Why Does Anyone Take Glenn Beck Seriously?

Some conservatives are finally waking up and realizing what people like Glenn Beck are doing to the movement. It's probably too late, though.

Peter Wehner at Commentary wonders why anyone still takes seriously the person he calls the most disturbing personality on television:

In the past few weeks Glenn Beck has spoken about the coming caliphate that he believes is about to envelope most of the world. He then dilated on the anti-Christ with a man who says he has “new prophetic understanding into the end times.” In 2009, this self-proclaimed prophet wrote a column titled “What Obama and the Anti-Christ Have in Common.” Then, on a recent show, the discussion focused on the coming Islamic anti-Christ. And earlier this week, an irate, bellicose Beck spoke about the “perfect storm” America faces. “I can’t honestly believe we’re finally here,” he said in praising his own prescience. In his version of events, Beck is the solitary Voice of Truth willing to expose the New World Order (complete with references to Van Jones and Code Pink).

It’s hard to tell how much of what Beck says is sincere and how much is for show. Whatever the case, and even taking into account the entire MSNBC lineup, Glenn Beck has become the most disturbing personality on cable television. One cannot watch him for any length of time without being struck by his affinity for conspiracies and for portraying himself as the great decoder of events. Political movements are not just wrong; they are infiltrated by a web of malevolent forces. Others see the shadows on the wall; Beck alone sees the men casting them. The danger when one paints the world in such conspiratorial terms is that it devalues the rational side of politics. It encourages a cast of mind that looks to expose enemies rather than to engage in arguments. Few things, after all, are as they appear.

Jennifer Rubin links to Wehner’s piece and argues that it’s time for conservatives to start policing the kooks in the midst:

What should thoughtful conservatives do? I’ve said it before, but it is especially relevant here: Police their own side. Rather than reflexively rising to his defense when questioned about Beck, why don’t conservatives call him out and explain that he doesn’t represent the views of mainstream conservatives? Conservative groups and candidates should be forewarned: If they host, appear with or defend him they should be prepared to have his extremist views affixed to them.

Fox News has every right to have whomever it wants on the air, but, likewise, conservatives have every right to and, indeed, should disassociate themselves from his brand of rhetoric.

The problem that Rubin faces, though, is that the “thoughtful conservatives” she speaks of are either few and far between, or their afraid to speak out for fear of offending the base. Unlike the 1950s when William F. Buckley effectively banned the John Birch Society from respectable conservatism, the kooks are more numerous this time and it’s the “thoughtful conservatives” who find themselves being written out of the movement when they breach some perceived orthodoxy. As I noted last week, the inmates are running the asylum this time around. If anyone’s likely to be purged it’s likely to be Rubin and people like her. Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Palin and all the rest are going to be around and spewing their nonsense for the masses for a long time to come.

FILED UNDER: Media, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. newrouter says:

    siting media matters to slam beck. sure the soros dudes are a good source of info. ha

  2. sam says:

    “The problem that Rubin faces, though, is that the “thoughtful conservatives” she speaks of are either few and far between, or their afraid to speak out for fear of offending the base.”

    Word.

  3. Rick Almeida says:

    siting media matters to slam beck. sure the soros dudes are a good source of info. ha

    Um, he also links to YouTube which, through the miracles of modern technology, actually SHOWS Beck saying the things the article claims he says. He also links to WND, where there’s a column Beck spoke about.

    Or are you saying that there’s an Soros-funded internet that has all this fake video.

    Wait, don’t answer that.

  4. Gregory says:

    I suspect that since they already hear enough voices from the left routinely decrying Beck, they don’t see that much need to add their own — particularly given that many liberals don’t respond to conservatives policing their own with much more than a triumphalist, now-we-have-the-bastards-on-the-run attitude of their own. Granted, same thing occurs when sides are switched.

    I don’t see conservatives OR liberals — as groups — doing well at criticizing the nutjobs, bigots, or ignoramuses on their own side — and so the same “few and far between” or “afraid to speak out for fear of offending the base” logic applies — to which we ought to add the fear of giving the other side yet pretext for their rhetoric and attacks.

    I’m not very optimistic about the prospect of either side starting the “self-policing”. Too bad for those of us caught in the middle

  5. newrouter says:

    “Um, he also links to YouTube which, through the miracles of modern technology, actually SHOWS Beck saying the things the article claims he says.”

    yes or no: are there prominent muslims in the world today wanting a caliphate?

  6. Ernieyeball says:

    Why Does Anyone Take Glenn Beck Seriously?

    “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”
    Thank You Mel brooks!

    Disclaimer. The above quote is not the opinion of OTB and is intended for entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as a characterization or representation of the social standing or intelligence of Mr. Beck or his disciples.

  7. Steven Plunk says:

    Gregory, Very good points. In the battle of public policies ideas we don’t always have time to self police. It’s hard enough to engage the other side at times.

    I’ve never watched Beck except for few minutes while flipping channels and did not care for the delivery. Same for the radio. I never listened long enough to judge content but I have read enough about him to say it appears to be self promotion more than anything else. Occasionally I imagine he says something worthwhile or strike a chord among his listeners.

    I guess he makes money for the broadcasters so he’ll not be going away for a while.

  8. newrouter says:

    “He also links to WND, where there’s a column Beck spoke about.”

    did you read the column? i found the info provided interesting. i didn’t know islam had an “end days” narrative. that’s it is a rip off of the christian “end day” is not suprising considering that islam is a made up religion of jewish, christian, and pagan elements.

