Thursday, July 1, 2010

Glenn Beck: thinker, pundit or charlatan? (Volume II)

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I’m not a journalist…I’m a thinker.”
Glenn Beck

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.

Foundations Revisited

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:
  1. Cap and Trade
  2. International Regimes
  3. The Most Dangerous Man in America
  4. 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 Institutecap 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).
International Regimes

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
Cass Sunstein

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
Constitutional Convention

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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Unknown said...

I like this site. I also have interest in unmasking the charlatan that Glenn Beck is. I would enjoy helping you out with this site. I'll let you know if I find out anything. It's like a Glenn Beck Watchdog site.

Good work,


John said...

Talk about spin. You should win an Emmy for this piece of double talk.

If for example the goal was to reduce emissions there would be a cap bill. Not a cap & trade bill. How does it reduce emissions by allowing companies to continue to pollute as long as they have the money to pay for it? Especially those companies that just pass the cost on to the consumer such as the power companies.

Your other points for the most part are deliberately misleading about the direction that Beck is trying to take his listeners. He is talking about a way of life that many in America grew up in and want to perpetuate, in that their lives were based on God,Family,& Country. Where you worked hard to get ahead, respected yourself, your neighbors, and public authority, where you took risks and enjoyed the rewards of success and learned from failures.Where you were responsible for yourself and where you thought everybody who wanted to work had the chance for success. He is talking about community, where we take care of each other, look out for those less fortunate, and do not have to rely on those in Government who purportedly know better than anyone how we should live our lives and have controls for every step we take.

If you had an open mind and were not trying to spin you would acknowledge the things Beck says that are true, which are many, instead of choosing to present a slant on those things you don't agree with. Is Beck all knowing? No. Does Beck push a way of life contrary to the Left philosophy? Yes Is everything that Beck says based on hard facts? No. Is what Beck says trying to promote a way of life? Yes Beck is an entertainer and a commentator. Most people that watch know this. Most people who watch research what he says and make up their own minds.

I believe Beck performs a needed service in that he does make available facts about our current government that you can find nowhere else in the media. You can, once you know the basis,find out about his claims through research to find if they are true or not.

The Left has made Beck out to be much more than he is. They seem to fear him, I know not why. Beck is just a conduit for those who want to learn about current affairs and history and gives us a starting point from which to launch our learning experience.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

Beck is a conduit for those who are willing pawns in the Fox misinformation machine, and this has been demonstrated amply this week when they ran with Breitbart's lie. If Beck is a starting point, then you're not interested in learning history; you're interested in his agenda: keeping him wealthy.

I do have an open mind. If you had spent more time on this blog reading more than one post, you'd know that I agreed with his outrage last Monday about the program to assassinate Americans suspected of being involved with terrorism.

I'm just going to make this a post. See "Dialogical exchange with a Beckerhead."

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe how great your misunderstanding of the english language is. When Beck describes the Constitution as being supported by Faith, hope & charity he is saying that if we have Faith, Hope, and Charity the Constitution will work correctly.

As for you comment "If charity were sufficient...we would not have had the New Deal...We would not need welfare, our society’s safety net, if charity were sufficient". Did it ever occur to you that maybe these programs were not the right idea and that we would have done better with out them? They have destroyed many people drive to work.

A crooked president said we needed them and now we have 20 million people addicted to Govt hand outs. Where in the Constitution does it talk about handouts?

The Glenn Beck Review said...

Let me get this straight: the Constitution is supported by charity means that if we have charity, the Constitution will work correctly.

Well, that is NOT what he said, but I'll bite. Who in that universe you and Glenn Beck live in, gives of their free will to the salaries of the Supreme Court? In other words, how does charity make the Constitution work correctly?

Let me address your last paragraph because it cuts to the crux of your concern I think. Where in the Constitution is protecting the public interest proscribed? What part of the Constitution specifically stops the government from creating a safety net for its citizens?

The framers of the Constitution didn't create a document that spelled out the details of how society will function; they created a framework for a legislature to spell out those details. When the American elites of capitalism became threatened by a significant American, socialist movement in the 20th Century, the people's rage against capitalism was mollified by the creation of the welfare state. People were, in essence, bought off.

You and Mr. Beck have the Constitution confused with the organizations of religion. THEY are supported by faith (in God), hope (to get to heaven) and charity. The Constitution does not, and no amount of rationalization or changing the meanings of words will make it so. The government is not a religion no matter how much you, Mr. Beck and David Barton wish it so.

The Glenn Beck Review said...

jkmcgowen, sorry this took so long. Your comment got lost. YOu wrote, "Your other points for the most part are deliberately misleading about the direction that Beck is trying to take his listeners. He is talking about a way of life that many in America grew up in and want to perpetuate, in that their lives were based on God,Family,& Country."

Beck is a master at waxing nostalgic about a false narrative of the old days. Things were not so great back then for blacks, and the Civil Rights Act among other federal programs have helped make things better for many people.

I don't think the left has made Beck out to be more than he is, a rodeo clown in his words. It's his followers who have made Beck out to be more than an entertainer. The rodeo clown makes up facts about the current government; you're just too ignorant the catch his deceptions. Make sure you don't get higher education; Beck disapproves of that.