Give Us Liberty: A Review

Mary Rakovich was too busy for politics.  That is, until she saw the Federal Government explode in size under the Bush administration.  When Obama supported the Bush bailouts and John McCain suspended his campaign to make sure they passed, she had had enough.  Mary joined Freedom Works and learned how to stage a protest.  In solidarity with countless others across the nation, she made her voice heard at local rallies and protests.  By Sept. 12, 2009, nearly one-million people were marching on Washington to protest an unaccountable and bloated government.

America had awakened.

Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe offer an up-close look at what many reckon is the most unusual and most powerful political movement in a generation–The Tea Party.  Actually, it is not a party, according to the authors.  It doesn’t even have leaders.  It is a movement of ideas, not people.  A significant portion of America is utterly disgusted with what we have allowed our government to become and they have reached the tipping point.

Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, is a call-to-action.  As a movement of principles, we are told, the Tea Party does not need leaders.  Armey and Kibbe rely instead upon the unifying appeal of a few simple ideas: free people, free markets, and lower taxes. So far, it has worked, puzzling and aggravating traditional politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Tea Partiers are far from being in lockstep on every issue.  Many disagree on particulars such as immigration, abortion, and general political strategy.  They are, however, in complete agreement on one–liberty is in danger and they plan to do something about it.  It is perhaps the “do something” part that is the most interesting and the most problematic.

“A hostile takeover of the Republican Party” is the movement’s goal, at least if the authors have their way.  Armey and Kibbe deplore third-party movements as a waste of time and an outstanding way to derail the movement altogether.  They advocate instead a steady and relentless infiltration of the Republican Party, a party that has at least sometimes in the past stood for low taxes and limited government.

It is here that I have the biggest problem with Give Us Liberty.  The authors do make a good argument, that in order to get anything done, we have to work through a major party.  Doing so may be pragmatic, but judging from my conversations with Tea Partiers, the Republicans are despised nearly as much as the Democrats.  The “hold-your-nose and pull-the-lever” strategy is to many people a return to the disappointments of 1994.  Why elect Republicans who will become political whores as soon as they get in office?

Other than that, I find this book an important and timely look at what is on many Americans’ minds since the Big Bailout–is THIS what we want America to be?  Do we want a bloated and unaccountable bureaucracy dictating the particulars of our daily lives?  Do we want the money we earn redistributed to god-only-knows what pet cause?  Are we leaving our children and grandchildren a legacy of freedom and plenty or tyranny and want?  To the degree that this book gets people to investigate their candidates’ views and hold them accountable, it serves its purpose.  Common sense will take care of the rest.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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5 Responses to Give Us Liberty: A Review

  1. Dustin Butterworth says:

    One of the most annoying things I see in politics today is the claim from Democrats that electing conservatives will send us “back to Bush.”

    I prefer to think we are going back, indeed. But, back just a little bit further. Back to Reagan.

    We need a president who will stick to conservative principles and spend LESS, unlike Bush. We also need a president that can get us out of a recession, like Reagan.

    Just put it in “D” to finish driving off that cliff, America.


  2. madboy says:

    Pretty sure Reagan significantly increased the federal deficit in his two terms. All recent presidents have been, economically, state capitalists, enriching Big Business at the expense of the taxpayer.

    Grow up and leave your capitalist public relations act at home, Dustin.


    • Terry Noel says:

      Mad Boy,

      I approved your comment because you add a viable point of view to the debate about “state capitalists” and Big Business. If you don’t mind, though, tone down the personal insults–they do not add to the debate. Thanks.


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