IN DEFENSE OF GLENN BECK
Posted by Jared Law on October 7, 2009 in The 9.12 Project
The left detests him, and some conservatives say he’s undermining the cause. The truth is, he must be doing something right.
By Jonah Goldberg
For a self-described rodeo clown who frequently admits he isn't that bright, Glenn Beck must be doing something right. A de facto leader of the populist backlash against President Obama, he made the cover of Time magazine, with his tongue sticking out no less. His books are immediate best-sellers. His radio and TV shows have stratospheric ratings. His one-man comedy performances draw packed audiences, and the proceeds from his numerous ventures have him making north of $20 million a year.
But perhaps his most impressive feat is his ability to unite a broad coalition of liberals, media scolds and conservatives under the single banner of Beck-hatred.
Now, before I proceed, I should disclose the fact that I like Beck personally and that his support for my book Liberal Fascism was a huge boon, helping to push it to No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list. As a Fox News contributor, I have appeared regularly on his show. Whether that gives me more, or less, credibility when I say I cannot defend some of the things he says is for others to decide.
Still, much of the anti-Beck backlash (He's an extremist! He's paranoid! He's hate-filled!) from the left is hard to take seriously. First, this is a crowd that lets Michael Moore and Janeane Garofalo speak for them, and that celebrated the election of unfunny man Al Franken to the Senate. If you think it's racist to oppose Obama's health care reform efforts, it goes without saying that you'll think Beck is an extremist. This is what liberals always say about popular right-wingers, including Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley. For over 20 years liberals, including Presidents Clinton and Obama, have insisted that Rush Limbaugh is everything from an unpatriotic hatemonger to an enabler of domestic terrorism. It makes sense that they'd give Beck the same business.
The darling of the left
Or consider Jon Stewart, the legitimately funny host of The Daily Show. Stewart is reminiscent of Will Rogers — a humorist who was nonetheless anointed by the National Press Club as the "ambassador at large of the United States." The liberal establishment swoons over him. The Television Critics Association bequeathed its award for outstanding achievement in news and information to a show that isn't even a news show. Times columnist Frank Rich seems to have a man-crush on the Peabody comedian, while PBS' Bill Moyers insists that "you simply can't understand American politics in the new millennium without The Daily Show." The hosts of NPR's in-house press watchdog show, On the Media, claim Stewart as their role model!
Stewart's M.O. is to launch lightning attacks as a left-wing pundit and then quickly retreat to his haven across the border in Comedystan, but Beck must be pelted from the public stage for blurring the line between theater and punditry? Really?
Over at MSNBC, which until recently floated no end of paranoid theories about neoconservative plots, Beck is boogeyman for his sometimes bombastic rhetoric about fascism and whatnot. Some complaints have merit, but this is the same network whose favorite conservative pundit is the populist Pat Buchanan, not even a Republican, who has written a book explaining why World War II was a mistake and how Hitler craved peace. Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann's shtick is far more dishonest: He pretends he's Edward R. Murrow reincarnated when he's really Al Franken with more important hair.
The conservative criticism has more bite. Many conservatives believe Beck is undermining conservatism with his often goofy style and his sometimes outlandish and paranoia-tinged diatribes. In an ode to conservatives such as William F. Buckley, my friend Charles Murray writes, "Don't tell me that we have to put up with the Glenn Becks of the world to be successful. Within living memory, the right was successful. The right changed the country for the better — through good arguments made by fine men." Murray is nostalgic for conservative leaders who were, like Murray himself, soft-spoken intellectuals.
There are problems with such nostalgia. First, there has always been a populist front on the right, even during the "glory days" when Buckley was saying he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phonebook than the faculty at Harvard. Moreover, whatever Beck or Limbaugh's faults, they are more cheerful — and more responsible — warriors than the populist right-wingers of yesteryear. The Tea Partiers may be rowdy and ideologically diffuse, but their goals — like Beck's — are indisputably libertarian. And from a conservative perspective, popular libertarian uprisings should be preferable to the sort of statist populism so often celebrated on the left.
A more accessible movement
Most important, popularity is what the intellectuals were fighting for: to create a conservative culture (Americans describe themselves as conservative over liberal 2-1 ). By definition, making conservatism popular means making it less stuffy and intellectual and more accessible. Not only is Beck good at that, he actually gets people to read serious books in ways Buckley never could. Why defenestrate him from the house of conservatism merely to preserve the rarefied air?
Besides, why should conservatives support an unfair double standard? Liberals never see the antics of their more flamboyant celebrities as an indictment of liberalism itself. Perhaps it's time conservatives adopted a more liberal standard.
Jonah Goldberg, a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors, is author of Liberal Fascism, now out in paperback.
That was pretty fair, although Jonah forgot to mention The 9.12 Project, not to mention Glenn's Book, Arguing With Idiots: How To Stop Small Minds And Big Government debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List at #1, or that Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Gover... are concurrent bestsellers.
