A positive interpretation of Beck

A blogger named Lexington Green thinks he’s figured out Glenn Beck. Beck, he says, is a genius who has transcended the usual political paralysis. By giving conservatives/Americans confidence in themselves and in America, he is empowering conservatism in a way that normal conservatism cannot do.

Hmm, let’s see if I understand this. Beck is empowering conservatives, by giving them an overwhelmingly liberal message?

Look, either Beck is a wayward clown, and I’m right to reject him, or Beck is a genius, and I’m wrong. If I turn out to be wrong, I’ll happily admit it. But for now, I see him as a clown, and I’ve given my reasons why.

Here is Lexington Green’s entry:

I Think I See What Glenn Beck is Doing

The Glenn Beck rally is confusing people.


He is aiming far beyond what most people consider to be the goalposts.

Using Boyd’s continuum for war: Material, Intellectual, Moral.

Analogously for political change: Elections, Institutions, Culture.

Beck sees correctly that the Conservative movement had only limited success because it was good at level 1, for a while, weak on level 2, and barely touched level 3. Talk Radio and the Tea Party are level 3 phenomena, popular outbreaks, which are blowing back into politics.

Someone who asks what the rally has to do with the 2010 election is missing the point.

Beck is building solidarity and cultural confidence in America, its Constitution, its military heritage, its freedom. This is a vision that is despised by the people who have long held the commanding heights of the culture. But is obviously alive and kicking.

Beck is creating positive themes of unity and patriotism and freedom and independence which are above mere political or policy choices, but not irrelevant to them. Political and policy choices rest on a foundation of philosophy, culture, self-image, ideals, religion. Change the foundation, and the rest will flow from that. Defeat the enemy on that plane, and any merely tactical defeat will always be reversible.

Beck is unabashed that God can be invoked in public places by citizens, who vote and assemble and speak and freely exercise their religion. They are supposed to be too browbeaten to do this. Gathering hundreds of thousands of them to peaceably assemble shows they are not. But showing that the people who believe in God and practice their religion are fellow-citizens who share political and economic values with majorities of Americans is a critical step. The idea that these people are an American Taliban is laughable, but showing that fact to the world—and to potential political allies who are not religious—is critical.

Beck is attacking the enemy at the foundations of their power, their claim to race as a permanent trump card, their claim to the Civil Rights movement as a permanent model to constantly be transforming a perpetually unjust society.

He is nuking out the foundations of the opposition’s moral preeminence, the very thing I proposed in this post.

Ronald Reagan said we would not defeat Communism, we would transcend it.

Beck is aiming to have America do the same thing to its decaying class of Overlords, transcend them.

Beck is prepping the battlefield for a generation-long battle.

He is that very American thing: A practical visionary.

See, simple.

Restore pride and confidence to your own side, and win the long game.

As Ronald Reagan also said, there are simple solutions, just no easy solutions.

God bless America.

[end of Lexington Green entry]

- end of initial entry -

Stephen T. writes:

Glenn Beck has admitted to 15 years of cocaine and alcohol addiction followed by a recovery, for which he deserves commendation. I have had a number of similarly long-term alcoholics/drug addicts among my relatives and in observing them up-close I have to make this blunt and what may seem uncharitable conclusion: Even after recovery, their mental faculties of judgment continue to be in some way slightly askew. They never quite fully return to the status quo as far as common sense, self-restraint, etc., are concerned, and remain permanently just a few clicks one side or the other of normal (“normal” meaning, having the judgment and rationality of the person they were pre-drug addiction.) They seem to be especially given to impulsiveness, excesses in misdirected enthusiasm, etc. Many of them, though now drug-free and well-intentioned people, I would frankly be hesitant to trust in a critical endeavor that required really stable, logical decision-making, unless I could be looking over their shoulder all the time. Obviously, the longer they spent immersed in brain chemistry-altering substances, the more permanent the mental marring. Beck’s fifteen years—during which he claims to have been high and/or drunk every day—is a long time, even by the standards of my relatives, and that’s saying something.

LA replies:

” … fifteen years—during which he claims to have been high and/or drunk every day … “

I didn’t know this about Beck. That certainly changes the picture, and it explains a great deal. And if people, despite knowing this about Beck (which they must know, since he constantly talks about himself on his program), have trusted that his meandering-seeming views were really true and helpful in some ultimate, transcendent, genius sense, then what we have here is just the latest and greatest manifestation of a very old American phenomenon. We’re an unfinished, frontier people, always looking for ourselves. And when one person stands out from the crowd and says, “I’ve found myself! I’ve found the truth! I have the answer to your problems!”, others are all too ready to believe him.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 01, 2010 07:01 PM | Send

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