  9. newrouter says:

    “I’ve never watched Beck except for few minutes while flipping channels and did not care for the delivery. Same for the radio. I never listened long enough to judge content but I have read enough about him to say it appears to be self promotion more than anything else.”

    industrial grade stupid and proud of it.

  10. Jay Tea says:

    Ah, citing Media Matters. As per the Andrew Breitbart precedent used a few days ago, if the initial source is discredited, then the underlying story must be false and can be dismissed out of hand.

    That there are other sources don’t matter.

    J.

  11. ml says:

    That the one reason I quit watching Fox News Network because of Glenn Beck.

  12. newrouter says:

    “Ah, citing Media Matters. As per the Andrew Breitbart precedent used a few days ago, if the initial source is discredited, then the underlying story must be false and can be dismissed out of hand. ”

    no it is an understanding of the bias presented in the info being offered. that petey w. uses soros to bash beck and his former contentions sidekick jen agrees gives me a perspective of who is on what agenda.

  13. Brian says:

    @newrouter:

    So, who would you accept criticism of Glenn Beck from?

  14. Matt B says:

    On Beck and Buckley’s dismissal of the Birchers. The two things, sadly, are not comparable. They were largely ok with Welch until he attached a sitting War Hero republican president. Beck still speaks to a section of the base. I really can’t see him crossing the key “crazy line” of eating his own.

    that’s it is a rip off of the christian “end day” is not suprising considering that islam is a made up religion of jewish, christian, and pagan elements.

    I like how this formulation somehow suggests Christianity is *not* also not made up of Jewish and Pagan elements (or that being made up from other religions is somehow non-authentic).

  15. newrouter says:

    “@newrouter:

    So, who would you accept criticism of Glenn Beck from?””

    critics who actually debate what he is discussing: do some prominent muslims pine for a caliphate, is the ged’s qe2 causing inflation in food prices, are unions instigating revolution, et al.
    people that watch or listen to the show and know what eff they are talking about. not the peteys and jens who take 2nd hand opinion to buttress their argument.

  16. newrouter says:

    “Christianity is *not* also not made up of Jewish and Pagan elements (or that being made up from other religions is somehow non-authentic).”

    that’s true. but islam is an arab raiding religion with babbles from others. is there another religion on the planet that allows the killing of former members in its theology?

  17. Matt B says:

    is there another religion on the planet that allows the killing of former members in its theology?

    *Sigh* are we really going there? Do we really (REALLY?) need to go into selective readings of texts? Which if we really are, remember that aspects of the Old Testament have been traditionally used by Christians to justify the “Perfection” of Jews by fire and the sword. That it’s also been used to excuse (actually, encourage) slavery?

    Additionally, a strong argument can be made that the Book of Mormon sanctions acts against Christians (and no, I’m not making a mistake, Mormonism isn’t Christianity… or if it is, so is Islam… and the various Gnostic sects).

    As far as your previous post … what constitutes a “Prominent Muslims” these days?

    The fact is that Beck’s facts are, quite frankly crap.

  18. jwest says:

    There are people who take Mathews, Shultz and Olbermann seriously, so anything is possible.

  19. Matt B says:

    The fact is that Beck’s facts are, quite frankly crap.

    Or to put it a different way, he will from time-to-time draw upon accurate sources. However, having listened (yes directly listened to him) talk about the “founding fathers”, he’s typically doing a very selective reading of their materials and playing fast and loose with the historical context. Going back to the source docs provide very different stories.

    Likewise, when he does work with modern scholars they have “dubious” at best records, see Cleon Skousen. And often, when one starts to trace the the ways he and the material he promotes, like the DVD “The Lost Civilizations of North America” uses scholarship, oone finds that most of the scholar quote directly say they were taken out of context.

    I also have know people who directly worked with Beck — and these are definitely not Liberals — who say that he loves to inflate and dramatize things. It wasn’t just that FoxNews offered him a bigger contract, it was that everyone at CNN Headline news was out to get him because he was too conservative.

    Beck is, at his core, is still a morning drive DJ. He knows how to spin a good yarn and he knows how to play to the heartstrings of the punters. I largely think he even believes most of the stuff coming out of his mouth. But, except in matters of the spiritual world, there are those pesky facts which have non-ideological biases.

  20. jwest says:

    Matt B,

    “The fact is that Beck’s facts are, quite frankly crap.”

    Actually, that’s inaccurate. Beck’s facts are meticulously researched. It’s how the facts are interpreted and connections made between them that is a question with Beck.

  21. newrouter says:

    “*Sigh* are we really going there?”

    is there a religion that does this today? is it really so hard to admit that muslims kill infidels and apostates on a regular basis. not on a theoretical but in practice? have you learned nothing about islam since 9/11?

  22. newrouter says:

    “I also have know people who directly worked with Beck — and these are definitely not Liberals — who say that he loves to inflate and dramatize things. It wasn’t just that FoxNews offered him a bigger contract, it was that everyone at CNN Headline news was out to get him because he was too conservative.”

    a smear as argument how alinsky.

  23. newrouter says:

    “As far as your previous post … what constitutes a “Prominent Muslims” these days?”

    someone who gets 30 million viewers and who spoke in cairo last friday.

