Shorter Glenn Beck: Please Pay Attention to Me Again

Monday, December 12, AD 2011

Oh look, Glenn Beck said something outlandish to gain attention for himself.

“If you have a big government progressive, or a big government progressive in Obama… ask yourself this, Tea Party: is it about Obama’s race? Because that’s what it appears to be to me. If you’re against him but you’re for this guy [Gingrich], it must be about race. I mean, what else is it? It’s the policies that matter.”

Glenn Beck is like a lot of not very smart people who dabble in philosophy and history.   He’s read a couple of Ronald Pestritto books and now he reduces everything to the same paradigm.  Everyone who deviates slightly from Beck’s brand of conservatism is just a re-incarnation of Teddy Roosevelt.

Now is Beck completely off about Newt?  No, as I’ve said before, Newt is a conservative technocrat, which is really no kind of conservative at all.  But to state categorically that there is NO difference whatsoever between Obama and Newt, and to indicate that any conservative who supports the latter over the former is a racist, means that you should not be taken seriously.

And that leads me to a couple of general comments about conservative critics of Newt Gingrich.  First, stop acting like the man is a closet Bolshevik.  Many of you have made fine points about Gingrich’s less than conservative instincts.  But not to content to make subtle points, you choose the headline grabbing THIS GOES TO 11 hyperbole that only weakens your argument.  Second, if Newt is so terrible please indicate which of the other candidates you prefer.  I can understand the establishment pundits looking to engage in intellectual jujitsu in order to weaken Gingrich in favor of Mittens, but what is the aim of conservative pundits?  If you actively support Perry or Santorum or even Bachmann, fine.  All of the above are certainly more conservative than Newt, and in the case of the guys named Rick are also much better candidates.  But then you have to make the case for those candidates and not simply the case against Newt.  Because if you’re not crazy about those candidates either, then you simply come off as a purist crank who won’t be content until the re-animated corpse of Ronald Reagan emerges as the front-runner.

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16 Responses to Shorter Glenn Beck: Please Pay Attention to Me Again

  • I’m not so sure about Reagan.

  • If we’re going to resurrect, I would prefer we resurrect Goldwater.

  • Sadly, c matt, for some conservatives today Reagan would fail their test of purity.

    And are we resurrecting the pro-choice libertarian Goldwater?

  • “Glenn Beck is like a lot of not very smart people who dabble in philosophy and history.”

    I am definitely going to repeat that and pretend I thought of it. That’s just beautiful.

  • And that leads me to a couple of general comments about conservative critics of Newt Gingrich.

    He’s a politician, and he’s got issues in his past. Not as bad of a politician as some others, and his issues aren’t as big as some others. *shrug* It’s always a matter of who will screw up the least and screw us over the least.

  • Beck’s comment is idiotic, but it seems to be a new stupid Newt comment coming to the surface every day. The effusive praise of Andy Stern in 2008 is the latest recent Anewteurysm to come back to haunt the front runner.

    A choice between Svelte Romney and Chubby Romney pretty much the definition of a Hobson’s Choice.

    Third look at Perry.

  • Glen Beck is a loosely wired ignorant man and this comment demonstrates that fact. In regard to Gingrich, I will say one thing for him: the debates show that he is unafraid to fight and to get bad press from the media. Romney strikes me as a Tom Dewey redo of the 1948 election, a man who believes he can coast to victory. I have little love for Gingrich Lord knows, but if it comes down to the Weathervane and Gingrich, I reluctantly go for Gingrich. It is still quite early however, and I could see some other member of the pack coming to the fore and getting the Anyone-but-Romney-vote which I think will be the decisive factor in this primary contest.

  • “And are we resurrecting the pro-choice libertarian Goldwater?”

    To say the least. He arranged an abortion for one of his daughters in the fifties. His wife was a big time supporter of Planned Parenthood in Arizona. When it looked like he was going to lose in 1980 he came out in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and right to lifers went door to door for him making the difference. He then did an immediate about face after he got re-elected and spent his last term making caustic comments about the right-to-lifers who saved his political hide. In retirement he was a reliable talking head when the networks wanted some Republican who would give them a pro-abort comment, be pro-gay rights or criticize the religious right.

  • I am an independent and won’t vote in a GOP primary.

    In 1952, Eisenhower basically could have been a Dem or a Rep.

    Romney is no Supreme Allied Commander, and he has some seriously bad “baggage.”

    One wonders, with the money Romney has and the professional GOP party support he seems to enjoy, why no one has thought to “package” him as a self-made, successful man who alone can solve America’s problems.

    Too bad he has such horrid baggage (which he refuses to disavow) and, like Beck, is a light weight.

    I thought his father was okay. What happened with Mitt? Why would anyone name his kid Mitt?

    For me, it is anybody but Romney. Rich, sleezy [email protected] offer $10,000 bets to tell the rest of us to shut up the eff up.

    Only thing I want to say about Goldwater: maybe he would have fought the so-called war in Vietnam.

  • For me, it is anybody but Romney. Rich, sleezy [email protected] offer $10,000 bets to tell the rest of us to shut up the eff up.

    To be fair, I do somewhat the same thing when I tell my husband or other family member “betcha a thousand bucks” or “betcha twenty bucks” or “fill in the blank large amount of money” on a topic. I wouldn’t phrase it as “shut the eff up” but that’s because I actually say “shut the Eff up” if I mean it. It means “look, you do NOT know what the heck you’re talking about, so stop blowing smoke.”

    I can’t believe I’m actually somewhat defending Mitt in some shape, but there’s that. The phrase doesn’t automatically mean “I am a rich moron.” If anything, I’m a lower middle class baka.

  • I considered going to find a clip of the exchange to see if I could detect the annoyance that accompanies my use of that phrase, then I realized that I doubt I’d be able to tell if he was annoyed.

  • A choice between Svelte Romney and Chubby Romney pretty much the definition of a Hobson’s Choice.

    This exchange between the two affirms that.

  • ‘ “… If you’re against him but you’re for this guy [Gingrich], it must be about race. I mean, what else is it? It’s the policies that matter.” ‘

    Oh brother.

  • Beck is a Mormon convert. His old FNC shows were chocked full of Mormon theology.
    http://youtu.be/NgnRN-GOLLI
    The DVD he mentions is also Mormon in origin and has been denounced by the Ohio Historical Society.
    http://ohio-archaeology.blogspot.com/2010/12/commentary-on-lost-civilizations-of.html

  • Foxfier – Have I been watching too much anime lately, or did you just slip into Japanese? (“Both” is an acceptable answer.)

    T. Shaw – What makes you think of Romney as a lightweight?

  • Pinky-
    C, all of the above and having a love of gratuitous Japanese. ^.^ It’s got to be possible to watch too much anime, but I haven’t hit that line yet myself….

Dumbing Down the Federalist Papers

Tuesday, June 14, AD 2011

I remain fairly ambivalent about Glenn Beck (an ambivalence that got me involved in a heated debate on this very site, but that’s another matter).  His style, especially on television, just doesn’t appeal to me.  He also seems to believe that having the dial turned to 11 is the only way to get his point across.  That said, I am appreciative of his efforts to teach American history to his audience.  He’s had some excellent academic guests like Ronald Pestritto on his show, and he has an appreciation of some of the nuances of American political thought that go over a lot of other heads.

Then I saw this, and I’m ready to grab the pitchforks.  From the product description:

Adapting a selection of these essential essays—pseudonymously authored by the now well-documented triumvirate of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay—for a contemporary audience, Glenn Beck has had them reworked into “modern” English so as to be thoroughly accessible to anyone seeking a better understanding of the Founding Fathers’ intent and meaning when laying the groundwork of our government. Beck provides his own illuminating commentary and annotations and, for a number of the essays, has brought together the viewpoints of both liberal and conservative historians and scholars, making this a fair and insightful perspective on the historical works that remain the primary source for interpreting Constitutional law and the rights of American citizens.

So it’s the New American Bible for the Federalist Papers.  I wonder if Bishop Trautman consulted on this project.

Just as the average person can probably handle such mysterious words as “ineffable,”  I’m sure that most Americans can pretty much figure out what’s going on with the Federalist Papers without Glenn Beck re-translating it for us.  Yes, there are no doubt some tricky words in the 500+ pages and 85 essays, but that’s what footnotes are for.  Annotated versions of the Federalist Papers already exist, and those should suffice for Beck’s purposes.  Besides, part of the joy of the Federalist Papers is reading Madison and Hamilton’s beautiful prose.

Jeff Goldstein elaborates further on why this is problematic.

On the one hand, we’re supposed to believe that anyone can read and understand the Constitution — meaning, we don’t need a special priesthood to interpret the thing (and of course, this is true, assuming a base level of reading comprehension and intelligence, and assuming one can get past the fact that the document itself is like, over a hundred years old!); and yet at the same time, the Federalist Papers, we’re to understand today, are so arcane and abstruse and unintelligible that they aren’t even being taught anymore — a problem happily solved by Beck’s latest offering, a book that rewrites the Federalist Papers using modern language, which can be yours for only however many dollars (through the website, blah blah blah).

I agree with Jeff that this sends a very poorly thought out mixed message.  In fact Beck is playing into the hands of those who criticize the concept of originalism.  He’s conceding that the language of this era is difficult for people to comprehend, so the only way to make these writings more widely accessible is to completely re-write them.  It is a contradiction that I doubt Beck has thoughtfully considered.

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21 Responses to Dumbing Down the Federalist Papers

  • Allow me to play devil’s advocate. The Federalist Papers are 700 pages long. For a slow reader like me, that’s a bit much for something that’s probably not going to change my opinion on anything. I’m not looking for a New American Bible of the Federalist Papers, but I wouldn’t mind a Cliffs Notes or a book of selected readings.

    Then again, it looks like Beck’s book is 500 pages long, so I could be completely off-base here.

  • A few select essays would be fine, but I think re-writing them in modern prose is a bad idea, and for the reasons Goldstein suggests.

    Now if you want a Cliff’s Notes version of the Papers, you can always go here. At this rate, I should have the series wrapped up sometime before my grandchildren are born.

  • I’m on the fence on this one. I see your point and I don’t disagree, but on the other hand, I think it could be helpful in reaching people who would otherwise be disinterested by showing them how The Federalist Papers are still relevant today.

    Ideally, everyone would read the originals. I’ve read them and they aren’t that hard to understand. However, I’m also very politically tuned in and am already inclined to be interested in examining our founding documents. I’ve got scores of friends and relatives whose eyes glaze over at the mere mention of this stuff. So if I can get their attention with a book like Beck’s and by extension possibly get them interested enough to read the originals for themselves then maybe that’s a good thing.

  • Paul, I’ve read some of them, and they’re really good.

  • So it’s the New American Bible for the Federalist Papers.
    Or the Douay-Rheims for the Federalist Papers. Learn Latin you slackers!

    Granted, the original Federalist Papers are still in English but if they can be made more accessible, by all means. Unlike the New American Bible, I don’t even see much of an overlap between people who would read the Federalist Papers and people who would buy Beck’s adaptation.

    I hope Beck releases an annotated Constitution. He won’t though because he knows a lot of his followers believe a lot of crazy things about the Constitution and he doesn’t want to lose them.

