The point of this essay is not to unpack the origins of the Tea Party, a co-creation of Ron Paul and the Koch brothers which reorganized and re-energized the activist cadres of the religious right, who dominate the movement, and who swept in to take Congress in 2010.
Rather, my intent is to draw attention to an elaborate plan, hatched by strategists of the religious right, to take advantage of the economic chaos that would likely ensue if the current budget impasse is not resolved by mid-October 2013.
Amidst that chaos, Tea Party activists would, at the state and local level, challenge and undermine the authority of a weakened federal government -- especially in those 26 U.S. states so dominated by Tea Party-aligned Republicans that they have refused to participate in Obamacare.
The objective would be to lock in Republican dominance of over 1/2 the states in the Union and preserve, even enhance, the political power of an aging, white-dominated, predominantly Christian conservative demographic for years to come.
This would, in effect, shatter the Republic. Unthinkable ? Consider the following:
"Precinct by precinct, town by town, county by county, a decentralized political movement could begin to undermine the legitimacy the existing political structure. It can do so politely, helpfully, and sympathetically.
The central issue is legitimacy...
When the dollar dies, political legitimacy dies with it. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy." -- Ron Paul political strategist Dr. Gary North, from Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy
In May 2012, in a fundraising pitch for Senate candidate Ted Cruz, Texas Congressional Representative Ron Paul gave a warm and ringing endorsement of Cruz and promised that "If elected, Ted will stand side-by-side with my son Rand in the U.S. Senate to fight against Big Government." In a nod to shared John Birch Society-style conspiracy theory-driven ideology, Paul wrote,
"... Rand, Ted, and I had a lengthy discussion about the dangers of the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air.
...Ted is a firm believer in American sovereignty - and will never support or vote for ceding our rights to the United Nations."
With help from Ron Paul, Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has become one of the Tea Party ringleaders driving the current budget impasse that threatens to cause an historic default on payments to service the Federal debt.
What would be the consequences if Congress and the Senate cannot resolve the current budget standoff ? Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury released a report which forecast, "credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, and U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, potentially resulting in a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse."
In two weeks, Tea Party leaders in Congress will pull back from the brink... or not.
But what if the very plan is to go over the edge ?
The stated strategy of one of the key intellectual architects of the Tea Party suggests that is indeed the plan - go over the edge and crash the economy, because the resulting chaos would create an unprecedented political organizing opportunity.
In his 2008 "Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy", key Ron Paul political adviser Dr. Gary North wrote,
"The mainstream media have a very short attention span. When you think "mainstream media" think "attention deficit disorder." The media simply cannot ADD things up. They cannot and will not connect the dots.
The key to political success is not an overnight grab for power at the top....
...The Federal government are facing bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve System is going to have to fund the Federal government with fiat money. When Medicare goes bust and Social Security follows, the Federal Reserve will inflate. The dollar will decline another 95%, as it has since 1914, only faster.
When checks from Washington no longer buy much, there will be a monumental political transformation. This is the central premise of my recommended strategy.
The goal of Ron Paul's supporters should be to be in positions of influence locally, all over the country -- in 3,000+ counties, in every precinct. This should be done one precinct at a time.
This is stealth politics, and it is now a viable strategy for Ron Paul's hard corps.
If Ron Paul will provide the leadership, he can spearhead a national movement whose goal is to roll back the state to its Constitutional limits -- its 1791 limits, meaning the Bill of Rights. All ten of them. This movement must be based on a systematic, well-thought-out campaign to roll back the civil government in every area of life"
Dr. North's strategy would, "if Ron Paul will provide the leadership", also "roll" things back to a time when slavery was legal and women lacked the right to vote.
While Dr. Gary North's economic forecast did not specifically call for a Tea Party-led default on Federal government interest payments, his prediction of a dramatic decline in the value of the dollar in the wake of such a default closely tracks the Federal Reserve's own predictions of what will happen if Ted Cruz, and his Tea Party allies in Congress, decide to pull the trigger.
