I'm not a political commentator (for the most part) but in the same spirit of "Rant" from last post, I ask: what in the world has come over the "conservatives" who watch Glenn Beck? Beck's 5 p.m. (Eastern) show garners up to 3.4 million viewers at times. You know who you are. Among you are likely many of the nearly 9000 who paid from $250 to $750 to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, where he gave the closing speech.
I think seeing an excerpt from that speech was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" for me where he is concerned. Put briefly, in the speech Beck rails against and maligns the "progressive" movement at length, complains about government taking taxes to fund what it decides the people need (of course without mentioning that the people themselves elect persons from among themselves to become our government)....Beck continues by commending himself on never feeling entitled to a free education...and then announces that he educated himself--at the library, where the books are FREE. I guess he does feel entitled to read the books that magically appear in the free buildings that sprout up solely through the will of God around the country.
That gaffe spurred me to the internet to find out who this idiot was. He readily calls himself a recovering alcoholic...which is much more socially acceptable than mentioning the fact that he also admits getting "high" (using marajuana and cocaine) every day for 15 years. I'm sensing a source of brain damage there.
He's written books. In his 2009 "A?guing With Idiots" he ranks the "Top Ten Bastards of All Time." Remember, "Number 1" is his pick for worst bastard of all time...
10. Pol Pot (leader of the Khmer Rouge, responsible for ~1.7 million deaths)
9. Robert Mugabe (dictator of the failing African state of Zimbabwe)
8. Teddy Roosevelt (our 26th president)
7. Bernie Madoff (ponzi scheme swindler of 2009)
6. Adolf Hitler (murdered ~6 million Jews and others)
5. Keith Olbermann (apparently for his penchant for pointing out Beck's errors and self-contradictions on his own show)
4. Pontius Pilate (for washing his hands, I imagine, as though it weren't the will of God)
3. FDR (our 32nd president)
2. Tiger Woods (the pro golfer) ...and, drum roll please:
1. Woodrow Wilson (our 28th president)
And what did Wilson and FDR do that was worse than killing millions of innocent people? FDR was "progressive." Wilson stepped on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution's grant of the right of freedom of speech. Hmmm. (Immediately I wonder, why isn't Founding Father and 2nd president John Adams at the top of that list? Remember the Alien and Sedition Acts? Even Adams regretted signing them soon after he did it, according to his correspondence.) Interesting list. If I were going to make up such a list, it would look a lot different.
So then I came across this quote from Beck: "you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research, and then some, fundamentally changing – remember, those great progressive doctors are the ones who brought us Eugenics. It was the progressive movement and it [sic] science. Let’s put science truly in her place. If evolution is right, why don’t we just help out evolution? That was the idea. And sane people agreed with it! And it was from America. Progressive movement in America. Eugenics. In case you don’t know what Eugenics led us to: the Final Solution. A master race! A perfect person. The stuff that we are facing is absolutely frightening." (aired March 9, 2009)
If he weren't on national TV equating stem cell research with eradication of the Jewish race, I'd think his stupidity was funny. (I'm ignoring his lack of knowledge about the origin and basis of the theory of eugenics as well. Funny thing is, the basis of eugenics would agree with Beck, since the original British theory began with the idea that social welfare programs that encourage the empoverished and "less able" to reproduce were counterproductive to society as a whole. Sounds to me like another portion of Beck's CPAC speech. But I digress.)
Stem cells provide promise for vast innovations in medical treatments for severe ilness and injuries. To promote fear of such advances will only further hinder the development of promising therapies. (if you are interested in what stem cells really are, I recommend the National Institutes of Health basic primer on the subject.) I literally cheered when I heard that the federal ban on funding for embryonic stem cell research was lifted.
So my opening question remains: how is it possible that Glenn Beck has become the superstar of the conservative movement? Why would anyone with any intelligence watch him? (As a footnote, I heard no press reports about George F. Will's CPAC speech, which is available online and was quite good (except for the 2 or 3 sentences wherein he equates auto insurance with health insurance, ignoring the obvious differences). I'd listen to an Oxford and Princeton educated PhD anytime...especially over someone like Beck who barely passed high school.)
If anyone out there can explain this Glenn Beck thing to me...please do. End of Rant.