Pew: Majority of Americans see Washington as a threat to their “personal rights and freedoms”

February 1, 2013

This goes to a recent argument I made about beating the media, as opposed to obsessively blaming it for everything. If Pew is forced to admit a majority of Americans feel this way about Washington, I find it hard to believe there isn’t enough aligned sentiment out there for the Right to build upon.

Most especially we need to be using New Media to do that – as opposed to primarily focusing on old media. That is, after all, much of what new media has done for the past several years.

Americans have a very special message for the federal government: Don’t tread on me.

That’s the takeaway from a new poll from the Pew Research Center in which, for the first time in at least the last two decades, a majority of Americans say Washington actually poses a threat to their “personal rights and freedoms.”

via Americans to Washington: Don’t tread on me.

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  1. Alex Mintz says:

    Glen Reynolds says, “you’d think the GOP could do something with that.” However, the GOP’s been as much of the problem as well.

  2. AJ Lynch says:

    The problem is that GOP bigshots like McCain, Lindsay Graham, McConnell don’t believe DC is a threat to our freedom. Repubs like them believe all solutions should come from DC.

    • Dew says:

      No AJ it is the Liberal/Takers like you that have to have the Government involved in everything you do.

  3. Cableguy says:

    The problem with a poll like this is that, while it refers to rights in general, people answer only thinking about specific rights they feel are being infringed. Pot heads think the government is infringing their right to toke, for example, but no problem with higher taxes or restricted gun rights.

    We’re losing the battle by not tying all rights together as a package, and idiots like Wayne LaPierre who throw the 1st Amendment (violent movies and video games) under the bus to save the 2nd amendment don’t help.

    • Will says:

      I think you’re right. You see the same results with the question “Is the country headed in the right direction?” Most people say “No”. The committed socialists think there aren’t enough failed government programs and “free stuff”, and the sensible people think there’s too much government spending. But the answer to the question makes it appear that all respondents are in agreemnt.

  4. Steve Skubinna says:

    I call bullshit. A center-right country does not elect Barack Obama President. Twice. Nor does one concerned about an overly powerful and intrusive government. We just voted for President Santa Claus and the damn Tooth Fairy because we want free stuff. Okay, it’s “only” a majority of the voters that want free stuff. But they want it, and by God they’re going to have it, and Obama is going to take it for them and spread the wealth around.

    • Will says:

      When you look at the fact that some people consider it their “right” to have government-provided housing, birth control, food, etc. it makes sense. They see that they don’t yet have all these things and that some lawmakers are (gasp) AGAINST free stuff, they feel that the government is a threat to their “rights”.

      • Ragspierre says:

        You might want to read the piece Dan links to, remembering it is the WaPo.

        • Will says:

          The article does indeed seem to contradict my assertion. But something just doesn’t smell right. Why would Obama get so many votes? Did people really not understand who the “big government” candidate was? Did they not understand that more “free stuff” means a reduction in “freedom”?

          • Ragspierre says:

            All good questions.

            Some of the answers are rather obvious, others take some thinking. Still others are just paradoxes (i.e., people are fully capable of holding conflicting views. Indeed, most people are bundles of contradictions they never reconcile).

            Obama won with a MUCH lower vote than from 2008.

            Romney won more support than McAnus in many places and categories.

  5. Ragspierre says:

    People have to take back what is theirs.

    Which is the entire trust of the TEA Party movement. To reassert the idea that our central government was, from its design, a limited organization with limited powers, authorized to do a very finite set of things and NOTHING MORE.

    That individuals are the prime actors in our society, free to work cooperatively in all the ways they choose, but not by compulsion from some authority as a rule.

    • Arthur says:

      The teabaggers have gone missing. They must have died off or something. Face it, angry old white people don’t get to shape policy.

      • Ragspierre says:

        So, you opposed the Kerry and Hagel nominations, then…???

        Just kidding! Of COURSE you didn’t and don’t, because you are a moron!

        And the TEA Party movement is doing very well, thank you, and learning every day.

        See Cruz, Ted.

        • Arthur says:

          See Palin, Sarah. Irrelevant bimbo.

          The tea party is slowly fading away, much like its decrepit followers.

          • Ragspierre says:

            Watch and learn, moron.

