Mass political movements often begin with a single, striking event. The Insurgency began in the fall of 2008, when President Bush, Senator Obama, and Senator McCain appeared together to endorse the TARP bailout. At that moment the lights came on for many Americans. It was glaringly obvious that both political parties jointly operated the system, and the system existed to protect the well connected at the expense of everyone else. The public opposed the TARP bailouts; the banks got their money anyway. The Insurgency, long brewing, began.
The Insurgency is a movement of citizens directed against unsustainable government taxation and regulation, and spending, both of which benefit insiders rather than ordinary people. The target of the Insurgency is a leviathan in Washington, D.C. that will ruin us all if it is not dismantled.
The Insurgency is part of a long tradition of mass political movements in our history. It has the potential to make a fundamental change in American life-for the better.
….2. What is the Insurgency? Why now?
For now the Tea Party movement, ignited by Rick Santelli’s “Rant Heard Round the World,” is the dominant component of the Insurgency; Glenn Beck‘s gathering of hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. is another, overlapping one. The people who have gathered around Governor Sarah Palin form yet another part of the Insurgency, as do the libertarian-minded citizens who read blogs like Instapundit. Many of Rush Limbaugh‘s, Sean Hannity‘s, and Mark Levin‘s listeners are part of it. Various long-established conservative groups that have always opposed big government are now parts of the Insurgency.
There are appear to be three factors that have caused the rise of the Insurgency now, and the particular form it is taking: 1) technology, 2) a new, heightened awareness of the problem, and 3) the shock of the current crisis.
First, new technology allows massive, decentralized and horizontal organizations to form quickly. The Tea Party is the best current example: There is coordination, but no central direction. There is no one in charge, giving orders, but rather many people and groups cooperating. This is only possible due to current technology.
“[Technology] enabled the Insurgency,
but it did not cause it.”
Technology, however, cannot by itself explain the rise of the Insurgency. After all, the political Left actually pioneered in this area: MoveOn was a highly effective internet-based organization, for example. It does seem odd, in retrospect, that a tech-savvy Left would cast its lot with a top-down, government-centric political culture. And there may be some overarching affinity between libertarian-style thinking and the new technology. But that technology is ultimately neutral. It enabled the Insurgency, but it did not cause it.
Read the rest here.
Michael has published the second part of his essay:
….Mass political movements have come along several times in American history. Some have transformed the country, and others have fizzled out.
The movement that elected Andrew Jackson, against the vicious opposition of the existing establishment, swept through all levels of American government, rewriting state constitutions and extending the franchise to all adult White males. Jacksonian democracy caused a permanent and irreversible change in American life.
The Populist movement looked like it would have a similar impact. Led by the charismatic outsider William Jennings Bryan, this movement held gigantic rallies and seemed like a revolution in the making. It provoked fear and a hostile response from the establishment of its day, in both political parties. Yet the Populists ultimately failed to make a significant impact on national policy, and were absorbed into the Democratic Party.
Today’s Insurgency could go either way. Success is not inevitable.