  • Bad idea. In its own way, rather like updating the language of Shakespeare. They need to be read in the original language, and if that makes it somewhat harder, then so what? Stretch!

    A dynamic equivalence Federalist Papers we don’t need.

  • I was just directed to your blog via Pat Archbold at the NC Register as one of the best Catholic blogs. I’m always looking for these, so naturally I had to come check you out.

    I am unimpressed. You have managed to sound elitist, snobbish, and boring in this post. Actually, you sound threatened, and I don’t understand why. Yes, most of us can handle The Federalist Papers in the original, but look at the state of our Republic and ask yourself why it’s a bad thing to make such important documents more accessible to more people?

    Commenter RR says: “Unlike the New American Bible, I don’t even see much of an overlap between people who would read the Federalist Papers and people who would buy Beck’s adaptation.”

    May I just say, RR, that you’re completely out of touch. Because of GB, there is a huge movement of people in this country who are delving into our founding documents with great enthusiasm. You’ve got a vast segment of the population (of GB listeners) pigeonholed rather nicely as simpleminded followers, or something. But, whatever fits the narrative, I guess.

    He’s not doing this because The Federalist Papers are “arcane.” It’s because they’re still so relevant. You’re making a bad guy out of the wrong person. Might I suggest you expend some energy criticizing those who would banish our founding documents from study at all?

  • “Might I suggest you expend some energy criticizing those who would banish our founding documents from study at all?”

    Who would those people be Lindy?

  • Actually, you sound threatened, and I don’t understand why.

    You probably don’t understand it because it’s not an emotion I’m feeling.

    ask yourself why it’s a bad thing to make such important documents more accessible to more people?

    You can make the documents more accessible without re-translating them. I’d love for every American to read the Federalist Papers. If I had gone into academics they would have been required reading in any course on American politics that I taught.

    Might I suggest you expend some energy criticizing those who would banish our founding documents from study at all?

    I’m not making Beck a bad guy – I’m disagreeing with his approach. I don’t subscribe to the theory that you can never criticize like-minded individuals. In fact, when a fellow traveler does something that hurts the cause it’s imperative to correct them.

  • One other thing occurs to me. How is that the guy who thinks anyone should and can read the Federalist Papers as written is the snobbish and elitist guy, while the man who thinks many Americans might be too simple-minded to grasp them without dumbing down the words is the populist champion?

  • Paul Z: Fair enough. Obviously, you’re free to disagree with Beck’s approach, but I still don’t understand why you think he is hurting the cause, as you say.

    What is the worst that could happen as a result of reading a translation of TFP? That someone would miss out on the beautiful prose (which is, undoubtedly, a shame) but still have a greater understanding of our founding? How is this a bad thing?

    Perhaps you’re right and one can make TFP more accessible without re-translating them. We can see how well this translated version is received to determine if that’s truly the case. I just can’t deem it a bad idea if it allows even a small segment of the population to better appreciate our founding. Maybe this will fill a previously unfilled niche.

    And, for the record, when someone says they’re ready to “grab the pitchforks,” that strikes me as rather emotional. That’s all.

  • I understand your point and can see the appeal of trying to make our founding documents more widely accessible. As I said in my post the one thing I like most about Beck is that he works hard to educate the public about our early history, so I’m sure his heart is in the right place. It just strikes me as the wrong approach.

    And, for the record, when someone says they’re ready to “grab the pitchforks,” that strikes me as rather emotional.

    Oh, I’m just exaggerating for effect. Tar and feathering would be as far as I’d go. 😛

  • All I’m saying is: Don’t lament another approach to reaching people. Maybe it’s not for you, maybe you hate it, but don’t dismiss the idea wholesale just because you think it stinks. I think that’s the reason I thought you sounded elitist.

    And after listening to Beck introduce the idea–after having heard him firsthand–I don’t think he comes to the idea because he thinks Americans are too simpleminded. He just so earnestly believes in the importance of our great founding documents that he will try every approach in making them accessible to everyone.

  • I get it.

    And I will probably still bookmark this blog. : )

  • “I am unimpressed.”

    Take a number.

    “You have managed to sound elitist, snobbish, and boring in this post. Actually, you sound threatened, and I don’t understand why.”

    Because we are better than everyone else and they don’t know it. 😆

    Welcome to the blog Lindy. Look forward to your thoughts in the future.

  • I vote they be translated into Ebonics.

  • I have no problem with Beck’s approach to the Federalist Papers, but his fans are simpletons. That’s why he’s doing this. His whole show is about him teaching the ignorant with chalkboard and teacher’s desk and all.

  • But for the fact the further you get from the original text the more distortion you get in the translation; Beck’s updating/translating is of no consequence.

    RR no need to be insulting – if one has a sound argument one does not need to rely insults to destroy someone’s position, argument, etc. 🙂

  • In my humblest of opinions, The Federalist Papers, like Cicero or Montesquieu, must be read in the original. No matter how faithful the translation or adaptation, something; even a seemingly irrelevant phrase, is lost. I am no scholar, but to me there is merit in struggling to understand works that form the foundation of our society or culture. These types of works are often read and reread thoughout one’s life like Imitation of Christ, or Anna Karenina or Les Miserables. I fear we have tried to make difficult things so “accessible” we no longer stretch the mind for fear it will tear. LOL.

  • Alecto, are you saying that Les Miserables shouldn’t have been translated?

  • RR – your argument is a sound one, I find Glenn Beck far more arrogant than intelligent, with a need to be Center Stage at any cost. The Missionary version of the Music Man, It’s almost sad.

Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

Tuesday, August 31, AD 2010

I’m on record as not being a member of the Glenn Beck fan club. I don’t like his overly emotive mannerisms, his politics, or his theology. I’d rather the president of my alma mater was more circumspect in praising him, and I’ve written to the university to that effect. At the same time, I’m somewhat fascinated by the accounts of his rally in DC this past weekend. For instance, here is David Weigel (erstwhile Washington Post reporter and Journolist member) reporting on the event:

“It’s about as angry as a Teletubbies episode….The Democrats who pre-butted Beck’s rally by predicting an overtly political hateananny were played for suckers. They didn’t pay attention to Beck’s “Founder Fridays” episodes on Fox, his high-selling speaking tour, or his schmaltzy children’s book The Christmas Sweater. It’s not his blackboard that makes him popular. It’s the total package he sells: membership in a corny, righteous, Mormonism-approved-by-John Hagee cultural family. The anger is what the media focus on, he says, joking several times about what “the press” will do to twist his words.

Beck’s rally ends just as he said it would—without incident, political or otherwise. He’s just taken the world’s most derided TV audience, put them in the National Mall, and presided over the world’s largest megachurch. “Bring out the bagpipes,” he says. Bagpipe players then walk onto his stage, and the sound of “Amazing Grace” fills the mall.

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85 Responses to Glenn Beck: Evangelical Outreach Coordinator?

  • I’m more or less on the fence about Beck, though perhaps a little less critical than you. I watched a few minutes of the event on Saturday, and am mainly glad I didn’t wade through Metro and/or traffic in order to get down there myself.

    That said, I think he gave his critics very thin gruel indeed. I don’t know that this will mark a turning point as much as he claims it will, but really, what was the harm? And I’m not sure those that were there were there for the man or for the message. Perhaps a bit of both, but I think it was more an opportunity for these folks to come out and celebrate together,

  • Goes to show you how out of the loop I am with the rest of the “well-organized, narrative-shaping right-wing smear machine” that I didn’t even know about this thing on the Mall until I read after-the-fact accounts about it online yesterday.

  • The often crazed Beck, no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil, is not to my taste; most of the people who attended his rally are. They had a good time and are motivated to change the country come November. It does not surprise me that it was not overtly political. Beck has always been far more concerned about making cultural points than political ones.

  • I’ve got this theory bouncing around in my little brain, that we’re seeing a turf war between the evangelicals and the non-religious for control of the Tea Party movement. I think the Beck event was a deliberate show of force by the religious branch.

    When the dust settles after November’s elections, any victorious Republicans are going to have to figure out to whom they owe their loyalty. The party will have less claim than usual. Right now, an argument could be made for the traditional fiscal/social conservatives, or the fiscally conservative independents. Some people like Palin straddle both groups. Not many do.

  • no Woodrow Wilson was not the fount of all evil

    Nah, just most of it it. 🙂

  • I really don’t care what I think. And, you shouldn’t either.

    It seems that a segment of the “cognitve elites” and assorted liberal brahmans react to Mr. beck with malice.

    He has got to be doing something right.

  • John Henry, I think you hit the nail on the head, especially for the last part. Increasingly, the Catholic Right is sounding like the Catholic Left, moving, as C. S. Lewis warns, from political activism in the name of Christ to Christianity in the name of activism.

    Beck infamously called on his followers to reject any church that teaches “social justice,” which either means “reject Catholicism” or “Catholicism is a collection of churches that believe different things, and you don’t have to follow the Pope.”

    For many Catholic Republicans, the meaning of “pro-life” has been lost into “voting Republican at all costs” the way “helping the poor” and “protecting minorities” have become “voting Democratic at all costs” for the Left.

    This weekend, I had a brief exchange on Facebook with a woman who had attacked one of my FB friends for criticizing Beck. She said Beck is a “good and decent man.” I pointed out her that the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding apostates is abundantly clear, and that Beck cannot be “a good man” because he’s on the fast road to Hell as an ex-Catholic. I also pointed out that Beck supports artificial contraception and opposes conscientious objection rights for pro-lifers in the medical profession.

    She replied with some ecumenical gobbledygook, and said, “I am pro-life, and that’s all that matters to me, and Glenn Beck is pro-life, and I’ve never heard him say otherwise,” and of course she said he’s her friend. I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved, and that no one who supports contraception can claim to be pro-life. She replied, “You, sir, are an evil man,” and she blocked me.

  • I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved, and that no one who supports contraception can claim to be pro-life. She replied, “You, sir, are an evil man,” and she blocked me.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call you evil, but you have a rather novel interpretation of Church teaching as regards to those who leave the Church.

  • I reiterated that no one who leaves the Catholic Church intentionally can be saved,

    It’s important to be precise here. If someone – fully knowing that the Catholic Faith is true – decides to reject it, then that may be accurate. But none of us can assess with regard to any individual person whether that is true, and it seems rather unlikely that it happens very often (if, for no other reason, than that catechesis in the United States is abysmal). As it is written, your statement is inaccurate, presumptuous, and implies a knowledge and authority to judge that you do not have.

  • @GodsGadfly – I enjoyed reading your comment. I feel that as a Catholic there is no good option when it comes to choosing between Democrats and Republicans. I suspect that Glenn Beck is probably more of a “humanist” than a Mormon. Humanists whether of the deist type or the atheist type think that morality should not be tied to religion. That makes morality a subject of endless debate since they claim there is no absolute Truth. I think Beck is just a right-wing humanist who uses religion as a shield to hide behind. For comparison there is Obama who is a prototypical left-wing humanist. (No wonder people are confused about Obama’s religious affiliation.)