            Like your entire Collective, you live in delusion.

            OK with me. I like you stupid.

          • Arthur says:

            See West, Allen. Unemployed crackpot.

          • Arthur says:

            See Walsh, Joe. Unemployed deadbeat dad.

          • Ragspierre says:

            Wrong again, idiot.

            West is employed. He is no crackpot, which is why he was targeted for defeat by your Collective.

            Too big a threat!

          • Ragspierre says:

            “See Walsh, Joe. Unemployed deadbeat dad.”

            I don’t know Walsh. But is it your contention that there are no deadbeat dads/moms among the Deemocrats? Of course, you are all over getting them out of office, right?

  6. Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

    No, the problem is that many of those “rights and freedoms” that Washington is a threat to are the right to not have to pay for your own birth control out of pocket, the right not to have to live next door to those icky gun owners, the right not to be exposed to those intolerant Jesus Freaks, the right to lower standards for minorities, the right to a “living wage” (i.e. the right to be unemployed at a fair and equitable wage), etc.

    When your concept of “rights and freedoms” are what others must provide you against their will, that’s not an opportunity for smaller government.

  7. Southern Man says:

    Both of the big parties are statist; they both want big government. I vote pretty much straight Tea Party and support TP supporters in the local Republican party to rebuild that party from the ground up. And I write messages to that effect on every fundraising letter the GOP sends me and send it back to them in their postage paid envelope. Think they’ll ever get the message?

  8. Abelard Lindsey says:

    In an ideal world, the GOP would capitalize on the natural skepticism of government on the part of most Americans. However, the GOP believes in too much bogosity of its own.

    To reasonable people, conservatism means 1) limited government, 2) less government regulation, and 3) lower taxes. That’s it. Unfortunately, many in the GOP believe in other things as well and are obsessed with promoting them. This is why the GOP keeps loosing and will continue to do so.

    • Ragspierre says:

      I’m a “reasonable people” and your 1,2,3 is bullshit.

      It is a start, but it is hardly what Conservatives believe.

  9. The GOP and the right will lose elections until the articulate a POSITIVE vision for America.

    Romney clearly didn’t cut it. Ryan might have had he been at the top of the ticket.

    The fact is Americans don’t want “Galt’s Gulch” libertarianism, and likely never will.

    You have to sell Americans a more positive vision of a sustainable, honest, transparent safety net that won’t bankrupt the nation.

    The Tea party message of “back to the founding” tops out at 20-25% of the vote.

    Give Americans a positive FUTURE vision backed by real numbers (not “growth will solve our problems” BS), and they will vote for you.

    • Ragspierre says:

      I’m always amazed at how dumb people are who presume to tell Conservatives what they should or shouldn’t do.

      Conservatives ARE positive, by-in-large. We tend to be optimistic, and WE actually like people.

      “Galt’s Gulch” was a metaphor. There are, in the real world, millions of Galt’s Gulch places to go…or ways to go Galt without moving. You can see it happen all over the world.

      Please post your support for a survey on “back to the founding”.

      Please support YOUR BS regarding “growth will solve our problems” straw man.

      • Rags,

        I’m every bit as conservative as you are, perhaps more so if the link below is the standard.

        I reserve the right to critique my compatriots. It isn’t as if the 100s of millions spent on Heritage, et. al. or decades of talk radio bloviation has helped us that much.

        I agree with you in part re: Galt’s Gulch, but too many on our side believe it can be enacted. It can’t.

        As for the growth argument, I agree that it is necessary component of the solution, but it isn’t enough.

        Social Security and the Medi-stuff MUST be transformed. There isn’t enough growth in the world to fund them as they stand.

        I just wish some on our side would quite bloviating and propose solutions that can be sold to a percentage of the “low information voters” that are the Dems bread and butter.

        Sorry I ticked you off. I’m one of you. I’m just sick of losing.

  10. Neo says:

    Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to a thousand a year from what we’re at now,” Biden said, according to a Politico report.

    What is it good for ? .. Absolutely nothing

    • Ragspierre says:

      What is it good for ?

      “Command and control.”

      You can’t trust people, if you are a Collectivist.

