Is Glenn Beck an Intellectual?

My first and only exposure to Fox News’ Glenn Beck was through the prism of rival network MSNBC. From that perspective, Beck is a buffoon, perhaps a dangerous one in that he seduces folks who don’t know any better to buy into his theories. The last word I would have used to describe Beck is “intellectual”. Hence, I dismissed him and anyone who used him to prop up their political arguments. I never gave it another thought.

Next thing I know, Beck is Time Magazine’s cover boy with an accompanying article that went pretty soft on him. Its concluding point though could not be denied.  Beck is the fictional character Howard Beale from the movie Network, come to life:

So this establishes Beck’s bona fides as a proxy for American angst and “fed-upness”. But that doesn’t mean he’s an intellectual.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across an article in the Washington Post, the title of which intrigued me. The title of the article was “Is Conservatism Brain Dead?” A pet theory of mine has been that conservatism is failing right now because it has no intelligent advocates. John Boehner looks half the time like he’s fresh from a bender. Michelle Bachmann ties the census to internment camps. No one seems to present ideas in an intelligent fashion. When I argue this with my conservative opponents, I always cite the example William F. Buckley, so intellectual at times to be almost incoherent. Yet his PBS program “Firing Line” often took the form of a formal debate, where a particular political position was “resolved” and two sides would argue the different sides of the resolution intelligently.  The author of the Post article, Steven Hayward, also mentioned Buckley and his conclusions were similar to mine until he said one thing that shocked me:

The case of Glenn Beck, Time magazine’s “Mad Man,” is more interesting. His on-air weepiness is unmanly, his flirtation with conspiracy theories a debilitating dead-end, and his judgments sometimes loopy (McCain worse than Obama?) or just plain counterproductive (such as his convoluted charge that Obama is a racist). Yet Beck’s distinctiveness and his potential contribution to conservatism can be summed up with one name: R.J. Pestritto.

Pestritto is a young political scientist at Hillsdale College in Michigan whom Beck has had on his TV show several times, once for the entire hour discussing Woodrow Wilson and progressivism. He is among a handful of young conservative scholars, several of whom Beck has also featured, engaged in serious academic work critiquing the intellectual pedigree of modern liberalism. Their writing is often dense and difficult, but Beck not only reads it, he assigns it to his staff. “Beck asks me questions about Hegel, based on what he’s read in my books,” Pestritto told me. Pestritto is the kind of guest Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity would never think of booking.

Okay, so Beck may lack Buckley’s urbanity, and his show will never be confused with “Firing Line.” But he’s on to something with his interest in serious analysis of liberalism’s patrimony. The left is enraged with Beck’s scandal-mongering over Van Jones and ACORN, but they have no idea that he poses a much bigger threat than that. If more conservative talkers took up the theme of challenging liberalism’s bedrock assumptions the way Beck does from time to time, liberals would have to defend their problematic premises more often.

I was so shocked that a man who had up to that point presented an intelligent argument was now lauding Beck, that I joined an online chat session with him the following day. We had the following exchange:

Middlebury, Conn.: But for a summary statement at the beginning of the chat, you haven’t defended Glenn Beck. Does his esoteric knowledge of conservative dogma really outweigh most of his utter foolishness?

Steven F. Hayward: Jury is out on that. As I’ve said to friends the last two days, I know I’ve gone out on a limb offering a partial defense of him, hoping that he doesn’t saw it off behind me.

Hayward acknowledges that presenting Beck as an intellectual is fraught with potential challenges. But I wanted to dig deeper and look up any conversation I could find between Beck and the Woodrow Wilson scholar, Ronald Pestritto. What I found surprised me (note that the camera man points the camera at the wrong people when they are introduced and the YouTube poster even attributes the quotes incorrectly):

While one guest, Matthew Spalding impressed me as a talking points spouter, Pestritto does appear to be a scholar who has considered matters within a historical context.

So, has my opinion of Beck changed? Only in part. While I cannot swear that Beck runs all that deep, it does appear that unlike some of his peers, Hannity, O’Reilly and even Limbaugh, Beck wants to plumb the depths of academia to support his points. It appears that the man actually reads. He does not, at least on occasion, treat his audience as a league of dumb followers. He presents them with ideas to chew on.

[picapp src=”f/8/b/1/mass_media_b2e1.JPG?adImageId=5613214&imageId=4842666″ width=”234″ height=”157″ /]

This may make Beck, far from a buffoon, one of the most dangerous men on television. Behind the tears and the nutjob theories, are some arguments presented cogently enough that liberals must take him seriously and work hard to pick him apart. The only thing more dangerous than people following a fool, are people following a wise one.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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69 thoughts on “Is Glenn Beck an Intellectual?

