Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Public Square and Where Santorum and Kennedy Belong.

Read these words here:
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Does that make you want to vomit? If it does I suggest you stop reading right now, because you are about to get very offended. If you do not know, this is part of John Kennedy’s speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960. In response to a discussion about this speech Presidential candidate Rick Santorum referenced it making him want to vomit. He continued on about how and why is it people of faith would be denied a place in the public square. He disagrees with the basic tenant of this speech, and the sentiments within it, that a president of the United States should support the idea of a separation of church and state. This of course should continue to disqualify Santorum not only from libertarian consideration for support, but all Americans should pause and reflect on this idea of his.

There is a great deal of discussion this month about the nature of religion in this country when it comes to public policy. What should the proper role be, and what of this notion of Santorum’s that the faithful are being denied a place within the public square as it were? Should we strive for “neutrality” from our public officials when matters of religion intersect with the government? Do we go too far and not nearly far enough in attempting to protect matters of conscience? There are always going to be issues in this regard, especially when religion and politics start to intermingle, in areas of welfare, outreach, education and counseling, where these two entities seem to lean on each other to meet a mutually agreeable goal (this is a great article on how they should be avoiding that altogether). But when you look at everything Santorum has said on the subject, when you look at the calls of a “war on religion” you see that their main concern is not really about their ability to worship and believe as they wish, but that their ability to affect public policy to reflect their faith is being impeded.

There is always a great deal of heated rhetoric that accompanies any issues dealing with homosexuals in this country. People like Santorum talk about the need to protect traditional marriage, traditional values, that the gay’s choose their lifestyle and that he does not have to accept it, because the tenants of his faith demand that he treat it as a sin. In my home state of New Hampshire there is a push to repeal gay marriage, and a legislator has gone so far as to say that gay marriage has injured him, because it offends his faith. This will usually continue on in different veins, on how children of the religious should not have to be exposed to the “gay” in public school, or be allowed to hear that it is ok or acceptable. So what is the proper role of government policy here? If you are saying that the U.S. has a freedom for all to practice the tenants of their faith without government interference, and that the government will not impose a state religion (or practices) on the people, where do we draw the line on these issues? Look to the starting point in this controversy and that should provide the insight, though it rarely does. The counter-argument always comes, in the beginning, couched in the concepts of secular governance: the state needs to protect “traditional” marriage for the sake of the state, the children, the society etc, etc. It always starts there but it can never end there. If you continue to ask the question “why?” eventually we get back to issues of faith. “My faith tells me homosexuality is wrong, therefore no one should be allowed to be a homosexual, out in the open, enjoying all the rights, privileges and immunities of all other Americans.” This is the point where they want to use government policy to place this strictly religious idea into government policy. If it was possible to show that homosexuality was not a choice, at all, if you could bring it to Santorum and show him that this was the way someone was born it would not matter to him, the Catholic church or fundamentalist evangelicals. It is the same with the issue of abortion and contraception. You could say what you want about two dozen divided cells not constituting a life, or that the possession of a uterus does not diminish your rights or make you a ward of the state out to insure you never, ever harm the fetus growing inside of you (the logical, unavoidable consequence of recognizing natural rights for a fertilized egg, more on that in the future). It would not matter to the religious who have decided that life begins at conception, and the state must intercede on its behalf. This is an issue of faith, and if you are dealing with the truly faithful, it will not matter what you say, their belief system will remain intact. What to do with public policy then?

When Santorum talks about the religious in the public square, he is not talking about everyone coming together, all faiths, creeds and philosophies involved to debate a policy outcome that represents a consensus opinion that neither advances or restricts a religious end. If he was he would have to acknowledge that one of those outcomes might be that everyone agrees homosexuals have rights, but that religious institutions do not have to host the events; or that the state has a responsibility to protect life, so “late term abortions” can be outlawed but first term abortions are no one’s business but the person who wants to have it. This of course is a rough amalgam of what we have happening in this country right now. The Santorum’s of this world can not accept this outcome, which has involved decades worth of ever evolving understanding and compromise, because they approach the issue from a place of moral superiority. They are bringing a “truth” to the argument. They believe these things to be wrong, how then can you compromise on a truth such as that? And this is the unspoken problem with bringing religion to the public square.

