Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator puts some historical perspective to the evolution of American conservatism and the rise of the Tea Party.
...If you've read author Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling classic of a few years back called The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, you will recognize this hush puppy [shoes made by Wolverine] story as Gladwell's. Along with other seemingly odd topics like Paul Revere's ride or the sudden drop in the crime rate of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Gladwell posited the idea that:
…the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or, for that matter, the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers, or the rise of teenage smoking, or the phenomena of word of mouth, or any number of the other mysterious changes that mark everyday life is to think of them as epidemics. Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.
When three characteristics combine -- "contagiousness, the fact that little causes can have big effects… (and) that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment" -- a "tipping point" occurs....