  1. As a conservative, I agree that Beck regularly bounces between the brilliant and the buffoonish. I do however commend your analysis of him as well as your openness to the possibility that he should be taken seriously. If you cut through the theater, I would say that he does make valid and often intelligent points.

    I would also like to challenge the Post’s assertion that conservatism lacks “intelligent advocates.”
    Here are 5 that pop to mind immediately:

    Dennis Prager
    Hugh Hewitt
    Newt Gingrich
    Ben Stein
    George Will

    These are just a few intelligent and well reasoned conservative advocates that I would happily pit against any liberal intellectual in the business. Perhaps they do get a bit downed out by the Becks and Savages, but they are present in great number – and are holding liberals pretty accountable for their policies by the way.

    In fact there are many of us out there who believe in well reasoned intelligent debate of the issues. I for one would be happy to go toe-to-toe with Mr. Hayward in a cerebral boxing match. Judging from his assertion, my guess is that he is better at hyperbole than intelligent discourse .

    Just my view from the right….

    Great post by the way. I admire your dispassionate assessment of the Beckster.

  2. Has Glenn Beck ever called himself an intellectual? Hardly.

    If you watch something other than the idiots at MSNBC, you might have your eyes opened. Sorry, but Anne was right, Cornell School of Agriculture does not make for an ivy league education and you truly have to question anyone who has to name drop their alma matter repeatedly to justify their existance.

    Glenn did a show, actually a series of shows over a week in which he asked questions. Was one of the best series of political commentary I’ve seen in a very long time and it goes to show how dead journalism is now.

    The media should be challenging and digging into the administration. When the Administration goes after a member of the media, the rest of them should be blasting the administration for doing it, yet, we see clearly that their is no intent to maitain the integrity of journalism nor is there any real effort to look for the why in things- journalism is dead.

    I challenge you to spend a month listenign to Rush, watching Glenn and O’Reilly and Fox in general and to compare that to what you get on MSNBC or even CNN. I think you’ll find that the hyberbole you get from the left doesn’t match reality, and that which you justify as journalism, is nothing more than cheerleading.

  3. WHAT A JOKE!

    Rutherford, you are starting to come off as one of the “academic” punks, many of whom to have happened to graduate from Harvard, thinking themselves worthy of defining “intelligent”. You and your comrades aren’t qualified to judge. Most of you can’t find your butt cheeks with both hands. Many of you are still trying to convince 80% of the country that Joe Biden isn’t a dope and buffoon.

    You eggheads remind me of the Jesus Seminar the left likes to drag out “scholars” concerning Christianity: advertised as polished and completely clueless. And the one doing the advertising is you. No wonder Hollywood aligns themselves with you. Get some of your friends together and reward yourself with “major awards”, or some lifetime achievement to boost your ego.

    What would be a more interesting article is for you to defend your “intellect” from the left and tell us right now who you think has it figured out for us minions. Because short of MaO Boma, I don’t see anyone from the left that hasn’t become of the butt of jokes and completely irrelevant. And MaO’s current record is one dump after another.

    Why don’t you provide us some great examples of your brilliance so we can all marvel?

  4. Sharia Law and the US Constitution

    Sharia Law and the US Constitution
    By Louis Palme
    Oct 14, 2009

    Americans are among the most tolerant and patriotic people in the world. As a nation of immigrants, there is a certain appeal to the idea of multiculturalism where people of different backgrounds are accepted in our communities. Our nation was founded on the principles of equality and freedom, and we have invested our resources and blood over and over again to defend those principles. Our constitution guarantees not only the freedom of speech, but also the freedom to practice our religion of choice. So it is not surprising that many Americans see Sharia Law as a Muslim religious prerogative which we should support or at least tolerate. Banks have rushed to provide Sharia-compliant banking, and public institutions like universities and airports have spent taxpayer dollars to help Muslims comply with their religious requirements, providing special foot-baths and prayer rooms for them.