These individuals like Santorum do not want to be part of the discussion, they are not looking to have their outlook examined and debated, they desire to have their world view be preeminent and imposed as the government policy of the United States. They think homosexuality to be wrong, a sin before god, and that it should not be tolerated… so what? Why should that be part of the discussion? We are talking about people and their rights and responsibilities in an enlightened free society, why does this religious viewpoint that something is wrong out there become part of a discussion about government policy? There are many Muslims that believe in the Sharia principle that blasphemy against the prophet deserves a death sentence. And? Do we or should we entertain such a barbaric and savage notion in this country? Should the status of women and their rights in this country be based on the Koran or the tenants of the Hindu faith? That would be ridiculous, but these individuals continually try and frame the debate as the United States is a “Christian nation” and for that reason Christian teachings should hold this preeminence in the public square. No thought or inclination is given to those who do not believe, do not believe as strongly, or believe something completely different. Something is a sin in your particular faith? Don’t do it then, but please do not insist that because it is a “wrong” for you that the rest of us have to endure a public policy based on that idea. When these questions come up we seem to be very concerned with what the Christian doctrine has to say, but we never seem to take a moment to roll and read chicken bones to divine a proper policy response. While lots of people will make a call to prayer to search for an answer, no one suggests sacrificing oxen to get a direct answer from the powers that be. While there is a great deal of talk about cleaning up the way everyone acts around here before Jesus shows up, no one is overly concerned about Ice Giants ravaging the land, punishing us for our moral transgressions.

There are many millions of faithful out there who would be offended by what I just wrote. They don’t like the idea of relativism or lampooning their beliefs, but the point is still salient: When it comes to issues of faith in the public square, people like Santorum will only accept a very narrow sliver (and interpretation) of the Abrahamic religions (and Muslims and Mormons need not apply it seems). Why no others? Religion, as a matter of personal fulfillment, is fine. You are welcome to practice your faith, even stand on the street corner and proselytize about how grand, wonderful and right your religion is. That someone lives their life in such a way that it offends that faith does not mean anyone has infringed on your rights. No one provided you a pass to never be offended or have your views challenged. You are free to believe what you wish. If someone were to come up to you and say: “you understand that the world is flat don’t you?” your first instinct might very well be to say “you do realize you are a f*&#ing idiot don’t’ you”. Now if that person said “it is the central tenant of my faith that the Earth is flat” what would your response be? Now if that person wanted to make policy based on this religious belief would you see a need to separate such things from public policy discussions? Why is it any different when people start talking about Creationism and the world being 6000 years old?

America is the greatest expression of freedom and progress in the history of this planet, and while it is undeniable that there have been times in our history that government and religion have been intertwined, that does not make it the rule or the gold standard for how we should operate going forward. Can anyone actually believe that if our country had imposed a simple, biblical interpretation of the world on our government and its people that we would be here reading this right now. If people did not question the orthodox nature of what religion dictates where exactly would we be right now? Computers, space travel, vaccinations, nuclear power and a thousand other things are byproducts of inquisitive minds that were not restricted by their government in only believing things written in a 5000 year old book by people who had no notion or idea that the Earth was not the center of the universe.  We need to be spending a lot more time dealing with the problems of the 21st century, and looking backward probably is not going to provide the answers. There also needs to be a fairness, and when politicians pander to religion in any regard they need to be called out, be that Santorum and his issues with gays and contraception, or Obama and his incredibly asinine use of scripture to support tax policy.

All people will approach the public square bringing their understanding, education, and beliefs and engage in discussions about the proper role of the state, and your faith can dictate what you believe should be the proper policy. You will have to come up with a justification for how, why and for what reason anyone else’s life should be impacted by government policy beyond your religious beliefs though. One man’s sin is another’s virtue, and you may not always be in the majority to decide what set of religious doctrines will be followed. It would be very nice to have that separation at that point, wouldn’t it? There are many things about JFK that should make someone want to vomit, but ask yourself if one of those things is believing in an America where the presidency is: a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group, nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation, or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office. If not, then start telling Santorum and his ilk that there was a very good reason for the First Amendment, and they continue to illustrate it everyday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Will DOMA Die Already?