  24. Kylopod says:

    In the last few months, I’ve read two books dissecting Beck (Will Bunch’s The Backlash and Dana Milbank’s Tears of a Clown). Both delve into his past and imply that he takes more influence from shock jocks than a lot of people realize. He aims to “play” the media by being more outrageous than anyone else around him. The difficulty of telling when he’s kidding, half-kidding, or dead serious, is part of his shtick.

    I think Buckley has been given too much credit for keeping the crazies at bay. In 1995, I read an article by him in which he criticized Clinton for his attacks on Rush Limbaugh. Buckley conceded that Limbaugh “induces hatred” and that “if I were a liberal, I would hate him”–as if to suggest that Limbaugh’s sin was being mean to liberals, rather than lying to his audience and presenting a distorted picture of reality. It felt like there was no on the right willing to point the obvious truth, which is that Limbaugh lies.

    And I see that very much in operation today. Even the pushback against Beck from Kristol and Rubin seems too little, too late. Where is the similar pushback against Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and company? On the contrary, Commentary runs pieces praising Limbaugh to high heaven, and NRO has been very hedgy about criticizing talk radio: look how they reacted when one of their own, Jim Manzi, dared to point out how ridiculous a Mark Levin book was.

    Sorry to be cynical, but the main reason these “intellectuals” are attacking Beck is that they’ve decided he’s threatening to their cause in a way that Limbaugh is not. It has nothing to do with intellectual integrity.

  25. Matt B says:

    #1 –

    is there a religion that does this today? is it really so hard to admit that muslims kill infidels and apostates on a regular basis. not on a theoretical but in practice? have you learned nothing about islam since 9/11?

    Ahh… this one. So you are going to judge 1.6+ billion Muslims on the actions, of what, maybe a percent of a percent, but take issues with me discussion the past actions of other religions?

    By those same rules we could discuss the often violent actions of Christians in Uganda and various parts of central and south east asia and the Balkans against Muslims.

    Flattening Islam into a single entity is bull. It would be wrong to do it to Christians either (see Westburo Baptists Church as one example). Saying that you shouldn’t do it IS NOT THE SAME THING AS DENYING 9/11 HAPPENED. (btw… nice alinsky move — don’t address my original issue, but claim I’m denying 9/11).

    #2 – I notice that of all the points that I mentioned about Mssr Beck and history, you chose to go after the one personal anecdote that I had. I should note that the account fits with numerous source profiles of Mr. Beck’s history AND his own accounts about his “out of control Days” as a DJ. But let’s step back from that… Can you address, for example, the role that disproven scholarship such as that of Skousen (The Five Thousand Year Leap) plays in Beck’s accounts?

    #3 – 30 million viewer (btw Name please) … fair. So if I have to take 30 mil as a prominent marker, then does that make Rush Limbaugh a “prominent” Conservative speaker? Or voice of the US? And note, that 30 mil is a percentage rounding error when we’re talking about 1.8 billion world wide.

    Are there Muslims who want to harm us? Sure. Is that the majority of Muslims? No. Period. And I’m not brainwashed. I’m just not afraid of my own shadow. Sharia law is not coming to the US.

    And if you spent time reading (beyond Beck’s book list) and really engaging with the world in an honest way, you’d realize the above as well.

  26. anjin-san says:

    > is there a religion that does this today? is it really so hard to admit that muslims kill infidels and apostates on a regular basis.

    How many Muslims have been killed by the US armed forces in the last 8 or so years. Guess what, they were not all terrorists.

  27. Matt B says:

    Again, @Kylopod, my point on Buckley. His move to jettison the Bircher’s wasn’t quite as heroic as people realize.

    Both delve into [beck’s]s past and imply that he takes more influence from shock jocks than a lot of people realize. He aims to “play” the media by being more outrageous than anyone else around him. The difficulty of telling when he’s kidding, half-kidding, or dead serious, is part of his shtick.

    The same is true for Limbaugh btw. Both he and Beck are killer DJ’s Beck has been the first national conservative host since Limbaugh to really “get” radio and be able to make it work…. Hannity, Levin and many others lack were never radio people and their numbers bear that out.

    Hannity is far better on TV than Limbaugh (one of the multiple reasons why Limbaugh wasn’t a success on TV — note Limbaugh was also smart enough to recognize this). This is true of O’Rielly as well. As for Levin, he has a face for radio and a voice for writing — so that’s where he’s made his name.

    What makes Beck so interesting is that he clearly has an excellent eye for staging (differentiating him from Hannity). He get’s the visual, and he gets emoting in really important ways. He’s a master of simple/theatrical signs – the blackboard, the glasses and the rest just scream “teacher.” that’s completely intentional.

    And before I get accused of attacking the man, Beck regularly discusses stages and sets on his radio program — I really did listen for quite a while on long drives. And I’ve also heard his long descent into “crazy-like-a-fox.”

  28. newrouter says:

    “So you are going to judge 1.6+ billion Muslims on the actions, of what, maybe a percent of a percent, but take issues with me discussion the past actions of other religions? ”

    discuss all you want. let us discuss the christians and their fate in: iraq, egypt, indonesia, kosovo, nigeria et al. i’ll judge the 1.6 gazillion muslims by what their “faith”: profess. kill the infidel.

