Is Glenn Beck Dangerous?

Normally, I do not give a second thought to the rantings of Glenn Beck. I have always assumed that the man is an Elmer Gantry-like ranter, essentially an actor, who could not possibly believe what he says because no intelligent person could believe what he says. But, he spoke to the National Rifle Association this weekend and gave a speech that was met with thunderous applause. "I think he’s great," Sharon Browder of Port Orchard, Wash., told PoliticsDaily at the NRA convention. "He’s inspiring, he’s focused. We love him. We’re proud of him. We need him."

Mr. Beck compared the United States to the Titanic, although he was not clear if he meant before or after hitting the iceberg because he claimed there was still time to turn the country around, still time to save America. And what must America be saved from? The Obama administration, of course. "These are not Democrats," Beck thundered. "They are revolutionary Marxists."

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Words have meanings. "Revolutionary" has a meaning, and the closest possible meaning Beck must intend is "a radical change." He points to the health care reform as exhibit A. But, the reform did not, in fact, dislodge the basic insurance system by which Americans procure health insurance. It remains in the hands of privately run companies, devoted to making a profit. Hospitals remain corporations, either for-profit or non-profit. Doctors remain independent agents, free to work for themselves, for a hospital or for the government. And, most health insurance will still be bought through one’s employer, a system that makes as much sense as the Austro-Hungarian empire, but there it is. "Radical change" would surely have altered one of these aspects of America’s health care delivery system. Instead, the reform that the Congress passed and the President signed tweaked the entire system, but it did not change, not at its radix or anywhere else. Single-payer? That would have been a radical change – and one I would have applauded. But, what we got is hardly "radical."

"Marxist" has a meaning too. It means a follower of Karl Marx’s theories, the most significant of which was the belief that the proletariat, through the party, should own all the means of production. Now, it is true that the U.S. bought a whole lot of Wall Street in the closing days of the Bush administration, and a bit more at the beginning of the Obama term, and that Detroit needed more than a little help too. It is also true that the administration of that well-known radical Marxist, Gerald Ford, had to bail out New York City in 1975. The administration’s efforts to keep the financial and automotive sectors of the economy solvent may have been misguided, they may have been foolish (although I think they were neither) and they certainly were not politically popular, but they do not constitute a fundamental expropriation of all the means of production by the party.

This is foolishness. I wish to God we could leave such foolishness to Comedy Central which, in the event, has done some fabulous takedowns of Beck. But, I worry that some people take Beck seriously, not just Ms. Browder quoted above, but the NRA, the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation and the whole network of right-wing organizations that live to frustrate the President’s modest and moderate attempts to extend basic ideas of social justice known throughout the rest of the industrialized world to a reluctant America. Of course, Beck has an issue with social justice too, and has recommended that parishioners whose priests invoke the idea flee for the exit signs. What does Mr. Beck make of Caritas in Veritate? One wonders.

The important question, however, is whether or not this is dangerous foolishness. Politically, I think there is no danger from Mr. Beck: To the extent he is the voice of conservatism, it will be a bad day for conservatism, but the dialectic quality of democracy seems to require an opposition party (oops- "Dialectic" has a Marxist pedigree!) and conservatism will recover, chastened and saner. The left took a long time to shed its devotion to the kookie left in the 1980s, but it did so. The danger is otherwise. It takes a majority to win an election, but it only takes one lone angry man to go ballistic and harm people. Given the horrible and horrific historic record of Marxism, it is not difficult to think that someone who believes Beck’s drivel might feel compelled to act on it, not with their ballot but with their bullets. After all "Lock and Load" has become a mantra with this crowd, encouraged by Beck’s forceful call for armed militia this weekend. Beck’s threat is not to democracy, still less to the Democrats. It is his capacity to radicalize the political debate in such a way that some people think they have his blessing to pursue extra-democratic methods. And, mainstream conservatives need to take on Beck and his recklessness or they risk losing their credibility too.

 

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Molly Roach
7 years 9 months ago
Glenn Beck has a stage and a following because we are a country in which entertainment trumps all else.  Serious discourse is mocked and crowd pleasing ranting is rewarded in many ways, not the least of which is big piles of money. People are happy to let others do their thinking for them and God only knows where all of this is going.
7 years 9 months ago
As each arrives at his or her own belief ultimately; Mr. Beck unfortunately is correct in his assertions more often than not.  We have arrived at a point when the Church has many members who have decided that individual accountability is no longer necessary nor is it encouraged.  We now promote the concept ''ALL FOR ONE''; no more do we teach to others to fish or that we must do for the ''LEAST'' of our brothers.  Just thoughts to ponder. 
Sissy Mixon
7 years 9 months ago
I cant believe what I am reading. What is becoming of all of us. When did God give power to the government to decide where and when the church acts with charity? This doesnt sound like the equal justice Jesus taught. Perhaps people are also happy to let the church do all their thinking for them also, its a wealthy entity. As an American I applaud the right to free speech, God bless it. I also applaud the right to bear arms and I dont see how exercising that right makes me or anyone else who owns a firearm to be  considered part of an 'armed militia'.
Perhaps Mr Beck is a radical and perhaps Mr Winters is also. Where is the civilized conversation that makes this country unique? Why do grown men resort to angry name calling. Where is the polite disagreement? And while everyone is so busy blogging, texting and using whatever form of communication there is to slander each other,  has it helped any of the murdered unborn children or the abused-hungry- suffering humans of the world? 
James Garton
7 years 9 months ago
Perhaps Mr. Winters should admit that Glenn Beck struck a nerve in his false belief system. Like most progressive Catholics, he fails to understand that our church does not support Socialism. Regardless if Socialist policy is put forth from a Republican or Democratic president it is still very wrong.
Mr. Winters also hints to his support of the Government taking over our car companies and health care system. Again, something not supported by church teaching, and the health care bill was not supported by a number of our bishops.
Mr. Winters also said we should adopt socialist measures like all the other inustrial countries. Which would lead us down the road to failure like Greece, Spain, and the UK.
Like most progressive Catholics Mr. Winters loves to mis-quote support for his ideaology by usining: Caritas in Veritate. Mr. Winters read all the other Encyclicals and you will see that our church says government should not turn into a welfare state, and how the church calls socialism and liberalism evil.
7 years 9 months ago
Maybe we should ponder the fact that Beck, O'Reilly, Hannerty all went to Catholic High Schools. So did I but at a different time and place.  
7 years 9 months ago
With all due respect to MSW, those who promote a leftist agenda but don't pay taxes and/or are funded by taxpayer dollars can't be seriously considered in their criticisms of conservative voices.