    So anyway, I wrote an article that deals with some of these issues in relation to so-called gay “marriage”. I think you might find it an interesting read. I’d be interested in getting your comments.
    http://publicvigil.blogspot.com/2010/08/gay-marriage-war-against-religion.html

    Here’s an excerpt:
    “Even though many conservatives claim to be motivated by religion, they are so thoroughly indoctrinated by the rationalist (atheistic) philosophies that they steadily lose ground to the so-called liberals. In fact there is little difference between most conservatives and liberals. They are mostly just engaged in a battle between themselves for power over who will reap the economic benefits of the increasing secularism of society.”

  • John Henry,

    Are you so certain that your own statements don’t imply too great of a desire to appear tolerant and inclusive to those who are always slamming Christianity for being intolerant and exclusive?

    You said his statement may be accurate, then inaccurate. Your “but” doesn’t change the substance of the statement.

    And talk about presumption… catechesis may be abysmal indeed, but there is some personal responsibility involved; if the condition of sufficient knowledge is some first class catechism course, then few are going to make it.

    Don’t underestimate the will, the desire, for things that are evil in turning people away from the Church. It isn’t all about what you know or don’t know, but what you value and devalue. If you really value goodness and truth, then you will make an effort to learn what the Church truly teaches. If you really don’t value it, then a few superficial disagreements will serve as all the pretext one needs to go one’s own way.

    This was hammered home to me quite recently in a long and drunken debate with old high school friends who are proud and vulgar apostates.

  • Joe,

    There are a few basic issues here that I want to separate out:

    1) Are people who reject the Church, knowing that the Catholic faith is true, rejecting Christ and salvation?

    I think the answer is yes, and agree with the commenter.

    2) What level of knowledge is necessary for such a rejection to be a rejection of Christ?

    I tend to think this level of knowledge needs to be pretty high; most people don’t really know that much about the Church or even basic philosophy/theology, much less have an opinion on its truth. You may have a lower standard of necessary knowledge.

    3) Should we assume that individuals we know who leave the Church a) had that level of knowledge; and b) rejected Christ and the Church in this way?

    Here I think charity demands that we assume they did not, absent strong evidence to the contrary (‘judge not, lest ye be…” and all that). We don’t know the hearts, minds, motivations, or level of knowledge of most other individuals, and so it is presumptuous, in my view, to judge them in this regard (and inaccurate to imply, as the commenter did, that our judgment is definitive).

  • There’s also the lack of sacramental support to consider. An individual who leaves the Church, even out of ignorance, loses access to the established channels of grace. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel like I’m just barely functioning as a Christian, and that’s with the graces of the sacraments. I can’t imagine what I’d become without them.

  • Pinky, I’m with you 100% on that one. We are all spiritual infants in this society.

    John,

    Perhaps I’m reading you wrongly, but it seems to me that you’re saying that a person basically has to have the equivalent of a college degree in Catholic theology before they become culpable for their choices.

    But, if, as you say, people don’t even have a “basic” knowledge, then naturally it doesn’t need to be pretty high, unless you consider even this basic knowledge to be attainable only through rigorous and prolonged study.

    At the end of this road is gnosticism.

    And it doesn’t even apply to someone like Glenn Beck, quite honestly, because the man has enough material and intellectual resources to fully understand what he is accepting and rejecting spiritually. Now of course no one can “know” anything for certain, nor judge another’s soul.

    But you’d have to shut your brain off to look at someone like that and not have a pretty strong inclining as to where he’s probably headed. There is no excuse for apostasy, and I include my own as a child.

  • I mean, after explaining the “basic” teaching of the Church about God, Christ, and our reason for existence, my apostate friend said, “f— that, I don’t want that.”

    What level of knowledge do you think he needs before that becomes a mortal sin?

  • For those who may be unaware of the many odd twists in the life of Glenn Beck.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Beck

    I truly believe that the man is loosely wired to put it mildly.

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired

    ‘fraid we are everywhere.

  • Drugs and alcohol will do that.

  • That was in response to Beck’s history. No assertions about Art Deco’s youth.

  • Does everyone agree that this country and its citizens need to return to God and/or Godly principles? Would everyone agree that there is an encroaching secularism that challenges Christianity and those principles every day? So, if you said “yes” to either or both of those questions I don’t understand why anyone would take issue with Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally.

    There are some Catholics that believe that helping the poor can only be achieved thru socialism and that the Church is in favor of socialism, when the Church has consistently condemned socialism.

    Plus, there is a difference between the Church’s definition of “social justice” and liberals or progressives definition and implementation of “social justice”. The Left has perverted the meaning of social justice and called for “economic justice” and are promoting class warfare against any wealthy or “rich” person who have earned more income than lower income families due to their hard work and success. The economically disadvantaged feel that they are owed or have a right to a healthy sum or large portion of his income to achieve “equality”. The Church also teaches against progressive taxation.

    Here is a post I have written covering this subject: http://teresamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/social-justice-catholic-doctrine-versus.html

  • I deny a history of heavy drinking.

  • Joe,

    Just my $0.02, but I’d tend to say it’s not so much academic study/knowledge which is the determining factor, but whether rejection of the Church is the result of a “I prefer my way” decision or an honest (though clearly mistaken) belief that the truth is elsewhere.

    The trick is, it’s awfully hard to tell from the outside which of these has gone on in any given circumstance. We really have no idea how the final encounter between sinner and God will go.

    That’s why I think it’s generally better for Catholics not to go around speculating (or even stating flatly) where particular people are headed.

    This is not meant as any particular defense of Glen Beck, whose show I’ve never even seen, but it is something that very much bugs me about the behavior of some of the more rigorist Catholics one runs into.

    (Of course, on the flip side, I love Dante, who put some rather big name people into hell. On the other hand, he put some surprising people into purgatory and paradise as well — and he’s just too beautiful a writer for me to object to.)

  • “The Church also teaches against progressive taxation”

    Huh? That’s news to me. Does this mean the Church endorses only flat taxes (everyone pays the same dollar amount) or flat rate taxes (everyone pays the same percentage of income, property value, etc.)? Does this also mean that the Church opposes Earned Income Tax Credits and other means that effectively enable the poor to pay little or no tax, which has the same effect as a progressive tax?

    “it’s not so much academic study… but whether rejection of the Church is the result of an ‘I prefer my way’ decision or an honest (though clearly mistaken) belief that the truth is elsewhere.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself there Darwin.

  • Elaine,

    When I stated progressive, I was referring to excessive progressive taxation and not referring to the concept that people who earn more in income should pay what is considered to be a reasonable higher percentage in taxes of their earned income than lower income persons do. The key question is what percentage of taxation should be considered “reasonable” and what should be considered “excessive”?

    From RERUM NOVARUM:

    15. “And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the levelling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. This being established, we proceed to show where the remedy sought for must be found.”

    47. “Many excellent results will follow from this; and, first of all, property will certainly become more equitably divided. For, the result of civil change and revolution has been to divide cities into two classes separated by a wide chasm. On the one side there is the party which holds power because it holds wealth; which has in its grasp the whole of labor and trade; which manipulates for its own benefit and its own purposes all the sources of supply, and which is not without influence even in the administration of the commonwealth. On the other side there is the needy and powerless multitude, sick and sore in spirit and ever ready for disturbance. If working people can be encouraged to look forward to obtaining a share in the land, the consequence will be that the gulf between vast wealth and sheer poverty will be bridged over, and the respective classes will be brought nearer to one another. A further consequence will result in the great abundance of the fruits of the earth. Men always work harder and more readily when they work on that which belongs to them; nay, they learn to love the very soil that yields in response to the labor of their hands, not only food to eat, but an abundance of good things for themselves and those that are dear to them. That such a spirit of willing labor would add to the produce of the earth and to the wealth of the community is self evident. And a third advantage would spring from this: men would cling to the country in which they were born, for no one would exchange his country for a foreign land if his own afforded him the means of living a decent and happy life. These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

  • No one who leaves the Catholic Church can possibly be saved regardless of the level of knowledge they have for two reasons:
    1. The gift of Faith is imparted at Catholic Baptism and is lost through the sin of “Rejecting the Holy Spirit” which can not be forgiven.
    2. All Catholics have the duty to know their Faith, so ignorance is no excuse.

    No one who is so dead wrong about eternity as Glenn Beck is could possibly be right about the infinitely less important field of politics.

    Read the Bible Republicans. It says among other things “The poor are entitled to their alms.” “The man who defrauds a laborer of his hire is brother to the man who sheds innocent blood.” What do you think a minimum wage below subsistence is? “Thou shalt not muzzle the oxen while he treadeth grain.” Yet the Republicans attack unions.

  • “No one who is so dead wrong about eternity as Glenn Beck is could possibly be right about the infinitely less important field of politics.”

    Rubbish, or Christ would never have said Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars. I can think of countless great leaders who were wrong about religion by my lights. I can also think of countless great saints that I most definitely would not have wanted setting economic policy or defense strategy.

  • Agreed Don. Jefferson comes to mind as an example of the former.

  • I think the common thread that runs through Bob DeClue’s comments is a misunderstanding of the Catholic view on the relationship between grace and nature. Grace builds on nature; it does not obliterate it.

  • OK, Teresa, that makes sense. The Church is not in favor of taxation that promotes class warfare or punishes the rich simply for being rich.

    It’s one thing to see the goods other people have and resolve to obtain them yourself through honest work and wise investment; it’s quite another to decide that whatever you don’t have, no one else should have either. The first kind of “envy” is not sinful while the second kind is.

  • “I can also think of countless great saints that I most definitely would not have wanted setting economic policy or defense strategy.”

    Although she is not officially a saint and may never be, Dorothy Day comes to mind here. I think she was unquestionably holy, and SOME of her economic ideas made sense (she was, for example, no fan of nanny-state liberalism), but I sure would never have wanted her to be Secretary of State!

  • @Teresa – You quoted from Rerum Novarum which was written by Pope Leo XIII in the 1880’s. I’ve been going through and reading some of the encyclicals by Pope Leo XIII and have become a huge fan of his. He clearly states the importance of private property. He also believes that the State has a role to play. And he admonishes the rich for not giving more to the poor. But I think what is most central to his teachings (and the teachings of the Church in general) is that these things can only come about when the laws of the State are based upon the laws of God. And when society accepts the Truth taught by Jesus. Charity cannot be legislated through the income tax system or any other set of laws. Charity must be a basic principle that is embraced by individuals in society through their devotion to Jesus Christ.

    While the majority of Americans at the time of the American Revolution were devoted Christians, many of the “founders” were not. People like Jefferson were deists. Today we would probably refer to them as “humanists”, although not “secular” humanists (which is really just a form of atheism).

    If you want to get a good idea of what people like Jefferson really thought about Christianity and the Bible, read “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine. (It’s available online.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Reason

    “Age of Reason” is really quite shocking, including suggesting that Mary was a woman of low character. Humanists believe (or at least pretend to believe) that morality does not need to be based on religion. We’ve seen what comes from this sort of thinking, and the bar just keeps getting lower over time as people become conditioned to a particular level of “morality”.

    Anyway, I think Beck is just using religion to further his political agenda. The founders did this by making some oblique references to God in the Declaration of Independence. But when it came time to write the Constitution it doesn’t talk about God at all – only “we the people”. This is placing Man above God! Only the devout Christianity of the population has kept America from falling into disbelief in the past. Today’s humanist are waging a cultural war against religion using the same tactics as marxists. In this struggle we Catholics will need all the allies we can get and I think this includes other religious groups like Mormons and even Muslims. But not people like Beck, who has some of the characteristics of an anti-Christ.

