In his survey of philosophy titled Visions of Human Nature, Donald Palmer observes that American character has so emphasized the individual that we follow the John Wayne model, “A man ought to do what he thinks is right.” Palmer states that this is usually followed by a lot of dead Indians. This individual stands AGAINST the state, with the state often depicted as taken over by forces allied against individualism: aliens, communists, minority lovers [sic], subversives, perverts. Palmer sees these people as resisting taxes and laws.
This view of the self, according to Palmer, derives, possibly, from the experience of European immigrants finding themselves in a hostile land, leading to an emphasis on violence and even guns themselves as inextricably tied to one’s individual rights.
This book was written in 2000, long before the Tea Party.