Very interesting indeed although I think it is a bit over simplified, especially in today's atmosphere where politics have become so fragmented. I agree that the tea party does seem to be advocating for revolution and the democrats are trying to hold fast to a 1930s new deal big federal government tradition. However, there is Neo-Conservatives that want international capitalistic empire that fall somewhere in between without even having to point to the fact that the tea party has become a hot bed for the religious right and/or tax protesters and other extremist states rights advocates. And for that matter, states used to be able to sponsor religion, just the Federal Government could not, the Constitution did not apply the same to the states as soviergns themselves in 1795. The tea party would not necessarily oppose the state of Alaska requiring all people to practice traditional Christianity in order to be elected to the state legislature. A political libertarian would probably let it slide so long as the government was not inteferring with free market capitalism, and that should go for both state and federal regulations. That is an important distinction to consider when trying to understand what the tea party actually is. It is much more than just the political philosophies of Ron Paul.
A philosophical libertarian would be opposed to both, yet an epistomological libertarian would consider the alternative to determine which outcome is more easily falsifiable and leave open the possibility that a requirement of Christianity (primarily white male Protestant views of Christianity through the mind of an enlightened aristocrat) may allow for more freedom of religion an thought, as it seemed to do generally in 1776, or it might not, as in today with some conflicts between science and religion. But one must always be careful to not be too sure.
Is the federal government necessary. Yes. How much power do they deserve is and has been open to debate. Jefferson did not expect the Constitution to last this long. It only did because of the flexibility of Supreme Court Interpretations. And those interpretations allowed the New Deal to go through. Bad or good political is better than violent, yet violent in reality has proved to be an oft necessary spark (see American Revolution, Civil War, Labor Movement, Civil Rights Movement). Big changes often come only after some violence. It usually (not always) benefits to be the less violent one.
Can we unwind some of the power without undermining, say, Civil Rights? yes probably and in that sense these so called radical revolutionist tea party folk pointed to be the author being interviewed on NPR are advocating for conservative revolution that is trying to recover some form of lost atonynimity of the individual and his or her liberty under the modern administratie state (and both state an federal governments are so much larger than they were when the Constitution was drafted, along with the populations they govern over. And the author points out Burke was advocating for a King. The tea party folks against the federal government would surely prefer the radical ideas of Paine, unless of course, the king could enforce a prohibition like, I don't know, no abortions. Not that I should comment, I adhere to the espistogical libertarian perspective and no government or individual has the right to tell another what to think or that matter what to do to their body, they do have the right to shun them after, and that creates a real problem with respect to states enacting restrictions that make abortions very difficult. But on the orherhand, we don't have the right to tell and individual they cannot shun someone else. We can however tell and individual that they cannot shun someone using the long arm of the state if they are in a position to exert that power, so long as the majority agrees and/or the cultural traditions and values otherwise demand.
There are surely some flaws and inconsistencies in my position, but the world is not black and white, it is shades of grey, and an espisotmological libertarian should always strive to avoid universal maxims and at the same time help other to better narrow in on their own values.
There is no conflict between the principles: (1) all I know is I know nothing, and (2) know thyself. There is and has been an inconsistency between individual liberty and government power. The issue is skewed when we focus too much on federal government invading liberties, when state governments have and do at the same time, and yet no one wants complete anarchy there needs to be some control besides just the civil society, church and family, and this author, Mr. Levin, jumps to the conclusions to use Paine as one that supports federal government control. But when we contextualize it in the era, there was to be no more king, then once free states had too much power and the United States was disfunctional and indefensible and in debt. We then had a great internal debate and illegal overthrew the Articles of Confederation, and the new Federal Constitution added power while the Bill of Rights added limits. None applied to states at first. This author, along with the moden american political discussions, often ignore this problem and the battle becomes that of lovers of Federal Govenment vs. lovers of some lost notion of liberty and capitalism. And in viewing in through that over simplified state government ignoring lense, the author is right on point.
Ignoring the authors over simplification , we should look deeper into the historical flip flopping of liberal and conservative, left and right. There is a saying: If you go far enough left, you end up on the right. America's political history is riddled with said phenomena and is evinced but the minimum of 5 different political epochs (that are only comprehensible in hindsight). This author offers an interesting layer to the examination of that American political phenomena. It makes me wonder whether it is true that there are no unique ideas as everything is just recycled. At least with respect to modern american intellectual-commercial society, it all seems to go back to the Ancient Greeks.