Friday, March 5, 2010

I had to put up with a particularly odious rant by Mr. Glenn Beck today. Among the incoherent assaults on human reason Glenn Beck dished out today, was the claim that the student protests in California were supported by socialist groups and therefore a vile assault on American democracy (apparently, socialists oppose - gasp! - massive cuts in public education, more proof of their nefarious agenda), that progressivism constitutes a new-age "earth cult," that children should not be allowed to think for themselves (lest they fall victim to leftist propaganda!) and that if we don't re-educate our children to undo the damage done to their minds by the evil leftists, we will lose the Republic within a generation. Glenn Beck is essentially on a one-man crusade to instigate a third Red Scare. It would be funny if it weren't so frightening, speaking as a leftist.

I think it's about time to introduce you all to a relevant piece of leftist jargon: reactionary. As in, someone who defends the interests of power from threats from below. As in, Glenn Beck is the ultimate reactionary. This is a man who claimed that net neutrality, the idea that people shouldn't have to pay different rates to access different websites, constitutes a communist plot to take over the internet. His proof: some random Marxist is in favor of it. Of course, so are countless technology firms, and virtually everyone outside of the telecom giants and people who watch Glenn Beck, but this is irrelevant. Anything that leftists so much as support is guilty by association. Glenn Beck's scorched-earth policy towards leftist politics is the mark of a man who is truly unstable, certainly unfit to host his own television show on the #1 watched cable news network.

But like I said, Glenn Beck serves a purpose: to defend moneyed interests from threats, whether real or perceived, from the Left. It is thus no accident that he managed to worm his way onto Fox News in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The forces of reaction need his McCarthyite rantings now more than ever, to blunt the growth of leftist politics in a climate that is ripe for it and to co-opt people's legitimate concerns over the direction of the country into a tool for the most conservative wing of the establishment. This accounts for his leading role as a demagogue for the Tea Party movement.

Take for example, his cavalier dismissal of the March 4th protests against education cuts in California for its association with socialist groups. This association is not imagined. But what does that relationship imply? Precisely nothing beyond the fact that socialists oppose cuts in social spending, like the majority of Americans. It does not compromise the integrity of the movement, as Glenn Beck implies. On the other hand, what does Glenn Beck's opposition to the March 4th protests imply? All movements against cuts in social spending will always have socialist hangers-on. The implication, of course, is that movements against things like cuts in education can never be legitimate, since they will be invariably be associated in one form or another with socialism. The implied message Glenn Beck is giving to his viewers is that they should not move to defend their standards of living.

One of the key dynamics of the recession thus far, and it has been abundantly clear to all Americans, has been massive welfare spending for corporate interests and austerity measures for the rest of America. The Glenn Becks of the world would have us sit on our hands and do nothing in the face of this obscene injustice for fear of association with socialism. In fact, Beck routinely mocks the very idea of "social justice" on his program as a socialist/progressive Trojan horse. According to Beck, we must not question the bulk of the injustices inherent in modern American society. Beck would therefore have us think like peasants.

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