Guys like Beck serve a purpose. With mainstream media outlets enamored with President Obama, the only way for those who oppose Obama's agenda for (radical) change is to sound alarms so that people will listen. Look how it's worked on this blog.

To speak only about the health care bill as passed is just silly and short-sighted. Nancy Pelosi and the radical leftists in Congress have made it clear that the health care bill is a mere foot in the door to establish taxpayer-funded health care. Once the government controls your health care, it opens the door for government takeover of anything that has impact on your health: arguably anything.

There's nothing funny or outrageous about this administration's intent to create a nanny state.

7 years 9 months ago
I was educated by the Franciscan Nuns during the 1950,s and for that I remain forever grateful.  They taught me how to think and reason.  The belief that Jesus or the Church wanted to confiscate peoples hard earned money to give to others was never a lesson imparted to me.  Rather I was encouraged to seek the truth in all things and be mindful of my personal responsibilities toward others.
Any church that teaches social justice (Marxism) and redistribution of wealth is not of God but rather His adversary  Perhaps it is time for people to define their spiritual leaders and if necessary to recognize Mystery Babylon the Great and Her Harlot Daughters.
Steven Brown
7 years 9 months ago
My response, part 1:
 
Normally, I do not give a second thought to the rantings of Glenn Beck. I have always assumed that the man is an Elmer Gantry-like ranter, essentially an actor, who could not possibly believe what he says because no intelligent person could believe what he says.
 

(Well, sure, this seems like an honest way of approaching the topic: begin with a personal attack. Assault Glenn Beck’s  intentions as less than honorable. Oh, I am sure that your own intentions are honorable. And clearly, being that you are somehow an ubermensch, you deserve every right in your moral superiority to malign people without warrant on a website that claims to be Christian. I am glad that somehow you seem to possess the ability to look into this man’s heart. Whatever the case, obviously, anyone who disagrees with your position and speaks with boldness should be stomped out as the scum that they are, right?
And thanks for attacking me personally as not being intelligent with your “no intelligent person could believe what he says”. I have an IQ most likely greater than your own. I am well-read and well-informed. I have 7 college degrees including two master’s and a doctorate, but you, sir, are evidently competent in judging me as unintelligent because I agree with Mr. Beck on most things. Where did you acquire this special ability? Did it require an education or specialized training to produce such judgment, or just a strong delusion of superiority?)
 
But, he spoke to the National Rifle Association this weekend and gave a speech that was met with thunderous applause. ''I think he’s great,'' Sharon Browder of Port Orchard, Wash., told PoliticsDaily at the NRA convention. ''He’s inspiring, he’s focused. We love him. We’re proud of him. We need him.''
 
(Ms. Browder is correct. Many people, including myself, absolutely agree with Glenn Beck and see through connivers and deceivers such as yourself.)
 
Mr. Beck compared the United States to the Titanic, although he was not clear if he meant before or after hitting the iceberg because he claimed there was still time to turn the country around, still time to save America. And what must America be saved from? The Obama administration, of course. ''These are not Democrats,'' Beck thundered. ''They are revolutionary Marxists.''
 
(Amen. Glenn has it right.)
 
 
Steven Brown
7 years 9 months ago
My response, part 2:
 
Words have meanings. ''Revolutionary'' has a meaning, and the closest possible meaning Beck must intend is ''a radical change.''
 
(No, he means revolutionary. See, when progressives with self-confirmation perceptual biases start jumping to false conclusions, $hit just starts breaking down. The arguments they present become intellectually dishonest. Mr. Winters, how many Marxists have been in the White House before the current administration? We have officials admitting to their love of Mao and Chavez on video. What are we to do: believe you or our lying eyes and ears? Well, you are a progressive, so it is not as if you deal in reality. You deal in the realm of deception in engineering the dystopia you see as earthly heaven.)
 
He points to the health care reform as exhibit A.  – Blah, blah, blah–   But, what we got is hardly ''radical.''
 
(Mr. Winters, did anyone expect a lightning bolt to strike the ground accompanied by a flash of light and then we would all awake to organ farms, soilent green factories, and sets out of the movie Brazil? No. The bill has not even gone into full effect. Horrible things await us. The real problem I have with people like you is the dishonesty in presenting this silly basis for your argument against Mr. Beck.)
 
''Marxist'' has a meaning too– Blah, blah, blah–   they certainly were not politically popular, but they do not constitute a fundamental expropriation of all the means of production by the party.
 
