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The New American Mob

After 16 months, perhaps the best one can say for the Tea Party is that the contempt it originally provoked within the American establishment has turned to consternation.  If the Tea Party were composed of real Indians, the elite would be understanding, if not exactly encouraging, and not in the least alarmed or offended.  Since, however, the modern Tea Partiers are only white people got up in paint and feathers, the American ruling class finds itself compelled, by its own prejudices, neuroses, and—it may be—fears, to recognize a potentially dangerous threat.

Over the past three months the Tea Party has broadened the scope of its protest, in particular with regard to immigration, an issue that it had previously taken care to avoid.  Before the passage in April of SB1070 by the Arizona state legislature, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires police officers to check the immigration status of suspicious persons, the Tea Party had focused its attention largely on taxation.  Two decades ago George Will, the Beltway’s idea of a “conservative” columnist, loftily dismissed tax complaints by asserting that Americans, in comparison with the citizens of European countries, in fact are undertaxed.  That was priggish of him, but taxes, though onerous and unfair, are really not the most pressing evil the American citizenry needs to resist.  Since SB1070, the Tea Party has...

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