In reality, of course, no political movement springs “from nothing.” Indeed, both of them have roots in the same man. Fifty-five years earlier that fall, the Tea Party movement’s direct ancestors met in Indianapolis to launch their first bid to rally citizens against the “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy” occupying the White House, Dwight Eisenhower. But when their beloved anti-communist Barry Goldwater was buried in the 1964 presidential election, the Republican Party moved swiftly to officially renounce the “radical organizations” that had sullied its public image. Then the most radical of the right-wing radicals, Goldwater’s beloved speechwriter Karl Hess, moved into a houseboat, renounced politics altogether and dedicated the rest of his life to peacefully protesting the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of the new aristocracy he dubbed “the one percent.”…

But then something changed. He could no longer reconcile the radical, rugged individualist rhetoric of the right with what he increasingly saw as its slavish reality, so he went with the rhetoric. He bought a motorcycle, then a houseboat. He stopped paying taxes; went to trade school so he could learn a skill he could barter for food and clothes and marijuana; wrote for underground newspapers and Playboy and the muckraking New Left magazine Ramparts; founded a semi-survivalist neighborhood agricultural co-op in Washington, D.C., and ultimately refined his lifelong distrust of big government into a more considered opposition to bigness generally. Big institutions were inherently hostile to democracy, he explained in his 1975 memoir-manifesto Dear America, because they’d been created by and for the tiny minority of elites who already owned a de facto controlling stake of the nation’s political and economic power: