Glenn Beck's "Common Sense": The Blood Libel Rebellion
In case the Grand Old Party of America does not realize it, Thomas Paine would consider Glenn Beck to be a "Christian Mythologist" - a Christian Mythologist who was lacking in rational, and reasoned thinking skills. Sorry GOP, that's just the honest to nature's god's truth. When Paine used that term, "Christian Mythologists", dozens of times throughout his brilliant book, The Age of Reason, he was describing the Glenn Becks of this world. Isn't it weird that Beck would now, in modern times, attempt to make a hero out of Paine? Sorry again GOP, Thomas Paine was the consummate liberal, and if he were alive, today, he would think that Beck is an idiot.
In the wake of the recent Tucson tragedy, Sarah Palin has cried "blood libel" in defense of the criticism of her "crosshairs" posters. I'd like to suggest that, if Sarah would like to see one of the best examples of a modern day misuse of the "blood libel" charge, she should read Glenn Beck's version of "Common Sense".
Blood libel (or blood accusation): false accusation or claim.
Is "Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government, Inspired by Thomas Paine" the ultimate example of "blood libel"? Let's take a look, shall we?
The accusatory tone, begins right there on the front cover, with "The Case Against". Glenn Beck is, obviously, conducting a trial. Who's on trial? An "Out-of-Control Government" (read that Liberalism/Progressivism). Where did Glenn get the idea to revise history? Well, according to the cover, his inspiration, to revise Paine's political and religious ideologies, came from Thomas Paine himself - "Inspired by Thomas Paine". Glenn Beck would like America to know that he has a great American, conservative hero, from America's past, that is right there in line with him on his new, modern plan for a well armed, peaceful militia, for Christian America.
Are these assertions based in truth? Is America's government truthfully "out-of-control"? Would Thomas Paine really agree with Beck's version of "Common Sense"? The answers to these questions are "No", "Yes", and "No".
Let's look at some of the accusatory language that Beck's version of Common Sense, uses. Do the majority of Americans really feel like they wouldn't want the President and his family over for dinner? Would the majority of Americans really not trust their children in the care of Barack or Michelle? From Chapter 1, right out of the gate.
"We have so little trust in the character of the people we elected [President Obama] that most of us wouldn't invite them into our homes for dinner, let alone leave our children alone in their care. Yet we leave our country and our children's financial future in their care, Why?"
Sounds a bit 'pre' Rosa Parks, doesn't it? Beck continues:
"Common Sense tells us that this is national suicide.Open your eyes! These people are robbing us blind while turning our children against the principles and values we cherish through indoctrination masked as education."
Beck has cleverly made America's children the "victims" that must be saved from the oppressive, evil, current President's administration. Now, watch Beck work his apocalyptic magic. He continues:
"They have set our house on fire and blocked the exits, all the while convincing us that there is nothing to fear because they are the fire department. When will someone cry out with the truth? They're not our saviors; they're the arsonists. They're not rescuing our country; they're destroying it."
Sounds a bit analogous to the Hell, with a capital "H", that the Judeo-Christian Bible describes, doesn't it? Beck continues:
"To save us from political and economic slavery, we must first admit what we already know: America has serious problems that transcend this economic crisis. We must also recognize and admit our critical role in helping create these problems. Finally, we must chose to live by our founding principles and rid ourselves of the poison of those who are proven to have broken the law- no one is above it."
Well, there you go, Glenn Beck is looking for patriots that will help him to "rid [America] of the poison of those who are proven to have broken the law". It's almost as if Glenn Beck is deputising his fan base, and telling them that they will have the law on their side if insurrection "hit's the fan".
On Mr. Beck's assertion that America's federal spending is "out-of-control", and needs to be brought "under control", I don't think that there's one American that does not agree. It is the solution, to bringing that spending under control, that defines the divide between America's two great political parties. The solution will never be reached with a partisan strategy, by either party, on its own. The solution, if it's even possible at this stage, will come through a cooperative, bi-partisan solution, from somewhere in the middle.
One thing is certain, the solution will also not come from a revisionist, modernized re-write of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. The events that led to America's independence from British rule was a "revolution". The Civil War, on the other hand, was an "insurrection". Beck's Common Sense call for America to arm its homes to the teeth, and store food for the coming, government induced apocalypse, is not revolution-like, it is insurrection-like.