    If anyone speaks out against Sharia Law, there is often a strong reaction within the Muslim community. This month, Dalia Mogahed, President Obama’s advisor on Muslim affairs, complained on British television that the Western view of Sharia was “oversimplified” and misunderstood. While acknowledging that even Muslims associate Sharia with draconian criminal punishments and laws that seem unequal for women, she stated, “Part of the reason there is this perception of Sharia is because Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood.” The London-based Islam Channel panel she was on made repeated attacks against secular “man-made Law” and the West’s “lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism.” Ms. Mogahed described her government role as “to convey . . to the President and other public officials what it is Muslims want.”(Source)

    A similar reaction took place in a recent US Congressional hearing on the dangers posed by political Islam. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, one of the most prominent Muslim reformers in the United States, testified, “I think if Muslims want credibility and we want to be respected equally, we need to stand for reform within our faith of [Sharia] laws that are still in the 15th and 16th Century.” He explained that the jihadists will not be defeated until Muslims start to recognize that their ideology is on a slippery slope toward radicalism. In response to this testimony, Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D, Mn) delivered a verbal tirade that accused Dr. Jasser of encouraging anti-Muslim bigotry and attempting to censor Islamists. Ellison said to Dr. Jasser, “I think you give people license for bigotry. I think people who engage in nothing less than Muslim-hating really love you a lot because you give them freedom to do that. You say, ‘yeah, go get after them.’ . . Now is somebody going to snatch my 13-year-old daughter’s hijab off, call her a horrible name, and spit on her because of something you said, Dr. Jasser? I worry about that.” (Source )

    So, to better understand whether Sharia Law is desirable (or even legal) in the United States, it might be instructive to compare it with the US Constitution. This isn’t too difficult for the layman because the US Constitution is only 17 pages long, including its 27 amendments. Sharia Law is well-documented in the 1,200 page Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, “The Reliance of the Traveler” by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, and published in the United States by Amana Publications. While the original document dates to the late 14th Century, it has been updated in the 1990’s and bears the approval of the Fiqh Council of North America as well as the authoritative Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy in Egypt. The introduction to this manual states, “The four Sunni schools of Islamic Law . . are identical in approximately 75 percent of the legal conclusions. . . [T]he authors of the present volume and their positions do represent the orthodox Muslim intellectual and spiritual heritage that has been the strength of the Community for over a thousand years . . to the present day.”

    While this volume of Sharia Law is primarily about the religious practice of Islam, the 800 pages of the manual devoted to rules and regulations also include sections on Trade, Inheritance, Marriage (suitable partners, legal rights, custody), Divorce, and Justice which would fall under civil law in the United States. Those sections comprise 35% of the manual, and are among the most controversial because they impose draconian punishments, authorize jihad, and sanction discrimination on the basis of religion and gender.

    The summary below highlights the serious disconnects between the provisions of the US Constitution and those of Sharia Law.

    http://islaminaction08.blogspot.com/2009/10/sharia-law-and-us-constitution.html

  5. 1,000,000 Iraqis Died As a Result of Clinton’s Policies… 85,000 Died During “Bush’s War” (Horrifying Video)
    In 1996 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admitted that Bill Clinton’s policy that resulted in 500,000 dead Iraqi children was worth it.
    In a much forgotten exchange between Lesley Stahl and Madeleine Albright on “60 Minutes” back on May 12, 1996:

    Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.

    The United Nations estimated that a total of 1 million Iraqi civilians died as result of the sanctions on Iraq.
    This tragedy never seemed to bother the Left for some reason.

    Yesterday, the Iraqi government reported that 85,000 Iraqis were killed during the Iraq war.
    Bush may have saved 750,000 Iraqis.
    For some reason this was ignored by the state-run media.

  6. Poll: Mexicans say Mexican-Americans Owe Loyalty to Mexico Over U.S.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009
    By Adam Brickley

    (CNSNews.com) – Nearly 70 percent of Mexicans surveyed said that Mexican-Americans – including those born in the United States – owe their primary loyalty to Mexico, not the U.S., according to a Zogby poll commissioned by the Center for Immigration Studies.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/55496

    Seal the friggin border

  7. 1,000,000 Iraqis Died As a Result of Clinton’s Policies… 85,000 Died During “Bush’s War” (Horrifying Video)

    Do you want military intervention in every country that treats its people badly? Is that our role? I don’t see how this is feasible, particularly financially.

  8. Poll: Mexicans say Mexican-Americans Owe Loyalty to Mexico Over U.S.

    A few thoughts:
    1) Why are Mexicans being polled about the attitudes of Mexican-Americans? Makes absolutely no sense. If you want to know what a Mexican-American thinks, ask a Mexican-American.
    2) If we ignore that gaping flaw in the poll which makes this a non-story, then there are two ways to approach the result:
    2a) If Mexicans don’t want to live here, they shouldn’t. If they feel more aligned with Mexico than the US, probably a good idea for them to live in Mexico.
    2b) Considering the way many US citizens single out Mexicans for their immigration angst, it’s no wonder a number of them would have trouble warming up to us.

