An American Stain: Glenn Beck And The Radical Right or “Good Riddance Glenn Beck!”

He is perhaps the most paranoid man in America and he makes anyone who has ever claimed to have been abducted by aliens seem sane by comparison. Hell, we should rename paranoid schizophrenia after him. And he has brought the Radical Right Wing closer to the mainstream than ever before. His name is Glenn Beck and for the last few years, he has made it his mission to create elaborate conspiracy theories to bring down Democrats, and more specifically, liberals..

Glenn Beck is by far the biggest hate and fear merchant in the media today. An alcoholic and drug addict for 15 years of his life, he now gets high on spreading lies, rewriting history, and spreading right wing propaganda. And in the spirit of this conspiracy spinner, let’s weave a conspiracy of our own, except this one has a basis in fact.

It all begins in the 1950’s. Democrats had been in power for two decades and were the champions of American progress. They had emerged from the ashes of the Civil War to make America the most powerful nation in the world.

The Radical Right, also known as the Christian Right, started growing steadily although it was out of the mainstream. But they had enough power to change some facets of American life such as moving forward with their quest to turn America into a Christian state. And they even created a group known as the John Birch Society.

Founded in 1958 by Robert Welch, Jr. and 12 other members including Fred Koch (Koch Industries), the society has a branch in all 50 states and has been very instrumental in the campaign to smear Democrats as communists, a strategy they adopted after Joseph McCarthy used the accusations to stoke the Red Scare of 1947-1957. Many on the extreme right wing saw opportunity in using this strategy. They could use fear to scare Americans into hating liberals. The John Birch Society didn’t invent this strategy though. The man who created the strategy of branding Democrats as communists, was a right wing author and conspiracy theorist named W. Cleon Skousen. This man accused Eisenhower of being a communist. He hypocritically worked FOR the government in a New Deal program, and the FBI. He accused anyone who disagreed with him of being a communist, and he is a direct influence of Glenn Beck. The man even ran the local police like a communist would. He was extremely paranoid, specialized in conspiracy theories, and excessively exercised the law to the extreme. He even called some high profile moderate republicans “communists” after Nixon made contact with China. Skousen was the Glenn Beck of his era except Skousen was rejected by the mainstream Republican Party.

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With the John Birch Society and Cleon Skousen leading the way, the Radical Right increasingly embraced and spread unfounded fears of Freemasons, Illuminati, liberals, and Jews being the driving force behind an “international communist conspiracy”. Throughout its first decade of existence, the John Birch Society led a campaign against the Civil Rights Act and called for the impeachment of Republican Chief Justice Earl Warren after he wrote the majority decision in Brown v. Board of Education. They even called for the disbanding of the United Nations. Robert Welch then began labeling Eisenhower as a communist for not being the puppet President they desired. This outrageous charge prompted the intellectuals of the party like William F. Buckley to renounce the group outright. An early friend of Welch, Buckley realized that his friend and the John Birch Society were extreme right wingers and he regarded the attacks on Eisenhower and liberals as “paranoid and idiotic libels” and attempted unsuccessfully to purge Welch from the group. Buckley would go on to found the National Review, and Buckley’s biographer John B. Judis wrote that “Buckley was beginning to worry that with the John Birch Society growing so rapidly, the right-wing upsurge in the country would take an ugly, even Fascist turn rather than leading toward the kind of conservatism National Review had promoted.” Even Barry Goldwater and Ayn Rand believed the claims of the group to be crazy. Of the JBS, Rand stated “I consider the Birch Society futile, because they are not for Capitalism but merely against Communism.” But the attacks from the far right did not cease, they increased, especially against local government, libraries, school boards, parent-teacher associations, and mental health programs. The JBS even claimed that Lyndon Johnson’s fight against communism in Vietnam was part of a communist plot aimed at taking over the United States.

The John Birch Society would get more radical as time went on, and the Radical Right now wholly supports outsourcing jobs to China and includes KKK members and neo-Nazis as valued partners as the rhetoric against minorities has increased. In addition to the KKK and neo-Nazis, other groups associated with the far right include the Christian Right, pro-life groups, The Heritage Foundation, anti-environmentalists, neo-Confederates, and those who support corporate power. But this coalition had been unable to cross into the mainstream for decades, that is until Glenn Beck brought their message to live television on the Fox News Channel.

