I'm just now reading the Tea Party's "Contract From America" for the first time. Not many surprises here. I sincerely wish them well and hope they achieve many of their goals. And I do mean "them", because as much as I agree with them on certain points, their underlying philosophy of government is wholly incompatible with an historically-aware Christianity. Specifically:
Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not granted by our government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.
The language of "individual liberty", seemingly divorced from the context of family and community, is foreign to the mind of the Church and demonstrably corrosive of public morality. The enshrining of individual "economic choices" as something sacrosanct - as though all economic choices were equally moral, as if their social consequences did not matter and were of no interest to the state - is likewise contrary to anything resembling historic Christian statecraft.
The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.
The purpose of government is to facilitate the common good, especially the good of souls, and is by no means limited to the "protection of liberties" (liberties to do what?), the administration of justice, or public safety. Limiting government to these may be wise or unwise under present circumstances, but the Christian cannot marry himself to such principles as though they were anything more than a temporary, prudential compromise.
The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.
The "free market", insofar as it has existed at all, has always existed within a framework of cultural, moral and legal restraints. It would be more plausible to claim that capitalism is "the most powerful, proven instrument" of material progress - but of social progress? On the contrary, the rise of capitalism has paralleled the decline of faith, family and community from its very inception.
Caveat emptor. When one embraces a political movement, the danger is not so much in seeking the movement's desired outcomes, but in committing oneself to the movement's core principles and foundational philosophy. In this instance the Tea Party movement embraces the same revolutionary principles that undermined the Christian temporal order in the first place.