Are the Founding Fathers in-sync with Beck? If they were, Beck would not have to quote mine, and truncate their quotes, the way he does in Common Sense. Here's an example from Chapter 2:
"If we fail to speak up and speak out against this madness then we should be prepared to accept everything we get. Samuel Adams said that those who prefer "tranquility of servitude" had best be prepared to "Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you." That advice is as relevant today as it was back then. And so were his closing words: "May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"
Here's the actual quote, without the truncated shananigans:
"If we love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude, than the animating contest of freedom—go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."
Well, we can certainly see why Mr. Glenn "I love laissez faire capitalism" Beck, took that quote out of context by redacting "If we love wealth better than liberty". If it doesn't fit the template, redact it.
The other problem with quoting Samuel Adams' speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia, August 1, 1776, is that it pre-dates both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Samuel Adams was very instrumental in the creation of the Articles of Confederation. Within five years, the Congress of the Confederation began to look at fixing the Articles of the Confederation. The Congress convened the Philidelphia Convention, for the purpose of that "fix", and wound up scraping it for the new, improved, United States Constitution.
Samuel Adams was not invited to the Convention, and, while he rightly makes the list of America's "Founding Fathers" - he was there to sign the Declaration of Independence - he can hardly be considered one of the "key" Founding Fathers that "framed" the final structure of our nation. Samuel Adams wanted a weak national government, and strong, sovereign state governments. Madison and Hamilton wanted the opposite, and, as history has proven to us, their crafty, brilliant language in the Constitution, prevailed. The states ratified it, falling for the ingeneous language, hook, line and sinker.
The above quote block followed a long discussion about the problems facing America's social security and medicare programs. Beck's path to rescue those programs:
"Social Security and Medicare have been called the "third rail" of American politics - touch it and your shot at reelection is fried. That's too bad, because the truth is that any serious discussion about these programs will have to address three key things, none of which are appealing to anyone: tax hikes, reductions in benefits, and delayed retirement."
Isn't it weird that Beck never chastises, or discusses the guy who came up with the idea for Social Security? Oh wait, that would be the guy that he's pretending was the "conservative" that inspired him to re-write Common Sense. Beck can't mention that Paine is considered, by historians, to be "the real father of Social Security". That would, in essence, be counter to his own mapped out propaganda strategy.
Now, watch as Glenn falsely accuses the current Obama administration for the problems with social secuity and Medicare. Oh, and the crisis in America's financial market too.
"BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! Act Now and We'll Also Inclue a financial meltdown!
Now that everything is beginning to crash down upon us, what do our politicians do? They promise us that the way out of our crisis is to spend trillions of more dollars in borrowed funds. And we believe their lies because it feels good. We look to any good news to convince ourselves that our ship missed the iceberg and is not really sinking.
But it is sinking... and so are the lifeboats.
The boat analogy is apt , not only because we are a stricken vessel that is sinking deep in uncharted waters, but also because we've handed over control of our ship to a captain who works for a hostile, competing shiping company."
"[A] captain who works for a hostile, competing shipping company"? Great googly moogly! I believe Beck has called President Obama a pirate. Arrrrggggg, matie! That was very creative of Mr. Beck. Which, is exactly what Glenn strives to achieve, as he told us in his "Note from the Author":
If you believe that it's time to put principles above parties, character above campaign promises, and Common Sense above all - then I ask you to read this book, declare yourself a creative extremist, and then pass these words along to others who may agree with something else that Martin Luther King Jr. said:
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great mental conflict."
Do not remain neutral. Do not sit idly by. Do not let others speak for you. Silence has gotten us nowhere so it's once again time for our collective voice to make a simple yet powerful demand... Don't Tread on Me."
I wonder how Mr. Beck feels about being "taken out of context" like the quote block above is. Read like it is, it seems like a call for a "creative extremist" solution to America's problems. He put "Dont Tread on Me" in initial caps. Add to that, that there is an entire chapter of the book dedicated to defending "laissez faire" 2nd Amendment rights, and that last line screams "Don't Tread on Me", we're locked and loaded!
Let me put Mr. Beck back into context. There are several places in the book where Glenn reminds the reader that none of his solutions involve "violence". This from the "Note from the Author" precedes the above quote block.