Yesterday a Federal Judge in the 9th Circuit found the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, stating, heaven forbid, that a Federal employee should be allowed to share their benefits with their partner, straight or gay. The ruling places DOMA in the “heightened scrutiny” category, which for those of you who might not know means it: "must advance an important governmental interest, the intrusion must significantly further that interest, and the intrusion must be necessary to further that interest". This means that the defense of the law now must meet a much higher constitutional standard, that the government, now being represented by the House of Representatives (for without Social Conservatives what fun would the Republican Party be), must show that denying same-sex couples benefits furthers some important government goal. I would just love to hear what that would be exactly. My first question is always going to be “whose benefits?” That is the be all and end all for me. You have a job, they make some sort of distinction that allows you to share the benefit with whom you cohabitate, then you should be allowed to share it with whomever you want. The benefit is yours, it is something that is offered to you in lieu of other compensation to work there. What does it matter to anyone who you share it with? What has it ever mattered? You allow a married individual to share their benefits, but a same-sex couple can not, and that is somehow reasonable?

You have to say that this judge got it right, despite what National Review thinks. It makes sense that you should be allowed to dictate where your benefits go. By saying that gays may not do that you must come up with a compelling interest beyond what seems to be nothing more than “we don’t much like homos”. How does it affect the Federal government or any individual outside of this pair bond of people? It all comes back to this idea of “traditional marriage” and some need for the state to define and protect that institution, but it is untenable. As I have tried to establish before, you have a “traditional” system that develops because to stand up and say you are a homosexual in theocratic Dark Ages Europe/Middle East was a death sentence. This continues on into this country where there are state legal sanctions against being a homosexual. It is now no longer illegal to be a homosexual, so you must come up with a larger argument than “tradition” to justify denying someone in this regard. You are uncomfortable with homosexuality, it runs counter to your religious practices, your moral sensibilities? That should dictate government policy for the rest of us? Thankfully not. DOMA was a ridiculous, unconstitutional overreach, and while I may not agree with much the Obama administration does, attempting to let this die was a good move. It is unfortunate John Boehner did not follow suit and concentrate on things that actually matter, instead of making sure there was enough red meat around to gin up the Social Conservatives this election year.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Not so Intelligent in their Design

This is going to be a little off the beaten path for me, but actions by some of my New Hampshire legislators have really started to annoy me. There are two bills in committee at the moment HB 1148 and HB 1457 that are going to redefine science education in this state. Foregoing for the moment the libertarian argument over the utility of public education, I want to examine these bills both as a father with school age children, and as an intelligent, free American concerned about these bills and the wider movement they represent across the nation.

The text of HB 1148 is as follows:
Theory of Evolution. Require evolution to be taught in the public schools of this state as a theory, including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.
And the text of 1457 reads as:
Scientific Inquiry. Require science teachers to instruct pupils that proper scientific inquire results from not committing to any one theory or hypothesis, no matter how firmly it appears to be established, and that scientific and technological innovations based on new evidence can challenge accepted scientific theories or modes.
Seem reasonable? Reading it quickly, glossing over the atheism thing, maybe you say “yeah, isn’t that science?” For those of us who are not morons, the idea of evolution being taught as a theory is just fine, so long as we agree it is being taught as an established “scientific theory” under the scientific method with all the accompanying meaning. There is, however, a very real attempt in all of these endeavors to redefine the concept of the a scientific theory and the scientific method. You constantly hear it over and over “it is the THEORY of evolution not a fact” in an attempt to replace the meaning with definition one from the dictionary of the word theory, which is essentially a guess. Don’t believe me, check out the Cadillac of these bills from Missouri (here). In the bill it actually redefines the term “theory” when discussing evolution to mean hypothesis. This is so intellectually dishonest and just down right despicable. Change the definition of scientific theory to “guess”, tell children evolution is just a “theory” under the new guidelines and theories need to be doubted and questioned. For our New Hampshire residents we will then need to discuss if the person who hypothesized and tested his way to the theory was a dirty atheist with an evil secular agenda, for that can be the only reading of bill 1148. Our poor cousins in Missouri will have to be given the equal time treatment of “Intelligent Design”, that we just couldn’t have evolved here over the course of hundreds of millions of years (another concept they seem to be questioning in their bill) but there has to be a designer. Mind you a designer we can not see, prove, experiment on, or even come up with a general hypothesis to it’s motives, but just there. My question has to be to all of this: To what end? This enriches the lives of our school age children in some way? Teaching them that science and the scientific method are not really all that important, for we can just change the definitions and mold the world to what we want instead of what we can observe? If we get people believing there is an intelligent designer, which once again can’t be proven or tested in any way, what then? Is there a purpose here? We denied Darwin, yeah! Do we use this to outlaw Atheism? Here is a notion, if there is an intelligent designer, billions of years old as he were, do we then get to ignore and replace all the world’s faiths with universal acceptance and acknowledgment of the benevolent I.D. who obviously wanted nothing from us since he left no indication of his existence? Would the sponsors of all of these bills, who usually seem to be social conservatives, support that plan?

