Tea Party people often criticize Obamacare as an example of "socialism." But the use of the state's police power to force people to pay money to a private, for-profit business is not socialism. It it is fascism - by definition. In fact, much of what the federal government does/imposes on us is fascistic more than socialistic. (The recent Supreme Court decision affirming corporate "personhood" and "free speech rights," for example; and the use of terms such as "Homeland Security" and "Patriot" Act - not to mention the actual contents of these acts).

If you've attended a Tea Part event, you probably noticed there's very little criticism of current U.S. militarism and empire-seeking - both of which also have extremely fascist undertones.

Indeed, the Tea Party rank and file appears to be very much of the "support the troops" Bush Republican type. But the warfare state is as incompatible with liberty (both personal and economic) as is the welfare state.

Unfortunately, I don't think the Tea Party wants to touch this hot potato.

At a recent rally, there was a telling moment when one speaker actually said something negative about the disastrous tenure of George W. Bush, calling it - correctly - a "dictatorship" (let's not forget the gutting of 4th Amendment and other former Bill of Rights protections in the name of "security" and the assertion of essentially unchecked and unilateral "war president" powers, etc.). This resulted in a moment of awkward silence, with the crowd clearly uneasy about the statement.

Also: Out of the blue, toward the start of the rally - the crowd was suddenly egged-on to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Like well-trained government-worshippers, the entire crowd fell into line. The "flag" is taken to be a sacred object and reciting the pledge confirmation of obedience to the state.

I doubt one out of 100 present knows the origin of the Pledge (look into it, if you don't) or has thought much about the irony of "pledging allegiance" "to the flag" (that is, the symbol of government authority) at a rally ostensibly devoted to the advocacy of individual rights and limited government.

Several speakers also spoke in favor of "running it (government) like a business." But government is not a business and shouldn't be in the business of anything except ensuring that individual rights are respected and the rule of law maintained.

Here, too, the mercenary strain of Republican mammon-worship was in evidence. Money and commerce, not freedom and liberty.

No speaker said anything directly about the legitimacy of government taking money (and rights) from some in order to "help"others.

Tea Party people need to understand: If Big Government is only bad when it is wielded by the Left, then the Right has no principled basis for objecting to Big Government as such. And if the Tea Party represents the political Right (that is, statism for the benefit of a powerful government, empire, etc., as opposed to statism for the benefit of "the poor," etc. ) then it is doomed for that reason, since you can't defend a principle you've already conceded.

Another problem:

Tea Party speakers are loathe to even mention the immigration issue, let alone say anything about the clear and present danger of a literal flood of Third Worlders into the United States. I suspect the Tea Party leadership is intimidated by the catcalls of "racism" coming from its opponents. Again, very much like the GOP, the Tea Party seems terrified of dealing with an issue that is central to the problems we face. And that is the changing racial/ethnic makeup of the country and the social/political implications of this change.

Indeed, at the rally I attended in Roanoke, Va., one of the speakers was a young black woman from The Frederick Douglass Society (I had never heard of this group). She seemed well-intended and sincere. But the hard-boiled fact is that blacks overwhelmingly support Obama (for racial reasons) and the political left (for economic ones).

I don't argue that blacks should be excluded from Tea Party events. I am arguing that is soft-headed in the extreme to pretend that blacks don't support statism by enormous margins (as do Mexican and Central/South American "immigrants") or "vote race" - and that it is unlikely in the extreme that any of this will ever change.

The GOP notion that America is a "propositional nation" and its disastrous corollary that race/culture is irrelevant (when it's clearly not) has leached deeply into the consciousness of Tea Party People. Like the GOP, they seem terrified of challenging any of the fashionable PC orthodoxies (and idiocies) that amount to national hari-kari. Do they really believe that, say, Somali immigrants are interested in George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the legacy of all those Dead White Men? That non-European natives want to live in a country dominated by the symbols, culture, history and general zeitgeist of people who trace their ancestry back to Europe?

Can they be that stupid?

Another Tea Party problem is the incessant God Talk.

Religion should be left at home and kept private, but the thing about modern evangelical Christianity is that it's well, evangelical. The good news must be spread. Even when it's utterly beside the point and probably alienates a lot of people who might otherwise be simpatico.

As with the Flag Humping, the God Talk smells a lot like the Republican Neo-con Right - Of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Of corporatism and money-grubbing; "privatization" and the endless War on Terrah.

If that's what the Tea Party is brewing, the end result will not be any better than what the Obamanites are cooking up.

Statism is statism, whether it comes from the Left or the Right.