The Discordian Party

David Brooks makes a fascinating connection:

There are many differences between the New Left and the Tea Partiers. One was on the left, the other is on the right. One was bohemian, the other is bourgeois. One was motivated by war, and the other is motivated by runaway federal spending. One went to Woodstock, the other is more likely to go to Wal-Mart.

But the similarities are more striking than the differences. To start with, the Tea Partiers have adopted the tactics of the New Left. They go in for street theater, mass rallies, marches and extreme statements that are designed to shock polite society out of its stupor. This mimicry is no accident. Dick Armey, one of the spokesmen for the Tea Party movement, recently praised the methods of Saul Alinsky, the leading tactician of the New Left. . . .

But the core commonality is this: Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence. Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains,” is how Rousseau put it.

Brooks also shows that he is culturally illiterate:

Because of this assumption, members of both movements go in big for conspiracy theories. The ’60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks — theories that live on in the works of Noam Chomsky. In its short life, the Tea Party movement has developed a dizzying array of conspiracy theories involving the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters.

Brooks really has no idea. Like most old-media flunkies, he thinks the truth comes wrapped up in a rubber band every morning and consists mostly of quotes from press secretaries and public information officers.

Finally he moves away from his area of ignorance and back to the interesting creative metaphors:

But the Tea Partiers are closer to the New Left. They don’t seek to form a counter-establishment because they don’t believe in establishments or in authority structures. They believe in the spontaneous uprising of participatory democracy. They believe in mass action and the politics of barricades, not in structure and organization. As one activist put it recently on a Tea Party blog: “We reject the idea that the Tea Party Movement is ‘led’ by anyone other than the millions of average citizens who make it up.”

For this reason, both the New Left and the Tea Party movement are radically anticonservative. Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin — on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization — in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages and structure individual longings.

That idea was rejected in the 1960s by people who put their faith in unrestrained passion and zealotry. The New Left then, like the Tea Partiers now, had a legitimate point about the failure of the ruling class. But they ruined it through their own imprudence, self-righteousness and naïve radicalism.

The rhetoric of the Tea Partiers is not new; it’s just that Republicans ignored these folks during the Dubya years, after shamelessly exploiting and manipulating them during the Clinton years. Now is their time, because Obama is the perfect foil, the perfect post-1969, post-Rockefeller boogeyman. They might actually dupe the Republicans into financing a viable libertarian third party, or maybe there will be a double-blowback (against both Republicans and Democrats), resulting in a centrist third party. One can only hope for increasing political discordianism.

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52 thoughts on “The Discordian Party

  1. Greetings,

    I enjoyed reading this, and would like to point out that various members of the Discordian Society has fully embraced the existence (but not necessarily the ideology) of the the Tea Party Movement. If only we can further create this “political discordianism” as you put it (which we of the Discordian Society would describe as increase in Disorder/Eristic Illusion in response to increase in Order/Aneristic Illusion, it might give the cabbages some options and a chance to get these Greyfaces out of office and help jam up the Machine a little bit, from the inside. I disagree with the Tea Party but I want to see them continue to go at it and muck up the gears. Might I suggests more milfs and cougars? The cabbages like milfs and cougars.

    Hail Eris!
    -T. Bleight, HD

  2. Thanks for your comment. I’m honored to have a visit from a Discordian. I have been an Dissenting Unorganized Discordian for about 30 years now.

  3. It’s worse than that. You’ve caught OUR attention.

    //There is no Us and Them, but THEM, they do no think the same. -Gogol Bordello//

  4. Uh, hi there. I’m another Discordian here.
    I…well, I just wanted to say that I really appreciate what them Teabaggers is doing for us and Our Lady.

    It’s hard work making fun of everybody at the same time, and if the teabaggers are gonna do it to themselves, and include other ideologies (it’s nice to think that ‘teabagger’ is practically synonymous with ‘open minded’) well, it sure takes a load off, if you know what I mean.

    Also, I believe that teabaggers are wholeheartedly American, and thus a part the Machine. They are, however, the parts of the machine that whine just a little bit louder. The obvious choice is either A)Lubricant or B) Let Them Work Their Way Into Something Vital So It Will Explode And Break The Machine Good And Proper.

    And lube is SO messy.

  5. Egads!
    We have stumbled across a civilized culture, lads!

    We simply must sit down and have some tea with them.
    Where is that tea boy?
    HELLO TEABOY!?
    Dammit, we lost him the jungle again haven’t we?