  • Paul,

    What I wrote is *not* “novel.” You can find it, among many other places, in Karl Adam’s _The Spirit of Catholicism_, a book highly regarded by both “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics (and converts like Hahn and Howard) as anticipating Vatican II. Adam gives the best explanations of extra ecclesia nulla sancta and baptism by desire that I’ve ever read. His book was vetted by the Holy Office and criticized for being a bit too liberal in some of his views on other religions, and he edited them according to the Holy Office’s corrections.

    And that’s not the only place I’ve read it. But if people would spend time reading actual Catholic theology instead of watching FOX News, maybe the teachings of the Church wouldn’t seem so novel.

    In any case, Catechism 818 says that those born and raised outside the Church cannot be charged with the “sin of disunity”, implying that those who are born in the Church and leave Her *can*.

    Culpability rests on the reasonable ability to know something. If one has the ability to learn the truth and is not blocked by practicality or invincible ignorance, and one does *not* know the truth, one is culpable for that lack of knowledge. A basic knowledge of the teachings of the Church is all that’s required for culpability.

  • Beck presents himself as a knowledgeable man. He associates regularly with Catholics. He has plenty of access to know the teachings of the Church.

    He teaches a masonic concept of religions “working together.” He teaches that contraception is OK. He teaches that conscientious objection is wrong. He teaches that “social justice” = socialism (and is literate enough to have studied and learned the difference),and calls on his followers to reject any church that teaches it. He even says gay marriage is OK. I think it’s safe to say he’s consciously rejected the teachings of the Church.

  • But if people would spend time reading actual Catholic theology instead of watching FOX News, maybe the teachings of the Church wouldn’t seem so novel.

    Well, so much for intelligent discourse from GodsGadfly.

  • 500,000+ conservative voters rallying on the Mall… if I were a Leftist I’d try to marginalize Beck, too.

  • 87,000 people were at the mall. I am not a leftist. I am a Catholic and that is why I am marginalized by Glenn Beck. You can not serve two masters. The Left and Right are artificial constructs with random positions that force people to accept some type of evil with each regime change. Abortion and sodomy, promoted by the Democrtats are so obviously evil I did not find it necessary to list them, but oppressing the poor is the same as committing murder according to Ecclesiasticus, a book Protestants, the original Republicans before Vatican II, conveniently purged from the Bible. They invented capitalism, not Catholics, whose social order, and yes, justice, built western civilization. They legalized the gravest sin of usury, stole the churches property in their revolution,created both despotic government (with Luther’s divine right of kings doctrine) and a permanent poor class of Europeans and are happy to have their enemy, Catholics, serve as their useful idiots as they use fraudulent paper money and purchased politicians to rule America for their own gain. It irks me to no end that Catholics have enough people to start their own political party where they can have a 100% moral platform but instead split themselves between Democrats and Republicans as the lesser of two evils, and then begin to follow political leaders instead of church doctors.

  • Glenn Beck is not the problem for anyone here. The noose around the neck of the Church, tenaciously held there by the grasping hands of our own bishops, is the tax exempt status that stops all Christians short of our obligations to society.
    As long as the Church refuses to speak for Christ in the public square, it leaves the podium open to whoever chooses to ascend to it; Glenn Beck, Barack Obama, or Adolph Hitler. Whining about Beck doesn’t put Father Pacwa or bishop Take-your-pick in front of a microphone. Then again, considering what we often get out of our bishops when they do speak in the square, maybe we should accept Beck as the lesser of two evil effects.

  • They legalized the gravest sin of usury

    A discussion of the ambiguities and contingent circumstances to be considered in assessing whether it is moral to put a price on credit can be found here:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15235c.htm

  • @Bob DeClue – When that other culture war against Catholicism, Kulturkampf, was launched by Otto Von Bismarck in 1800’s Germany, the response was to create the Catholic Centre Party which became a powerful political force and eventually forced Bismarck to back down.

    In Europe there is still the Christian Democrat movement which was founded on the idea of giving Christians a political voice. Wikipedia says, “In practice, Christian democracy is often considered conservative on cultural, social and moral issues (social conservatism) and progressive on fiscal and economic issues.” That sounds like what you and I are looking for. But in Europe they have a parliamentary system which gives power to minority parties, whereas in the US our “winner takes all” system insures that only two parties will dominate.

    There is also the practical problem that the Church cannot get too involved in politics because of its non-profit tax status. I was doing some reading and apparently this was not enforced very strictly until the abortion issue came around, at which time the pro-abortion groups started pushing for tighter regulation of the political activities of religious groups.

    Ultimately, we need to realize that politics reflects the culture. We need to work from the bottom up to re-evangelize America. We need to become like St. Paul and preach the Gospel throughout the (American) Empire. We have to come to terms with the fact that we are no longer living in a Christian nation. If St. Paul were alive today, he would be doing everything possible to come to Washington (Rome) to spread the Gospel. Remember though that his message was not political, and he taught that all Christians should be model citizens. It took hundreds of years, but eventually Christianity triumphed in Roman society.

  • I find most these musing about Beck to be quite interesting, often hilarious and relatively misguided.

    Mr. Beck is a commentator. He is an entertaining radio/TV personality who engages in presenting his editorial view of things. He has never claimed to be otherwise.

    He is not a teacher, preacher, religious or political leader. The reaction that he gets from the left and the right and just about every other ideological position in between is amusing because it betrays more about the opposing view than it does about Beck.

    Beck is a recovering addict. Beck felt that the Mormon Church was a good home for him to turn to God. We all know that Mormonism is a false religion. Most people, including most Mormons, don’t know that and don’t know all that much about Joe Smith’s mental delusion. What I know about Mormonism makes me sick, not the least of it being that it is stealth Masonry. What I know about Mormons is that most of them are moral people who adhere to the commandments as best they can. I also know that in practice it may be the best religion for an addict. They are certainly far more disciplined than main line Protestants and Catholics too.

    Beck calls it as he sees it and he has responded to God’s call to vocation. I don’t think he wants to be the catalyst for a religious revival in the USA, yet God gave him the biggest microphone and it seems Mr. Beck said yes.

    Unlike those who saw some of this on TV or read about it on some blog, I was at the restoring honor rally. It was wonderful. No, not because it was a particularly moving spiritual experience. We often forget how blessed we are – I can assist at Mass or go to Adoration and have a real spiritual experience. It was not wonderful because I particularly like Gospel music, the way Protestants pray or even some of what Beck talks about.

    It was wonderful because I was able to stand on the cross of the Mall and pray with other believers. The National Mall is in the shape of cross. That sort of renders the idea that we are NOT a Christian nation void huh? I was standing there with over 500,000 other Americans who believe in God and want to do His Will. People who want our country to realize that we are supposed to be a nation under God and we are supposed to act like it. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace and prayed. Sure, the prayers were a little odd, but they were good and directed to the One Triune God (despite the fact that Mormons are polytheists – the only Mormon I could identify was Beck).

    Imagine what would happen if more Americans prayed to God in public! First, the lefties’ heads will explode – that’s not only fun to watch but could be quite purging too. Perhaps God will continue to favor the USA – I say continue, because no matter how bad things are now, and they are quite bad – relativism is the religion of the modern era – yet, in all the West (Christendom) the USA alone remains strongest in adherence to God’s Will – no, not our government or our leaders – the American people.

    That is a sad comment because we are not doing a very good job – especially Catholics. Of the 70,000,0000 Americans who self-identify as Catholics – over 90% are NOT. Most of us can’t even keep 6 precepts, let alone 10 commandments. I’d rather pray with a believing heretic than a lying Catholic.

    Before any one goes and criticizes this event, especially because you may not agree with Beck – think about what you are criticizing. You are denigrating hundreds of thousands of Americans who think our country, our culture, our way of living is in such dire straits that they traveled to the capital to stand for hours on end, some over 36 hours, in the excruciating heat and humidity of DC in August to pray together. Knowing that the only answer is God. To celebrate the three theological virtues – sure, they don’t understand the virtues the way we do – that is not an opportunity for Catholic-arrogance; rather it is an opportunity to teach those who are receptive what Faith, Hope and Charity really mean. As for honoring those who serve in their vocation with Christ in their hearts, including our military men and women and the merit badge honorees and a healthy dose of patriotism – what exactly is wrong with that? Patriotism with humble acknowledgment of God is awesome; rather than some hollow nationalism that is practiced by the Republicants and the Demoncrats.

    I find it distasteful that something as monumentous as this was is denigrated simply because one has a problem with the messenger. You don’t have to like or agree with Beck in order to acknowledge that this was a healthy, necessary and wonderful event.

    Do any of you think we could get over 500,000 Catholics to have a Eucharistic procession and pray the Rosary on the Mall? Sadly, probably not.

    If Our Lady gave the West a victory at Lepanto, what do you think she would obtain for us if we did that.

    Instead of attacking Beck, how about heading his call. Get up and pray. Would any of you come to DC to Adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and pray the Holy Rosary so that God may spare us from relativism, secularism and all the other modern ills we are facing?

    That would be something to witness.

  • Two masters? Cute. You’re preaching to the wrong choir, I don’t worship Obama.

    The CBS number of 87,000 is debatable. That Glenn Beck was able to rally 500,000+ people who are rightfully concerned about the path that Obama and the Leftists Democrats are taking this country is something to be admired. Two and a half years ago the MSM was having an orgasm over Obama and believed that the entire country felt the same way. NO – we don’t like what Obama and the Left are doing to this nation.

    And who exactly are you accusing of oppressing the poor? Your statement makes no sense. I did not attend the rally, did Beck call people to oppress the poor? Resource link please.

  • “I am not quite sure what to make of this particular event, which I had assumed would be political,”

    The key word here being ASSUMED. Usually best to investigate & get some facts, don’t you think? The only effort that’d require on your part is turning on FOX for an hour in the afternoons & watching Beck’s show.

    Then you wouldn’t have been at all surprised at what happened on the Mall last Saturday.

  • A friend of mine went to the rally and was talking about it at a homeschool party last night–can you say “awkward”. He decided to go at the last minute when Chris Matthews ticked him off berating and insulting the SC Tea Party director. He said of all the buses the SC Tea Party had organized to go, they only had 6 remaining seats when he called. So it would seem that the best way to estimate would be to see how many organized groups went.

  • Paul,

    How was that not an intelligent comment? You accused me of expressing a “novel” idea, and I explained that it wasn’t. The obvious, logical conclusion is that you’re not very well-read.

    It is quite an intelligent comment to point out that people are better served reading books than watching the news, and that is my gripe with overly political Catholics of either side, and also the temptation I myself struggle the most with.

  • I truly believe that the man is loosely wired to put it mildly.

    Well, perhaps, Donald. I have watched Beck’s show twice and was not terribly impressed. ( I think I was put off by the fact he cried both times. Haven’t seen such weepy males since the ’70’s 🙂 His radio show is much funnier and sharper.)