The motives of these people should be pretty transparent. They say biological evolution can’t answer all the questions, and hasn’t found all the pieces, can’t get around the “irreducibly complex” issue (go here to see most all complaints refuted pretty well), so we have to change the system. I am sure you have heard of a Tyrannosaurus, a large theropod dinosaur that lived 65 million years ago. Have you ever heard of an Allosaurus? It was another theropod dinosaur, it lived 150 million years ago. Go back and read those three sentences again. Notice it yet? The time between the Allosaurus and the appearance of the Tyrannosaurus is longer than the time between Tyrannosaurus and you reading this today. That first interval is more than 20 times longer than our whole branch on the evolutionary tree. Let that roll around your mind for a moment the next time you want to consider your place in the universe. Thousand of species of animals have risen and fallen over the course of hundreds of millions of years, time on a scale we can barely comprehend.  Biologist can’t connect all the dots? We have been working on this for only 150 years and we may never have every single piece of the puzzle. Does that mean we deny the whole process? We should then teach children to ignore the basics? Einstein’s Special Relativity is a theory, a scientific theory, does that mean we should teach some alternative to astrophysics in school? The attempt here is to move the ball forward on being able to have some inherently religious expression in public school. If you look at the players, the language and the game plan, you can hypothesize that the end game is to have a state sanctioned acknowledgment of a religious, if not outwardly Christian, world view. If you want to see how far and wide this is becoming a problem then read this story about Muslim medical students in England leaving class every time evolution is mentioned. Would you like it if this was your doctor in this country, who skipped out on class as a matter of religious conscience?

As a libertarian I believe in freedom of conscience, and if you want to raise your children to not believe in evolution, I suppose that is your prerogative (let’s hope they don’t want a science/medical career). In terms of the proper role of the state, given public education today, I would also say that any of these efforts need to be quashed, for there is no discernable purpose as it relates to education. If this is allowed to stand in terms of evolution, do they then get to come into history class and start to question things that contradict someone else’s world view? We talk about the future of this country and our economy, and how difficult it is going to be for our children to compete in the world market. In terms of science, we should be giving our children all the tools they need for success, not hampering their ability. The idea of an invisible force guiding the universe, creating an ultimate destiny for the human race, may be tempting to satisfy the spiritual or psychological needs of the individual, but it is not going to cure Parkinson’s Disease or Cancer. Science, properly practiced, might though, and we should encourage that as a nation and parents.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Marriage EQUALITY, Why Not?