And let's not forget the March on Washington, D.C., which wouldn't have been as big or successful if it weren't for Glenn. But overall, it was more fair than not. But hey, that's what I, at least, expect from Jonah Goldberg.
What are your thoughts?
- JaredLaw (This post is from Jared Law's Blog)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Posted by No Apology at 1:20 PM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Second Amendment Foundation
MURDER DOWN, GUN SALES UP; PROOF THAT GUNS
DON’T CAUSE CRIME: SAF
BELLEVUE, WA – A ten percent drop in murders during the first six months of this year at a time when gun sales were up dramatically is more proof that there is no correlation between gun ownership and violent crime, the Second Amendment Foundation said today.
The FBI released data Monday that shows murders dropped by 10 percent from the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, according to data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that during the first six months of this year, gun sales were up. January 2009 background checks rose 28.8 percent over the same month in 2008, February’s NICS checks were up 23.3 percent and in March they were up 29.9 percent over March 2008. The trend continued in April, with NICS checks up 30.3 percent, while May showed a slowdown, up only 15.5 percent, and in June they were up 18.1 percent.
“What this shows,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, “is that gun prohibitionists are all wrong when they argue that more guns result in more crime. Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens are no threat to anyone. Perhaps violent criminals were actually discouraged by all of those gun sales earlier this year, because the media made a point of reporting the booming gun market.
“Anti-gunners,” he continued, “have lost another one of their baseless arguments. Millions of Americans bought guns during the first six months of this year, many of them for the first time. Yet with all of those new guns in circulation, coupled with an increased demand for concealed carry licenses around the country, the streets have not been awash in blood, as gun banners repeatedly predict.
“Hard facts trump hot air,” Gottlieb concluded. “These people are consistently wrong about our rights. Millions of bought guns, especially semiautomatic sport-utility rifles that gun grabbers want to ban because they say people aren’t safe with all of those guns in private hands. Well, the people disagree, and so does the data.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nations oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers and an amicus brief and fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.
Bottom Line: Never let the Brady Bunch talk down to you, regarding guns and crime. And get a license to carry concealed. You'll be glad you did, and America will be the safer for it.
Posted by No Apology at 8:34 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009
There'll be nowhere to run from the new world government.
'Global' thinking won't necessarily solve the world's problems, says Janet Daley
[The committee to save the world - Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown and other leaders at the Copenhagen climate talks]
There is scope for debate – and innumerable newspaper quizzes – about who was the most influential public figure of the year, or which the most significant event. But there can be little doubt which word won the prize for most important adjective. 2009 was the year in which "global" swept the rest of the political lexicon into obscurity. There were "global crises" and "global challenges", the only possible resolution to which lay in "global solutions" necessitating "global agreements". Gordon Brown actually suggested something called a "global alliance" in response to climate change. (Would this be an alliance against the Axis of Extra-Terrestrials?)
Some of this was sheer hokum: when uttered by Gordon Brown, the word "global", as in "global economic crisis", meant: "It's not my fault". To the extent that the word had intelligible meaning, it also had political ramifications that were scarcely examined by those who bandied it about with such ponderous self-importance. The mere utterance of it was assumed to sweep away any consideration of what was once assumed to be the most basic principle of modern democracy: that elected national governments are responsible to their own people – that the right to govern derives from the consent of the electorate.
The dangerous idea that the democratic accountability of national governments should simply be dispensed with in favour of "global agreements" reached after closed negotiations between world leaders never, so far as I recall, entered into the arena of public discussion. Except in the United States, where it became a very contentious talking point, the US still holding firmly to the 18th-century idea that power should lie with the will of the people.
Nor was much consideration given to the logical conclusion of all this grandiose talk of global consensus as unquestionably desirable: if there was no popular choice about approving supranational "legally binding agreements", what would happen to dissenters who did not accept their premises (on climate change, for example) when there was no possibility of fleeing to another country in protest? Was this to be regarded as the emergence of world government? And would it have powers of policing and enforcement that would supersede the authority of elected national governments? In effect, this was the infamous "democratic deficit" of the European Union elevated on to a planetary scale. And if the EU model is anything to go by, then the agencies of global authority will involve vast tracts of power being handed to unelected officials. Forget the relatively petty irritations of Euro‑bureaucracy: welcome to the era of Earth-bureaucracy, when there will be literally nowhere to run.
But, you may say, however dire the political consequences, surely there is something in this obsession with global dilemmas. Economics is now based on a world market, and if the planet really is facing some sort of man-made climate crisis, then that too is a problem that transcends national boundaries. Surely, if our problems are universal the solutions must be as well.
Well, yes and no. Calling a problem "global" is meant to imply three different things: that it is the result of the actions of people in different countries; that those actions have impacted on the lives of everyone in the world; and that the remedy must involve pretty much identical responses or correctives to those actions. These are separate premises, any of which might be true without the rest of them necessarily being so. The banking crisis certainly had its roots in the international nature of finance, but the way it affected countries and peoples varied considerably according to the differences in their internal arrangements. Britain suffered particularly badly because of its addiction to public and private debt, whereas Australia escaped relatively unscathed.
