An Irish Democracy?

We are fast approaching the 5th Anniversary of the first Tax Day Tea Parties.  In the spring of 2009, Americans had become deeply suspicious of the institutions that defined our society.  The government, large corporations, banks, legislatures, Congress, and political parties had betrayed the American public.  We were fed up and decided to let our leaders know that we were mad as hell and we weren’t taking it anymore. 


Five years later, we’ve become what is one of the greatest and longest lasting political movements in US history.   To many, it is unclear whether our mission will be successful, but many more of us have no doubt that we will eventually free America from the oppression of a bloated government and the crony-capitalists that control it.


We have changed from an angry movement lacking direction into thousands of very effective small groups and individuals doing the daily tasks of restoring liberty.  Whether it is aiding a campaign, being a candidate or educating and rallying citizens to an important cause, each action is a step in the right direction.  There is one tactic that has not been sufficiently used until recently.  It is called “Irish Democracy.”


Professor Glenn Reynolds recently quoted Professor James Scott in USA Today:  


“More regimes have been brought piecemeal to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.”


Whether it is refusal to sign up for Obamacare, gun owners avoiding registering their guns in Connecticut,  willful disobedience of immoral laws or entire states nullifying drug laws, we as citizens are learning to exert authority over their own lives.  In this mixed up and confusing political paradigm, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, and even Democrats, are finding common ground with those of us willing to stand opposed to a growing and intrusive tyranny.  After 5 years of the Tea Party movement, many Americans are finding the truth in our message, even while they voice hesitancy about us.


Anthony Codevilla, a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, recently wrote:  


“The principal feature of today’s ruling class is precisely that it reigns in open contempt of the Constitution of 1787 and of their fellow Americans who wave copies of it in forlorn attempts to limit the ruling class’ pretensions. History is univocal: any ruling class self-referential to the point of defaulting on its obligations leaves the ruled no alternative but to turn their backs on it, and eventually to revolt.”


We are still learning how to resist their betrayal of our Constitution and our values and we are still learning how to revolt.  We are running for office, calling talk radio, writing letters, picketing, voting, and, when we can, withdrawing.   


In the words of Professor Reynolds,  


“As we struggle, mostly in vain, to rein in the metastasizing power of a federal government that has grown out of control, perhaps Irish Democracy offers a solution. Sometimes it seems like that’s the only kind of democracy that’s likely to 

make a difference.”


The late 20th century showed us many times that peaceful resistance to tyranny is one of the most effective tools available to liberty seekers.  It is only one tool of many that we have available, but in this time of crisis, we need to use every tool possible.  


Think about opportunities to practice Irish Democracy as we move into the 5th year of the Tea Party movement.