    I knew nothing about Beck’s background or upbringing before I read the Wikipedia entry you posted. Really, as someone who didn’t go to Mass again for 25 years after leaving Marquette, can I blame Beck for leaving the Church after a Jesuit education? My goodness, given my education (Daniel McGuire), I’m thankful Beck and I didn’t run off to join the Shining Path under the impression that we were being good Catholics by doing so:-)

    Actually, Beck’s story confirms that this country is still great. A guy with a high school education, a guy with drug and alcohol and family problems, a guy who was at the bottom of the barrel in 1994 managed to climb out, embrace faith (I’ll take a Mormon over an atheistic addict any day), and achieve fame and fortune. Only in America!

    I didn’t like his show much and yet I was moved by the man when I saw Chris Wallace interview him on Sunday. He doesn’t strike me as insincere. He seems like a guy who is willing to admit his foibles and errors, who knows he’s very far from Presidential material, and whose populism is tempered by the knowledge there are things he doesn’t know – and he wants to! He’s searching for knowledge and he sometimes embraces spurious cranks – well, I still prefer Beck’s mistakes to the arrogance of our ruling elites, who think they don’t need to learn anything. The astounding fact is that a high school grad put F.A. Hayek on the Amazon bestseller list a few months ago – how many college grads have read Hayek? I never even heard of Hayek or the Austrian school until the mid-90’s.

    So, Beck is frequently mistaken, and sloppy and goofy – but he brought good people out on the Mall en masse to pray and reaffirm their traditional values. Are we Catholics really going to turn up our noses at him and say “Yes, we want allies in the culture war – but not those allies…not people of that faith or that background.” I’ve seen that attitude from fundamentalists. It’s no more attractive when Catholics display it.

  • The obvious, logical conclusion is that you’re not very well-read.

    Because I had a different interpretation of Church teaching than you? Yeah, that obviously follows.

    No, it was an unintelligent comment because you relied on a lazy trope rather than engage in substantive argument. Frankly it’s boring at this point to hear the “Fox News” talking point echoed back by some “independent” parrot who thinks he is above everyone else.

  • Lisa,
    I listen to Glenn Beck frequently and I almost never see a show of his where he isn’t oppressing the poor verbally. I heard him call unemployed Americans unAmerican, I heard him scream at a woman begging for a job, and I don’t need to give further examples. People have different opinions, and they always will. The fact that somebody disagrees with you or me on an issue doesn’t make them evil or unAmerican.

    I am 56 years old, and never in my life, including the Vietnam years, have I seen such an orchestrated campaign of hate, fear, and terror directed against the legally elected, in a landslide, president of the United States. I was raised in a Conservative Republican family and thought, as Glenn Beck does, that the Left was unAmerican. By the third time I read the Bible I was forced to admit that I had been wrong most of my life about politics. That doesn’t mean I think that right wing people are evil, and it doesn’t mean I think the left wing is always right. A logical analysis of either party’s so called “philosophy” reveals no consistency in either one. Me, I pray for the day that God returns Saints to rule our church, and Catholic Kings to rule the world.

  • I am 56 years old, and never in my life, including the Vietnam years, have I seen such an orchestrated campaign of hate, fear, and terror directed against the legally elected, in a landslide, president of the United States.

    You have not been paying attention. He was not elected in a landslide and I would wager you a content analysis of media would show he is treated more agreeably by the political opposition than three of his eight immediate predecessors.

  • Baba,
    I believe you are correct, the Christian Democrats are closer to Catholicism than anything in America. About the fear of losing tax exemption I think Vatican II is the real problem. Before Vatican II, legalized abortion was inconcievable, sodomy was a crime people went to jail for, and the threat of removing the Catholic Church’s tax exemption would have brought down the government quicker than a no confidence vote in the British Parlaiment.
    My wife is European, so I have an inside look at the life that the right wing demagogues are always trying to scare us with, and it really doesn’t sound so bad.
    I read a book called “Life and Work in Medieval Europe” by Pierre Boissinade. I recommend it for anyone who has never been exposed to anything but the two establishment sides of the same economic coin, capitalism and communism. In it you will find systems in both empires totally different, yet providing stability and sustaining growth for centuries.
    I submit that a stable economy is the most important function a government can perform. I remember life before LBJ debauched the currency and Richard Nixon floated the value of the dollar on the world marketplace. What I grew up in is a different world than what it is today. When I grew up crimes against nature were punished. People bought their homes and had no fear of losing them. Women stayed home to raise their children. People were secure in their families, jobs, and homes.The communities were knit together. Now we hardly ever see our spouses and our children are raised by day care, and we never know when the economic axe is going to fall on our jobs. That is no way to live. If anyone is interested I will tell you what I think caused this situation, but won’t offer it if it isn’t asked for.

  • Art,
    I am spammed with shocking, racist and worse stories, jokes, and cartoons about Obama every single day of the year. The Democrats victory in all three houses was most certainly a landslide and was a clear mandate to the president, one he seems unwilling to run with. This hatred and attack is coming through the internet more than the TV media, but it is there, it is unrelenting, it is orchestrated, and it has the purpose of bringing down our government. Since so many Republicans blindly hate Obama (Who is the most conciliatory and compromising president I have ever seen)this anti American campaign, which quite possibly could be orchestrated by radical moslems, will never even be investigated.

  • Bob,

    Some of what you say sounds good; however, some the undefined terms could cause confusion.

    What do you mean by poor? Are you referring to the poor in spirit? Because that would be most of us, including Beck. Or, are you defining the materially poor? If that is the case, then it is highly unlikely that you’ll find any poor in the United States of American. Those who our twisted government bureaucrats define as poor have far more material wealth than most of the people on the planet, more than the wealthiest of the wealthy had 200 years ago and they have more than most of us in the so-called ‘middle-class’. I am not attacking what you stated, I am simply trying to understand who the ‘poor’ that you allege Beck is oppressing are. Especially since as a TV/Radio commentator I am not sure he has any power to oppress.

    As for the rally, from my vantage point, in the middle of it, it seemed that Beck was calling the poor in spirit to pray on our knees to God for forgiveness, for virtue, for character because he recognizes that the problem in American today is a moral problem and that politics is merely the practical application of our moral state. I would also argue that we are very, very poor – morally speaking. Though I suspect we are still far better off, dismal as that is, than the rest of the Western world.

    Me thinks thou doth give Mr. Beck too much credit – he isn’t that powerful. In fact, he seems to do nothing but humbly tell us what he thinks. He also encourages his viewers/listeners to think for themselves and research his postulations on their own. That hardly seems oppressive, right wing, or even wrong. If we are too lazy to actually think for ourselves and do our own research we certainly can’t blame him.

    Additionally, I grew up in Europe and the Middle-East, not in theory, but I actually lived there, and I can tell you – it sucks. The Middle-East has been plagued by the Moslem heresy and Europe is plagued by the same heresy, albeit, without reference to God. For all of those who think that social justice is better defined by Communists/Socialists/Fascists and other collectivists rather than the Church, I will be happy to buy you a one ticket to Europe. If it is so good, go live there and leave the USA with our ‘unjust’ Constitutional Republic – we like it and the option you’d rather change it to already exists. Last I checked we don’t secure our border, so one can leave just as easily as all of those ‘poor’ Mexicans can come. Gee I wonder why the ‘poor’ from south of our border keep coming here, I mean it sucks so bad, you’d think they’d just go to Venezuela or Cuba.

  • Whoa!

    Wait a minute. Beck is now an instrument of the destruction of the American Republic that has Obama as its champion, and he’s working for the Moslems! I had no idea.

    That’s it – I’m turning him off. Thanks for pointing out this deep conspiracy. Obama is such a nice guy and has everyone’s interest at heart. Especially the millions of pre-born children he wants to kill, the US Constitution and Jesus Christ. I expect Obama to walk on the reflecting pool just to show Beck up, I HOPE he can do it and then maybe he can CHANGE water into wine – wouldn’t that be cool.

    Seriously? Please tell me that last post was an attempt at humor.

  • “This hatred and attack is coming through the internet more than the TV media, but it is there, it is unrelenting, it is orchestrated, and it has the purpose of bringing down our government.

    Gee… why would we want to attack or fight against Obama when we disagree with approximately 99% of his policies? I know you would just lie down and make nice if the president was conservative and implementing policies that you believed were hurting both America and the American people? The Left are still a bunch of hateful cranks even with being in control of both Houses of Congress as well as the presidency. I would love to know what will make the Left happy? It seems nothing at this point. Well, maybe, having absolute control over our lives — being able to tell us what and when we can eat, what kind of energy products (wind, solar, etc.) that we can use, infringing on our free speech, and removing all things related to Chistianity? This sounds a lot like socialist or communist policies.

    Since so many Republicans blindly hate Obama (Who is the most conciliatory and compromising president I have ever seen)this anti American campaign, which quite possibly could be orchestrated by radical moslems, will never even be investigated.”

    Excuuuuse Me!!!! I think I just became sick from entering the twilight zone at warp speed. What reality have you been living in? Obama is the most divisive President in American history!!! What edited clips have you seen of this president crossing the aisle? His idea of reaching across the aisle is reaching across the aisle, is reaching around with his arms, grabbing the person and dragging them across to his far leftist side of the aisle. This president has a “my way or the highway approach” to his policies. He has NOT compromised one iota!!

    He wouldn’t do what is right for the American people when it came to health care reform. He had to bribe congressman to get this debacle passed. The GOP had an alternative health care plan and gave suggestions but he refused to compromise. It was all about he and the Democratic Congress having more power and control over our lives, and nothing to do with lowering costs of health care or making health care more accessible.

    First, the Libs got a hold of our education and that has gone downhill in a big way and now there will be more bureaucracy with our health care, making it much harder for our doctors to treat us properly, higher costs, and health care rationing. Obama tries to act as a referee when speaking but then changes the rules midway during his speech by slamming the other side and violating the rule he imposed at the beginning, that obviously applies to everyone except himself.

  • Hi Bob,

    I agree that economic and job stability is very important to maintain strong families and communities. We just don’t have that in today’s economy. Maintaining the pace of “progress” dictates that this will not happen.

    I hope you’ll reconsider your opinion of Vatican II. I love the Church and it saddens me to see people in conflict over Church policies or doctrine.

    From what I have read, the US Bishops did all they could to oppose abortion. In fact they were taken to court for their pro-life positions, and pro-abortion groups demanded that the Catholic Church be stripped of its tax exempt status. This case went to the Supreme Court in 1988. (The case was United States Catholic Conference v. Abortion Rights Mobilization. The ACLU supported the coalition of pro-abortion groups.)

    We need to strongly defend the Church because she is under attack from all sides. I can’t imagine a world without the Catholic Church. I’m fortunate to be a member of a great parish with great priests.

    Peace be with you,
    baba

  • “Not quite sure what to make of this.”

    …at least some poeple are sure, such as Glenn Beck.

    Shall we just see the face? Must we dissect every creature of God? Maybe just Bob.

  • American Knight,
    Thanks for the thoughtful response and question. I am glad to see a few people on this website that still retain a Catholic sense of honor.
    Poor is a relative term and in some respects even subjective. Objectively speaking, we have teenagers in this country who live lives as luxurious and hedonistic as any Satrap in Ottoman Empire. At the same time we have a society in which much of the blue collar class are six paychecks or less away from losing their home. By contrast even the poorest serf ( a slave class) in Europe could never be evicted from his home, and his children inherited it. State constitutions in the Old South required slave owners to provide homes, food, and medical care to their slaves. In that respect many Americans are poorer than antebellum slaves.