(The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. However, I don’t think good intentions were ever involved. Anyone who actually takes the time to look at the video and audio available (which Mr. Beck has simply presented) will recognize the socialist roots of this administration. Only those who do not have ears to hear will be fooled.)
7 years 9 months ago
My main complaint against current day liberalism is that it has failed in every attempt to alleviate the poor.  What has succeeded in alleviating the poor is capitalism with all its warts.  Marx lived at the height of the Industrial Revolution's ills in England and saw first hand how labor was treated.  But that has mostly changed in a lot of the world and not due to any social engineering but to the success of capitalism and to be honest some restrictions on employers and working conditions.  Today if Marx were alive and an honest man, he would see that his vision of history was nonsense and that social justice did not lie in a redistribution of wealth but the creation of new wealth and opportunity for everyone.  He would abandon his thesis and socialistic tendencies.
 
I will repeat the fact that since 1980 all the net jobs in the US were created by small businesses as they grew to large ones.  Thus, social justice would be to do whatever is necessary to encourage this phenomena to continue.  Large government debts inhibit such activity as do excessive regulation.  If Mr. Winters was interested in social justice he would admit the sins of the past by his political fellow travelers and work for real love in truth.  Over 20% unemployment for men in their 20's and 30's is not social justice and this is what Obama's economists are predicting for their policies.
Steven Brown
7 years 9 months ago
 My response, part 3:
 
This is foolishness– Blah, blah, blah–   the President’s modest and moderate attempts to extend basic ideas of social justice known throughout the rest of the industrialized world to a reluctant America.
 
(No, we do not live to frustrate this administration. The problems with progressivism date back nearly a century, and George Bush was also guilty. The current administration has simply stepped on the accelerator. We no longer have any right to privacy. We have a supreme court nominee who believes government agencies should be a political arm of the president and that free speech should be “disappeared.” This administration has removed the sunsets from the Patriot Act thus making it permanent. It has stepped up the war in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan. It has tripled the deficit since coming into office. It has taken care of Wallstreet more than the Republicans, with Obama being the biggest receiver of campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs and Dems getting three times what Republicans received. Look it up. 
 
We love this country. Unfortunately, most people are totally asleep and believe con artists like Mr. Winters. Most folks will wake up some day soon and say “what? When did this happen?!” After all, people who are just now waking up are saying the same thing about what is happening in Greece even though Mr. Beck warned that it would happen over a year ago, very specifically.)
 
Of course, Beck has an issue with social justice too, and has recommended that parishioners whose priests invoke the idea flee for the exit signs. What does Mr. Beck make of Caritas in Veritate? One wonders.
 
(Yes, Mr. Beck has a problem with social justice . . . at least as defined in such a way that certain groups deserve special treatment. Social justice is not equal justice. Look it up. No, Mr. Beck has no problem with helping the poor and needy. He has openly said so countless times. He does charity himself far more than Obama and Biden according to their tax records. Look it up.)
 
 
Steven Brown
7 years 9 months ago
My response, part 4:
 
The important question, however, is whether or not this is dangerous foolishness– Blah, blah, blah–    conservatism will recover, chastened and saner.
 
(Mr. Beck is not radical. He is not crazy. You are just attacking him to prevent people from actually listening.)
 
 
The left took a long time to shed its devotion to the kookie left in the 1980s, but it did so.
 
(Really?)
 
The danger is otherwise– Blah, blah, blah–   mainstream conservatives need to take on Beck and his recklessness or they risk losing their credibility too.
 
(We support Mr. Beck. We understand that you are afraid of the truth. You are afraid for the rock to be lifted so we can see all of the insects scurrying about. Let this be a warning to the readers: if you believe the lies Mr. Winters spews and rely on him for the truth, you are in serious trouble. You are much better off not believing him, nor believing me. Go out and look for real answers. Seek new sources of information. And, as it concerns Mr. Beck, actually listen to him rather than judging him without hearing him. Listen to him, check out what he is saying, doubt him until he shows you that he is telling the truth, then you will not find yourself at the mercy of serpents.)
 
Winifred Holloway
7 years 9 months ago
I cannot believe some of the comments posted here.  Social justice has long been a value taught by the church and does not equate with marxism.  The poor and the struggling are not living off the rest of us as has been suggested here. If that were the case, they would be living much better. They still have to pay the FICA and the medicare tax, which for them is a significant part of their small paychecks.  I do wonder in the confidence of people who apparently are comfortable and also apparently never believe that a financial catastrophe could strike them in the form of medical expenses or the loss of a job.  We are all frail human beings, destined to grow old and die.  We must be kinder to one another.
Livia Fiordelisi
7 years 9 months ago
Since President Obama's election, I've received many astonishing Glen Beckish emails (you know the type) from my fellow parishioners. If I receive more than one from an individual, I politely ask to be taken off the distribution list. Several people have stopped talking to me as a result. When I asked one individual why she thought that I would be open to receiving a what was essentially a hate-based email, she replied, "Because you're Catholic!" Unfortunately to many, being Catholic has become hate-based.
Susan DeLorme
7 years 9 months ago
As a life long Catholic, I am growing weary of the constant criticism of Glenn Beck. It is easy to avoid true dialogue on the issues he brings forth by hurling rocks like, nut, crazy and dangerous into the air.  If the author believes what Beck says is wrong, then prove it by taking his points one at a time, refute them and back them up with facts in print, audio and video as he does.  If the author or anyone else for that matter can do that, then I may start to listen. Until such time, I will continue to take what Mr. Beck says seriously.  I suggest everyone else out there should as well.
Mary Conway
7 years 9 months ago
Dear Mr. Winters,
I think you should re-read Caritas In Veritate, slowly. Glenn Beck's views are exactly the same. Charity is love received and given by the Holy Spirit NOT the government.
Peter McDermott
7 years 9 months ago
Well, Mark221, of course I've no problem at all with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton being influenced by Saul Alinsky (you and Mr Meade both misspell his name), particularly during their period of youthful idealism. Alinsky's methods have been adopted by many right-wingers in recent times. This is well documented. No doubt they would view the Lucifer comment as a joke made as it was in the late 1960s when people went out of their way to shock as a way of gaining attention. Alinsky was a Jew who had no strong religious views. He certainly was not a Satanist. The constant reference to a dedication made in the first edition of his book is a way of sowing fear in dogmatic and rigid minds. Beck's method and those of the right-wing talk people, like all rightists throughout time, is to rile up people who have a little against those who have none. This is what European fascism was all about - uniting the lower-middle-classes and small business with people with corporate power. So you've got a black guy in the White House, the obvious thing to do from a rightist perspective is to sow fear about a ''black agenda'' and ''socialism.'' And ideas that were discussed and even proposed by the Republican Party under Eisenhower and Nixon are denounced by Beck and others as leading to "tyranny." Such balderdash! No serious academic or analyst would describe the president as a socialist. All his statements clearly support the free enterprise system. Like FDR and leaders in other countries, he may feel that government regulation on behalf of the people makes the system work better. Is that socialism? Maybe, but it's not one that condemned by the church. Indeed the church wouldn't condemn a socialist economics that respects consent and religious freedom. There are many religious socialists in all denominations.
Finally Mark221 talks about my foolish arguments, but doesn't address the links, which are real, between Beck and the Birchite Skousen, on the radical right-wng fringe.
Helena Loflin
7 years 9 months ago
Glenn Beck, by himself, is not dangerous.  It's his Right-Wing Authoritarian admirers and defenders, who relate to and embrace his hate-talk because it validates their far right-wing ideologies, who are dangerous. 
 