    Allow me to apologize on behalf of our expedition, We’ve been traveling these wild lands for soo long now and our first twentythree teaboys got lost or eaten or drowned or got addicted to this fascinating zone called tvtropes.

    Professor! what did we lose the first teaboy to? Wasn’t it called a Gru?

    Nomatter, It would be our honour if you would do us the pleasure of showing us more of your fascinating philosophies.
    It is always a pleasure to match wits with such refined people as yourself.
    Please excuse me while i go find the teaboy, the rest of our group will gladly talk about your fascinating philosophies some more in detail.

  6. Hey did someone grease up the midget?

    I brought some dips and some of those little twirly salted things you colonials love, so lets get cracking.

    I have some actual TEA too, which I for one found those other cads to be sadly lacking in.

  7. I was referring to our expedition party (Regret and Liam specifically), but funny enough, there was a minor movement called the Coffee Party, which presumably was opposed to the Tea Party. No one paid any attention to them though. If I recall correctly it was a centrist movement. Could be mistaken. I’ll have to google. I saw one of them picketing outside a train station last week urging people to vote.

    • Yes, I read about them. I would call them a Kaffeeklatsch.

      Of course, the Tea Partiers are hardly cognizant of historical parallels. They don’t want revolution; they want order that is more accommodating to their whims.

  8. I am a Tea Party member, and we are not naieve. We are waving our flag, that one with the snake on it, that our fore fathers wove, in the spirit of finding freedom for everyone.

    Everyone except the gays, liberals, communists, and Muslims. It’s about our constitushion, and rights because we are American, and being American means being freer than everyone else, as long as you’re one of us.

    As Tomas Jefferson said, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

  9. Well it does my heart well to see that everything is going according to plan. Sooner, rather than later, we’ll have the world by it’s ball.

    • Another Disney movie—no, not Fantasia. When in Rome!

      Why, you say? Because it featured a cameo by Ghostface Killah, a member of the Wu-tang Clan, who did the song Cash Rules Everything Around Me!

  10. It’s our century! “This is my happening and it freaks me out!” Now if the Tea Party can do something like nominating a pig for president, I may have to start taking them seriously.

  11. That’s interesting, I’d.. stumbled upon…. the Discordian Party a few years back, when I found one of the California reps in the US Parliament was in the party, and put my OWN hat in the ring. As a result, I’m a MP there under my real name, and got the news pundits Stephen Colbert and John Stewart in as well, under the Comedy Central aegis. This, in turn, led to my participation in the Operation: ColbertGASM Jake, where Stephen DID join the Illuminati, and thus to… well, Tek’s in the future, so we’ll let his Omniversal adventures alone for now.

    Having wandered off into other realms, I discovered that one self styled Queen Roseanne has co-opted the Parliament in her position of Prime Minister, and decided it was time to return to the arena, and see if the Imperator might have any thing to say about that. So now, I have my OWN WordPress Blog, and am working on developing the tensegrity web to pass these memes on to others in the hopes they’ll show enough strength to support the weight of the future.

    And Howard rocks, and I miss Steve Gerber SO much.. but at least I got to reveal his links to Shea and Wilson to him during his lifetime (FNORD).
    Here’s my blog link if anyone cares:

    http://citizensaline.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/hello-world/

    KALLISTI!

    • Tsk, tsk, Mark, you are living on the edge. You should use a pseudonym to comment. Can’t you come up with something as good as Citizen Saline?

  12. Haha! Yeah, that’s a snappy handle he’s got there… and I go by Icarus! among the Discordians, though it’s given more often as Icarus_23 because of my email. But as I’ve got a book out on Amazon (is that too much of a plug?) I decided to use my real name on my Facebook profile.

  13. Following links around, it’s funny because I ended up here and I feel like I’ve come full circle. Since I posted previously, I’ve become more politically active and am now seriously considering pursuing a real job in a political arena… perhaps even openly claiming the Discordian party.

    • The problem with claiming Discordian affiliation is that it doesn’t actually cause discord, because no one cares about the Discordian platform. It would be better to start a catfight between Michelle and Sarah by offering an award to “the most fair and balanced.”

  14. Oh, Nigel.. you Worked the Circle? Excellent! Then you’re in….

    And the award.. how about Aug. 23 for that? I’m sure we can find more willing to help with that award.

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