Earlier today, before the news out of California that the appeals court declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, I had been reading this. The title intrigued me: “The Limited Government/Libertarian Case for Man Woman Marriage” so I decided to give it a once over. For those unaware, my state of New Hampshire is one that allows for Marriage Equality. This “backgrounder” as it is called, is meant to be used as supporting evidence to overturn that law, which is a high priority for some members of our Legislature. The basic premise of this article is to claim that allowing for same sex marriage does not increase freedom or decrease the intrusions of the state, but actually the reverse. Because allowing gays to marry destroys the familial bond, it, by extension, increases the size and scope of the state because of the breakdown of the “traditional” family. I have dealt with some of these issues before (here and here), but given the news out of California, and how it will probably redouble the efforts of my home state crusaders, we should address some of the things here.
First, the entire article is an attempt to pander with buzzwords, making reference to the concept of spontaneous order and icons such as Hayek and Freidman. I assume what is supposed to happen is that we read these names and terms and say “oh yeah, she understands us” and then we ignore the glaring inconsistency of the argument. In the final passage it talks about this “spontaneous order” wherein males and females are naturally attracted to each other and the product of this attraction is children whom they care for the rest of their lives in a loving, monogamous relationship. Marriage exists organically, in a spontaneous order situation, predating government, and therefore superior to the dictates of the State. To quote: “People instinctively create marriage, both as couples and as cultures, without any support from the government whatsoever.” Now, in terms of “traditional” marriage, I have no idea what in the hell this person is talking about. For millennia, across almost all cultures, marriage has been a cultural institution, but one in which families decided who you were going to spend the rest of your life with. Dowries and arranged marriages were pretty much the standard, even in this country, up until the mid 1800s. The idea that your base physical attraction and deeply shared personal feelings impacted who you ended up with in your marriage is a product of classical liberal philosophy. Until you were free to believe what you wanted and to pursue your own destiny, you ended up with whomever the family arranged for you. To make some sort of argument that this is all just such an ancient concept, one man and one woman in a monogamous loving relationship of their choosing, is just plain wrong. Women were always property, without rights or privilege, and unless they wanted to be written off, most sons did exactly what the family wanted, and to buck that usually ended badly for both parties (Romeo & Juliet anyone?).
While you could say that it is “traditional” for only one man and one woman to marry, and that it goes back centuries, we have to acknowledge the reason for that: to stand up and publicly admit that you were a homosexual meant a bunch of Dark Age theocratic savages were going to execute you in order to purge the land of sin. For most of the last century in this country to admit to being a homosexual would land you in prison. We are evolving as a country, a culture and a people. Homosexual individuals are asking to be treated equally, to be provided with the same benefits as all Americans, and that is not a hard sell for libertarians. The article asks homosexuals to rely on contract law to sort out the issues of property, end of life and child custody. They should do this, and libertarians should support this, because otherwise we would be supporting an increase in the state. Same sex marriage would be a construct of the State, not organic, and therefore forcefully imposed on a resistant population. This argument can hold no water what so ever, because of where this all begins: the Defense of Marriage Act. It was the incredibly frightening notion that gay people could get married in one state, and demand that their “public act” be recognized in another, allowing them to share property together, or heaven forbid allow for their social security check to go to someone they loved and shared their life with, that started all of this. It was decades of closeted gays not being able to dictate where their assets went or where they were buried or how their end of life wishes were to be respected that brought this about. To turn around now and say that gays should just use contract law to enforce all of these decisions is even more condescending than forcing them to live in the shadows. Equality should never be bartered or compromised, it should be embraced.
Today’s decision regarding Proposition 8 places all of this in the proper context. The case was held as unconstitutional on the “rational basis” test, meaning that no one can come up with a cogent, defendable argument about what possible harm this could do, to allow homosexuals to marry. This piece attempts to do so with quite a bit of gusto, but it falls flat in the end. There is no harm that is caused. It talks about the nature of marriage being binding parents to each other and their children, and that there is a compelling state interest in that. I find that unconvincing in terms of saying, the State will now treat these people differently. The piece eventually reveals its real when it says that most people know that the sexes are not interchangeable and it would need to be imposed on us by the State because marriage equality is … “an unnatural idea that does not spring unbidden to the human mind,”. In other words people and their personal hang-ups are the reason to deny someone equal treatment under the law. Because someone’s upbringing or religious beliefs has them believe that someone’s lifestyle choices are wrong does not, and should not, have any bearing on governmental policy. Equality should never be up to majority rule, and thankfully we have seen that principle upheld toady, and I hope New Hampshire does not find a reason to overturn something that has done no one any harm.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Does the TEA Party Have the Courage of its Convictions?