  29. newrouter says:

    “Where is the similar pushback against Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, and company? ”

    where’s the effin’ pushback on:matthews,oberdude,madcow,corn,klein(the constitution is old).
    fu and you’re totalitarian instincts. you clowns don’t want a debate only communist dictat.

  30. newrouter says:

    “for example, the role that disproven scholarship such as that of Skousen (The Five Thousand Year Leap) plays in Beck’s accounts?”

    if you do the same with karl marx’s best seller das kapital.

  31. newrouter says:

    “So if I have to take 30 mil as a prominent marker, then does that make Rush Limbaugh a “prominent” Conservative speaker? ”

    yea ax baracky . industrial grade stupid.

  32. TG Chicago says:

    Unlike the 1950s when William F. Buckley effectively banned the John Birch Society from respectable conservatism, the kooks are more numerous this time…

    Here Doug does a fast-forward of history so he can ignore the fact that the problem comes from the fact that the respectables stopped pruning their hedges at some point and allowed the Birchers to overgrow the garden, strangling every other plant in sight.

    It’s the fault of the “respectables” that this is happening. They let this stuff fester — and reaped electoral gains from it — but now it’s coming for them.

  33. newrouter says:

    “Are there Muslims who want to harm us? Sure. Is that the majority of Muslims? No. Period.”

    hey there used to be jews in iraq but they were killed or left. there are christians in iraq being killed or are leaving. industrial strength stupid. really get out of your echo chamber.

  34. John Burgess says:

    I first saw Beck when he was on CNN’s Headline News network. My impression was, I’m not sure which, “What an @sshole” or “What a douche.” I’ve no reason to change my mind, or my conservative politics. He’s an entertainer who has drawn an audience that thinks itself politically astute. Like those UFO guys or Truthers.

  35. Matt B says:

    karl marx’s best seller das kapital

    Sure… see and there’s the difference between someone whose afraid of *trying* to understand and someone who isn’t. If you had said Communist Manifesto, it might have been a bit harder.

    The thing is Capital hasn’t been disproved per sea. In fact, there are a lot of conservative economists who use it as an important data point — in particular for Marx’s contribution to a theory of the mediation of commodities. Politics aside, most good economists (this includes the University of Chicago crowd) note that Marx was a good economic historian.

    His early predictions didn’t play out (and in fact Captial is not a predictive text in the same way the Manifesto or the German Ideologies were). And pretty much whenever you read a discussion of “political economy” it’s building off of Marx’s work (which, get ready for explody head, isn’t particular far removed on many points than Adam Smith — that should not be taken to say that they are the same, but its clear that Marx had a great respect for Smith).

    Likewise, the Marxian dialect (itself a build on Hegel) is still very widely used today.

    Btw, feel free to start checking other “radical” authors who you’re afraid to read. And list the conservative thinkers who you have read and I’ll be happy to point out their “liberal” sides as well (for example, did you know that the entire “Invisible Hand” Adam Smith everyone invokes is largely a misinterpretation that only started in the 20th century, and that in his writing he noted that select Government intervention *can actually spur economic growth).

    So thanks for playing… I’m looking for that explanation on Skousen which, as you like to say, Beck is still hocking to this day.

  36. newrouter says:

    “The thing is Capital hasn’t been disproved per sea.”

    arguing with idiots

  37. newrouter says:

    “And list the conservative thinkers who you have read ”

    thread is about beck not me. arguing with idiots.

  38. newrouter says:

    “Adam Smith everyone invokes is largely a misinterpretation that only started in the 20th century”

    rock on progg

  39. Matt B says:

    hey there used to be jews in iraq but they were killed or left. there are christians in iraq being killed or are leaving. industrial strength stupid. really get out of your echo chamber.

    Yes. this happened. It also happens that in large swatches of de-balkinized Europe, Christians did the same thing to Muslims in the 90’s. Likewise, this type of ethnic (because this is also tied to that)/Religious purging is going on inside of the former Soviet/Russian states today. It’s just that you don’t like to pay attention to that.

    So look, don’t try to play Mister Better informed. Just admit that you don’t want to consider other possibilities. It’s just that you don’t want to face the fact that the world isn’t as simple as you’d like it to be.

    I’m not pretending that there are not people in the world who want to hurt us. I’m not pretending that there are places in the world that I can’t live. I’m not pretending that ethnic and religious purges are not regularly happening. What I am suggesting is that this is not simply one global religious group against another. It’s not always Muslims killing everyone. In there have been huge massacres of Muslims by other ethnic groups too (see Gujarat as one example).

    Oh… and, check the thread, I think you started to call names first. 🙂

  40. Matt B says:

    “Adam Smith everyone invokes is largely a misinterpretation that only started in the 20th century”

    rock on progg

    No… thanks for playing again. That has been written about by a Conservative Economist and Adam Smith scholar, Dr Gavin Kennedy at the friggin’ Adam Smith Institute (http://www.adamsmith.org/http://www.adamsmith.org/asi-fellows/ )

    You can read the history of the misreading of the “Invisible Hand” here:
    http://econjwatch.org/file_download/252/2009-05-kennedy-watchpad.pdf

    So, again, facts have that tough non-ideological bias. And again you resort to name calling. How’s those tips from “Arguing with Idoits” working for you.

    btw — if you’re a troll and this is all for the LULz… nice job!

  41. Matt B says:

    “The thing is Capital hasn’t been disproved per sea.”

    arguing with idiots

    Ah… so why don’t you tell me what Capital was about. I laid out exactly why your claim was wrong. And you retorted by accusing me of being an idiot.