"I lay out several options, but I want to be clear that none of them includes violence. Thomas Paine and his fellow revolutionists shed their blood so that future generations would have access to weapons immeasurably stronger than muskets or bayonets: the weapons of democracy. Those are the tools that we will use to usher in a second revolution, a revolution that won't be fought on battle fields, but in the hearts and minds of the three hundred million people lucky enough to call America home."
Glenn Beck's Common Senseis the most bizarre, and dangerous book of the 21st century. It is "blood libel" on steroids.
Here's what Beck's Common Sense shouted to me from front cover to back cover . . .
- Glenn Beck would not want President Barack Obama, First lady Michelle Obama, or their children, anywhere near the restrooms in the Beck mansion. No way. Glenn Beck would not like President Barack Obama, or First Lady Michelle Obama, babysitting for his children. No way. Glenn Beck thinks that President Barack Obama is destroying America, along with its children, and that the America that we all know, love, and cherish, is sinking like the Titanic. Beck's solution: An armed-to-the-teeth revolution, that should be done peacefully.
Plans, to save America, don't get much more bizarre than Beck's.
Here are some problems with Beck's blood libel, on steroids, against "progressive" America.
1) Beck has spent a decade helping Conservatives turn the words "lib", "liberal", and "liberalism" into epithets. Now it's time for the terms "progressive" and "progressivism" to get the same distorted, propagandist treatment.
2) Beck bases his Judeo-Christian conservative agenda on a distorted, concocted, misreading of the founding documents including, but not limited to, the Declaration on Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the notes of the Philadelphia Convention, and the personal writings of the Founding Fathers.
3) Beck is painting a picture of American Revolution II, when what he's really pushing America towards, is Civil War II. His "revolution", in reality, is an "insurrection".
4) Beck has attempted to hijack two of America's great Liberal heroes, and paint them as Conservative heroes. Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, in reality, would think that Glenn Beck is an idiot.
5) Beck's solution for the financial problems that face Social Security, Medicare, and America's foreign debt, did not include a reduction in military spending.
"I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind." - Thomas Jefferson
"Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war. Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town, or a little territory, the right to cut wood here, or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts, and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom." - Thomas Jefferson
6) Beck would like modern America to believe that the Founding Fathers would have written the 2nd Amendment, just the way it reads, even if AK-47s and missile launchers had existed in 1787. Millions of Americans think that the Founding Fathers would have put some restrictions on the 2nd Amendment, if they had been dealing with the modern weaponry that we have today.
7) Beck argues that the 2nd Amendment is sacred, and should not be regulated, or modified, by the powers of the Legislative or Judicial Branches, empowered to them by the U.S. Constitution. Article1, Section 8, last clause, concerning the enumerated powers of Congress (listed above it): To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
8) Beck consistently invokes the phrase "Laws of Nature" and"Nature's God" from the preamble of the Declaration of Independence as evidence that the Founding Fathers intended for America to be a Judeo-Christian nation. But the "nature's god" that Jefferson and the key Founders referenced was the god of Deism. Check Jefferson's original draft, no caps. Those words got capitalized by the stacottic literary device that Jefferson utilized through out the document. It is still a mystery as to how Jefferson chose the words, that he did, to capitalize. You can zoom in on the original draft and see that "laws of nature", "nature's god", and "creator" are not capitalized, using this very cool tool.
9) Beck's clarification that his "rebellion" should be a peaceful one, is easy to miss. He speaks on the subject just twice in the entire the book. First in the "Note from the Author". How often do we make sure that we read those? My Kindle skips right past it when you tell it to "go to the beginning". Beck's second reference to it, is two short paragraphs in Chapter VI, titled "Is It a Rising or Setting Sun?" Those paragraphs are followed with...
"With that being said, make no mistake, NOW IS THE TIME. This is a call for action. Stand and link arm and arm. Our nation is being redefined right in front of our eyes.; it is time we have a say in what it will look like. We must draw a line in the sand and let our voices be heard: Don't Tread on Me."
10) Beck invokes the "genius" of Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson, to push his "America is a Christian Nation" agenda, and yet he denies that genius if it refutes his own warped revision of history. See Jefferson's The Jefferson Bible, and Paine's The Age of Reason.