  9. Video: Reid dismisses $54 billion in tort-reform savings
    posted at 10:12 am on October 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
    Share on Facebook | printer-friendly

    Harry Reid struggles with math as well as with common sense in this clip from yesterday, which highlights Reid’s argument against considering tort reform as part of the overhaul of the American health-care system. Reid gets his numbers wrong, gets his scale wrong, and in the process admits that the actual cost of the Baucus plan is not $829 billion but $2 trillion:

  10. Chuck, welcome to the blog.

    George Will seems thoughtful to me and I applaud his take on Afghanistan which goes against the grain of most of his peers.

    Newt’s personality probably interferes with my evaluation of his intellect although I know that folks, even in the liberal media, say he is one of our smartest conservative voices.

    Ben Stein’s ability to remember all sorts of minutia (as evidenced on his old TV show “Win Ben Stein’s Money”) clearly puts him in the smart list but if I’m not mistaken, Stein is a major evolution skeptic which would worry me a bit.

    I can’t vouch for Dennis Prager or Hugh Hewitt, one way or the other.

    As I’ve said many times in the blog, I’d add John McWhorter to your list.

  11. Poll: Obama personal popularity at new low
    By: Byron York
    Chief Political Correspondent
    10/15/09 6:57 AM EDT

    A new Gallup poll shows that the number of people who have a favorable impression of Barack Obama has fallen to its lowest point since he became president. Fifty-six percent say they have a favorable impression of Obama, versus 40 percent who say they have an unfavorable impression. (Four percent say they have no opinion.) Historically, a president’s personal favorable rating has often been higher than his job approval rating; right now, Gallup has Obama’s job approval at 52 percent.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Poll-Obama-personal-popularity-at-new-low-64348707.html

    LOL

  12. Moscow – The United States is prepared to permit Russia to inspect its nuclear facilities, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday. Russia would be allowed to check compliance under this arrangement, Clinton said in an interview with Echo Moskvy radio in Moscow.

    The US hoped it would be allowed to inspect Russian facilities in return. “We want to create such a system of control,” Clinton said.

    The deal would form part of the new strategic arms reduction treaty being negotiated between the two powers.

    The new treaty is to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty that was signed by the two powers in 1991 as means of cutting back on the Cold War era build up of arms, which expires on December 5.

    Clinton expressed the hope that the new treaty will come into effect in time. The US has meanwhile invited Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to participate in a summit on global nuclear security in April

    http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2009/10/wtf-us-to-allow-russia-inspectors-at-us-nuke-sites-.html

    Nahhh…this politburo has our best interests at heart.

  13. Congressional earmarks diverted $2.6 billion from troop needs
    posted at 12:55 pm on October 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
    Share on Facebook | printer-friendly

    People like to frame governing philosophies in a classic reductio ad absurdum choice between “guns or butter.” In Washington DC, that has changed to guns or pork. The Washington Times reports that Congress diverted $2.6 billion in defense funding away from war priorities such as ammunition and fuel in order to fund pet projects through the earmark process:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/10/15/congressional-earmarks-diverted-2-6-billion-from-troop-needs/

    Can we question their patriotism now?

  14. haha, are you getting annoyed by elric’s constant Muslim link dropping. And there is a climate change problem, only idiots would deny that.

    Glenn Beck isn’t an intellectual, this post is way off the mark.

    Beck wants to plumb the depths of academia to support his points

    whoops, doesn’t make you an intellectual. And lets be honest, all shows and news networks have “research” staff. Beck spouts off a nutjob theory and the research team gathers information from various nutjobs that work at academic institutions or online schools to come on the show and act like they’re ideas are legitimate. And, it’s quite ironic because conservatives and republicans alike usually bash academic institutions as being leftist and elitist.

    He does not, at least on occasion, treat his audience as a league of dumb followers. He presents them with ideas to chew on.

    really? You say this based on the fact that he brought a few people on his show and said he read the book? really? Because last time I checked, he regularly uses kiddie dumbed down pictographs to tell his dumb audience, in the simplest terms the crap he believes. He looks down on his audience.

    liberals must take him seriously and work hard to pick him apart

    Yeah, liberals already do that. And it’s not hard, we take him seriously enough to fact check him.

    The only thing more dangerous than people following a fool, are people following a wise one.

    Lets understand the difference between wise and just smart. The first part of my comment explains why he isn’t wise and I would say the same of people like Olbermann too. Glenn Beck is smart because he knows how to manipulate his viewers into following him and he knows how to use his influence to make millions of dollars to support his family. That doesn’t make you an intellectual.

