The decision of some Objectivists to support, and to participate in, the "Tea Party Movement" has come to exactly the end that Ayn Rand predicted for such efforts. As Robert LeChevalier writes in the OActivists mailing list,
Evidence is growing that many Tea Parties around the country are being subverted by those who neither share our values or the values on which this country is founded, and that they are paying lip service to them while manipulating the Tea Parties to dilute their effect (Democratic hacks, Libertarian dupes, Republican opportunists, or even very likely the police, by the way), or simply using them as a cash cow for any end you can imagine.Or, as one organizer of a "Tea Party" wrote to another OActivist,
I'm sure you're aware the focus of the Tea Parties is limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets. Individual rights certainly doesn't contradict any of those key points but I don't feel it fits ....One of those slogans (none is specific or well-defined enough to call it a goal) is "fiscal responsibility." "Fiscal responsibility" is also the main slogan of ongoing proposals and campaigns, in several US states (and also at the federal level) to raise taxes (yes, I know that "fiscal responsibility" may also mean "cut spending," but Christian Republicans are not about to give up on the Christian principle that "we all have a responsibility to help the less fortunate.") And the claim that a campaign to raise taxes "does not contradict individual rights" could only be made by someone who has no idea of what rights are.
Those who advocate collaboration with the "Tea Party" movement sometimes cite Ayn Rand's one narrow exception to her caution against "unprincipled alliances:" "The only groups one may properly join today are ad hoc committees, i.e., groups organized to achieve a single, specific, clearly defined goal, on which men of differing views can agree." But in its original context (The Ayn Rand Letter, Vol. 1, No. 7 January 3, 1972, "What Can One Do?") what Ayn Rand wrote was:
Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to "do something." ... It means that you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies... The only groups one may properly join today are ad hoc committees, i.e., groups organized to achieve a single, specific, clearly defined goal, on which men of differing views can agree.Far from having "a single goal," the organizers of "Tea Parties" seldom list fewer than three or four. And even fewer of these are either specific or well-defined (the ambiguity of appeals to "fiscal responsibility" is just the last case-in-point.) The "Tea Party" movement is - in all respects - the paradigmatic embodiment of "we've got to do something." This means, you help the defeat of your ideas and the victory of your enemies. If only Ayn Rand were alive today to say, "I told you so."