Your title I am replying to almost made me want to make a funny about one of us (doesn’t matter which) maybe titling ours “The Great Oz Speaks.” LOL
Those with wealth and power are most successful when the society is too scattered among too many things, meaning the chances for attention are lower.
Personal responsibility has declined as both character and communal spirit and responsibility have declined.
Pundits who like to talk (their main thing, after all) are assessing incorrectly TEA party membership in the whole. Although some members are racist, uninformed, narrowly selfish, belligerently religious-centric, or crudely ignorant, many, apparently even a majority according to political scientists, have merely a deep feeling their government has gotten away from them, that it is not responding to their desires for living within its means, and that their government has become too intrusive. While the movement as a whole can be justly criticized for focusing too much on taxation, and having too little in the way of specifics about spending reduction, the dismissive wave that too many in “the establishment” (media, politics, business, even academia) give it is unwarranted.
You make a very good point that those outside the TEA Party who fear or dismiss it never make a comparison to the historical American patriot, an unfortunate oversight, especially because much of the dissent is borne from the same sources and from the same kinds of folks as the Patriots of late colonial America. It is a sort of bitter irony.
Concerning the comparison to fascism, it is because it is the one recent oppressive philosophy that arose and took root in the heart of the supposedly enlightened, modern, and “spiritually virtuous” West. Those with any historical sense at all fear it especially. That it and other forms of deeply oppressive authoritarianism also took place in an Eastern Europe that remained feudal far longer did not raise nearly the horror as when it showed up in a place that had, since barbarian Germania times, been a place of free-thinking, freedom loving, and highly independent peoples. Side note: Few considered the overarching Prussian (read, largely Eastern European) influence on the Germans when they unified.
Your three questions: “Is it likely that a country born out of a desire for freedom and individual liberty is going to have a different reaction to events in times of crisis than one that grew out of a feudal system? OR do all human beings, groups, civilizations, etc. historically show the same weakness for craving order in the midst of chaos? AND isn't the US unique in history and so can an accurate comparison be made?”
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. Democratic Athens, Republican Rome, Twelve Tribes of Israel, Iroquois Confederacy, and numerous city-states (Italian ones being most prominent) all transformed in character. Even Britain, the example since Runnymede of being “different,” and the “exception,” has not always been consistently so. The craving for order (usually provided by a strongman or group) as a society goes through great and often chaotic and/or undesired changes, is a strong one, and the susceptibility to corruption and selfishness that is a trait of nearly all “elites,” just as near-universal.
Well, part of the problem with the US, in both its internal dealings and external dealings with the rest of the world, is this idea, taken to excess, that it is unique. Yes, in many respects, from the very first, with the fortunate circumstances of there being no gold or silver here as Britain got over its Tudor hangover, this place got to develop in a near-unique way, and that development helped to foster an unusual people (leaving aside for the moment the generally atrocious way Europeans interacted with the native peoples). But what would eventually become America has taken that near-unique characteristic and often used it as a license for arrogant and ignorant behavior, an arrogance that has often ridden roughshod through history to the detriment of many (albeit perhaps the improvement of some). Claiming that it wasn’t/hasn’t been as bad as the arrogance and warlike character of the Europeans is, ironically, effectively damning with faint praise.
Chomsky is saying they shouldn’t be ridiculed because “the left,” (to use the easy term he loves) has failed to offer the TEA folks anything, even though economically populist wise, they share the same issues. That he uses the term “shenanigans,” is, in his own words, because he feels that legitimate anger and legitimate issues are being manipulated and even perverted by the true economic powers, who in turn hold the meaningful political power.
Chomsky’s words, from his blog: “Encouraging anti-tax fanaticism has long been a staple of business propaganda. People must be indoctrinated to hate and fear the government, for good reasons: Of the existing power systems, the government is the one that in principle, and sometimes in fact, answers to the public and can constrain the depredations of private power. However, anti-government propaganda must be nuanced. Business of course favors a powerful state that works for multinationals and financial institutions—and even bails them out when they destroy the economy.
But in a brilliant exercise in doublethink, people are led to hate and fear the deficit. That way, business’s cohorts in Washington may agree to cut benefits and entitlements like Social Security (but not bailouts). At the same time, people should not oppose what is largely creating the deficit—the growing military budget and the hopelessly inefficient privatized healthcare system.”
Now, one may disagree with a number of his premises above, but he is at least relatively clear on where he stands.
Even his supporters on his blog make statements that can be disagreed with on points, but which are often relatively clear: “The us-versus-them mentality prevents ‘the people’ from forming a potent coalition against the government criminals ripping us off. Libertarians, anti-war leftists, and the "Tea-Partiers" could be working together on several issues, such as opposing the bailouts, corporatism, and ballooning deficits of the regime. But to form a viable coalition, they'll have to heed Chomsky's advice and reach out to one another.”
As a historian, and as someone who lived through it (what we historians call one of the primary sources, which are considered of great value to historians both because interpretive filters are lessened, and because synthesizing is diminished as well), he knows full well how Goebbels and others masterfully used too many of the same techniques to manipulate real anger and real issues that people had with the Weimar Republic. As both historian and witness, Chomsky brings a rare combination. A piece of history written at the time is of great value, one written later by an eyewitness of nearly as great. Secondary sources that use those primary sources are still of value, but not as great a value, as many are qualified to do that. Historians use primary sources of history to study and research and develop secondary sources. Any first hand experience of having lived through constitutes a primary source, which is often a good deal more valuable and reliable than a secondary source (recorded by someone who wasn’t there/didn’t live it--and doesn't know the subtle differences and hidden meanings). Short lecture in historiography! :)
Of course, I am not going to expend a lot of blathering space defending Chomsky. Like his intellectual counterpart, Antonin Scalia, he’s big enough to not need me to defend his statements and record. I merely try to make sure he is attributed and insinuated correctly. However, he does need to get out of his ivory tower and among more than just sympathetic audiences. Shame on him as a historian for using only secondary sources for his information when so many primary sources exist. Although he can garner a slight pass for being over 80, still, his own state should have shocked him in January about the importance of getting a non-media owned ear to the ground.
And yes, you are parsing words, but sometimes that is a necessary exercise to nail down real meaning!
Panera attracts both genders of course, but it attracts females at a greater ratio in every Panera I’ve ever been (more than 30) across the country. Traditional yin traits of connection, comfort, and sociability are what I speak of. A corner bar has alcohol, and typically a much different and noisier atmosphere, so yes, I would say there’s a difference. Men like social things with each other too, but they won’t meet at a Panera’s typically as a group. They might meet in a mixed group there, or with their sig other, or for business, or for solitude, or with their family, or maybe even a short meeting with a buddy, but that would be about the extent.
Ah, but it seems to me that he can of course “give back,” if the feeling is one of gratitude to the society that has made it all possible. No man is an island, and few make it far without friends and help. Self-made people usually are only in a sense. Our friend Ms. Rand was right to question severely the greedy and exploitative collective machinery used by elites, but at times she was so colored by her experience that it made her a zealot instead of an analyst.