  15. Congressional earmarks diverted $2.6 billion from troop needs

    For once “Hot Air” produces more than just hot air. This diversion of funds points out the need for serious legislative reform. It’s one thing for initial allocations to fly in the face of appropriate priorities. It’s quite another for an allocation already targeted for defense to be pillaged in the name of pork.

  16. Dems worried low turnout among black voters will lose them the House

    Last year, Democrats sailed to their current majority of over 70 seats in the House, thanks to the coattails of Barack Obama, especially among African-American voters who turned out in record numbers. In 2010, without Obama on the top of the ticket and with Democrats increasingly isolated on their agenda, that majority may disappear. Democratic strategists worry about record low turnouts among black voters and what that might mean for the midterms next year:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/10/14/dems-worried-low-turnout-among-black-voters-will-lose-them-the-house/

    Awwww….

  17. Well Sensico, my saving grace is the title of my post is a question.

    I agree that Beck is not an intellectual but I was still surprised that he seems to make more of an effort to support his views than O’Rielly, Hannity or Limbaugh …. especially Limbaugh who recently told Jamie Gangel in an interview that he has no guests.

  18. CNSNews.com
    Despite U.N. Resolution Violations, Lebanon to Get Security Council Seat
    Thursday, October 15, 2009
    By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

    (CNSNews.com) – Lebanon is expected Thursday to be chosen to serve on the U.N. Security Council for the 2010-2011 period, despite signs in the country of ongoing violations of Security Council resolutions calling for Hezbollah to be disarmed.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/55511

    No wonder Thuggy loves the UN.

  19. Progressive Racism against Hispanic farmers
    Filed Under (Barack Obama, Leftists, Liberal Fascism, Progressives, Racism, Tranzis) by Rodan
    October 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    The American Progressive Movement is racialist and racist at it’s core. They believe that Blacks and Hispanics are helpless victims who can’t succeed with without the help of Enlightened White Progressives. They have smeared Those on the Right that preach Individualism and self reliance as racists. In reality it is the American Left that is racist, just like their German Progressive Cousins were 70 years ago. As a Hispanic, I can testify that the most racist people I have met are White Progressives.

    In a blatant example of Progressive Racism, a judge ordered the water turned off for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This has crippled the farmers, many of whom are Hispanic and has caused loss of jobs and loss of Food productions. Former Democrat, turned Republican and comedian Paul Rodriguez is leading the protest against this. His family owns a farm in the San Joaquin Vally and they will be affected. He lobbied Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to no effect. Clearly this is done for Racial reasons. The Obama Administration would rather please White Progressive Environmentalists than help out Hispanic farmers.

    http://www.littlegreenfootballs2.com/2009/10/14/progressive-racism-against-hispanic-farmers/

  20. OKAY!! I DON’T GIVE A FU#K ANYMORE! ELRIC IS OBVIOUSLY A BOT. NO WAY IN HELL THAT HE ISN’T

    He posts a shit load of links. Then after a while of no one posting comments, then link dropping stops. Then once someone posts a comment then the link dropping begins again. This is seriously getting out of control.

    It has truly brought down the quality of the thread and discussion. There’s other ways to share relevant links. Hell, I have google reader and all the interesting links I think share-worthy are put on this page. http://www.google.com/reader/shared/sensico

    I can’t speak for the whole group but I hardly doubt most of us click on any of these links being posted. As you all notice Elric didn’t respond to R’s number 16 comment.

    My theory is while he’s at work he has a bot running to post links (there are auto comment software) and later when he has time he decided to comment.

  21. I agree that Beck is not an intellectual but I was still surprised that he seems to make more of an effort to support his views than O’Rielly, Hannity or Limbaugh

    really, because he said he doesn’t check his facts. You’re buying into some weird notion that just because the guy is calmer then the other loons that he’s somewhat better. I’d personally chose O’Rielly over Beck any day to watch.

  22. For once “Hot Air” produces more than just hot air. This diversion of funds points out the need for serious legislative reform. It’s one thing for initial allocations to fly in the face of appropriate priorities. It’s quite another for an allocation already targeted for defense to be pillaged in the name of pork.

    So do any of you knuckled headed libs then want to explain to us who think our government a bloated, worthless, incompetent pack of thieves and rejects why you think it a great idea to hand the government an additional 1/6 of our economy?

    Why don’t you take a shot first Rutherford so you can explain the inconsistencies? Like how you the Ivy league intellectual thinks we need real legislative reform, but first we need to enlarge government by about another $2T?

