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Winter-Spring 2011 Table of Contents

Support for the Tea Party from an Academic

Angelo Codevilla’s new book: the anger is legitimate

| From Commonwealth | By Rich Barlow

Angelo Codevilla, a CAS professor emeritus of international relations, derides America’s “Ruling Class.” Photo courtesy of Beaufort Books

Rare is the professor whose latest book can boast a gushing introduction by Rush Limbaugh. But when the book sides with the Tea Party movement, it’s perhaps inevitable that it will attract the attention of one of the country’s preeminent conservative commentators. The volume, by Angelo Codevilla, a College of Arts & Sciences international relations professor emeritus, earned Limbaugh’s endorsement by making the Tea Party case “more soberly, bluntly and constructively than anyone else has done,” according to a New York Times reviewer.

The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It (Beaufort Books, 2010) argues that an elite, bipartisan “Ruling Class”—comprising Democratic politicians and voters, Republican political leaders, and government bureaucrats—has overtaxed, overregulated, and scorned the “Country Class” or “Country Party,” Codevilla’s term for all those who dissent from the Ruling Class’ views. Rather than serve the common good, he writes, modern liberalism’s government programs serve well-connected special interests.

With several Tea Party–backed candidates in the new Congress, you’d think Codevilla would be gleeful. But he outlines more ambitious goals than cutting federal spending and taxes. The Country Class can only reassert itself, he says, by recapturing a civic involvement and self-governance that it has ceded to bureaucrats. He points out that there were 117,000 school boards in 1940; today, they have congealed into just 15,000 school districts, giving Americans less chance “to exercise responsibilities similar to their grandparents’” in running schools.

But Codevilla says it’s not certain that either the Republican Party or the larger Country Party is willing to take up the burdens of citizenship “that their fathers and mothers laid down a generation ago—meaning service in local government and doing without some of the entitlements and administrative agencies that have come to characterize our lives. The differences between the agendas of the Republican and Democratic parties are really more apparent than they are real.”

And he takes issue with the liberal argument that the poor and working class suffered when the government interfered less in the private sector. “If that were the case,” he says, “why did millions of immigrants come to this supposed vale of tears and exploitation? This country was, because of its lack of regulation, a place where people could own what they earned and do what they wished with it.”

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Comments

On 14 April 2011 at 3:29 PM, Jeffrey (SMG'04) wrote:

@Gail - You are spot on, it's the Claremont Institute. http://www.claremont.org/about/pageID.287/default.asp

/s

The ire directed at the mere notion that the Tea Party just *may* be on to something intellectually earnest just shows the intolerance of the political Left. As William F. Buckley, Jr. once brilliantly noted, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."

The ad hominem attacks on the intellect of conservatives is nothing but a guise for the Left’s intolerance of those who don’t happen to think like them. Projecting, much?

I am pleased to see BU making an effort to promote some diversity of thought. It's refreshing! Our universities are, after all, *supposed* to be the "marketplace of ideas." Kudos to BU and Angelo Codevilla for engaging in a serious discussion about a serious movement in our nation's history.

On 14 April 2011 at 11:10 AM, Seth Stuck (COM'09) wrote:

Obviously, no one can be in favor of shrinking the size, scope and cost of the Federal government unless they're a racist. Am I right? I mean, who in their right minds would buy into that whole "Federalism" thing anyway? I say, take everyone's cash, throw it in a big pot, and then divide it evenly amongst everyone who happens to be standing on a plot of American soil. Socialism FTW baby!

/s

The ire directed at the mere notion that the Tea Party just *may* be on to something intellectually earnest just shows the intolerance of the political Left. As William F. Buckley, Jr. once brilliantly noted, "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."

The ad hominem attacks on the intellect of conservatives is nothing but a guise for the Left’s intolerance of those who don’t happen to think like them. Projecting, much?

I am pleased to see BU making an effort to promote some diversity of thought. It's refreshing! Our universities are, after all, *supposed* to be the "marketplace of ideas." Kudos to BU and Angelo Codevilla for engaging in a serious discussion about a serious movement in our nation's history.

On 14 April 2011 at 11:01 AM, Elizabeth (CAS'96) wrote:

I look forward to reading this book. I have a double major IR and Econ CAS '96. I think that our current political system is broken and that both parties should take shared responsibility. I hope that based on its title, this book doesn't merely point out the pitfalls/shortcomings of policies from this so called "ruling party", but that it give well thought out recommendations for what actions the "country party" should take to better serve our nation. This country needs solutions at this point that are socially conscientious but also fiscally responsible. I believe such a balance exists. Makes me proud as an alumnus that BU has professors that can provide multiple perspectives even if many people don't agree.