Demagogues throughout history have always targeted Right-Wing Authoritarians, who by their very nature do not question authority, to be their followers.  It doesn't matter if the demagogue's own ideology is left or right.  The followers are always Right-Wing Authoritarian followers.  The Glenn Becks of history never busied themselves trying to win over the hearts and minds of independent and critical thinkers.  No, demagogues usually had something else in mind for independent and critical thinkers: extermination.  And, throughout history, the worst atrocities were enabled by Right-Wing Authoritarian followers who were and are also highly susceptible to all forms of extreme intolerance, especially racial and religious.
 
So, old Glenn, he's just another in a long line of crackpots and despots who need to tap into that approximately 23% of the population who are Right-Wing Authoritarian followers, and who, in turn, need a Beck to inflame them against a convenient scapegoat by validating and stoking their irrational fears.
7 years 9 months ago
Opps,I misspelled Alinsky's name. My apologies. I laugh when intellectuals like to cite satire when they say stupid things, or in this case you are assuming Alinsky was trying to be funny. Maybe he was as since did not believe in lucifer or God. By the way, it is acceptable to NOT capitalise lucifer's name (just as it is acceptable TO capitalize God every time it is referring to the creator) just in case you may want to correct me. When I speak of socialism in so far as the church's condemnation, I am correct. The church has clearly spoken out on the subject in the catechism. Under no circumstance does the church support either the economic or idealistic ideas of this system however it does support the idea of governments to encourage fair wages for workers, which I also agree. I do not support the idea of unbridled capitalism, so in some ways I see your point but the church's social teaching on social justice is one of living the gospel and being charitable NOT the forced taxation of money for wealth redistribution. Obama may not be a socialist, but I believe he is very much closer to this than a true champion of free enterprise. In short, Obama is a ''Progressive'' like FDR. Many economic historians view FDR's policies following the crash of 1929 as wrong-headed. His own Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau advised him against his stimulus policies and later lamented that the ''Big New Deal Stimulus had failed.'' It was WW2 that got us out. Of course few can deny that it was the great depression which set the stage for the fascists in Europe to come to power in the first place, along with the Versailles Reparations (another progressive idea). My 86 year old father (who was born in 1924 and lived through that era)was no fan of FDR. Do I think that FDR was a bad president? In some ways, perhaps he was and in some ways he was strong for our country in a time of war, which I give him credit no doubt. But it was not a coincidence that we limited our presidents to two terms after FDR died. He was bent on doing things his way and many of the little businesses in this country were obliterated by his policies. Regarding president Obama's race? When did I ever mention this? If you are attempting to call me a racist, then you are not only impolite but a race-batter, which is worse than a racist. I am going to assume neither on your part. If however you wish to call me a racist, then do so. Then, we will have nothing further to discuss.
Tim Meade
7 years 9 months ago
Thank you, Mr. McDermott, for your honesty and for correcting my spelling of Saul Alinsky's name. I was unaware that spelling critiques are a common in blogs.  Regardless, I prefer proper spelling, so thank you.  More importantly, I appreciate your honesty in acknowledging the sympathetic, if not overt, support you have for socialistic ideologies.  I must confess my surprise that you seem to understand much about the minds, attitudes, and perceptions of Alinsky's contemporaries with regard to the way in which they would have perceived his statements.  Reading your comment Nos. 31 & 33, I see a strong correlation between them and the Alinsky method summarized in the following link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_for_Radicals
Apart from the spelling critique, you have not yet resorted to mockery, opting instead to polarize the debate with absolute terms and race baiting. The only race related topic I mentioned was in Beck's promotion of Martin Luther King's method of change, which, I might add, was more successful and peaceful than the revolutionary antics of the 1960's protesters who, to use your terms, ''went out of their way to shock as a way of gaining attention.''...but I digress.
The important issue to debate is the government’s ''fundamental change'' to our country.  If, as Mr. McDermott writes, all of President Obama’s ''statements clearly support the free enterprise system'', why would he give a commencement speech declaring that ''information becomes a distraction, a diversion'' that places ''pressure on our country and on our democracy.''?  Why would he allow the internet to become a public utility? Why did he grow the government by a 6th of the size of our economy through healthcare takeover? Why would he buy GM? Why does he support unions at the expense of business liquidity? Why would he allow Rep. Wiener to attack Goldline for sponsoring conservative commentators? None of this sounds very American to me.
(Remember Romans 8:28)
Peter McDermott
7 years 9 months ago
I misspell names all of the time myself, and mispronounce them, too. My point, a little flippant perhaps, is that if you declare yourself an expert on what somebody believes or meant almost 40 years after his demise, then you might have more creditabllity if you could spell his name. President Obama is almost 50 years of age. In his 20s he admired the methods of an organizer whom even William F. Buckley Jr. adjudged were verging on genius and which even some of the Tea Partiers have made their own (a point you chose to ignore). This is a iittle bit too complex and too much context for some people perhaps. How much easier to draw a line from Obama, the democratically elected president of the United States, to lucifer. These posts are the context of whether Glenn Beck is dangerous, the original posting by Mr. Winters. My view is yes, he is, if for no other reason than he dumbs things down considerably.  I mentioned his stated admiration for W. Cleon Skousen, who was a supporter of the John Birch Society, and reportedly went along with that group's view war hero and GOP two-term President Eisenhower was a Communist agent. Again this latter point was ignored by Mr. Meade and Mr. Mark.