“…what’s good for the nation, individual liberty, personal freedom and everybody free to do their own thing”. Now, that sounds just super to me, a personal mantra almost. Where does it come from? Well you can here it at the 1:57 mark of this video:

There is Dick Armey, supposed godfather of the Tea Party talking about the philosophical underpinnings of the movement. Armey is singing his little song here after being slammed by the anchor for his rank hypocrisy. Earlier in the video we see Armey prattle on about how there is no “limited government” candidate to support in the Republican nomination. She then asks the most obvious question in the history of Journalism, which is “what about Ron Paul?” We then get to see Armey dance around the issue in his normal politician style, for that is all he has ever been, a politician. He is no more a believer in a cause than any of these clowns. He starts with his little nonsensical prepared remark, is called on it because it is such a stupid, stupid thing to say, and then continues on with his silly little dance. This is my issue with the Tea Party, if such an entity actually exists, where does your loyalty lie, is it with your principles or your so-called leadership?

Individual liberty, personal freedom and everybody free to do their own thing. Those are great words, founding principle of the Republic, and really what the Tea Party is supposed to be about, from my understanding. You have seen the insurgent nature of the movement with the candidates they supported over “establishment” types in 2010, and the resulting debt ceiling fight which unfortunately tarnished their image. But what we have seen this election cycle is the Tea Party aimlessly turning from one “Not Mitt” candidate to the other, and it is mystifying. In what way, shape or form do Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich represent the ideas in the lead in sentence? Cut taxes, disband the EPA, platitude, platitude, something, something. After that you have to honestly admit that at least three of these people are theocrats who would for some reason impose school prayer and a mandatory love of Christmas by all citizens across the land. The rest of them are no better in terms of “everybody doing their own thing”. All of them have no interest in you doing your own thing if you are an atheist, gay, Mexican, a marijuana user etc, etc. Through the entire process you have had a candidate in Ron Paul who supposedly meets the ideals of this group, this notion of individual liberty, and where has Dick Armey and FreedomWorks been? In this video he says that the movement is essentially decentralized and diffused, everyone marching to their own drummer. Yet if all roads lead to the same place (which is what he means when he says there is no small government conservative in the race) except for one, how is it all of these Tea Party, small government, individual liberty lovers have not arrived, organically, at the same place, which is supporting Paul in this process? If they liked everything except his foreign policy, why didn’t they support Gary Johnson at the beginning? If, according to Armey there is no one to support in the Republican nominating process, why don’t they throw their support behind Johnson or another outside candidate now? If it is the foreign policy or the crazy notion that you should be left alone in your intoxicant of choice that keeps them from supporting Paul or Johnson, what about all of the other ideas you have to compromise to support Santorum or Gingrich? Are Tea Partiers actual limited government conservatives, or are they Burkeans who want to make sure the gays are stuffed back in the closet and the Predator drones are properly deployed to shoot Mexicans trying to cross the border?

What is the end goal here? If Armey is willing to bloviate on about how there isn’t a good option to support, then what is his purpose? To find the lesser of all evils to support, and then try and get the most personal freedom he possibly can? To demand a seat at the table, in order to steer policy towards everybody being free to do their own thing? He says that they are not concerned about “power” as the dirty old, establishment politicians are, then why not stand by your principles and support the candidate that most reflects your values, win or lose? Paul may not have a chance of winning the nomination, but if gaining and maintaining power are not the object here why not throw all your support behind him, providing maybe a 60/40 or better split between the establishment and the Tea Party, and effectively lobby to change the platform, with real influence. If there is no home for freedom and liberty within the Republican party, why play in that sandbox at all? If the object is not to enrich Dick Armey and FreedomWorks, then why are they not standing front and center behind any of the Libertarian Party candidates, a party that is only concerned with “individual liberty, personal freedom and everybody free to do their own thing”? If freedom is the concern and not the label, then the Tea Party and its substantial base of support could be uniting with Libertarians, the libertarian minded and independents of all stripes to try and throw a wrench in this system.

I have never believed any of these “Tea Party” organizations and their leadership, many former establishment type Republicans, have any notion of not supporting the Republican party, no matter the nominee, and whatever statist drivel comes out of their platform. For those really concerned about changing the system, they need to start considering who they are supporting and why. Is it a seat at the table? Will that ever result in any real change? Can you change either of these parties by slowly nipping away at the edges? Very doubtful. What people really need to start realizing is that the merry-go-round will never actually get anywhere, no matter what color you paint the horses. If principles are what is important, then start living by them.