“I’m not a journalist…I’m a thinker.”
Anyone who claims to be a thinker is portraying himself to an audience in one of two ways: 1) that he is not brain dead or 2) that he sees himself as intelligent if not highly intelligent. Without actually giving Beck an IQ test or breaking into his high school records, perhaps the depth of his thinking can be determined by his understanding of our world or lack thereof.
In the previous post, it was pointed out that Beck does not understand how foundations work. Let us review Beck’s take on the following subjects:
- Cap and Trade
- International Regimes
- The Most Dangerous Man in America
- His Model of America
Cap and Trade
On 4/26/10 Beck asserted that cap and trade is basically a progressive mechanism of redistribution from very rich companies to small companies overseas. Is this the case, or is cap and trade something else, something more involved?
According to Sightline Institute, cap and trade is as follows:
“A ‘cap’ is a legal limit on the quantity of greenhouse gases our economy can emit each year. Over time, the legal limit diminishes—the cap gets tighter—until we’ve hit our targets and launched a clean-energy economy. The cap acts as a solid backstop behind all other climate policies. Energy efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances, smart-growth plans, building codes, transit investments, tax credits for renewable energy, public investment in energy research and development, utility regulatory reforms—all manner of public actions can move us toward our climate goals. But the cap is our only guarantee that we will get there. There is no substitute for the certainty of an emissions cap.
‘Trade’ means that, by law, companies may swap among themselves the permission to emit greenhouse gases. In other words, there is a market for pollution “permits” or “allowances.” The point of such a trading system is to put a price on pollution that will travel throughout the economy, motivating businesses and families to find ways to trim greenhouse gases. By turning the permission to pollute into a commodity that is bought and sold, everyone up and down the economic ladder gets new opportunities to make and save money. Trade hitches the flexible power of the marketplace—the mobilized ingenuity of millions of diverse, dispersed, innovative, self interested people—to our climate goals.”
Unlike Beck’s interpretation of a forced redistribution of wealth,, cap and trade is a market mechanism for the reduction of total emissions of green house gases. Either he misunderstands what the mechanism is or he’s purposely misrepresenting just how cap and trade is supposed to function. He could do a little research and find out how cap and trade works, but that would not serve his purpose (to proselytize opponents to cap and trade).
During the same show, he quoted from the “Financial Times” of that day: “The U.S. is preparing to pivot from domestic regulatory reform to push for a tough, new international regime.” Beck’s comment: “That’s a global government...You know, a new world order for your money.”
An international regime is typically a response to a need to coordinate actions among countries around an issue, in this case financial rules of order. It’s not a global government, it’s typically an intergovernmental organization. NAFTA is a regional, international trading regime, not a government!
Throwing around the phrase “global government” might serve to scare and rouse his apparently gullible audience members, but it does not convey either an understanding of international regimes or an honesty about what they are.
The Most Dangerous Man in America
In an article on his website, Beck declares again that Cass Sunstein is “the most dangerous man in America. This is because Sunstein developed a theory of “libertarian paternalism” which supports giving people the freedom of choice while steering or nudging people’s decisions in ways that will make their lives better. So nudging people in directions of improvement makes Sunstein “the most dangerous man in America.” Actually, there many people on the right who admire Cass Sunstein.
Who might be a better candidate for “the most dangerous man in America?” On May 5th, Peter Brooks, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense explained on CNN, that “Some analysts…have said that there may be as many as 100 individuals in the United States that have been trained in Pakistani [terrorist] camps.” So we don’t have a name to offer Mr. Beck, but even if there is only one lone wolf somewhere in the U. S, who has been trained in a Pakistan camp and is planning to kill as many Americans as he can, Beck, the “thinker,” argues that Cass Sunstein is the most dangerous man in America. Perhaps he forgot our war on terrorism.
A Model of America
On May 4th, Beck tried to explain that the United States is a “fragile…3 legged table.” The table top, he explained, is the Constitution. Thethree legs, he suggested were “faith, hope and charity,” his favorite themes as of late. Faith, hope and charity hold up the Constitution according to Mr. Beck.
I’m not sure how charity, the giving of oneself in money or actions, hold up the Constitution. If charity were sufficient, say during the Great Depression, we would not have had the New Deal to help those that charity could not help. We would not need welfare, our society’s safety net, if charity were sufficient.
thinks that the SCOTUS does not support the Constitution
Alternatively, it says here that the rulings of the Supreme Courtuphold the Constitution. Maybe Beck forgot about the Supreme Court. Maybe America is a four legged table and not so fragile after all.
I’m not sure how faith holds up the Constitution. Unless by “faith” Beck means popular support. Without the support, or at least the consent of the people, the Constitution might have been tossed out by the people who did not support it, say revolutionaries. Does faith mean the same thing as support? Not in any dictionary I’ve read. Let’s give Beck the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was talking about faith in our system of government, our Constitution. Faith is not a word educated people would use to describe this support or consent.
What about hope? How does hope hold the Constitution up? Hope is a feeling about how things will work out in the future. How hope itself holds up or supports the Constitution is a mystery that Beck did not explain.
What about the structures and organization of National Security? If we could not defend ourselves against foreign enemies, we may not still have our Constitution in place, still used as our governing charter. We might well be speaking Arabic, Russian, German, Japanese or Spanish if we did not have in place the defense capabilities that protect us and our Constitutional form of government! Maybe the fact that the Defense Department protects our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms slipped Beck’s mind, but isn’t that the point of this post?
One More Hint
There is one more hint that questions whether Mr. Beck is smart, clever, intelligent or whatever. A previous post described two, easy to fact check, lies that he told online. The white lie was a simple math error, and the whopper was a claim to having 3.2 million viewers the week of April 25th when in fact he had about a million less than that. If YOU were going to lie about something online that was linked fromYOUR newsletter, wouldn’t it be something you would not want to get caught saying, especially when the spiel about the TV ratings began with “It all starts with honesty?” That doesn’t seem real bright to me.
He’s very convincing . That’s what matters to him and his supporters, but the question nonetheless begs to be asked: why did he really drop out of Yale after taking one course?
Would a pundit, an expert, a sage or savant, a well educated person put forward such an obviously flawed model of America,misrepresent or misunderstand foundations, cap and trade and international regimes? What honest, deep thinker would actually believe that a lawyer–respected by conservatives–who argues for libertarian paternalism, is somehow more dangerous than a sleeper cell of would-be terrorists waiting to activate a plan to kill Americans?
Finally, a charlatan is a person who pretends to have more skill or knowledge than they actually have, a quack. A charlatan, like everyone else, is a thinker, just not a deep thinker.
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