11) Beck believes in the accuracy of science, and scientists, when it comes to things like aerodynamics and jet propulsion. He will, after all, fly in a jet plane. Why? Because it meshes just fine with his profitable, propagandist, laissez faire capitalism agenda. How about when it comes to climate science? Nope, that particular group of scientists, is comprised of a bunch of nutjobs. From chapter V: The Cancer of Progressivism... "We are told that humans are destroying the planet and that only scientists (the "experts') or the very rich, very famous, or very powerful can save it."
12) Beck wants America to believe that Homeland Security, just fine anddandy under the Bush administration, is now comprised of "cockroaches that care nothing about liberty and freesom." See Chapter V: The Cancer of Progressivism, under subtitle, "Privacy Rights". Cockroaches need to be exterminated, get it?
13) Beck's real motive, for what he is doing, is profit. Who would Glenn Beck like Americans to "donate" to, when he says this in Chapter V: The Cancer of Progressivism?
"The tangible results of the rebellion, the way you can show everyone that your are serious, is to leave whatever political party you currently belong to. Stop donating to the faceless RNC and DNC and starting (sic) your time, energy, andif appropriate, your dollars to the people who stand for your values."
Gee, I wonder who Glenn is referring to when he says "people who stand for your values". By jove, I think he's suggesting that America should use the money that they would have put towards one of the two political parties, and spend it, instead, over at glennbeck•com. No shortage of "appropriate" stuff to spend your money on over there, that's for sure.
Here's the bottom line America. Chapter V, of Beck's Common Sense is titled "The Cancer of Progressivism". Let's be clear on the code wording used here. "Cancer" is a disease that is cured by, elimination. "Progressivmism" is considered synonymous with "liberalism" (also known, in the conservative echo chamber, as a "Lib", or someone that votes for a Democratic Party candidate).
He likens liberal/progressive America to "cancer", "poison"."arsonists", and "cockroaches", and incists that they are being led by "parasites who feed off of our sweat and blood". All the while, he's telling conservative America that he would not break bread with the current standing President. And, that that current standing President is destroying the Constitution, and our Nation. And, if that wasn't bad enough, that America is on the brink of financial apocalypse. What's the solution? America's homes should be well fortified (food, gold) and prepared to defend, arm-in-arm, the Constitution. From who? The evil, liberal, progressive half of America, of course.
That isn't exactly what the Founders had in mind with the 2nd Amendment. From Federalist #29, Alexander Hamilton, writing as Publius:
"It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, RESERVING TO THE STATES RESPECTIVELY THE APPOINTMENT OF THE OFFICERS, AND THE AUTHORITY OF TRAINING THE MILITIA ACCORDING TO THE DISCIPLINE PRESCRIBED BY CONGRESS.
In times of insurrection, or invasion, it would be natural and proper that the militia of a neighboring State should be marched into another, to resist a common enemy, or to guard the republic against the violence of faction or sedition."
Am I suggesting that Glenn Beck's freedom of speech should be stifled? Nope. Do I want to see Glenn's version of Common Sense banned? Nope. I would just like Glenn Beck to understand that he's written the ultimate example of a "blood libel" about the other half of America. In the process, he has misrepresented what the key Founding Fathers - Thomas Paine, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin - intended the 2nd Amendment's purpose to be.
The 2nd Amendment was designed to arm a civilian militia, quickly, to protect the Union and the States against an invading foreign army, or a domestic insurrection. It was not designed as a protection for WE THE PEOPLE to protect ourselves from the NATIONAL government. Beck has completely manufactured this implied "power" of the militia, a militia, that is established, and organized, by the UNION. Why, in the name of Sam Hill, would the Founders frame the Constitution so that 'We The People', could rise up any time we want, and rebel against the UNION. It makes no sense, the concept is completely absurd, and Beck should apologize for making such a goofy assertion.
Jefferson Davis once said...
"If the Confederacy fails, there should be written on its tombstone: Died of a Theory.”
Glenn Beck has a new theory. He thinks that the Confederacy can rise again, peacefully this time.
Thomas Paine, and the other primary Founding Fathers, would think that Glenn Beck lacks "Common Sense" in almost every field of thought.
Thank nature's god, for our Deist Founding Fathers, and their brilliant Constitution. Re-write your own book now Mr. Beck. You have conflated revolution and insurrection. Your book is a nasty, vitriolic, name calling, blood libel mess. It needs a dose of civility. If Civil War II happens, this book will be the "spark" that caused it. Is that really what you wanted Mr. Beck?