    Look I’m really sorry to have broken your toy. And while I appreciate the catharthis of a good tantrum either engage in a discussion like an adult or just head home.

    See the way that discussions work in the real world is side A presents a point (That you: “I know things… “Capital” is a failed book… ergo your side is incorrect”). And then side b presents things (me: Manifesto prediction failed… Capital still discussed in serious and conservative economics circles today). Now it’s your turn to counter my point in good faith.

  42. newrouter says:

    “Christians did the same thing to Muslims in the 90′s.”
    name it

  43. newrouter says:

    “What I am suggesting is that this is not simply one global religious group against another”

    so you don’t know what Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) is?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divisions_of_the_world_in_Islam

    you are ignorant. your “college” education taught you nothing. and you have to pay them for that.
    progg heaven.

  44. newrouter says:

    “Oh… and, check the thread, I think you started to call names first. :)”

    prove it

  45. newrouter says:

    “So, again, facts have that tough non-ideological bias. And again you resort to name calling. How’s those tips from “Arguing with Idoits” working for you.”

    opinions are not “facts”. statism doesn’t work. see soviet union for details. or china. or cuba. or venezula.

  46. Matt B says:

    “Christians did the same thing to Muslims in the 90′s.”
    name it

    Bosnia (April 1992 – December 1995)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_War
    Approximately 175K muslims were killed in a mass ethnic purging

    Thanks again for playing “learn your history.”

  47. newrouter says:

    “Approximately 175K muslims were killed in a mass ethnic purging”

    how many jews were displaced from arab lands between 1948 and 1970? what happened in 1683?

  48. Matt B says:

    statism doesn’t work. see soviet union for details. or china.

    Ok… and where was I arguing for statism?

    Oh… that’s right, I wasn’t.

    Oh and on Dar Islam… From Wikipedia:

    The house of divisions in Islam such as “Dar al-Islam” and “Dar al-Harb” does not appear in the Qur’an or the Hadith. This geo-political house of divisions was more acutely framed by another early Islamic scholar, Ibn Taymiyyah, who issued a treatise and a religious edict on the subject in response to the Mongol invasions of Muslim lands during the 13th and 14th centuries.

    So basically, this isn’t part of the Koran. Rather it’s an interpretation of the Koran. And, how exactly does it tie back to a “one world islam” if its not part of a foundational text? Also, are you placing this as part of a global political order? Is there any country that currently answers to this?

    That would be like saying that the Pope still speaks for Protestants because the Catholic church didn’t recognize the rupture.

  49. newrouter says:

    “Thanks again for playing “learn your history.””

    the coptics in egypt are from where? what did the world look like before 600 ad? where were the islam people in 100 bc? industrial grade stupid .

  50. newrouter says:

    “So basically, this isn’t part of the Koran. Rather it’s an interpretation of the Koran”

    says who? a person editing wiki. how about quoting the main university of sunni islam in cairo?

  51. Matt B says:

    how many jews were displaced from arab lands between 1948 and 1970? what happened in 1683?

    Ah… so history suddenly matters again…

    What about Palestinians?

    If we’re going back to 1683 should we talk about the Christian conquests (and yes, these were explicitly sanctioned by the Church — see the various De Las Casas debate) which decimated two continents indigenous population.

    I really appreciate your black and white view point. I wish I could hold it. But it doesn’t work outside of your scared little world.

    Heck, on many things it doesn’t hold for Beck — see the sections of even Arguing for Idiots that had to address how specific unethical behavior, which fit well within traditional “free market structure” (aka capitalism run rampant) led to the current financial mess).

  52. newrouter says:

    “What about Palestinians? ”

    egypto-jordanians loser. their arab brothers made a bet and lost. time to go home to jordan and egypt.

  53. newrouter says:

    “If we’re going back to 1683 should we talk about the Christian conquests (and yes, these were explicitly sanctioned by the Church — see the various De Las Casas debate) which decimated two continents indigenous population.”

    do you get upset about muslim slave traders of europeans? or the muslim slave trade to america?

  54. Matt B says:

    Agreed about things that happened to the Coptics. Shall we deal with the mass internal purges within the Church (the orthodox split). Christian purging of Jews? I can keep going? How about Muslim on Muslim purges?

    I can keep trading atrocity for atrocity.

    Let’s just admit that you are unwilling to even consider the possibility of a world in which Muslims are not your enemy. That you think that the only good Muslim is a dead one. It’s kill or be killed, right?

    At this point at least own up to it.

  55. newrouter says:

    “I really appreciate your black and white view point. I wish I could hold it. But it doesn’t work outside of your scared little world.”

    i want to hear your thoughts on muslim slave trading in the world circa 1492. especially the europeans they stole.

  56. newrouter says:

    “Let’s just admit that you are unwilling to even consider the possibility of a world in which Muslims are not your enemy. ”

    muslims who cares. islam: vile world domination political ideology(see godless type communism) masquerading to fool stupid people of its true intentions.

  57. Matt B says:

    do you get upset about muslim slave traders of europeans? or the muslim slave trade to america?

    And here’s the key thing… yes. yes it did.

    All of this upsets me. And because it upsets me, I cannot reduce it to them versus us. Because I know that the moment it becomes “them versus us” then we become no better. And the fact is, I know that most of them are, in fact, just like us.

