Thursday, September 3, 2009

Glenn Beck: Who Needs Him?

Finger pointing is one skill Glenn Beck has mastered.

Glenn Beck: Bad for Conservatism

Glenn Beck shouts, rants, raves, calls names, and breaks down crying every weekday afternoon on Fox News. He’s held that time slot since January 19th.

While Mr. Beck can be most perceptive at times, his extreme emotionalism, obsession with some issues, vicious overstatement, and tendency to see the world in apocalyptic terms destroy his credibility on REAL issues. His outlandish emotional outbursts show at very least a lack of maturity and possibly much more.

How can anyone take him seriously on REAL environmental issues when he goes crazy over false issues and then makes sweeping insults about environmentalists in general as among other things being pot smokers? The REAL issue involves the government cutting off water to a valuable stretch of California’s best farm land to preserve some dinky little minnow type fish species. This is a subject that people should know about and debate. He then launched into a rant even dragging out Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi” for its line, “Hey Mister Farmer put away the DDT now…” then launched into a tirade about how much good DDT used to provide and spoke of studies that as far as he was concerned no human had ever died from DDT exposure. Okay, fine, maybe DDT did help eradicate malaria for instance, but were there not alternatives that were safer pesticides? The answer is yes. Further, in Beck’s eyes, is something only an environmental issue if it kills humans? If so, the man is a total fool. For those of us who grew up along the Atlantic coast, we know that in the 1960’s the pelican population had been all but eliminated. Now they thrive along coastal Maryland and the Carolinas where they were once a very rare sighting.

You’d have to be pretty stupid to suggest environmentalism is a bad thing. Yes, we do question the radical fringe of the movement, those who try to create global warming hysteria, or attempt to integrate attempts to preserve the environment with far left wing politics. It should be every society’s goal for mankind to leave as small a footprint on the environment as possible but all environmental considerations need to be thought through in careful risk/rewards analysis that accounts for both short and long term results and at what economic and social costs.

Beck is obsessed with tracing modern liberal and radical politics to the progressive movement that exploded at the dawn of the 20th century. While surely that is true in many ways, it’s not as if there was some master conspiracy launched by leaders like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson crossed the Atlantic to create Mussolini’s Fascist state and the Nazis, created the philosophy behind FDR’s “New Deal” and is the secular faith of both Republicans and Democrats alike today.

Yes, there were many “progressive” ideals that grew in the early 20th century, some beneficial, some bad, and some that have long been dismissed as ridiculous. However, in Beck’s world, the Progressive movement is presented as this monolithic threat as if all today’s leaders from Barack Obama to George W. Bush secretly study their progressive playbook to determine how to corrupt society. This is all part of his bizarre apocalyptic vision which becomes a paranoiac delusion to where even John D. Rockefeller’s artistic flourishes in his New York architecture are secretly coded with socialist messages. Talk about overstatement and grasping at straws.

For every factual assertion Beck is able to present, one must first endure long rants and raves about how important his findings are and how overwhelming and terrifying the consequences are, then once his true tidbits are made clear comes the name calling and overstatement sometimes leaping way out-of-bounds such as on the DDT issue that his whole presentation becomes pointless.

The problem for serious conservatives is how the Democrats, media, and left-wing bloggers seize upon Beck’s insanity and through similar approaches to those which Beck himself employs attempts to portray him as a true spokesman for all conservatives when as time passes and we get to know him better, he is coming across much more like a nutcase like Michael Savage and not like more mainstream figures like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Finally, a common assertion is how Beck lumps the Democrats and Republicans together asserting there is little difference between the two. Perhaps if one is standing as far from the reality of the American political scene as Glenn Beck such an assertion holds true for him. While the Republicans deserve substantial criticism particularly how quickly they became entrenched big spenders looking out for special interests who they rewarded with rich earmarks and how in its final months, the Bush administration went too far too the left in supporting some economic relief measures, they are far better alternatives for the United States than the Democrats.

First, can anyone imagine a Republican attempting to seize private health care for the government? There is no question the Republican Party is strong on supporting anti-terrorist activities, effective intelligence, and strong defense. The notion of “an overseas contingency plan” or “man caused disaster” would be unthinkable in GOP circles. While excessive spending hard part to do with the deficit Bush ran up, look at where the Democrats have spent money in the name of “bailout.” Examine the programs funded, how ridiculous many of them are, and think would this ever happen on the Republicans’ watch.

To lump Democrats and Republicans together as pawns to a secret doctrine of Progressive values which Beck applies from various sources as they are convenient contrivances to support his notions is absolutely out of touch with the hard realities our nation faces right now.

For a fellow who promotes “common sense” what’s most obvious about Glenn Beck’s world is how lacking “common sense” is as a vital commodity.

He’s far more useful as a whipping post and signature stooge for the left to exploit than he is as a source to stimulate productive pragmatic and realistic solutions to the hegemony of the elitist left.

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