    You’re formulating your plan to close the barn door after the horses have run out, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and bloviating on about who is intellectual and who is not when you don’t show a great deal of wisdom.

    Maybe you can understand how we little people might think Harvard educated or not, you are “none too bright?” 😉

    Unbelievable ignorance.

  23. Elric,

    Scary, isn’t it?

    Rest assured, that Rutherford, and Wally, and Densico will come up with some excuse making accusation that Beck is a clown and that the speech was taken out of context – never mind the presentation in a public forum with the idiot’s own words.

    Again, unbelievable the persona and thoughts of the idiots currently running the country.

  24. R –

    RE:He does not, at least on occasion, treat his audience as a league of dumb followers. He presents them with ideas to chew on.

    First, I have to applaud you for trying to ferret out truth on your own without having the pablum fed to you by MSNBC.

    From the beginning of its launch, I was an avid CNN “junkie”. Over the years I began to sense something was wrong with the way “news” was presented. I began to notice the “spin”. I left it at the start of the Afghan war.

    I know you probably won’t be switching over to Fox News but if you were to watch the news portion and the serious commentary (leave out Hannity – I don’t watch his stuff) you would then see the difference, too.

    With regard to Beck, while he can deliver information in an animated way, (sometimes it’s even funny) it should not serve to diminish the content. He does produce information which causes one to dig further.

    As an example, I never knew until Beck presented the facts, that George Soros is the money man behind Open Society Institute, Democracy Alliance, MoveOn.org, Center For American Progress
    Tides Foundation which feed money and resources into Media Matters.

    On the surface Soros’s private involvement in so many media related business may appear innocent but many analysts attribute the media’s apparent willingness to be “in the tank” during the campaign and after the inauguration to the influence wielded by these organizations.

    As for O’Rielly, Hannity or Limbaugh…

    These guys are commentators who deliver opinion on the news. Nothing more. They can even be called entertainers. For the Democrat Party to be worried over what they say is like the White House fact checking the recent spoof on SNL about the accomplishments of BO. Why bother? A president is supposed to be acting presidential and is supposed to be above social commentary.

    Keith Olbermann on the other hand is a real piece of work. Am I alone in noticing the vile, hate-filled drool falling out of the corners of his mouth?

  25. Why don’t you take a shot first Rutherford so you can explain the inconsistencies?

    One thing I have noticed (recently noted also by Bill Maher) is that hard core conservatives have a lot of trouble holding two thoughts in their head at the same time (ooooo gross generalization, how dare I?).

    There is nothing at all inconsistent about defining the responsibilities of government AND asking that they be carried out responsibly. I believe the government’s job is to ensure the safety and welfare of its citizenry. That means regulating a health insurance industry run amok and it also means abiding by established budgets and spending money on those things for which the money was originally allocated (i.e. the military budget). You invent conflict where none exists.

  26. Its not ignorance, the drones here are Marxists

    I’m beginning to agree with Sensico that Elric may well be a bot because a bot would also not be able to discern when to use the term Marxist and when not to.

    “Marxism:The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society’s allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.”

    I am a small business owner who wants very much to make as much money as I can. Capitalism is the only system that allows me to do that. So clearly I am not a Marxist. Do I believe that something is broken when the top 1% has more wealth than the bottom 95% combined? Yeah, I think that’s capitalism on steroids. That doesn’t make me a Marxist.

    Wanting government to protect its citizens through social programs does not make me a Marxist.

    Truth is Elric that you throw around Marxist the way a lot of nutjobs throw around Nazi. Like many of your tactics, it really hurts your credibility.

  27. Pretty damning but the drones wont comment and honestly I could care less.

    If you could care less whether or not we watch your video or comment on it, then why post it other than for mental masturbation … or in the case of you and Tex, a circle jerk of sorts?

    Dunn did NOT say, as Beck contends that Mao is one of the philosophers she turns to most. She said Mao is one of the philosophers she turns to to illustrate a particular point, namely that you must define your battles and not let others do it for you. I am assuming this was a commencement speech. I won’t bother to mention that “Red China” is alive and well today (and owns half of America) so Mao obviously knew something.

    The other thing I will add is this. Academics and intellectuals get themselves in trouble all the time because they don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. They can read Mao and say there is something to be learned there while a Beck says that based on atrocities, Mao should not even be read.