As for race-baiting - I wasn't refering to anyone here. I was talking generally about how the whole right-wing radio hall of shame use the issue in very clerverly coded terms. How else, for instance, to explain the racially demeaning posters seen at Tea Party rallies? And I've overheard the term "black agenda" from ordinary people. Where do they get this idea? What about the whole Acorn kerfuffle? The money they got from the Feds over 10 years to help poor people in 50 states - and they have done really good work, too - is the equivalent of Sean Hannity's salary for five years and it's a fraction of what's given to Blackwater and its paramilitaries. But listening to Hannity, you would thing this was a monstrous organization undermining America. Back in the day, the WASP bigots targeted the Irish who organized themselves politically. It's remarkable how some things never change.
Yes I admire "socialistic" ideas. If weren't for them, along with Christian ideals of social justice, there would be far greater levels of poverty and human suffering in Western societies. I believe in more government power not less - government for and by the people. The alternative increasingly is enhanced corporate power, which is entirely sociopathic in its value system and ruinous for democracy. That's where you'll find lucifer - in the boardroom. Sorry, Mr. Meade, if that sounds un-American.
7 years 9 months ago
Thank you for ratcheting down some of your tone Mr. McDermott albeit you still have a little sting:) In answer to your links of Glenn Beck and W. Cleon Skousen et. al, I must confess I do not have any real knowledge, however from what I read, Skousen appears to have been an extreme right-winger, anti-communist, conspiracy theorist, etc? If so, then perhaps your criticism of Beck's admiration for him may be warranted. I am a conservative but I do not believe in blindly following along with Beck or anyone else. It is because of this, that I adhere more to principals than to hard and fast conclusions or rhetoric from either side. I see societies in much the same way I see individuals-complicated, corruptible, sometimes kind, sometimes not very. Only one human in history was incorruptible and totally honest. The problem I have with socialism, apart from the fact that it does not work as advertised, is that much of the ideology is based on collective rights as defined by the intellectual and political class instead of individual rights given to each person by his Creator. This was the distinction between the French revolution and the America revolution. One sought to distribute rights to men, while the other sought to preserve the rights given to each man. Very similar in appearance and yet at opposite ends of the spectrum. I can see why a person believes that socialism (if only practiced in the right way) looks out for the little guy, but so far no socialist country has stood the test of time. While we now see economies of Europe on the brink of collapse, one wonders how much sooner this would have happened if not for the United States footing he bill for most of continental Europe's military defense for the past 60 years. Sure, you can afford to pay for a lot of social programs when you don't have much in the way of military spending. Believe me Europe has poor and homeless people too, I've been there and I've seen them. A lot more may be headed that way because there economies are not real. The greatest country in terms of creation and innovation is the US. No one even comes close. One example: Eighty Five percent of ALL medical research and innovation in the world is done right here! And those evil corporations have done far more in creating wealth than any socialist government. Regarding Obama and his great talents as an organizer, sure I'll give him that. He is also very good at collecting money as he has received more money from Goldman Sachs and BP than any politician.
As far as Acorn is concerned, well we could spend a lot of time on this organization but needless to say, if you can say they have done some good, well okay but many in that organization have also proven to be quite corrupt and down right evil. Recall the officials who were willing to set up loans for the couple posing as a pimp and prostitute KNOWING they were going to start up brothels for 13 year old girls in several offices around the country? There is no doubt about those cases, that's why they were DEFUNDED by congress! What about the voter fraud in numerous states (also proven and persons convicted) on so on?
Lastly (and I apologize if I haven't covered every point) you say that lucifer is found in the boardrooms. Sure he is, in boardrooms of businesses but also in boardrooms of unions and community activists groups, laymen and scientists, clergy and politicians. All I know is, NO country is without fault, great or small, but no country is as great as ours.
Joseph Upton
7 years 9 months ago
Glenn Beck is a libertarian commentator.  I agree with many of his opinions.  If you understand that America is suppose to be a free country (which mean severely limited government) then it is obvious that we have been moving away from liberty for about 100 years.  The collectivists (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) either don't understand the concept of liberty or they don't want liberty.
Peter McDermott
7 years 9 months ago
In response to Mark, yes this is a magnificent country. One of the ways it shows this is the way it constantly renews itself with each new big wave of immigration. Europeans, with their largely mythological national histories, have a much greater problem with assimilating people who are different. Certainly Catholics felt the sting of bigotry in the 19th century, but it's to America's credit that it integrated peoples who were thought by some to be fundamentally un-American in their belief systems. Yes, Europeans can learn from us, just as we can learn from them and from other societies. And yes, Mark, there is homelessness and poverty in Europe and there are prisons - just less in each case. There are countries - capitialist countries, as they all are - that are poorer than the U.S. but treat their seniors far better.