    Christians (and I am one) have done a lot of crappy stuff when it was us versus them. Americans (and I am one) have done a lot of crappy stuff when it was us versus them.

    I’m doing what I can to make sure that doesn’t happen again. There will be wars, there are incommensurate issues and there are ones worth fighting over. The coming global caliphate isn’t one of those things.

    But you’re so wrapped up in fear that you can’t even imagine the possibility that Muslims as a whole are not the enemy. You so need to be right that you haven’t heard one thing I said, or taken seriously the possibility that there’s a world beyond the one you think you know.

    So keep going back to that comforting man in the box who tells you how right you are. Keep making him rich. Keep hating and trying to convince yourself that we’re always already the victim.

    And, while I’ll look dumb for carrying on this thread for so long, you’ll just look pathetic and scared.

    Have a good night, thanks for the discussion.

  58. Matt B says:

    muslims who cares. islam: vile world domination political ideology(see godless type communism) masquerading to fool stupid people of its true intentions.

    Really? If you cannot see the problem with the above statement, then I’m even more sorry.

    I’m guessing that once Islam is taken care of you can get back to perfecting those Jews. Then the Papists perhaps?

  59. newrouter says:

    “And the fact is, I know that most of them are, in fact, just like us.”

    you cut the clitoris off of your female friends? just like them indeed.

  60. newrouter says:

    “I cannot reduce it to them versus us.”

    they reduce it to that. are they wrong?

  61. anjin-san says:

    newrouter… get into some good meth tonight?

  62. newrouter says:

    “But you’re so wrapped up in fear that you can’t even imagine the possibility that Muslims as a whole are not the enemy. You so need to be right that you haven’t heard one thing I said, or taken seriously the possibility that there’s a world beyond the one you think you know.”

    dude islam wants to dominate your world. ax the koran and the bs hadditha(sp). stick your head in the sand if it makes you feel better. but hamas, hezzies, al queda,muslim bros. et al are into world domination. it is in THEIR scriptures. that’s the world deal with it.

  63. newrouter says:

    “anjin-san says:
    Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 23:20

    newrouter… get into some good meth tonight?”

    oh name calling how 5th grade

  64. george says:

    muslims who cares. islam: vile world domination political ideology(see godless type communism) masquerading to fool stupid people of its true intentions.

    So, your thesis is that Islam is somehow going to attempt to institute a vile, godless ideology, without muslims being involved? Is it a conscious entity in itself, not having to work through people, or is it just working through other groups (Hindu’s perhaps, or Taoists?) Which might work out better for it, as it appears that far less than one percent of muslims seem interested in world domination in any practical sense (ie thinking that the world would be better if everyone was a muslim doesn’t count, I think the world would be better if everyone played hockey, but it doesn’t have much practical effect as I’m not willing to take any steps towards it).

  65. newrouter says:

    “So, your thesis is that Islam is somehow going to attempt to institute a vile, godless ideology,”

    allah ackbar you are mistaken

  66. newrouter says:

    “as it appears that far less than one percent of muslims seem interested in world domination”

    that is what is called for in islam. do you disagree with the tenants of their religion?

  67. Strange, I don’t take Beck seriously, or most of the pundits you mentioned.

  68. newrouter says:

    “Strange, I don’t take Beck seriously”

    above the rabble. got your crony capitalistic hands locked in.

  69. anjin-san says:

    > oh name calling how 5th grade

    Where did I call you a name? Lack of English comprehension. How 2nd grade.

    You do however, sound like you are high on something.

  70. Jay Tea says:

    Funny how when people want to criticize Christianity’s persecutorial history, they gotta go back a couple of centuries. Well, except for the Balkans — where NATO explicitly sided with the Muslims and intervened to protect them.

    There is exactly one major religion in the world today that explicitly calls for and carries out the death penalty for apostasy, heresy, blasphemy, adultery, and a host of other offenses. And it ain’t those danged Seventh Day Adventists, folks…

    J.

  71. wr says:

    If Doug M is reading this thread, here’s what a troll looks like.

    Not so much like Reynolds.

  72. Rob Prather says:

    J.,

    All that means is that Christianity is a more mature religion than Islam. Once Islam embraces modernity it may very well end up like Christianity.

  73. Alex Knapp says:

    Jay,

    There is exactly one major religion in the world today that explicitly calls for and carries out the death penalty for apostasy, heresy, blasphemy, adultery, and a host of other offenses.

    Are you implying that every Muslim believes this? Or is it enough that just one does?

    If so, if I can find one Christian who says that any of the above groups deserves to die, is that sufficient to say that “two major religions” in the world believe it?

  74. anjin-san says:

    > Funny how when people want to criticize Christianity’s persecutorial history, they gotta go back a couple of centuries

    Or you could just go to the funeral of a murdered doctor who worked at a family planning clinic. No time travel necessary.

  75. Rob Prather says:

    To add to what anjin-san said, Russians were having pogroms of Jews as recently as the early 20th century. And, of course, there is the largest pogrom of all, the Holocaust / Shoah.

  76. WhiskeyJim says:

    Beck’s delivery is, like anyone aspiring to large viewership, suspect to say the least.

    But he did get millions of people to listen to a whole hour on FA Hayek and the Road to Serfdom. He has spent weeks reviewing the founders and their original purpose. He has spent weeks outlining the web of Progressive donations and the major figures common to a great deal of Progressive fronts.