On 14 April 2011 at 10:32 AM, Craig Johnson (ENG'84) wrote:

While I'm quite sure the Tea Party doesn't care about the endorsement of academia, I think they'll take it. It is nice to see that BU actually has professors that haven't bought into the giant liberal lie. In my experience, outside of the College of Engineering, I would never have known it.

On 26 March 2011 at 8:07 PM, Gail Nagle (ENG'84) wrote:

I would like to know which right wing organization is funding Prof. Codevilla’s supposed research. Is it the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institute, the Manhattan Institute or maybe just the hilarious Club-For-Growth? How can such historically inaccurate information be get published? That it is the the work of a professor EMERITUS at Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences surely demonstrates that such a lofty position is no guarantee of intellectual rigor or honesty. I would like to point out until the end of the WWI, tariffs were the largest source of revenue for the federal government. Until the 1980s, the United States followed the policies of Alexander Hamilton, which used protective tariffs as a lever for rapid industrialization. Almost all modern industrial societies, including Japan, Korea, and Germany have used protectionist policies and government subsidies to foster their native industries. It is only since the 198! 0s, with the rise of a global banking and ruling class, that we have seen the idea of free trade take root. This form of capitalism benefits only the hyper-rich - we have seen up close and personal how it results in jobs being exported overseas from the US. And it is because of intellectual frauds like Codevilla that such non-truths are promulgated. Is it any wonder that Limbaugh would endorse this book? Does Codevilla really believe that we have clean water, relatively safe food, safe medications, safe air travel, automobiles with shatterproof windshields and seat belts, an 8 hour day, anti-child labor laws, courts and contracts, and a myriad of other benefits because of *less* regulation of business and corporations? Hopefully, the education BU grads received allows us to see through these obvious falsehoods and distortions. Having people like this on the faculty is no inducement to alumni donations.

On 21 March 2011 at 7:53 AM, Peter Staats (GSM'75) wrote:

As evidenced by other comments, it is east to point to abuses by both the right and the left. What is undeniable is that the political course taken to date has led us to a place where economic disaster is imminent. Like other commenters, I have not yet read the book, but it appears that Codevilla is even-handed in assessing blame to both the right and the left of the ruling class. The tea party is identified with the republican party, but in fact is as concerned about the republican fiscal abuses as the democratic ones. I congratulate BU on having faculty that address the real world, not the one we wished we lived in.

On 14 March 2011 at 8:44 PM, Jim wrote:

I too am the offspring of immigrant parents. Professor Codevilla's analysis is spot on. We have become a society of people who feel entitled to tax breaks, low or no cost educational benefits, handouts etc. If you teach someone to fish they can support their family. I am not wealthy but I expect that the government will make me pay more taxes because I have saved for the future.

On 9 March 2011 at 11:30 PM, D. Michael Wells (CAS'67) wrote:

You are associated with BU? It may be time for me to write BU to get the University to stop sending me emails. The last paragraph seems to summarize your lack of understanding of logic and history. It says: "And he takes issue with the liberal argument that the poor and working class suffered when the government interfered less in the private sector. “If that were the case,” he says, 'why did millions of immigrants come to this supposed vale of tears and exploitation? This country was, because of its lack of regulation, a place where people could own what they earned and do what they wished with it.'” Because my grandparents were immigrants, I have some familiarity with his subject. I suppose you feel that the lack of regulation was not a cause or had nothing to do with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disaster? I suppose that the workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts mills should have been grateful for the miserable conditions they had to work in like my grandparents? Maybe the children who were exploited should also have been grateful for any work, even if it required working six days a week? Immigrants came to this county in the late 19th and early 20th century because their conditions were WORSE than what they HOPED their conditions might be in this county. I think your true position should be a one of Limbaugh's "Dittoheads."

On 9 March 2011 at 8:37 AM, Otto (SMG) wrote:

Sounds like a good, calm analysis of the situation. The role of the media is not mentioned in the article... I hope it is in the book. No analysis of this type is complete without comment on the media who's "news" has become advertisement for the "ruling" class.

On 8 March 2011 at 9:39 PM, Bob Sarles (COM'79) wrote:

After surviving the regime of John Silber, I finally became proud of being an alumni of Boston University. Then I read this garbage from a right wing professor and my embarrassment sets in again. Are you kidding me with this nonsense? And the fact that you send this out as an accomplishment to be commended is insulting. Just because this jerk was able to publish his lies does not make them true. My god, how I miss Howard Zinn, a man who spoke the truth. And Murrray Levin, too. Those were great professors. This guy is a hack. And an embarrassment.

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