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Unjust Comparison

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Jim Hoagland ends his otherwise fine column on South Africa by comparing American Tea Partiers to apartheid-applauding Afrikaners (“Ex-president de Klerk teaches the inspiration of South Africa,” June 6).

This comparison unjustly smears the great majority of Tea Partiers.  Is Tea Partiers’ judgment that Uncle Sam’s scale and scope have become too large really hateful?  Is their opposition to nationalized health-care and to bailouts of Wall Street and of teachers’ unions symptoms of antisocial bigotry?  Is the proclamation “Don’t Tread On Me” – a proclamation featured prominently at Tea Party events – a slogan in support of government privileges for a select few?  Hardly.

One may disagree with Tea Partiers’ demands that personal responsibility be restored to private markets, and that fiscal responsibility be restored to public finance.  But one may not legitimately accuse these demands – demand motivated in large part by the ugliness of Uncle Sam playing favorites with politically influential interest groups – of being at all similar to an ideology that supported a strong central government whose purpose was to bestow privileges on a minority by taxing and suppressing the majority.

Donald J. Boudreaux