  • Teresa,
    I am sorry, I just find no possible way to respond to what you wrote.

  • Baba,
    I know the American bishops fought abortion, but the public dissent that Vatican II encouraged with its ambiguous doctrines destroyed the Church’s appearance of solid unity and thus its political power. Before Vatican II, when a bishop spoke to a government official, the official heard millions of Catholics, now he hears just a single bishop.

  • Teresa,
    I didn’t mean to sound as abrupt as what I see when I posted to you just now. I just don’t see from rereading your posting again that there is any common experience, belief, interest, education, or personality between us that could be a basis for any type of meaningful communication.

  • Anyone,
    I am new to this website. How do you get your photo to display with your name?

  • Bob DeClue,

    Here is the link:

    http://en.gravatar.com/

    It should be easy to follow. If you have any problems, just post another message or contact via email and I’d be happy to walk you through it.

  • Bob DeClue,

    I don’t blindly hate Obama. I hate him for very clear reasons: 1. He single-handedly shot down the Illinois Born Alive Protection Act. Even Hillary Clinton and NARAL dare not actively oppose Born Alive Protection. Illinois tried to pass a law making it illegal to suffocate or starve a baby born from a “botched” Abortion, and Obama called it a threat to the “right to choose.”
    2. Obama said that if one of his daughters made a “mistake” (ie, committed the sin of fornication), he wouldn’t want her “punished” by having a baby!
    3. Obama said he believes Jesus is just one of many great moral teachers.
    4. Obama is endorsed by every major New Age Guru from Chopra to Oprah.
    5. Obama says his greatest mistake was voting in favor of the Terri Schiavo Act.

    You asked for more Catholic teachings and not politics?

    How about this: “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope”–John Paul II
    “How can you say there are too many children; that’s like saying there are too many flowers.”–Bl. Teresa of Calcutta.

  • Paul, I don’t think I’m above everyone else, and one man’s “parroting” is another man’s catechesis.

    A person who is Catholic and rejects the faith is an apostate and cannot be saved. You say that this is a “novel interpretation” of mine, but it is not. You claim not to know something I’ve read in numerous Catholic texts.

    And I’ve already said that I said it in part because listening to too many secular sources and not enough Catholic ones is a fault with which I convict myself.

    I’m not “independent.” I’m conservative. I don’t like FOX News because it paints conservatives as idiots, and all the “Catholics” on it are pro-contraception and otherwise oppose a consistent life ethic. Also, there’s what Rod Dreher found out at the 2002 Bishops’ Conference, when a FOX News correspondent told him there were orders from the highest levels of NewsCorp NOT to talk about homosexuality in the Sex Abuse Scandal.

  • God’s Gadfly,
    What you wrote about Obama is true. It is also, I fear, now true of a large percentage of Americans, if not the majority. I don’t hate Obama, or other Americans for their errors, or their truths if I am the one in error. As I get older and more relatives and friends pass away, the horror of God’s justice fills my soul. Ignoring hell and its eternal pains does not make it go away. If there actually is any global warming, it is caused by the millions of souls a day who are cast into hell and increase its heat accordingly. Meditating on the four last things helps to cleanse hatred from the soul because God’s punishment on the unrepentant is greater than anything our hatred can dream up for our enemies. I know it is a joke to say “Can’t we all just get along”, and we can’t because to get along according to Christ we have to be what the politically correct call “intolerant”. We can, however, try to imitate Jesus, who hated none of his enemies, even the former Lucifer.
    On your response to Paul, there is a clear division of thought between pre and post Vatican II Literature, perhaps this accounts for different perception in some of the church’s more esoteric doctrines. I limit my trust in Catholic authors to pre 1900 writers, because the Early Church Fathers stressed fidelity to Tradition, even St. Paul who said listen not to a different Gospel, even if preached by an Angel of Light.
    I presume you have political views akin to Conservatives who liken themselves to Jeffersonian Democrats, as I once did. I was truly astounded when I discovered that this was the Liberalism condemned by the Catholic Church. It required 20 years and an entire library of Catholic saints and doctors for me to finslly understand the Catholic position and I now have no political ideology at all, except that I judge every issue independently of the party that proposes it, and in light of my own imperfect understanding and guess of what Jesus would do. I rarely vote for candidates for public office in elections because I believe there should be no compromise with evil and as a man of honor will not vote for the lesser of two evils. I did however work as a campaign volunteer for Patrick Buchanan, which will probably surprise the two people here who attacked me as Liberal and Communist in their posts.

  • Hi Tito,
    Thank you. I had 3 pictures on my computer. I used all 3 at Gravatar and two show up solid black. This one is 40 years old.

  • @GodsGadfly

    Those are the main reasons I cannot support Obama in good conscience. Abortion is murder and by supporting or voting for those politicians who support the murder of the most vulnerable innocents, catholics are supporting a grave and intrinsic moral evil.

    Yes, I do believe that in God’s eyes he sees a big difference between a terrorist who is trying to kill us, has murdered, is trying to destroy the West (yes, even from within via mosques) and an innocent baby who is an innocent human being and a “surprise” for some people due to their promiscuity, and who has committed NO crimes, and how the two are treated accordingly. There is love. But, then there is “tough love” and loving the person and hating their actions, and it seems like a decent number of catholics have totally discounted “tough love” and how that can be implemented for the common good. PLus, there is the whole defense of nation or national security issue at hand also. Our Congress and President took an oath to protect and defend this country’s citizens and they must not quash their duty to fulfill that pledge, by totally discounting the necessary use of “harsh” methods in extraordinary circumstances to achieve that goal.

    http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/10/controversial-torture-issue-as-related.html

  • …a bit off topic but…

    I’m a Glenn Beck fan. He makes me laugh and he’s very entertaining. I agree with many things he has said.

    But I’m getting tired of his attacks on Social Justice and the Catholic Church. And now he’s berating Dorothy Day as a “Marxist” and un-American.

    Someone needs to contact him or his people and explain to him how wrong he is about Dorothy Day.

    He isn’t that bright if he thinks Dorothy Day is pro-big-government and a Marxist.

    Has anyone tried to explain that to him?

  • Tito,

    Have you?

    Perhaps Beck can’t reconcile her involvement with socialist organizations, although I think she may have been a Episcopalian at that time.

  • I will be next week.

    Pat Gray who co-hosts the radio program with Glenn Beck ripped into Dorothy Day and that was the last straw.

    Pat Gray used to have his own local Houston talk radio program and I like him a lot, so I’ll be seeing if I can talk some sense into him.

    As far as Dorothy Day, like many saints and other people of holiness, they made mistakes prior to their conversion.

    Does anyone hold Saint Augustine’s libertine behavior prior to his conversion against him each time he is quoted?

  • @Tito

    I am a Glenn Beck fan also. I think Beck is mistaking distributism for Marxism.

    But I’m getting tired of his attacks on Social Justice and the Catholic Church. And now he’s berating Dorothy Day as a “Marxist” and un-American.

    The type of social justice that has been passed down from the Time of Jesus is not the form of social justice that Beck is attacking. He is attacking the liberal/socialist distorted version of social justice that says “spread the wealth” as well as promoting class warfare between the rich and the poor.

  • Tito,

    Most people don’t consider St. Augustine a saint. They like his ‘literary’ works and sadly, some like what he has to say precisely because he was a libertine. We live in strange times.

    Also, remember, Beck is trying to be a good guy and I like him and think he is doing a lot of good, but, he is an apostate and a Mormon – pray for him.

    Teresa,

    I think you’ve got it right and Glen did explain that to his viewers/listeners, but without a Catholic worldview, it was somewhat inarticulate. I got what he meant, so did you, others, maybe not so much.

    The devil is cunning. Look at the words used by those who promote inequality, favoritism, theft, plunder and are the architects of the culture of death: Progressive, liberation, tolerance, choice, peace, giving back and, yes, social justice.

    Everyone of those words is ‘good’, yet in the context commonly used all stand for very, very evil things.

    Even before Glen talked about it, the words ‘social justice’ cause me to cringe. Social Justice is only valid as understood by the Church and orthodox Catholics – most of the time and in most common use, they do not mean what the Church teaches, they mean the opposite. See Isaiah 5:20.

  • AK,

    Most Catholics do consider Saint Augustine a saint.

    He’s borderline besmirching the Church with his outlandish comments about Catholic Social Justice and Dorothy Day.

  • It appears to me that Glenn Beck supporters are believers in our current form of economics they generically call Capitalism. Capitalism is as equally condemned by the church and is as intrinsically evil as communism.
    I see the following points his supporters seem to make and will respond:
    1. They grant an inordinate importance to what is called private property. This is warned against by the original apostles in the “Didache”. The Catholic concept of material goods is that they belong to God and that man is steward of them and they are to be used in the service of God. The Catholic teaching of distributism is simply that God gave the Earth to mankind as a whole so that all of us could have some of it, not so that some of us could have all of it. Conservatives have been hoodwinked into calling this redistribution and have not been taught by their appointed leaders how capitalism based on a debt money system redistributes wealth from those who produce it to those who control the paper.
    2. A belief that people own whatever they can get their hands on by whatever means they do so. This is not true. The ruling elite have consolidated the world’s wealth into their hands through the mortal sin of usury. The primary function of the Church’s inquisition was to hunt down and exterminate usury. The penalty imposed by the church for almost a thousand years was to seize all assets of the usurer and distribute them to the community he preyed off. The Bible itself clearly grants absolute ownership to the fruits of one’s labor and toil “under the sun”, and very little else. Defrauding the laborer of any portion of his fruits is one of the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance. I spent fifteen years of my younger days as a fur trapper. I wonder now why every bird had a nest, every groundhog had a den, every living animal I came across had a home, but for some reason conservatives think that humans are the only life on this planet without a God given right to a piece of this Earth.
    3. A belief in the capitalist principle that something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. This is not true. A “laborer is worth his support”, for instance. The “Philokalia” warns monks to always use lay brothers to procure goods for the monastery because it is almost “impossible to buy or sell without committing sin”. The reason for this was the Catholic concept of something having a fair value. To pay less than the fair value when a sellor is distressed, or to require more than the fair value when a buyer is desperate are both violations of the 7th commandment.
    4. A belief that government regulation in general is wrong. This belief can not be supported by Catholic Tradition.
    5. A belief that Samuel Adams economic theories are actually laws and not just theory. I would be happy to correspond in depth with anyone concerning any economic principles or theories. Also an agreement with his conclusion that Laissez-faire economics(basically economic Darwinism)produces the most wealth. This is a debatble point.
    6. A tendency to quote sophisms given to talking heads by their masters as if they are facts. Please, somebody throw me a sophism and ask me to respond.
    7. A belief that because the Republican Party figured out how to perpetually milk the pro-life cow while never feeding it that they are right about everything they believe and that because the sexually amoral who want abortion took power in the Democrat party when Catholics deserted it that their platform is wrong about everything.
    8. A belief in seperation of church and state. I do not believe in seperating them.
    9. No understanding of the difference between the Free Market System our government created in this country based on Adam’s theories and the modern capitalism that the Rothschild-Rockefeller cabal replaced it with.
    10. A belief that unions are bad. Unions are the modern day incarnation of the medieval guilds. Guilds were created by the Catholic Church in the dark ages. They were structured on the old Roman Corporations which created centuries long economic growth and stability for the Roman civilization and in turn guilds created the material half of Christendom.
    11. I believe Glenn Beck supporters as a whole have a tendency to worship the founding fathers and the United States Constitution, but possess limited knowledge of them, especially the Catholics.
    12. No belief whatsoever in the laws God the Father set forth for the just government of people when he authored the Biblical books “Numbers”, “Deuteronomy”, and “Leviticus” through the hand of Moses.
    13. No knowledge that any economic systems other than Capitalism and Communism ever existed. It is not entirely their fault. I attended 6 colleges and universities after high school and none offered any courses in alternate economics.
    14. No knowledge of the Jewish and Protestant heresies that created capitalism and how the Catholic Church fought them.