One of the bizarre things of the recent health care debate was the absolute refusal of sections of the news media (principally Fox News) to explore just why it is that the electorates of other countries are fundamentally happy with their health systems, though each of course is flawed in its own way. (The distortions were so absurd that the British ambassador was forced to intervene.) They would no more vote to desocialize it than people here would vote against Medicare, which is fundamentally socialist. And this went with the refusal to recognize that the system was broken. A Harvard U. study that said 44,000 Americans died prematurely in 2009, (or was it 2008?) because of the lack of universal health is disturbing, if true.
With regard to 85 percent of medical research being done here. I've no reason to doubt that. This country is a major center in that regard. But this is not hardly an argument for limited government. The National Institutes of Health pours $26 billion into universities and other research bodies annually.
I argued in my original comment (#27) that 13 didn't become 50 states using the principle of limited government (or severely limited government as jscottu calls it in comment 38). Libertarianism in this country has become pure dogma. The late, great Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski suggested that people could borrow much of value from socialism, liberalism and conservatism alike. The problem with the liberatarians, like the Soviet Marxist-Leninists before them, is they believe they have the answer. Ayn Rand was as fanatical as Lenin and some of her closest followers were nothing less than cultists.
7 years 9 months ago
Peter, I agree with much of your last post. I have been feeling lately that all sides of the debate have their merits, but no one is willing to drop his gun on the other guy. Did you ever see the movie, Reservoir Dogs? In the last scene four bank robbers are in a warehouse all aiming guns at one another over who the snitch was. In the end they all shoot as the police are merging on them.
I loved Europe when I traveled there but was too young to understand much about economics, or really care for that matter. I am very concerned about our financial ties with other countries (though good in some ways) may be very detrimental in our current state of affairs. I don't know. I would have to say however, that our forefathers did want more limited government,however they were not all in agreement with that. In the end (of the beginning of our country), limited government served us extremely well in terms of our meteoric climb to the greatest nation ever seen since the days of Rome. I do not subscribe to Libertarianism either however. The idea of legalized drugs in our country (as we had in the mid 1800's to early 1900's) has been tried and failed. Heck, because of the Qing Dynasty's trade restrictions in the late 1700's the British introduced opium to the chinese, which was a major cause for the collapse of their empire and the beginning of the Opium wars in 1839. The Chinese did not recover for nearly 200 years.
Regarding health care, well that's a tough nut to crack. I think we should have stated far smaller and attempted TRUE free trade solutions, such as portability, tort reform, etc. I would have rather seen each state or at least a number of states try different solutions. Massachusetts and Hawaii both have tried different systems and each are far more expensive than originally thought. I fear (again too big government)it will end like it has in Greece (and eventually other European countries perhaps) where the government in Greece is now looking to privatize health care. This is due to soring, out-of-control costs and the IMF is requiring that Greece seek privatization solutions.
Capitalism as I see it, is the truest form of NATURAL ECONOMY. Much like nature, it has its peaks and valleys, but always recycles and renews itself, because it is based on true demands of individuals within a society. Socialism seeks to control the nature of the economy and hence creates a false nature, prone to disease and weakness. It's like taking too many antibiotics. Eventually, you get a bug too big to stop. I do believe in some regulation however (just like thinning out the forests to stop catastrophic fires). Just how much, is the big question.
Peter McDermott
7 years 9 months ago
Well, Mark, you raise a lot of big issues. We could debate endlessly on how much regulation the economy needs. Capitalism has been remarkably successful, I agree, but whether it's "natural," well maybe people in the 23rd century might thing differently. And human beings are as happy cooperating as they are competing. Biological metaphors are just that, metaphors, and have to be handled with care. One area in which the pure market has not traditionally worked well is in the rural economy, because the more successfully farmers produce the lower the prices they get - and so that's why they've been paid not to produce. I must plead ignorance on the Greek health system, but all these European nations differ greatly from each other. The German system has its roots in preindustrial times. The British are very attached to their NHS in a patriotic way because it's closely identified with solidarity and cooperation in World War II and the post-war era. Some Americans assume that it's all state control when in fact people do opt to go private and buy insurance.
7 years 9 months ago
Fair enough Peter. Thanks for the debate. I believe that you are intellectually honest, which I admire. We may not agree on everything, however, I do believe that honest people can have good discussions and learn. I also believe that in the case of Michael Sean Winters' article, he came off a bit condescending and hence set the tone. Interesting how in the end, I came to feel less defensive in our discussions. I think Mr. Winters (obviously and intelligent man) should be wary of the temptation to become superior when he finds a person that he disagrees with as much as Glenn Beck. He came off has having nothing more than disdain for the man and I do have a higher standard for an author, who is not a satirist, that wants to be taken seriously. As for Mr. Beck, yes he is a satirist but I do think the too is an intelligent man and speaks from his heart.
James Lindsay
7 years 9 months ago
My only comment is to note the pressence of many people we have not seen previously, which makes me believe that Internet activism is alive and well among Beckists, who are very attached to their particular messiah.
Stanley Kopacz
7 years 9 months ago
Somebody must have put MSW on a list somewhere. I've never seen so many uberrepublican (I hate to say conservative, because they really don't want to conserve anything of value)harpies descend so quickly, and in defense of a jerk like Beck, no less. Beck is a clown, and his supporters pile out of a little car with him.