    In my book, that is pretty impressive. I dare any other Conservative to do the same while retaining viewership.

    It also means that Conservatives probably have much more to worry about than an obviously sincere man who is battling the Progressive onslaught in almost any way he knows how. What can be wrong with that? Surely exaggeration, a sense of theater and a dash of conspiracy are the least of the tactics I see on the Progressive front virtually every day.

    Get over it, and celebrate the attention as well as the core of what he is selling. Besides, he’s aggravating the Progressives. For that, I’ll give him an incredible amount of room. Certainly he’s less spacey than any number of progressive ‘intellectuals.’

  77. anjin-san says:

    > In my book, that is pretty impressive

    Mighty slim book.

  78. D Koch says:

    @newrouter beautiful

  79. Kylopod says:

    @Matt B

    I think Beck has moved into territory that not even Limbaugh or any of Beck’s cohorts at Fox have previously done. Limbaugh has certainly engaged in conspiracy-mongering: in the ’90s, he backed the theory that the Clintons offed Vince Foster. But even that is more nasty than it is paranoid. What we’ve been seeing from Beck, which we haven’t seen from most earlier denizens of talk radio, is a fairly undisguised shout-out to the black-helicopter crowd. That’s a portion of the Far Right that the mainstream right has generally stayed away from over the past half-century. It’s a faction that is deeply paranoid and, also, deeply anti-Semitic. I don’t consider it coincidental that Rubin and Kristol are both Jewish, and while they’re probably too hacky to directly address Beck’s Jew-baiting, I suspect it makes them uncomfortable in a way that Limbaugh’s hate-mongering never did.

  80. Ben Wolf says:

    Newrouter is exactly what is wrong with the modern Right, a seething mass of bile and venom hoping for global religious war. They believe all one needs to know can be summed on a blackboard.

    They gleefully insulate themselves in historical ignorance, convinced they are experts because they once read something and remember less. They prefer simple answers because that makes them feel they have control over a world they can’t comprehend. They need to have an enemy because their entire world-view is based on fear and hate of the other.

    So they will continue to support and advocate for conflict without end, doing their utmost to drag the rest of us with them into oblivion. They advocated for war with the Soviet Union, they advocated for war with Islam and they advocate to prepare for war with China. Reagan and Nixon definitely wouldn’t fit in with this lot.

    They are motivated by cowardice. Nothing more. “We have to kill and subjugate everyone because we know they’ll try and do it to us.”

    Doesn’t that pretty much sum it up?

  81. alanmt says:

    The people who take Beck seriously, his followers and supporters, are those members of the public who are lack analytical ability. Everyday people, who are worried about their lives and their place in the world, but without the inclination or ability to make sense of it on thier own.

    People want definitive answers. People like simple demarcations: good v. evil, where good is us and evil is ppoeple who think or believe differently, where good is simple and pure, and evil is complex and controlling. People love conspiracies. People want to be both the heroes and victims in their lives. Actual having to work at truth tends to reveal one’s own intellectual inadequacies, and one of the hardest things that people can ever acknowledge about themselves, let alone accept, is their own intellectual inadequacies.

    I would suggest that religious fundamentalism is thriving because of this same sense of insecurity which has been exploited by Beck and others to create a sort of political fundamentalism and mean-spirited, anti-analytical tribalism.

    Beck is a quasi-religious figure.

    I have an uncle, a good and honest man, a lifelong blue collar worker, who thinks Beck is great. “He’s very intelligent,” he tells me. “He knows the scoop.” He wants to believe. This uncle took me when I was 14 or so to see a movie in the late 70s/early 80s about the coming apocalypse, in which some sage sounding man cleverly put together pieces of ancient prophecy and Bible verses which predicted the imminent end of the world, somewhere in the 1984-1986 time period. It was utter illogical dreck. I walked out of the theater appalled at the waste of $3.35. “Our time is almost up on this earth” my uncle said with stoic resignation.

  82. Matt B says:

    Funny how when people want to criticize Christianity’s persecutorial history, they gotta go back a couple of centuries. Well, except for the Balkans — where NATO explicitly sided with the Muslims and intervened to protect them.

    There is exactly one major religion in the world today that explicitly calls for and carries out the death penalty for apostasy, heresy, blasphemy, adultery, and a host of other offenses.

    Did you not read the above thread Jay? How about Uganda’s Christian supported death penalty for Homosexuals? Os as I mentioned the purdgings currently going on in former soviet black states? Killing of Abortion doctors? Westeburo Baptist?

    The last is the most important case… I (and again card carrying Lutheran, MLS – confirmed and all) don’t consider them Christian. I don’t want to be associated with then. They are a loud/vocal minority.

    The thing is that you’re willing to imagine multiple types of Christians, but only one type of Muslim. That’s the key lie in you case. You can always distance yourself from others, argue for your shades of gray. You refuse any possibility of allowing people you disagree with the same favors. All liberals are socialist/marxists, all muslims are waiting to slit your throat… lets not even go further down this road.

    I’m not asking us to agree on issues. There are fundamental disagreements that cannot be resolved. I am just asking you and others on this thread, to offer those who oppose you the same intellectual opportunities you give your side.

    Put a different way, he isn’t interested in teaching people to read critically. He’s interested (despite what he outwardly says) in getting people to largely read like him. You can’t both ask people to read critically and then tell them to avoid critical discussion.

