Obama's Antidisestablishmentarianism and the Tea Partiers

Antidisestablishmentarianism has too many letters. And its obscure original meaning has long been forgotten. Now it merely produces sweaty foreheads at a National Spelling Bee. Anyone who can spell such a word without taking a breath is an overachiever of sorts. Yet knowing how to spell such a convoluted word having no utility whatsoever displays little more than presumed but vacuous erudition...much like a speech from President Obama.

At one time in the U.K., antidisestablishmentarianism had significance. The term comes from establishmentarianism, a  nineteenth-century sectarian label for those who stubbornly supported the Anglican Church as the official state religion for the United Kingdom. Disestablishmentarians were those of a non-conformist persuasion lobbying for emancipation of religion from the state. Antidisestablishmentarians, in turn, were the iconoclasts opposed to the disestablishmentarians.

Today, traditional establishmentarians and their default swap derivatives, antidisestablishmentarians, are as sparse as Sunday communicants at any Anglican country parish or cathedral in Britain. And there are more than twice as many Muslims worshiping weekly in England today than Anglican kneelers. So much for the state religion in the U.K. Except that ecclesiastical establishmentarianism in its most corrosive form has been replaced by the doctrine of welfare-state governance in the U.K. and throughout socialist Europe.

This new form of secular establishmentarianism is flourishing here, but it is now known as progressive liberalism (accompanied by suffocating government controls and crippling taxes). The Tea Party movement agitators are the disestablishmentarians, otherwise non-conformist heretics not unlike seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics in England and Ireland. Tea Partiers know that the state religion in the U.S. will soon be liberal collectivism, where conformist doctrine would require belief in and unswerving loyalty towards an ever-expanding federal government. Taxes and political conformity are to tithes, and the Thirty-Nine Articles as Democrats are to priests, parsons, and vicars. Obama is now the high priest of the antidisestablishmentarians.

U.K. disestablishmentarians in the 1830s led by the Baptists delivered a half-dozen grievances, notably dissolution of required tithes and rates to be paid by every subject to the Anglican church. Allied to the Protestant disestablishmentarians by a common enemy but little else, Roman Catholics in Ireland fought for emancipation and equal rights from the English parliament.

Of course, a common refrain from the British establishment dismissed such grievance-mongers as "ignorant, superstitious, and disloyal." That's not unlike how Tea Partiers today are summarily ridiculed and pigeonholed as Bible-thumping, angry white men, gun-toting xenophobes, and racists. Or as David Brooks, erstwhile commonsense conservative -- now a CINO and typical of insufferable mainstream elitists -- suggests, Tea Partiers are uneducated, anti-intellectual, blindly indignant, and parochial.

Tell that to this nation's founders, who cast off both tithes and taxes in one blow. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1780 to 1833 did provide for an established state religion, which included local ordinances requiring taxpayers to underwrite the Congregationalists while marginalizing non-conformists. But these trappings of state religion were gradually ignored so that by the 1830s, American religious life, while no means dormant or even on the wane, began to distance itself from government.

Thus ushered in the age of fervent religious plurality and rugged individualism in America until 1913, when broadly imposed permanent federal taxation was introduced with the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution. And since then, the federal government has been increasingly suffocating, intrusive, and intolerant, eagerly copying establishmentarian Anglicans two and three centuries ago.

Far from ignorant, pedantic, pedestrian and paranoid, Tea Partiers have aligned themselves with the most enlightened and articulate disestablishmentarians the world has ever known: our nation's founders. And "Don't Tread On Me" seems to have just the right number of letters.

Try spelling that, Mr. President.

Geoffrey P. Hunt is a senior executive in a multinational corporation.
Antidisestablishmentarianism has too many letters. And its obscure original meaning has long been forgotten. Now it merely produces sweaty foreheads at a National Spelling Bee. Anyone who can spell such a word without taking a breath is an overachiever of sorts. Yet knowing how to spell such a convoluted word having no utility whatsoever displays little more than presumed but vacuous erudition...much like a speech from President Obama.

At one time in the U.K., antidisestablishmentarianism had significance. The term comes from establishmentarianism, a  nineteenth-century sectarian label for those who stubbornly supported the Anglican Church as the official state religion for the United Kingdom. Disestablishmentarians were those of a non-conformist persuasion lobbying for emancipation of religion from the state. Antidisestablishmentarians, in turn, were the iconoclasts opposed to the disestablishmentarians.

Today, traditional establishmentarians and their default swap derivatives, antidisestablishmentarians, are as sparse as Sunday communicants at any Anglican country parish or cathedral in Britain. And there are more than twice as many Muslims worshiping weekly in England today than Anglican kneelers. So much for the state religion in the U.K. Except that ecclesiastical establishmentarianism in its most corrosive form has been replaced by the doctrine of welfare-state governance in the U.K. and throughout socialist Europe.

This new form of secular establishmentarianism is flourishing here, but it is now known as progressive liberalism (accompanied by suffocating government controls and crippling taxes). The Tea Party movement agitators are the disestablishmentarians, otherwise non-conformist heretics not unlike seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics in England and Ireland. Tea Partiers know that the state religion in the U.S. will soon be liberal collectivism, where conformist doctrine would require belief in and unswerving loyalty towards an ever-expanding federal government. Taxes and political conformity are to tithes, and the Thirty-Nine Articles as Democrats are to priests, parsons, and vicars. Obama is now the high priest of the antidisestablishmentarians.

U.K. disestablishmentarians in the 1830s led by the Baptists delivered a half-dozen grievances, notably dissolution of required tithes and rates to be paid by every subject to the Anglican church. Allied to the Protestant disestablishmentarians by a common enemy but little else, Roman Catholics in Ireland fought for emancipation and equal rights from the English parliament.

Of course, a common refrain from the British establishment dismissed such grievance-mongers as "ignorant, superstitious, and disloyal." That's not unlike how Tea Partiers today are summarily ridiculed and pigeonholed as Bible-thumping, angry white men, gun-toting xenophobes, and racists. Or as David Brooks, erstwhile commonsense conservative -- now a CINO and typical of insufferable mainstream elitists -- suggests, Tea Partiers are uneducated, anti-intellectual, blindly indignant, and parochial.

Tell that to this nation's founders, who cast off both tithes and taxes in one blow. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1780 to 1833 did provide for an established state religion, which included local ordinances requiring taxpayers to underwrite the Congregationalists while marginalizing non-conformists. But these trappings of state religion were gradually ignored so that by the 1830s, American religious life, while no means dormant or even on the wane, began to distance itself from government.

Thus ushered in the age of fervent religious plurality and rugged individualism in America until 1913, when broadly imposed permanent federal taxation was introduced with the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution. And since then, the federal government has been increasingly suffocating, intrusive, and intolerant, eagerly copying establishmentarian Anglicans two and three centuries ago.

Far from ignorant, pedantic, pedestrian and paranoid, Tea Partiers have aligned themselves with the most enlightened and articulate disestablishmentarians the world has ever known: our nation's founders. And "Don't Tread On Me" seems to have just the right number of letters.

Try spelling that, Mr. President.

Geoffrey P. Hunt is a senior executive in a multinational corporation.

RECENT VIDEOS