...or is it now The Great Oz, or Professor Marvel? LOL
You are so kind, as usual, to give such thorough answers to my questions. I did, however find them somewhat brief.
"It is more likely that a place that grew out of at least an initial struggle and desire for freedom and individual liberty will have different reactions to crises than one that came out of a feudal system. However, that difference may only be for a while." Your statement seems to me to be a very good indication of the importance of an education in history as we seem to have short memories. The distance between the actual events and where we are now might be handy for the "elites" in their quest to pull power in their direction. As I've mentioned before, it's hard not to think that students foregoing historical education en masse is a real danger, but possibly one put in place by design. How much easier to mislead the public when the people are unaware of their birthright of liberty. The watering it down and breaking it up into particular groups (e.g., Women's Studies) probably proves a useful tool. That isn't to say that studying particular segments of the population and their part in history isn't important or worth study, only that those courses should not be replacing a thorough study of the ideas that shaped our country and its founding documents. It is common now for students to earn degrees without taking any American History at all, which I find appalling. I wonder what Jefferson and his compatriots would think of us.
I appreciate your explanation of why fascism strikes fear in the hearts of many, but I think much of that feeling is unwarranted in relation to the TEA Party members. One of the most difficult things for a group of Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and TEA Party supporters is for them to reach out to anyone, even each other, and organize. They are wary of too much organization and centralization. The anti-war activists and others that Chomsky thinks they should team up with are much better at that. The fear of being "used" and losing autonomy, or giving one person too much power, or even making one person a "spokesperson," makes those who prefer self reliance and a strong emphasis on the individual, extremely uncomfortable. The thing that makes them appealing to many also makes them somewhat ineffective, which is part of Chomsky's point, I think.
To see how the TEA Party folks break down demographically here is a recent Gallup Poll.
Just as I was about to launch into a more detailed description of the TEA partiers, a couple of USA Today journalists have done their job and provided an extremely fair portrayal of them in this article: Tea Party Activists Speak Out. I appreciate them going to the source. You mentioned that you think they over emphasize taxation but some of that is due to the fact that they have connected strongly to the ideals of the founders and have found a sort of theme/image that is tied to the original Tea Party. Now that I think of it, Mr. Chomsky might also have referred to those activities as "shenanigans" (so perhaps I have been too hard on him). The things that most upset them aren't the taxes necessarily, but the rate of spending and the deficit.
Here's what Chris Littleton, a co-founder of the Cincinnati TEA party movement had to say on this in USA Today:
"We have three core values that really, I guess, span everything we do. ... One, a fundamental limitation of government. The limited government is key. We believe that the more control and influence the size of government, the more it grows, the less important the individual is. ... "And then the next would be fiscal responsibility. There is no excuse in the world why our government can’t be fiscally responsible. ... "And the last one is free markets or you could call it free enterprise. The ability to earn your own way, to generate your own wealth, to create your own American dream, should be relatively free from all of the inhibitions of the government."
A bit of housekeeping:
I know how much you dislike the terms Right/Left and I understand why. You and I would agree that most people (if they are giving any serious thought to these issues) are not completely agreeing with one side or the other. Most are probably like myself and would have to say that there isn't anyone with whom I can agree completely. My question is this: What would you have us use instead? When we say Left/Right people know in general what we mean (although it is simplified in the extreme, sometimes unfair, and as you say, lazy). It seems a bit much to expect a lengthy description of everyone's individual beliefs, though I do dislike lumping everyone together, and I certainly don't like it when it is done to me. So Professor, have you a solution to offer; and what to do with those like Chomsky on the left or Gingrich on the right, who use those terms in reference to themselves?