    I would be very happy to enter a dialogue with anyone in depth on any of the points I listed, or any of Glenn Beck’s points I did not list.

  • Tito,

    I agree with you, most Catholics, both the Protestant and orthodox type consider St. Augustine a saint, most of the rest of the world does not and our culture is overwhelmingly secular and not Catholic.

    Beck, being an apostate and a Mormon, is going to have a problem with many, if not most of the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic Church. Yet, he also seems to recognize the ‘mere Christianity’ that C.S. Lewis talked about. I agree that he sometimes does seem to border on anti-Catholic bigotry – perhaps that betrays a subconscious animosity to the Church, or it could be a more subversive Mormon/Masonic thingy.

    I must admit that I agree with his attack on ‘social justice’ and I don’t think it is a problem for orthodox Catholics. The type of ‘social justice’ that Beck seems to be attacking is steeped in liberation theology, Communism and other collectivist schemes designed to destroy humanity while veiling the destruction in ‘good works’. ex. the Shriners have hospitals for children, which is good and no sane person would argue against; yet, their purpose is to spread the Lucifarian religion.

    Granted the Masonic influence of the Mormon heresy may have perverted Beck, yet I see no evidence of that – yet, and hopefully never will.

    I also think that we can agree with Beck on those perspectives and issues that are in line with Catholic teaching and reject those that do not. There needs be no compromise and Beck is merely a commentator and not a theologian. It seems many people, regard those of us, like you, me and Teresa as blind followers of Beck; rather, than free-thinking individuals who happen to agree with Beck on some things based on our own criteria, which hopefully is Catholic thought.

  • Bob,

    I can’t say I agree with everything you stated; however, a couple of points ring true. Often, when we begin to escape the mass delusion perpetrated by mass propaganda, advertising and other psyops control devices we find many more points of agreement than division with each other, yet, some of our preconceived prejudice stemming from the false left-right paradigm still exist. That being said, some of what I perceive as your views stemming from the left, give me pause.

    A few comments on your points, solely from me perspective:

    1. Private property is absolutely necessary in this world to secure personal freedom and the good of the community. The truth is that the world is one giant estate and it all does belong to God. Stewardship, without temporal regard for private property, is currently impossible. Without private property no natural free market can exist – I believe God intended us to have a natural free market after the Fall and that a natural market can be redemptive.

    2. Usury is one of the gravest ills conceived by man and may have been the chief sin that gave a fertile ground for the spread of Mohammadism because it correctly condemns usury, although the Islamic definition of usury is mostly incorrect. Capitalism/Communism are essentially slightly different means to the same evil end. However, what most people in the West, when referring to ‘capitalism’ mean is a natural free market. Capitalism is effectively corporatism and will lead, if it hasn’t already, to the control of resources, wealth and people by a very few individuals and they do not have good intentions. Communism will lead to the same goal. I think Beck is grasping, imperfectly, at this idea.

    3. The price mechanism is the best way to determine the temporal value of material things. Business ethics based on Moral Truth will manage that system in justice as far as is possible for fallen man.

    4. In principle government regulation is NOT wrong and is, in fact, necessary. The problem is that Communist/Socialist government regulation benefits the few at the cost of the many and so does Corporatist/Capitalist government regulation. Until such time as we restore limited Republican (format not party) government, I believe it is a virtue to oppose government regulation because it is for the purpose of subjugation and not an authentic attempt to make things regular.

    5. I think there is a difference between creative destruction and economic Darwinism. Capitalist/Corporatist machinations are predetermined economic Darwinism; however, a natural free market will destroy the less efficient and effective actions of man for the benefit of the whole community. The elimination of horse-carriages by the automobile is a benefit. Sure the horse-carriage drivers and dung disposers lost out, but cab drivers and mechanics did not (simplistic example.)

    6. & 7. Although true to some extent, are gross generalization and I don’t think they deserve a comment in this context.

    8. It depends on what is meant by separation of Church and Sate. I think that the State should not encroach on the Church, yet the Church is designed to be the moral compass of the State. I think the original intent of the Founders is correct, I think the modern perversion is the worst thing we are facing in politics today.

    9. On this point you actually agree with Beck. The usurious, debt-paper money system is not natural, it is not free, it is not moral and it is very, very destructive. I think that is beginning to change. We need to end the Fed.

    8. Again, unions, as a concept, are NOT bad. Unions as they are in practice only benefit the money-power and the political opportunists.

    9. To paint all of Beck’s audience as ‘worshipers’ of men and a legal document, is unfair, condescending and not constructive.

    10. Ignorance may not be intentional and perhaps beyond someone’s control, but it is a bad excuse. If someone wants to be educated the knowledge is available and corporatist, liberal educational institutions are not the place to get a good education, or even a practical one. As Fr. Corapi often says, most ‘intellectuals’ have been educated into imbecility. Mr. beck is uncredentialed (although he recently received an honorary doctorate), yet he is educated.

    11. Secular Jews and Calvinists are in large part responsible for the Corporatist Capitalism & Socialism/Communism we are subjected to and the solution is quite obvious, the only question is do we have the courage to stand against the status quo.

    From your points, I am quite surprised that you do not find more in common with Glenn Beck. The beauty of knowing what orthodox Catholics have been given is that Truth is absolute and much, certainly not all, can be deduced through human reason. Beck is capable of being correct about many things, totally wrong about others, simply because he is trying to be a truth-seeker. This makes him no different than most of us and we need to be very grateful that we have the graces of Christ received through His Church, most people don’t. We also have to check our hubris, because being Catholic gives us no right to be arrogant.

  • American Knight,
    Very good. Thank you for responding. I have further comment on some points.
    5.I don’t believe the natural free market exists anymore and we are now in the C/C phase. When Reagan deregulated the financial industry the Wall Street Robber barons decimated the free market. Through gambling machinations on the stock market they drove the stock price of almost all small and midsize manufacturing concerns in the country one at a time to a price significantly below the value of their capital assets. At that point they initiated a hostile takeover and immediately liquidated them pocketing the profits but leaving a decimated rust belt behind. This concentrated the means of production into the hands of a few multinational corporate elites. Although there are many companies in the Fortune 500, they are controlled by a few interlocking directorates. As you pointed out, the net effect is the same as Communism. Modern mass media has eliminated efficiency and quality as the primary factors of product success and replaced it with marketing.
    8. After a century of struggle, unions in the US have brought us labor laws and practices almost as elightened as those King Phillip II promogated in New Spain in 1547 (?), so in practice they have benefited us all.

    Not much in common with Genn Beck:
    The corporate elite wage a class war against the produers of wealth and we are on opposite sides. In 1999 I left upper management in a fortune 100 company with the statement that “the executive board’s arrogance is exceeded only by its incompetence”. From my experience in the corporate world, I do not believe that company very different from most. I owned a small business for a while and now belong to a union and work side by side with others building the offices these pompous jackasses sit in when they call us lazy, ignorant, smuggle in illegal aliens to take our jobs and then sneer at us and tell Amwerica we don’t want to work. Art, I sat in board rooms where the air literally dripped with the contempt they held the little people of the company in. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Glenn Beck says the rich create jobs, and his listeners don’t even remember Economics 101: Demand in the marketplace creates jobs. He says the rich earned their millions and implies if your not rich you are lazy or stupid, when all their incomes are by definition unearned income. I believe God gave a few of us extra intelligence so that we could elevate our fellow man, not enrich ourselves at his expense.

  • Bob,

    I am not sure we are listening/watching the same Glenn Beck. He is a libertarian leaning conservative with a nod toward acknowledgment of politico-economic conspiracies and recognizes that America is a nation under God (of course, I am not too sure that he means the Blessed Trinity because he is an apostate Catholic and a Mormon.) As for his statement that the wealthy create jobs, I think he is referring to the entrepreneurs (small business) and not the uber-wealthy trans-nationalists. In a true free market it is the consumer that demands production, hence the creation of jobs, yet it is the entrepreneur that manages the market risk and innovates products and services, hence the creator of jobs.

    Additionally, I don’t see Reagan as responsible for the consolidation of the corporatists and neither does Glenn Beck. Beck favors blaming both Roosevelts, Wilson, Johnson and other progressives along with the trans-nationalists (Rothschild, Rockefeller, et al.)

    Reagan was a brief light in the darkness of the last 100 years of political leadership in the these United States. The machine is just too big for any one man to overcome. Reagan desired to reduce government, to promote a natural free market, to end the Federal Reserve and other than JFK, another president who fought against the money power, was shot. I am not necessarily saying they were shot because they both opposed the trans-national financiers, but it is suspicious.

    Unions may have provided benefits in the past; however, they are instruments for the Communist/Capitalist pincer movement now. That does not disparage union members, who are as much victims as the rest of us. The problem is with the opportunistic union leadership, the corruption of a criminal-political nature and the danger that union power poses to what little free market, if any, we have left. These days, unions are tools of division, class warfare and political consolidation.

    Again, I think, a more objective, second look at Mr. Beck, might show you that you do have more in common with him than you think. You just have to watch out for the misuse of words that we are all victims of – Newspeak has been slowly implemented for so long, we often get caught up in terminology rather than intent and context. In any event, none of us need agree with everything he says, but there is no denying that he has a big microphone and that for the most part he is doing more to stem the corporatist/communist tide than most.

  • Pingback: Glenn Beck Does not Oppose “Gay Marriage” | The Lewis Crusade
  • American Knight,
    I understand that it is Mormon belief that when the males die they become gods and rule over their own planets, and that females can only be saved by marrying a Mormon man, but I don’t know what saved means in their context. Do his harem serve him the way the Moslems 40 virgins do? I have no interest in learning any more of their cult. Was involved with trying to save Jehovah’s witnesses at one time and no far more about them than I want to. It is better to follow the admonition of the Apostles:”
    Speak to heretics once, maybe twice, and then have nothing further to do with them.”

  • American Knight,
    Some entrepeneurs actually take risks, start businesses and make money. As a general rule they become wealthy by some definition after doing this, not before. In a free market system, profit is the reward one receives for taking risk, and I have no objection to that. I do have objection to the biggest profits being made by companies who take no risk.

  • Wallace fought against the money system. He too was shot. You may be right about a connection.

