Harry Eagar
Yesterday, I explained briefly why RtO reviews old books. Today, I want to suggest that if you are at all interested in politics, read Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer."

RtO won't be reviewing it, at least not now. It's been over 40 years since I read it, and I'd have to reread it to write a review. But several things from it have stuck with me.

One is that politics is not linear from left to right but circular. If you start out in the middle and go in either direction, you meet a merger of extreme leftists and rightists out back. Their common theme is not leftism or rightism but extremism.

I have been reading about the Tea Party and recently about the Occupy Wall St. movement, which might appropriately be called the Pot Party. They are a lot alike -- perhaps they will evolve into a TeaPot Party, since each one claims to represent the true feelings of practically everybody, so there must be a lot of overlap.

And there is. 9-11 troofers are in both, for example. Federal Reserve crackpots are in both.

You could play the Sesame Street game of "which of these things is not like the other" with their statements for hours of innocent fun.

And a shoutout to my friend Brown Carpenter, the first reasonable rightwinger and the first non-racist rightwinger I ever met. He introduced me to a kind of humane conservatism that I did not know existed, and which hardly exists any more; or at least, has its mild, small voice drowned out by the crazies who are offering up a Bum-of-the-Month card of losers in the Republican beauty contest for the chance to oppose Obama, who would not otherwise look much like Joe Louis but against pugs like Bachmann, Palin, Perry etc. might just hold onto the big belt.


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