At WSJ.com this morning, Tufts University professor Benjamin Carp questions the wisdom behind the veneration of the original tea partiers and groups like the Sons of Liberty. Though with a worthy cause in mind, many of the Bostonians who participated in Sons of Liberty actions and the Boston Tea Party were taking less-than-venerable revolutionary actions that were not necessarily directly against their oppressors.
I recommend reading the article. I'm not sure whether or not the Tea Party Patriots are inappropriate to be venerating the Boston tea partiers, but it is an interesting question; especially insofar as the Tea Party Patriots wave the banner of rule of law. It is one thing to inspire revolution when oppressive laws are being made without elections and consent of the governed, quite another when elected officials with popular mandates simply stop listening. In the end, Carp draws a worthwhile conclusion:
Our responsibility as Americans is not to lapse into misty-eyed nostalgia about the American Revolution, but to take it seriously. The Revolutionary movement achieved a great deal in its time, but it was hardly without flaws. Today the U.S. is a society that reveres democracy as well as law and order. The acts that the 18th-century Sons of Liberty were willing to commit or countenance ought to give us pause today.