So let's keep ourselves all individualistic and separate, so that the big principalities and powers can eat us for breakfast. Some people want to keep government small. I'd settle for it representing the people and not the big corporations.

I wish we could have Theodore Roosevelt as president and Franklin Roosevelt as vice-president, or vice-versa, to clean up this mess made by thirty years of neoliberalism.

elissa scheer
7 years 9 months ago
Dear Lord, Please help me remind people YOU too would be against
1)a healthcare plan that provided abortions of Your Blessings
2)manipulation of Gospel to disguise any government's redistribution of wealth as charity
3)manipulation of Gospel to permit a government's use of force in the name of chairty
4)setting forth plans in-debting our children to $115,000,000,000,000 of debt
5)the temptation to believe any man of power who will not say Your Name or sing of your GLORY with his people
I PRAY, Dear God, I pray that they may see to where they are being led.
mark woodward
7 years 9 months ago
While I do not always agree with Mr. Beck, I can say that I do believe he has made some very valid points concerning the leftist views and leanings of the Obama Admin. Mr. Winters can not deny or disprove the socialist, Maoist and Marxist loyalties of the many of the people Obama has surrounded himself with. Apparently Winters does not know this? And if so, Mr. Winters is woefully ignorant, as anyone who does the research knows. Those who have been the closest allies to Obama are the same people that praise communist ideals. Nor can Mr. Winters deny the fact that secularists have been on the constant attack of the church for years. Mr. Winters also disqualifies himself as a serious critic writing in a catholic publication, since he himself disagrees with church hierarchy on abortion and ordination of gay priests. Ninety percent of the sex abusing priests were homosexuals. Winters is the quintessential example of the intellectual corruption and dishonesty.
Victoria Shaw
7 years 9 months ago
It is comforting to read the comments posted here.  I am a life long Catholic, and a Glenn Beck fan, as well.  I agree with his distinction between social justice and equal justice.  I am glad most of the people posting here are not duped by the lame excuses and the "guilt trip" hard core liberals try to lay on Christians. 
 
Its funny, if the author watched Beck regularly, he would now he backs up everything he says with extensive refrences, usually video clips.  No one seems to comment to this, just the standard Saul Alinsky tactic of Beck must be nuts, blah, blah, blah...
 
I really do have hope that America is starting to wake up and see what the progressive agenda is all about.
James Roberts
7 years 9 months ago
Mr. Winters – I pray daily for folks as yourself. I agree words do have meanings. The change rantings of Glenn Beck are those seeking a return to the ways or our US Constitutional Founders. I do believe there is clear evidence that our Founders were inspired by God. They truly practice a life where God came before Country, before family, and yes before each of themselves. The government they formed and fought to legitimize is thier proof. To be clear the Founder's government and today government are not the same. To use our Founder's words, is not our government who provides "Social Justice" it is WE The People.
I am not ashamed to believe it is my Catholic Community that voluntarily provides food, shelter, clothes, teaching of life skills, teaching of Christ, and yes if required money to those in need. Our Founders, and for that matter I, do not believe it is our government's responsibility to “take care” of our struggling or lost brethren through countless social programs. But for the Grace of God we are the poor, struggling, or lost brethren.
Sorry Mr. Winter as it seems you are also very misinformed as the “Health Care” bill you write about is not fully engaged until 2014. One of hundreds of concerns I have this the bill; Please look back at your words in the year 2020 and ponder how the Catholic Hospitals where closed down or sold off. I as a Catholic do not believe in abortion, Plan Parent Hood Practices, or doctor-assisted suicide. Our “Health Care” bill eventually will require these practices in our hospitals and nursing homes.
You provide a great definition of “Marxist”. It is a shame that you are not look closer at our government’s recent activities. Why did Fannie Mae, a government entity, purchase a patent to sell Carbon Credits? If GM is pulling out of its financial crisis as they are publishing why are we not seeing immediate plans for the government to sell our 60% interest? Why is the Attorney General of the United State advocating the suspension of our United States citizen’s miranda rights? Who wrote the “Health Care” bill and how was this comprehensive document (a documents so big none of our voting Congress persons have read it completely) ready for debated less than a year after President Obama being sworn into office? Regarding "Wall Street" please allow us all to wake up and take a real look in the mirror of who we are. We are "Wall Street" as it our children that born the greed and lust we live among. It is our responsiblity to correct it. We The People have what is needed to right this ship. The first step is to admit the truth as it is written it will set us free.
lori ranner
7 years 9 months ago
Well, in Germany, they learned their lesson after having a rather nasty experience with this type of hyperbolic haranguing, courtesy of the NSDAP. Hence, "Volksverhetzung" - or "the incitement of hatred against an element of the population"  - is now a crime, the conviction of which results in up to five years in prison. The term refers to exactly this sort of foolish rant, the sole purpose of which is to silence civilized, honest, fact-based dialogue. Fans of Glenn Beck should bone up on their interwar history to see where this sort of nonsense leads: I would suggest beginning with the diaries of Victor Klemperer. 
Helena Loflin
7 years 9 months ago
Reading many of these comments reminds me of the elderly Republican lady who tried to convince me that Sarah Palin is another Saint Joan of Arc.
 
Glenn Beck is a self-described "rodeo clown."  You say messiah.  I say nutjob.  The guy is laughing at his misguided admirers and defenders all the way to the bank.  But then, Right-Wing Authoritarian followers are always buying bridges.
 