    I understand Beck’s position. I truly do. There are loads of people whom I dismiss entirely because of one aspect of their positions. But the truth is, when I dismiss them totally, I am not being intellectually honest or intellectually inquisitive. Things must be considered before being rejected. Mao whether we like it or not, was successful in his “battle” and so shouldn’t we examine his viewpoint to learn what made him successful? If for no other reason than to learn how to avoid the less desirable consequences of his views. The same goes for Hitler. If we do not know WHY Hitler did what he did … and how he got away with it for so long, how can we prevent it from happening again?

    Obama’s Achilles heel is that he has surrounded himself, not with radicals, but with open-minded thinkers who analyze and consider ideas that thought-control-conservatives don’t want considered and certainly not discussed.

  28. Rutherford, I have noted that you speak gibberish anymore to avoid answering simple questions. The fact of the matter is that you are either too dumb to connect two dots, or more likely you have no answer and then realize your illogical proposals are built in sand. Maher is another in a long list of irrelevant, irreligious libs sold on himself.

    There is nothing at all inconsistent about defining the responsibilities of government AND asking that they be carried out responsibly. I believe the government’s job is to ensure the safety and welfare of its citizenry. That means regulating a health insurance industry run amok and it also means abiding by established budgets and spending money on those things for which the money was originally allocated (i.e. the military budget). You invent conflict where none exists.

    Since you can’t seem to answer the very simple question of the what and the why our government should take over healthcare, let’s try this again? Very simple this time.

    Why would we take any entity and dump two-three trillion dollars in it if its history is one of complete and utter failure at managing finance. I would say that is the very definition of conflict Harvard.

    Good intentions and supposed purpose aside, this is another one of your more ignorant suggestions.

    And as far as your snow in October, I thought this was supposed to be global warming, the poles were melting, and polar bears drowning? What’s wrong? Time to change the warning? I’m laughing at the chicken little superior “intellects” that reside here.

    Bad karma for the libs…and I’m loving it.

  29. What defines a person as being intellectual?

    Is sensico an intellectual?

    Is “intellectual” a style? In other words, is it possible to be 100% wrong and still be an intellectual?

    Does the term relate to truth? Validity? Lack of a cowboy hat?

    I know the bow tie is important in terms of economics.

  30. RE:Obama’s Achilles heel is that he has surrounded himself, not with radicals, but with open-minded thinkers who analyze and consider ideas that thought-control-conservatives don’t want considered and certainly not discussed.

    What “thinkers”? Wasn’t Billie Carter a “thinker”? C’mon, quantify.

  31. “Rutherford, I have noted that you speak gibberish anymore to avoid answering simple questions. The fact of the matter is that you are either too dumb to connect two dots, or more likely you have no answer and then realize your illogical proposals are built in sand.”

    That is why debate is pointless with drones.

  32. “And as far as your snow in October, I thought this was supposed to be global warming, the poles were melting, and polar bears drowning? What’s wrong? Time to change the warning? I’m laughing at the chicken little superior “intellects” that reside here.”

    Tex, the moron acts if it never in the planets history ever snowed where he lived.

  33. Tex, the moron acts if it never in the planets history ever snowed where he lived.

    Why, when Elric calls me a moron, in the same sentence he says the most moronic things?

    Of course it snows where I live doofus. It just doesn’t usually snow in mid-October. Now was I making a scientific statement earlier? Of course not, the comment was half tongue-in-cheek, but the point is that climate change involves temperature irregularities that include a long term warming effect.

  34. Israelis Took Unprecedented Steps to Safeguard Civilians, Says British Officer
    Friday, October 16, 2009
    By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

    The U.N. Human Rights Council met in special session on Thursday October 15 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian situation (UN Photo by Jean-Marc Ferre)
    (CNSNews.com) – In its offensive against Hamas in Gaza last winter, the Israeli army “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare,” the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/55622

    Damn right they did

  35. This comment thread is a fascinating example of what happens when a blogger means to convey one message and the audience goes in an entirely different direction.

    Most of my wordy articles, I admit, can be summed up in one sentence. This one sums up as “Glenn Beck goes a bit deeper than I gave him credit for.”

    Instead, my audience, DR in particular, thinks I am setting myself up as an intellectual who reserves the right to call other people intellectuals, or not.

    Let’s go back to Merriam-Webster to try to tackle this once and for all:

    developed or chiefly guided by the intellect rather than by emotion or experience : rational

    and intellect itself defined as:

    the power of knowing as distinguished from the power to feel and to will

    So the point of my post was that Glenn Beck for all his crying (emotion) does base some of what he presents on knowledge and does so to a greater degree than I ever imagined.