That a problem is international in its roots does not necessarily imply that the solution must involve the hammering out of a uniform global prescription: in fact, given the differences in effects and consequences for individual countries, the attempt to do such hammering might be a huge waste of time and resources that could be put to better use devising national remedies. France and Germany seem to have pulled themselves out of recession over the past year (and the US may be about to do so) while Britain has not. These variations owe almost nothing to the pompous, overblown attempts to find global solutions: they are largely to do with individual countries, under the pressure of democratic accountability, doing what they decide is best for
their own people.
This is not what Mr Brown calls "narrow self-interest", or "beggar my neighbour" ruthlessness. It is the proper business of elected national leaders to make judgments that are appropriate for the conditions of their own populations. It is also right that heads of nations refuse to sign up to "legally binding" global agreements which would disadvantage their own people. The resistance of the developing nations to a climate change pact that would deny them the kind of economic growth and mass prosperity to which advanced countries have become accustomed is not mindless selfishness: it is proper regard for the welfare of their own citizens.
The word "global" has taken on sacred connotations. Any action taken in its name must be inherently virtuous, whereas the decisions of individual countries are necessarily "narrow" and self-serving. (Never mind that a "global agreement" will almost certainly be disproportionately influenced by the most powerful nations.) Nor is our era so utterly unlike previous ones, for all its technological sophistication. We have always needed multilateral agreements, whether about trade, organised crime, border controls, or mutual defence.
If the impact of our behaviour on humanity at large is much greater or more rapid than ever before then we shall have to find ways of dealing with that which do not involve sacrificing the most enlightened form of government ever devised. There is a whiff of totalitarianism about this new theology, in which the risks are described in such cosmic terms that everything else must give way. "Globalism" is another form of the internationalism that has been a core belief of the Left: a commitment to class rather than country seemed an admirable antidote to the "blood and soil" nationalism that gave rise to fascism.
The nation-state has never quite recovered from the bad name it acquired in the last century as the progenitor of world war. But if it is to be relegated to the dustbin of history then we had better come up with new mechanisms for allowing people to have a say in how they are governed.
Maybe that could be next year's global challenge.
Posted by No Apology at 12:35 PM
Monday, December 14, 2009
And this was before Climategate...
End ‘authority’ on climate change
"It isn’t necessary to list all the changes I have identified between what the scientists actually said and what the policy makers who wrote the Summary for Policy Makers said they said. The process is so flawed that the result is tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned to the scrapheap without delay."
Prof Bruce Hewitson (Uninformed vitriol, November 19) pontificates on Andrew Kenny’s assessment (Ideology and money drive global-warming religion, November 16). Unfortunately for him, there has been a reformation. The time for pontification is over. The critics must be answered. Instead Prof Hewitson stood in his pulpit and preached the gospel according to St IPCC. He says he was a lead author for the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). That is not material — I was a coordinating lead author, but it gives me no mantle of infallibility. Instead, it gave me insight into the flaws behind the whole process.
The IPCC claims that it has thousands of scientists and almost as many reviewers of the scientists' work to produce their reports. There are two problems, however. In the scientific world I move in, “review” means that your work is scrutinized by several independent, anonymous reviewers chosen by the editor.
However, when I entered the IPCC world, the reviewers were there at the worktable, criticizing our drafts, and finally meeting with all us coordinators and many of the IPCC functionaries in a draftfest.The product was not reviewed in the accepted sense of the word — there was no independence of review, and the reviewers were anything but anonymous. The result is not scientific.
The second problem is that the technical publication is not completed by the time the IPCC reports. Instead, it produces a Summary for Policy Makers. Writing the summary involves the coordinators, the reviewers and the IPCC functionaries as before, and also various chairmen.
The summary goes out in a blaze of publicity, but there is no means of checking whether it represents what the scientists actually said, because the scientific report isn’t published for another four months or more.
In the Fourth Assessment, the s ummary was quietly replaced several months after it was first published because some scientists who were involved complained of misrepresentation.
In the early years of the IPCC, there was a slightly different process. The Summary for Policy Makers and the scientific reports were issued at the same time. In those years, however, the Summary for Policy Makers bore a warning that it was the last current word on the subject, whereas the scientific reports were correctly identified as being subject to continuing development.
Someone smelled a rat about the “last word” story, so the process was changed, and now the
summary is issued with no means of checking.
It isn’t necessary to list all the changes I have identified between what the scientists actually said and what the policy makers who wrote the Summary for Policy Makers said they said. The process is so flawed that the result is tantamount to fraud. As an authority, the IPCC should be consigned to the scrapheap without delay.
Dr Philip Lloyd Pr Eng
MD: Industrial and Petrochemical Consultants
Posted by No Apology at 3:39 PM