Beck began his career as a radio host at the age of 18 in Utah. He then moved on to a radio station in Washington D.C. and then to one in New Haven. While in New Haven, Beck would take one theology class at Yale who only accepted him upon the recommendation of Joe Lieberman. But Beck couldn’t cut it in college and dropped out soon after. That one class remains the extent of Becks post-secondary experience. He then went on to “self-educate” himself reading books by authors such as Adolf Hitler, Billy Graham, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He would then work at a Phoenix radio station where he would spark outrage and controversy when he phoned the wife of a rival radio host and mocked her miscarriage on the air. He would then mock a Chinese American caller at another radio station. Beck would be fired multiple times throughout his radio career and would begin the Glenn Beck Program with a station in Tampa which still airs today. Beck then made the jump to television when CNN gave him his own program, and then moved to Fox News Channel.

Somewhere in between the transition from radio to television, Beck decided to appeal to an audience that would bring high ratings to his program. By specifically tailoring his program to appeal to the right wing, Beck carved out a dedicated fan base that absolutely believed everything Beck would say on air. The self righteous, egotistical, narcissist would adopt his hero Cleon Skousen’s line of accusing liberals/Democrats/progressives of being secret communists in league with terrorists for the effort to take over the world and destroy Democracy. To that end, Beck has gone on a crusade to rewrite history, shamelessly and falsely comparing Democrat created programs to stuff the Nazis did. One of these programs being the health care bill and embryonic stem cell research. In March 2009, Beck said,

“So here you have Barack Obama going in and spending the money on embryonic stem cell research. … 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.”

The above claim is historically inaccurate. Stem Cell research first came about in the 1960’s and is not leading to eugenics as Beck claims. It is being done to find cures to diseases. And eugenics did not lead to the Final Solution. The Final Solution was Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews. Eugenics had nothing to do with it. Anti-semitism did. His statement is also hypocritical because the Nazi accusation would have to apply to Nancy Reagan as well, since she also supports stem cell research because of the possibility that it may cure Alzheimer’s, a disease that Ronald Reagan suffered from.

What Beck seems to misunderstand is that many of the social programs of the Nazis were not evil. Beck just wants you to believe that since the Nazis did something , it must be evil. Universal health care is not evil. Building roads is not evil. What made the Nazis evil, was their quest for global domination and their attempt to exterminate the Jews. Beck has also made the misconception that the Nazis were socialists. Although the party’s full name is the National Socialist German Workers Party, the word “socialist” was only included in an attempt to draw socialists to join the Nazi banner. Many of the founding members of the party did not want to do this as they had a deep seated hatred for socialists. Very few socialists actually joined up. Historians and political experts have classified fascism as a right wing extremist movement since its beginnings.

Beck has made several other attempts to rewrite history, such as when he claimed that Civil Rights was ushered in by Republicans, which is a complete white washing of history. It was Democrats and moderate Republicans that passed Civil Rights. In reality, the radical right that Beck speaks for were totally against the Civil Rights Act and still are today. They just want to claim ownership of it so they can tear it down. Remember that racists are a large part of the Tea Party and extreme right wing movement that Beck is part of. Beck has also attempted to Christianize America. He and pal David Barton (who has been instrumental in rewriting Texas school books) partnered up to present the lie that the Founding Fathers were Christians who were against separation of church and state. Once again, Beck is lying through his teeth. The founders were mostly Freemasons and Deists that believed in a Supreme Being or Creator but not necessarily a specific God of a specific religion. And they absolutely believed in separation of church and state (see article, The Wall Between Church And State, for more on this topic). Beck has also claimed that racism had nothing to do with slavery which is also a lie. Southern whites believed African- Americans to be inferior human beings and many still do. Beck seems to have a problem with black people as well. Much of his most controversial rhetoric came about after President Obama took office. Here are just a couple quotes that Beck has made about Obama and the African-American community.

