Tea Party not a hate group

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Mr. Reggie Bechard’s letter in Sunday’s Sun Journal (April 18) asserts that the Tea Party is “Not a hate group.”

As evidence he lists the catchphrases of the conservative right. The final phrase, “secular socialist machine,” parrots Newt Gingrich’s recent description of the Democratic administration.

Such vocabulary is reminiscent of Gingrich’s tactics as House Speaker and leader of the Contract for America in 1994, when he and the RNC circulated a list of such emotion-charged words with which Republican candidates were directed, with pamphlet and tapes, to denigrate a Democrat opponent’s motives and thus avoid real issues.

A chill ran down my spine, for I had read that strategy in a book which analyzed how knowledge is inherently destabilizing to society. Emotions, however, yearn for stability, so give people emotionally loaded words which offer a simple battle cry and relief from their intellectual discomforts with a complex world. Factual information is distorted into propaganda to justify the acquisition of power.

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The book was Mein Kampf, 1925, by Adolph Hitler.

That chill returns, now those tactics reappear. “Secular”means different from religious.

Gingrich wants us to hear “Godless.” “Socialist,” describes elements of social welfare policy in any democracy, but here is linked to “communist,” “anti-democratic,” “ anti-free enterprise.” “Machine” is to suggest “anti-human.”

Such demagoguery dumbs-down the electorate, making it feel confident, while undermining its capacity to sort out reality from pseudo-information.

The Tea Party may not be a hate group, but it is not yet a thinking group either.

Richard Taylor, Bethel

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