    But he did get millions of people to listen to a whole hour on FA Hayek and the Road to Serfdom. He has spent weeks reviewing the founders and their original purpose.

    In the first I compliment Beck. He’s gotten people to read a number of books. On the second, I’ve heard his reading of the “founders” and he gets a lot of it wrong. It’s simplistic, it flattens out a lot of the difference, and even conservative scholars will acknoweldge that he gets his history wrong — or rather his reading of the FF is heavily influenced by the positions that he supports (which means he at best quickly glosses over sections where they are at odd with a libertarian-conservative ideology.

    That’s why I was discussing the misappropriation of Adam Smith and “The Invisible Hand.” Even conservative scholars are willing to say that the metaphor, which only is used one place in “Wealth of nations” has largely been misunderstood to say that capitalism has a “mystical force” to it and that it always works in the best insterests of a nation. That isn’t the case. Smith explicitly states that while capitial leads to innovation, Individuals will act against the good of the group on a regular basis. Flattening these texts into simple stories defeats their real purpose — to help us struggle with the problems of our day.

    I think Beck has moved into territory that not even Limbaugh or any of Beck’s cohorts at Fox have previously done.

    Without a doubt. I wasn’t talking about his rhetoric (which has gotten progressively more “edgy” as he realized how well that it sells — again morning DJ). I was simply commenting about their command of the medium itself. Be and Limbaugh are masters of Radio. Beck is also quite good on TV.

  83. Matt B says:

    @Ben

    I do have to admit that my imagining of router went as follows:

    1. Ok, he’s a fan…
    2. Is he serious? He must be 4chan and out for the Lulz.
    3. My God, he’s actually using “Arguing with Idiots.”

    And then I just got really sad. Especially since I’m sure that in his mind he won when, I think in reality, we both lost.

  84. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    He’s an entertainer who has drawn an audience that thinks itself politically astute. Like those UFO guys or Truthers.

    Or OTB commenter’s and a couple of it’s authors…:)

  85. wr says:

    Isn’t Newrouter just Rinomoron and Athiesthater with a new nickname?

  86. mantis says:

    Isn’t Newrouter just Rinomoron and Athiesthater with a new nickname?

    Very likely. And that would explain the name. He was banned, but now he’s got a new router (and thus, a new IP)! Hooray!

  87. gVOR08 says:

    “…there was always a certain authority which could be won by this or that preacher who had an unusual capacity to evoke the desired feeling of inner conviction.”
    –Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life , 1962

    You sanction Beck, you’re going to have to go after Limbaugh next, and then O’Reilly, and on, and on. Then how are you going to get the rubes to vote for your candidates?

  88. newrouter: above the rabble. got your crony capitalistic hands locked in.

    Huh? Please point out where I have defended crony capitalism. Pretty please.

  89. Ben: Newrouter is exactly what is wrong with the modern Right, a seething mass of bile and venom hoping for global religious war.

    It may be difficult to believe, but a lot of the Right is not in the least motivated by end times religious belief. I’m not even sure a mojority is motivated by religious belief at all.

    Generalization Error 101.

  90. Majority, sorry.

  91. Matt B says:

    You sanction Beck, you’re going to have to go after Limbaugh next, and then O’Reilly, and on, and on. Then how are you going to get the rubes to vote for your candidates?

    No actually, I fully defend their ability to speak. And their right to speak. I also will defend the right for them to be held accountable for that speech.

    Nothing will stop Beck from speaking. Nor should he be stopped. The Birch society exists to this day.

    The question is whether or not people need to directly confront lies, falsehoods, and sloppy thinking. That has historically been a profound right of Americas — part of the exceptionalism is the idea that this is nation founded on ideas and laws — and that always requires being critical (which doesn’t necessarily have to mean destroying, but it does mean seriously engaging).

    This is all moot. Beck knows when not to cross the line — that’s a key part of his “act” (by using act, I also am not suggesting that its all put on). The line that the Birchers, and Welch in particular crossed, there no parrallel to it today.

    Quite frankly, conservatives standing up against Beck (and he can act as proxy for ‘Conservative Inc’) at this particular moment would be a far “braver” (and riskier) thing that what Buckley did all whose years ago.

  92. Tyler says:

    Matt B,
    You may be interested to know that the scholars in the video you mentioned about North American indians, have written a statement saying they were taken out of context.

    You can see their statement and a review of it here:

    http://ohio-archaeology.blogspot.com/2010/12/commentary-on-lost-civilizations-of.html

    http://www.neara.org/Gutherie_2010-12-30.htm

  93. Matt B says:

    Thanks Tyler, that was my point. And they aren’t the first to make this complaint about how Beck (or books he’s promoted) have used their work .

    This is my problem with his “teaching” — it claims that it’s using good scholarship to prove his facts, but he really doesn’t encourage going back to the source texts and critically reading them. So you end up with superficial reads that typically “flatten” really complex works.

    To be fair, this isn’t just Beck or conservatives. There are lot of academics (including liberal ones) who have done really “bad” readings of other texts.

  94. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    To be fair, this isn’t just Beck or conservatives. There are lot of academics (including liberal ones) who have done really “bad” readings of other texts.

    lol, you think.
    maybe you can figure what a Christian is, and then get back to us.

  95. matt says:

    YEah like GA said Who would Jesus shoot!!