“This president I think has exposed himself over and over again as a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture….I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.” – on President Obama, sparking an advertiser exodus from his FOX News show, July 28, 2009

“The only Katrina victims we’re seeing on television are the scumbags.” – “The Glenn Beck Program,” Sept. 9, 2005

Glenn Beck has proven himself to be a racist and his followers love him for it. Beck has also proven his hatred for the families of the 9-11 victims even though he created the 9-12 Project to supposedly represent the unity between Americans the day after the tragedy. Beck claims this group isn’t political but it is. The group has been very active in conservative causes and is allied with the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Beck doesn’t really care about 9-11 at all. The only thing he cares about is exploiting the tragedy for personal and political gain.
Of the victim’s families, he once said,

“When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining.” – “The Glenn Beck Program,” Sept. 9, 2005

In addition to obvious hatred of these families, Beck has also demonstrated his hatred of liberals by cheering for disasters that occur in liberal leaning states. For example, when forest fires raged in California in 2007 and destroyed many homes, Beck had the heartless audacity to claim that the people there had it coming. On his program he stated, “I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.” Just last year Beck opposed the Muslim community center that will be built 2 blocks away from Ground Zero of the World Trade Center. Beck incited hatred and violence against American Muslims leading to the vandalism of mosques and attacks on Arab-Americans. But Beck has demonstrated his hatred of Muslims before. In 2006, Beck interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim U.S. congressman, and had this to say,

“I have been nervous about this interview with you because what I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies. … And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.”

And if you didn’t think it could get any darker than that, it does. Glenn Beck has called for outright violence against liberals telling his followers that they should “shoot them in the forehead”. At least three would be assassins have pointed to Glenn Becks show as the inspiration for their actions.

On July 18, 2010, Byron Williams was stopped by the California Highway Patrol and engaged in a shootout with law enforcement. He later said he was on his way to murder individuals at the Tides Foundation and ACLU and that Glenn Beck inspired him to do it.

In October 2010, Charles Wilson was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for threatening Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with “violence” in phone calls to her office. The hate filled threats were in part inspired by Glenn Beck, according to Wilson’s cousin.

And finally, in December 2010, Gregory Lee Giusti was sentenced to a year and nine months in federal prison for threatening to destroy former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home if she voted in support of the health care reform law. Giusti had watched Glenn Beck burn Pelosi in effigy and became inspired.

Beck has a history of inciting violence against Democrats. He has even fantasized about shooting Michael Moore, and be-heading President Obama. The message Beck is clearly sending to his followers is that he wants them to kill liberals, plain and simple.

The problem I have with Beck, is that sometimes I can’t tell whether he really believes what he says, or if he just does this stuff for ratings and money. He makes 32 million dollars a year. The idiots of the right wing have literally made him rich. When Beck talks about how much he loves America, he has to use Vicks under his eyes to make himself tear up. And as further evidence that his rhetoric is merely a gimmick, Beck, referring to fans, once said, “If you take what I say as the gospel, you’re an idiot.” And Beck is correct. His fans are idiots. Idiotic enough to believe any word that comes out of his mouth. But, why? Beck tells his followers exactly what they want to hear and he gives these crack pots a voice that they never had before. Their ideas and beliefs can now be spread nationally. The intellectuals of the Republican Party have lost control of their party to the ignorant who have no sense of history beyond what Glenn Beck has told them and he’s not even a college graduate. If he had not dropped out of school, perhaps Beck would be very different. Beck wouldn’t attack education as much as he does if he actually had one.

Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Cleon Skousen, and picking up the causes of the John Birch Society, Glenn Beck has proclaimed himself the voice of the right wing movement that seeks to distort history and force their beliefs on the rest of us. To them, if you don’t agree with them, you’re an enemy of the state that must be discredited and destroyed. Beck is losing his audience steadily, but it isn’t enough to stop the right wing. Even if Beck’s show is cancelled, the damage has been done, and it will reverberate across the country. If we allow the extreme right wing to brainwash people and rewrite the history books, America will end up going backwards. Imagine America going back to a time before the Progressive Movement. Minorities would be terrorized and women treated like slaves. Health care would only be available to the wealthy and people would be working for pennies. And these poor ignorant followers are cheering for their own future misery. Glenn Beck and the right wing are not patriotic Americans, they are a stain upon it.