Peter McDermott
7 years 9 months ago
Mr. Roberts (comment # 24) with regard to your comment: ''I am not ashamed to believe it is my Catholic Community that voluntarily provides food, shelter, clothes, teaching of life skills, teaching of Christ, and yes if required money to those in need.'' Are you serious? If it wasn't for the socialist Medicare policy and for social security, tens of milions of American seniors would live in poverty. It was a much greater issue before those landmark acts were passed, and still is compared with other advanced industrialized nations. Seniors should thank God every day for big government. As for the guff of the Founder's philosophy of limited government, do you think that's how we went from 13 to 50 states? Not likely. Real historians (not college drop outs like Beck and Hannity) will tell you the Federal government made America what it is. It made the Goldwater fortune out west; it made California (on the latter point, the great writer Joan Dideon, a 6th-generation Californian, exposed the myth of the sturdy individiualist of that state. They always had the Feds to back them up and Fed money was never a problem).Do you think the Catholic middle class was made by individual effort alone? No, it was not. Soft loans, highways that fasttracked folks to the suburbs, the GI bil and on and on. And before that, even those from Catholic immigrant families who didn't go to parochial schools had the benefit of city governments that paid for infrastructure - which was increasingly less the case after 1950. Was it limited government that put a man, or men, on the moon? Or built nuclear weapons or the military industrial complex generally? The New Yorker recently quoted a Tea Partier who said he didn't want the government taking his money. His job? He worked for a biological weapons program paid for by the government. This is what makes Beck and his ilk from the talk radio hall of shame so dangerous and depressing - they've helped to dumb down America. People have asked for facts from Mr. Winters. Well here's one: this week Beck did his crying act at a commencement speech at Falwell's Liberty U. while he told them how he couldn't afford college. A lie, one that anybody there could check if they were interested. While the people who run this fine magazine, for instance, were living humbly and doing degrees in various disciplines in their 20s and 30s, Beck and Hannity were raking it in.
7 years 9 months ago
Interestingly, Glenn Beck receives an awful lot of scrutiny and abuse from the mainstream and print media, but seldom has anyone responded with factual evidence to disprove his assertions.  Like this author’s attempt to imply that Glenn Beck is in-sighting violence by saying, ''it is not difficult to think that someone who believes Beck’s drivel might feel compelled to act on it, not with their ballot but with their bullets.'' This is quite contrary to his incessant “drivel” about our looking to God to save us and to seek the methods of Martin Luther and Ghandi to overcome the current assault on our REPUBLIC and our God given liberty and freedom.  Beck is one of the few people I hear espousing ''Faith, Hope, and Charity'' in our culture, more-so, even than many of the pulpits.
Contrary to Beck's approach to effect change, the current progressive movement permeating our government leadership, via people like President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Cas Sunstein, and more, looks to revolutionaries like Saul Alinksi and Chairmen Mao who coincidently says, ''Power comes from the barrel of a gun.” To me, these leftist icons seem much more inclined to behave in the threatening manner that this author attributes to Mr. Beck.
In case you didn’t know what type of person Saul Alinski was, just read his dedication in his book, “Rules for Radicals”…
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/communism/alinsky.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_for_Radicals
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/24/AR2007032401152.html
If you simply take the time to investigate the source of Beck’s expressed concerns, you will find some very disquieting connections to the people currently making policy for America.
Helena Loflin
7 years 9 months ago
Did I mention that Right-Wing Authoritarian followers have very limited critical thinking skills?   
7 years 9 months ago
Oh look out! Pat O'Connor is pulling out the old ''Right wingers are stupid'' card. Since you Mr. O'Connor, must consider yourself a considerably bright person, would you kindly list your credentials? Do you have a degree? If so, in just what exactly? I am always amazed at persons who attack the intelligence (or critical thinking ability) of others. They usually lack an education of any real merit. So have at it PAT!
Peter McDermott
7 years 9 months ago
Mr Meade in comment No. 28 has asked if anybody has come up with evidence to disprove Beck's assertions. Well, if I suggested that Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson was the prime mover in the assassination of President Kennedy, can anyone come up with evidence to disprove its truth? What if I said that the commander of the forces that overthrew Hitler and Naziism and the 34th president of the U.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a communist agent? Can you disprove it? No, of course not. Which is why the John Birch Society, which put forward the theory, was so strong. One of its most prominent supporters was one W. Cleon Skousen, an FBI Special Agent, whose own employers had a 2,000-page file on him. Skousen has become rather infamous of late because Mr. Beck has cited him as a major influence on his ideas. Skousen believed a Republican president was a Communist agent - does Glenn Beck? Does Mr. Meade? Can he prove he doesn't believe it even if he say he doesn't? Go back to that awful day, Nov. 22, 1963, when JFK, supposedly a Commie stooge, was cut down. Top of the suspect list early on were the John Birchites or people close to them. Even if they didn't, people said, they contributed to the atmosphere of hate in places like Dallas. Ordinary citizens said as much when interviewed in the hours after the murder. And remember Mr. Meade, that for all his protestations of his being anti-Nazi, Glenn Beck has been described by one of the main Jewish groups in the nation, the Anti-Defamation League, as the ''fearmonger in chief.'' Can you disprove that he isn't, Beck lovers?
7 years 9 months ago
Mr. McDermott,

Mr. Meade's point about Beck's assertions are indeed with merit. Mr. McDermott instead of actually looking into the evidence presented by Mr. Meade, you instead set up foolish arguments, trying to make a point that anything you say about a person cannot be dis-proven. You have totally missed the point sir. You only have to look at the words from of the persons Mr. Meade has cited. Do you know who Saul Aklinski was? Saul Alinski DID dedicate his book ''Rules for Radicals'' to Lucifer. Are you okay with that? Are you okay that Hillary Clinton and Pres. Obama respecting and even in th case of Pres. Obama actually teaching the Alinski methods to college students? You need to understand one thing. Weather it is communism or socialism that is the threat, it makes no difference. Both ideoligies are born of humanism and are anti God. That is why the Catholic church denounces them BOTH!

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