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Quote of the Day: The Tea Party Network

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 15 2010

'Essentially what we're doing is crowd-sourcing,' says [Mark] Meckler, whose vocabulary betrays his background as a lawyer specializing in Internet law. 'I use the term open-source politics. This is an open-source movement.' Every day, anyone and everyone is modifying the code. 'The movement as a whole is smart.'

-- Writing for National Journal, Jonathan Rauch tackles the question of whether the "tea party" movement in the United States that's sprung up in recent years is a remarkable example of an ideal distributed network, where power and direction bubbles up from its edges, a la The Starfish and the Spider, the 2006 book by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom.

Reading Rauch, the natural question that pops up is, if the "tea parties" are a decentralized organization, what holds them/it together. One wonders if there isn't some imprint of the concept of "tea party" on the American brain, going back to Boston circa 1773, of course, that early organizers were able to tap into, a ready framing of vehement opposition to the particulars of the Obama administration's economic and social policies that's both easy to grasp quickly, and in its way, deeply patriotic. With "tea party" as the north star, then you might find yourself in a situation where less human course-plotting is needed. Anyway, read the piece.