Well, they both deny evolution, hating Darwin with a passion, both are homophobic gay bashers, and religious zealots. Both are populated by fruit cakes who swing giddyingly from one extreme to the next. They are both busybodies of organisations who want to tell women what to do with their bodies, and what they wear.
But, these delights apart, both also show remarkable similarities at structural levels.
Contrary to belief, there is no secret subterranean bunker deep in a mountain where Bin Laden, complete in power blue Norfolk jacket, sits stroking a white Persian cat waiting for his chance to say “Ah Mr Bond, I have been expecting you..”. Nor is Sarah Palin the head of the demonic Tea Party.
This is because neither organisation is a hierarchy with any single head or set corporate structure. They are both instead networks. Networks with no heads that can be decapitated. The Tea party in the US is consciously un-led. There is no national leader despite the claims of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Indeed in most states Tea Party groups have little idea what other Tea Party groups are doing in the same state only a few miles away.
And it doesn’t help their enemies that the Tea Party, like Al Qaeda, is not a single issue movement. Its not like the abolitionists or the suffrage movement – instead they both represent rafts of disparate unfocussed seething anger. There is no one to call, no one to get on side and swing a large section over, no one to bring “on board” to stop the juggernaut.
The book which Tea Party gurus (oh yes there are some) discuss, is surprisingly, a business self help book, one of that seemingly endless genre that one finds cluttering up airport bookshops, telling spotty faced bag carriers how they too can become CEO’s.
It is called “The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organisations” By Rod A Beckstrom (retailing at £6.18 delivery free in Great Britain.)
And the combination has attracted interesting comment.
Jonathon Rauch in National Journal has taken a hard cold look at this phenomenon and I’d recommend the video dump below. It’s a bit longer that the usual YouTube stuff but worth your patience.
Oligarchies operate by absorbing and neutralising strong opposition. With no head and no handles, this is proving really very difficult for the elites to manage. Watch as this gets harsher and more unpleasant as we get closer to November.
Copyright David Macadam 2010