World markets would be shaken to the core. Across the globe, governments and private investors would shift away from their support of the dollar as the reserve currency of choice. The American empire would be, in effect over. And the cadres of Ron Paul, Gary North, and the religious right would roll up their sleeves and get to work.
How close is Gary North to Ron Paul? Well, they have been collaborating since Paul's 1976 entrance to national politics, when Paul picked North as his congressional aid (North boasts that he was Paul's original speechwriter.) Moving into the present, Gary North is co-author, along with Neo-confederate Thomas Woods, of the newly released Ron Paul Christian homeschooling curriculum.
In short, Ron Paul and Gary North are very, very close. That's notable since Gary North is one of the top theorists and strategists of the Christian Reconstructionism movement, which Ron Paul has long been aligned with and aims to impose biblical law ("theonomy") and eliminate many of the current functions and institutions of the federal government.
Meanwhile, Thomas Woods is one of the key intellectual architects of the nullification and succession movement, who has created the theoretical underpinning for legal challenges to federal authority.
Needless to say, a virulent racism runs through both movements, Woods' and North's.
And so here we are, at what may be an epochal bifurcation point.
One branch potentially leads, at least per the strategic vision outlined by Gary North in "Phase 2 of Ron Paul's Political Strategy", to an expansion of the political influence of reactionary fundamentalist Christianity and, somewhere down the road, the establishment of state-level biblical governments dominated by aging white males - in other words, a return to the style of sectarian church-dominated government that prevailed in the colonies prior to the writing of the Constitution and the establishment of the Federal government -- a time when, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Jesuits and Quakers were hanged. A time of witch trials.
Did I mention yet that Dr. Gary North is an enthusiastic advocate for imposing stoning, as a capital punishment, for homosexuality, adultery, female un-chastity (sex before marriage) and witchcraft ? ("Executions are community projects", North once wrote.)
That's door number one. Door number two leads to a very different future.
What's astonishing to me, to add a personal note, is that this perilous fate which looms before us has been engineered by a movement that, in the minds of liberals, progressives, and mainstream media, now scarcely exists at all.
Recently, I discovered a fascinating metric for charting that fact - try a search, on Google Trends, for the frequency, 2004 to the present, of the term "Koch brothers" (commonly believed to be the puppet-masters of the Tea Party and the religious right). Then, do the same search on the terms "Christian right" and "religious right".
What you'll find is that the Koch brothers are now very much in the news. Not so much in 2004.
But since 2004, when "Christian right" and "religious right" were very much on the American mind, public acknowledgment even of the very existence of a movement called the "Christian right" or the "religious right" has all-but disappeared -- even as its creationist, anti-science, anti-reproductive rights, radically laissez-faire, pro-corporate and pro-privatization partisans have seized control of Congress and many U.S. states, and now threaten to bankrupt the Federal government.
Let's hope the billionaire Koch brothers, who are presumably somewhat less interested in global economic chaos, have more influence within Tea Party circles than do Ron Paul, Gary North, and Thomas Woods.
Otherwise, American Democracy, and the Republic, may careen off on a course charted by the John Birch Society, Christian Reconstructionists and Southern successionists, and a humble, patient OB-GYN from Texas who in 1976 went to Washington and in 2003 was moved to write,
Through perverse court decisions and years of cultural indoctrination, the elitist, secular Left has managed to convince many in our nation that religion must be driven from public view...
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers....
...This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people's allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation's Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war."
In a few weeks we will know, for sure, whether Ron Paul and the angry white men will rise to the political fore or recede, as just another shade in the rainbow of pluralist democracy.
How lucky do we feel ?
The stability of our economy, political system, and way or life now lies in the hands of Tea Party politicians who seem to be flirting with a radical path that would cripple America but help ensure their movement's continuing political and cultural relevancy. Meanwhile, a Tea Party aligned megachurch preacher with ties to former top Pentagon officials is calling for a "military takeover - martial law".
No, I for one do not feel very lucky. I do have hope that clearer, wiser heads will in the end prevail. It will be, at best, a close shave.
Have a nice day.