Glenn Beck – hero or villain?


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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22 Responses

  1. Heh. We may have finally found an issue regarding the future of the Right where Conor and Dan Riehl can agree:

    I propose a podcast where Conor and Riehl trash Beck and you defend him.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Wow. And I just read a similar screed at Contentions. I’m going to have to follow up on this tomorrow, but I think my thesis holds true, and this only makes my suspicions stronger. So interesting how the chips fall….Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The more anti-empire Beck gets, the more the neocons will turn on him in the way that they attacked Ron Paul.

        Look for more and more of Beck’s past to start surfacing.

        Look for more and more people to find that website (you know the one) to be hiliarious.Report

  2. Avatar Lev says:

    Interesting take. The thing that people don’t seem to get about empire, though, is that they think it has something to do with taking over other countries and enslaving native peoples, and so any entity that doesn’t do that cannot be an empire. These things often accompany empires, but they aren’t the point of them. The point of empires is to make money. Plain and simple. Of course, empires usually cloak this with some noble-sounding platitudes about civilizing the natives or how it’s the white man’s duty to etc., etc., but basically the point of empire is to make money off the backs of other people. Always has been, always will be. And in that sense, America has long been an empire.

    When countries usually give up the game is when it ceases to be profitable. Britain mostly shed its empire once the costs exceeded the benefits in India, for example. Iraq and Afghanistan have proven to be complete sinkholes for our resources, and I would hope the past eight years would make the public amenable to frank anti-imperialist sentiment. Then again, so long as the public still believes that America has been ordained by God to spread liberty to the world (a caricature, but not much of one) and as long as there are demagogues who will manipulate that sentiment into militarism (which is to say, always), I think we’re a way off from winning that argument.Report

  3. I’ve never been a big fan of the “empire” critique. I don’t really know why, expect that it seems like a lazy analysis.

    However, I do have some thoughts on defense spending and Ron Paul. While I agree that we don’t need to the size of military that we have, I don’t think Paul has the right answer. Isn’t his idea to withdrawl US forces from basically everywhere a form of quasi-isolationism? I’m not for adventures in foreign lands ala Iraq, but not every adventure into a foreign land is for frivilous or money making reasons.

    Second, what bothers me is that the same people who fault the US (rightly, in many cases) for getting involved in places where it has no business, then get angry when the US doesn’t get involved: for example, Rwanda or even currently in Darfur. I remember back in the 90s, many people were upset that the US basically sat out the Bosnian War for two years before coming in and putting a halt to the killing.

    I think instead of talking about “militarism” and “empire” we need to ask other questions. What kind and size of military do we need? Since the Cold War is over, do we need bases in Europe and Japan? What are the legitamate threats we face in 21st century? When is it necessary to invade a sovereign nation? How do we cut back on defense and not turn our backs on the international community? The answers could very well mean defense cuts. But they will be answered with real thought and not just getting rid of something we don’t like.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Farmer says:

    I believe we can add a diagnosis to the DSM III — Beck/Palin Hate/Obsession Disorder, with Friedersdorf and Sullivan as case studies.Report

  5. Avatar North says:

    I never thought I’d wish Beck well. In as much as he really wants to ratchet down American foreign entanglements though, I wish him godspeed.Report

  6. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Are we witnessing the collapse of the Left?Report

  7. Avatar mike farmer says:

    The left left collapsed years ago — they are being held up by media props, myth, image and ignorance.Report

  8. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:

    Hello, North, how’re ya doin’ old palsy….*waves hand*
    Mike: dude, I believe you’re my hero…*waves hand, again*Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Preparing for Turkey day Bob (even if it is on this barbaric cold dark day that you Americans insist on having it on) and wishing you and the Missus a very happy one as well.Report

  9. Avatar mike farmer says:

    Happy Thanksgiving North and Bob — If you can’t be thankful for anything else, be thankful you aren’t in a prison cell with Al Franken as a cellmate.Report

  10. Avatar mike farmer says:

    North, I put one too many “left”s in there.Report

  11. Avatar mike farmer says:

    If you are center left, does mean you have to strain right to keep from tipping further left? Is there anything in the center except Frum’s dirty socks?Report

    • Avatar Cascadian says:

      Unless it’s circular like a clock instead of linear. Then you can have center 6:00 or center 12:00.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I guess Mike, it really depends on the subject. I’d probably classify as neoliberal if any category would fit. So I have a lot of people to the left of me and when we’re talking agriculture, global warming or economics they find I lean very hard right. But in general, especially socially, I’m liberal or libertarian.

      And Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.Report