  11. LEOnides says:

    I’m a Libertarian– fiscal conservative social liberal. The traditional GOP are as much afraid of me and my compatriots as are the Democrats. Same with the TEA Party and their compatriots (they are about as close as we’ll get to true libertarian values, at least for the near future). The TEA Party’s biggest problem is that they see themselves as appealing to the conservative mind, but the truth is they also appeal to the mind of the “classical” liberal. The TEA Party leadership (if you can use this term when referring to a grass-roots movement) has made no attempt to reach out to them. They comprise a significant portion of the Democrat Party, but they, too, have become disillusioned– and disaffected. Many of them feel that they have nowhere to turn, and are suspicious of the TEA Party’s motives and agenda, believing the vile bile that the MSM has spewed. In fairness to these disaffected Democrats, the TEA Party is itself vulnerable to the agenda and control of the social conservatives; these are definitely not libertarians, believing that they must “make” the country socially conservative, which they believe can be done only through legislation backed by threat of force and intimidation, not reason and persuasion. The TEA Party is missing the boat here, but unless and until their members can embrace– and promote– everyone’s right to make their own decisions about the pursuit of their own happiness, as long as it doesn’t interfere with any other person’s right to do the same, they will never achieve their goals: lower taxes, reduced regulation, and personal responsibility for one’s own choices. The TEA Party needs to bring into their fold these disaffected classical liberals if they are to succeed. They must take control of their own message if they are to accomplish this.

    • Ragspierre says:

      “…unless and until their members can embrace– and promote– everyone’s right to make their own decisions…”

      OK. Like what…???

      • LEOnides says:

        We need to do anything we can, individually and collectively (I know, bad word, but you get my meaning). First, gain control of our own message. Reach out to friends, host small neighborhood meetings and, if possible, bring in and promote well-respected and well-recognized speakers. Not politicians, if you can help it, but real-world citizens in business, law, medicine, education, journalism, church or synagogue, people in the community (or beyond) who are known and trusted by your audience. No attack dogs, no criticism, just open and honest answers to questions from the audience. Publish columns in your local press, go door-to-door, use community bulletin boards, both physical and electronic. Stress commonalities, not contentions. I also like Glenn Reynolds’ ideas about buying national magazines, especially women’s magazines, to change the meme (some of these magazine publishers don’t costs very much anymore, and many are desperate for an expanding audience). Instead of talking to each other in our own echo chamber, post well-reasoned replies to posts at liberal sites; the attacks that will undoubtedly come will serve to strengthen our position, not weaken it (ask Ben Shapiro, John Boaz, and other people who get it). Breitbart (PBUH) was great at generating outrage (and resolve), and while there is certainly great value in his approach we must also respond to leftist attacks with reason and logic, in addition to emotion. Don’t come across as an unreasonable reactionary; let the leftists do this. Keep the anger in check; be patient, persistent, and real.

        These are a few random thoughts, presented in no particular order from an ADD mind.

        I’m certainly no expert at this stuff, just a concerned citizen who believes I can make a small difference. I’ve been trying this hands-on, local approach myself, and have been able to convert a few OWS sympathizers (who were probably ambivalent about OWS to begin with). I’ve convinced a number (about 15 so far) of registered Democrats to attend TEA Party meetings with me, and four of them have joined. I have found it helpful to be open about my embarrassment of the vocal but small minority of attendees who attempt to hijack the meetings to push a socially conservative agenda, and I remind myself that any grass-roots movement (regardless of political persuasion)will draw these “off-message” people; it still doesn’t dilute the core message, though.

        • Ragspierre says:

          “I have found it helpful to be open about my embarrassment of the vocal but small minority of attendees who attempt to hijack the meetings to push a socially conservative agenda, and I remind myself that any grass-roots movement (regardless of political persuasion)will draw these “off-message” people; it still doesn’t dilute the core message, though.

          I note you avoid any attempt to get you to define WTF you are referring to here.

          I’ve been involved in the TEA Party movement since its inception (or near enough), and NEVER pretend to speak for it.

          You DO, which worries me.

          SPECIFICALLY, what are you “embarrassed” about?????

  12. werewife says:

    G-d, I miss Andrew Breitbart.

  13. […] leads to is the progressive erosion of the legitimacy of government.  In a country where the majority of people see government as restricting their rights and liberties, instead of expanding them, more […]