    Can intellectuals be absolute idiots sometimes? I think so. Am I an intellectual? Depends on when you catch me. I think over the course of two years some of my articles have been more knowledge-based/rational and some have been more emotional. Honestly, I think I write better when I let my emotions show through, but I also try to give matters a great deal of thought before I commit them to paper.

    I think that everyone who has tried to contribute to honest debate on this forum is an intellectual to some degree or another. I find it funny that Rabbit has been in a battle with himself the whole time I’ve “known” him. He has a cut/dried meat and potatoes side, operating from gut and emotion, that is forever at war with his highly analytical side. Rabbit hates the idea that he just might be an intellectual (cue a Jeff Foxworthy joke here). I enjoy watching the inner conflict unfold in this venue. 🙂

  36. Ben, just out of curiosity. you run two blogs? It’s all I can do to keep up with one! (Well, I take that back. I have a blog for my profession but it suffers neglect from the time I spend on this one.)

  37. Well, actually I run 3 of my own.

    I originally started several years ago with a blog at Blog Spot about crap I see in America which defy common sense, which by nature, meant a focus on our amazing government. A large part of those rants got into policies on terrorism which lead to a focus on Islam.

    A couple of years ago I migrated both to Word Press.
    From the Right (http://rightamerican.wordpress.com/)
    On Islamic Fascism (http://onislamicfascism.wordpress.com/)

    After Obama got elected and realizing I might want to delete the blog posts after he got out of office, I started Our Obama Nation (http://ourobamanation.wordpress.com/)

    I really like that title, don’t you? 😉

    I also contribute .. err… Blog Whore at The Political Inquirer (http://politicalinquirer.com/) and An American Idiot (http://anamericanidiot.wordpress.com/)

    I need a life.

  38. crap I see in America which defy common sense

    That’s funny to hear because when I started this blog two years ago, that was my main goal … to blog about what defied common sense, at least IMHO. As in your case, politics ended up being the primary focus.

  39. Good googly moogly Ben …. not updated since 2007 … that’s when I STARTED this one!

    When I say neglect … I’m talking one article every month or so. Sadly in the blogosphere (as in academia I guess) it’s publish or perish.

    When I compare my two blogs, it makes me really wonder if I’m in the right profession. 😉

  40. I almost get the sense that you equate intellectualism with liberalism. You mentioned the late William F. Buckley in and almost dismissive manner, finding his commentary almost incoherent and his PBS show just another issue oriented talk show.

    Beck never once called himself an intellectual. He used to refer to himself constantly as a “rodeo clown”. He does call himself a thinker. And over time has read several books on history and politics.

    Nor am I trying to pass myself off as in intellectual. I’ve read a few books and I’ve observed and thought about things but I think I of myself as an average person rather than an intellectual.

    I also wouldn’t say that Beck is a conspiracy theorist. What was once called conspiracy theory is actually showing up in the press. Our dollar IS in decline. The world IS considering dumping the dollar as an international currency. Standard and Poors and Moody’s are both considering lowering our national credit rating. There have been talks of a global government of some sort. The recent Climate Change summit in Copenhagen had, at least a rough draft, a proposal to create a global governing body to regulate CO2 emissions throughout the world. The net effect would be to control every nations economy. These aren’t theories, they are facts in the news. And that is what Beck has picked up on that the rest of the media has missed.

    But I think you should take Beck for what he is. He is a talk show host that is very dedicated to his show. He wants to educate himself as much as he can so that what he says can be substantiated. In my opinion he is driven by his quest for the truth and just doesn’t want to rely on second hand information. He is also a very good businessperson who understands the industry he is in and how to promote his show. His on air persona comes more from his earlier days in radio, long before he became political. He used to be more akin to Jon Stewart from what he says about his earlier days. I’ve heard him lament on his radio show that he wishes he could return to those days but he is overly concerned about the direction the nation is going.

    Many Republicans and especially the so-called Neocons have turned on him because Beck does not toe the Party line and has actually taken the Republican Party to task several times.

    Beck is a Libertarian. Too many people have not understood that, especially in the mainstream media. They look at him as just another shill for the GOP. Although he is a little too supportive of Sarah Palin for my tastes. I’m not convinced that Palin is as conservative as many hope she is.

  41. First Abbey, welcome to the blog. Second I can’t argue with too much of your comment except about Buckley.

    I did not intend to be dismissive. I never called it an issue-oriented talk show. On the contrary, I said it was the home of intelligent debate. I used the word “incoherent” because quite frankly Buckley prided himself on using a $50 word when a $2 word would work just as well.

    But I’m by no means dismissive,. The older I get the more I appreciate Buckley’s manner if not his politics.

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