I attended my first tea party Saturday July 4th. It was quite small, I'd say the crowd fluctuated between 110 and 140 people for the 2 hours I was there. There were no speakers. Just people talking to each other and holding signs of slogans at road side for passing drivers. A lot of passing cars beeped their horns in support.
What surprised me most was how many of these people were familiar with Rand's writings. One man said he read all her books. A lady said she was reading Atlas for the second time. Another said, from memory, "I've read a lot of her stuff. Sometimes she's over the top but other than that she's right on the money." Another said she would pick up a copy of Atlas on the way home. I only encountered a few people who never heard of Rand or Objectivism. They have now.
I liked walking around and talking to people. It's like taking a sense of life inventory. I passed out 65 copies of the essay "Message to Republicans" from the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights." Another Objectivist was passing out some too. When people asked me what is this about? I responded that it's an essay on what the Republicans are doing wrong and what they need to do right. Boy, that struck a few nerves. Several said the Party is trying too hard to look like Democrats. 3 others said the Party's biggest mistake was nominating John McCain for president. "He's not a conservative and he shouldn't even be a Republican" said one. All in all the crowd seemed to be mostly conservatives. Many were also religious but it seemed that their political concerns were on the front burner while the religious ones on the back burner. I only saw 4 anti-abortion signs.
Most attendants were against the current level of government spending, taxation and the growth of controls. But when I asked what were they for, I got a mixture of approximations: smaller, limited government, less spending, fewer controls and more personal freedoms. I thought to myself, this tea party movement needs guidance on how to more explicitly be for something. I think the next time I go to one of these I'll have an essay titled 'Limited Government is Limited to What?' Of course it will be about limiting the government to employing only retaliatory force which means forbidding it to use initiatory force and how the protection of individual rights requires this distinction to be explicit legally.
It was an interesting experience. There are a few photos below.