  • Bob,

    Mormonism is a strange, twisted heresy. What we have to keep in mind is that like Freemasonry and to some degree Mohammadism, it has secret levels of initiation and most Mormons don’t know the dark secrets of the heresy. Like Masonry and Islam, on the surface and at the lowest levels of initiation it is presented as good, of course, we know that demons often appear as angels of light. Most Mormons follow the moral precepts of the heresy, which are based in truth. No heresy can get started unless it roots itself in the ancient and true doctrines of our Church. Many Mormons are ‘good’ people, in the secular term. I am not sure what they mean by ‘saved’ either. Keep in mind that most of Beck’s audience listens to him regarding practical matters and not theology.

    My only interest in discussing religion with Beck would be to address the common secular religion of the West, based on the doctrines of the Church, and also, to attempt to witness to the Truth in order to be a tool to bring him back to the Church.

    As regards risk-taking, the only way a business can avoid risk, which is inherent to business, is to use the force of the government to eliminate it through the burdensome ‘regulation’ of its competitors, through the enforcement of cabals and cartels and by socializing their loses through bailouts. The problem here is the greed of certain ‘wealthy’ individuals and the parasitic nature of politics and government. The US Constitution created an authentic free-trade zone within the United States and a protection of that zone from without. Today we have the opposite, the trans-nationalists, through our general government, control trade within the US and we are afforded little to no protection from without. See Isaiah 5:20.

  • “Wallace fought against the money system. He too was shot. You may be right about a connection.”

    So did Lincoln.

  • To all: I will leave the reading of what is written upon this mans heart and the judgment of his soul to you. Additionally, I will not be the one to bring up his past faults or make fun of his sensitivity – perhaps y’all are in a position to cast that stone, I am not.

    Respectfully, the Divine Destiny Event on 8/27 was a truly inspiring event that brought together Christians, Jewish, and Muslim leaders from across the country, for the single purpose of finding points of unity and methods for education and tolerance across the nation.
    I am mystified that so many can find fault with that noble effort, regardless of who’s in charge. Check out the Black Robe Brigade if you are truly interested in the truth about what happened that evening when over 2,000 religious leaders came together. Then take a moment to think where such a movement can lead.

    The Restoring Honor Rally was awesome!

    Not only did he manage to raise a ton of funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a group that steps in to assist families and specifically children after the loss of their parent, but, more importantly showcased these contributions were duties as defined by the Lord in James 1:27. How can we argue with that message? Because of the man who orchestrated the event? I applaud him for his efforts. His message all along was that charity is a God inspired selfless gift to others. I don’t find anything wrong with that message.

    The Rally itself was filled with inspirational speakers from various faiths, gospel songs, and badges of honor given out for faith, hope and charity. At the end of the rally over 200 clergy stood arm-in-arm on the stage – I cried like a baby and felt a presence in my heart that I had never felt before.

    His presence filled my heart and soul – it was a truly amazing day and event. I still tear up when I see a video of the geese flying overhead – the whole event was a testament to the unifying power of the Lord.

Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

The proposed mosque set to be built near Ground Zero, site of the September 11, 2001 attacks has brought a sweeping condemnation from both rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia. Now that President Barack Obama has weighed in the matter, seemingly supporting the effort, one can only imagine how this will be used in the fall elections. However, a rift has appeared to have been opened concerning the views of the rank and file conservatives and the Conservative Intelligentsia following the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker over same-sex marriage. Many of the conservative intelligentsia, along with the establishment wing of the Republican Party has either been silent or voiced the view that the wished the whole gay marriage issue would simply go away. This has led to bewilderment from some conservative voices.

The best Catholic tie in with the efforts to build a mosque on Ground Zero came from the famed conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is Jewish. In his opposition to the mosque being built near Ground Zero, he correctly pointed out that Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

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27 Responses to Rank and File Conservatives & The Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage

  • Which members of the conservative intelligentsia who aren’t also rank and file Republicans, have expressed opposition to the mosque?

  • There are plenty of natural law and non-religious arguments against homosexuality. It is not a natural co-equal with heterosexuality. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men and woman are complementary, not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically.

    Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Almost every society, primitive and complex, has had laws and taboos against homosexuality. This isn’t just a Christian thing. There will always be a visceral reaction to homosexuality because it goes to the very heart of the survival of our species.

    Where homosexuality occurs in the animal world, it is primarily a temporary condition, and when the opportunity presents itself, animals will copulate heterosexually.

    Two-parent heterosexual families, despite the exceptions, are proven over history, across cultures, as the better way for healthy child development. Healthy children produce healthy societies.

    It’s time, in my opinion, for a Constitutional amendment that establishes once and for all that marriage is between one man and one woman. Then we can put this issue to bed.

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage. I suppose it is because Americans of all stripes have internalized the notion that it is “mean” to express “intolerance” toward homosexuality. Genuine intolerance, however, including intolerance toward Catholics, remains quite socially acceptable.

  • discarding Western Civilization’s definition of marriage (2,000+ years) is simply a non starter.

    As pointed out above, it’s not just Western Civ’s definition, it has been humanity’s definition since recorded history, and likely pre-dates that as well. try more like 5,000+ years.

  • From what I can tell, those members of the conservative “intelligencia” who aren’t members of Fox & Friends or proprieters of talk radio shows have mostly remained in favor of religious freedom — as they should.

  • Try on this one, Bunky:

    “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

  • I was rather hoping you would offer some analysis as to WHY so many self-described conservatives are backing away from the defense of traditional marriage.

    I suspect you usually could not do this without making evaluations of their personal disposition and conduct, as in noting that some folk appear other-directed by default (Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher) or have been married four times (Theodore Olson), or make use of the self-description ‘conservative’ to obfuscate (Conor Friedersdorf).

    Someone on the payroll of The American Conservative or the Rockford Institute can likely also supply a dismissive commentary to the effect that those resisting this burlesque have neglected some deeper cultural deficiency which these resisters are too shallow to detect and about which we can do nothing in any case.

  • “Rank and file liberal catholics and the liberal catholic intelligentsia united in outrage over tax cuts for the rich, not so with abortion.”

    Fits alright.

  • Homosexuals have significantly higher levels of: mental health problems, psychological disorders such as suicide and depression, sexual addiction and coercion, promiscuity, STDs, violence, and addictions of all kinds including alcoholism and drug abuse.

    Same can be said of blacks. I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

  • Tide turning towards Catholicism? Just today I read a credible report saying that in the last 10+ Catholic marriages have decreased. One point of view is that the religion is too strict and another is that it is not needed with modern thinking. I just had a conversation with a liberal who said life is a pendulum goes from one extreme to the other finding it’s way in the middle. I do not believe this that societies do go by the wayside, that they undo themselves, with no virtue to survive pop trends.

  • I don’t find that a convincing argument. If you’re going to oppose gay marriage on secular grounds, I think you have to rest on the procreation argument.

    Why don’t you try making the case FOR it? Start with an explanation of why male friendships which do not incorporate sodomy as part of their daily practice should received less recognition than those which do.

  • Art Deco, I don’t know why you want me to make the case for it but you asked so I’ll try.

    The closer the relationship, the greater the rights and responsibilities between them are. If we want to legally protect expectation interests, we will want to recognize intimately committed couples in ways that we don’t recognize mere friendships. We may also want to legally recognize friendships but that’s not at issue here.

  • RR,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored? Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    My question was rhetorical. The gay lobby wants this as a gesture of deference. The only reason to give it to them is that they will be put out by refusal. Lots of people do not get their way, and public policy is enough of a zero sum game that that is inevitable. For some, it is incorporated into their amour-propre to regard some clamoring constituencies as composed of those who are So Very Special. Then there’s the rest of thus, who are not so well represented in the appellate judiciary.

  • AD,

    We have an association that is sterile and undertaken in a social matrix where sexual activity is treated as fun-n-games. Why should this be honored?

    It shouldn’t.

    Why is it deemed ‘closer’ than the fraternity that bound my father to the man who was his dearest friend for 48 of his 51 years? What are ‘expectation interests’? Why do you want to protect them?

    I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support. When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties, it would be unjust to allow one party to escape their duties at the expense of the other(s). It’s why we enforce contracts. If your father and his friend did have such an arrangement, it should be enforced.

  • I’d postulate that people don’t feel as threatened by gay marriage as they are by Islam. Homosexuals never killed 3000 people in my backyard.

    Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

  • Pope John Paul II ordered Carmelite nuns, who were living right next to Auschwitz, to move closer to a nearby town, since the site had become a rallying point for Jewish identity. Krauthammer correctly pointed out that Christians had been murdered there too and the nuns were doing the heroic deed of praying for the souls of those who were viciously murdered. However, Krauthammer pointed out that the late Polish pontiff felt that it created the wrong perception.

    Nobody would object if those wanting to building the mosque volunteered to build it elsewhere. But who is the more honorable person? The Jew who welcomed the Carmelites or the Jew who told them to go somewhere else?

  • Neither have illegal immigrants, but that hasn’t stopped an upsurge in hostility and resentment towards them as a group.

    They ignored the law and act to frustrate lawfully constituted immigration policy. Can we have a wee bit o’ antagonism, pretty please?

  • I assume your father and his friend didn’t rely on each other for financial support.

    I cannot say if they borrowed money from each other or not. Ordinarily, working aged men are expected to be self-supporting if not disabled.

    When people form an association with the mutual expectation that they take on certain duties,

    Human relations are not commercial transactions and the law does not ordinarily enforce amorphous and unwritten ‘expectations’ that someone else is going to pay your rent.

    Right now, RR, I am pricing insurance policies. I was offered (unbidden) discount rates by the agent if I was in some sort of ‘committed relationship’ with some other dude. Uh, no, nothing like that Chez Deco, ever. I inquired about purchases for my sister. No discount offers there.

    Maybe sis and I can manufacture an ‘expectations interest’ and get you and Judge Walker to work on our problem.

  • And if it is written?

    Are you opposed to insurance discounts for spouses or for discounts for siblings?

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  • This article has a lot of interesting points. However, it rambles all over the place. The essay would have been easier to understand if it was broken up into three mini essays.

    There’s no intrinsic connection between the Cordoba Mosque, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage. Why lament that some conservatives have an opinion on one topic but not the other? You might (rightfully) argue that the establishment of a mosque near Ground Zero does not carry even a tenth of the socio-moral import of same sex marriage. But the logical independence of the two questions renders party lockstep on the two issues irrelevant. Let the GOP/right/conservative rank and file make up their own minds about the relationship between these two variables.

    Gratuitous aside: I know that you and other faithful/orthodox Catholic bloggers must boost reparative therapy. To not do so would negatively impact one’s orthodox Catholic street cred. Still, one can be a faithful Catholic, live morally, and not support COURAGE. Indeed, I found the meetings emotionally intrusive and psychologically manipulative. I wish that the Catholic orthodox/conservative/right would think twice before lavishing praise on an organization and therapeutic model that at the very least has emotionally troubled some participants. Sing your praises only after attending a meeting or two.

  • Sorta Catholic, the beauty of writing an article for a blog or newspaper column is that you have the freedom to write it as you see fit. Perhaps, some would like shorter columns, while others may favor longer columns, the choice is up to the writer.

    As for Courage, the group’s spiritual mentor is Father Benedict Groeschel, his credentials are certainly good enough for me. Perhaps, the meeting you attended was not run properly. I can only tell you that the group is trying to impart the Church’s teachings in a world that has become enamored with self, and not with faith.

    As for orthodox-minded street cred, we aren’t trying to impress anyone only help spread the message of Christ through His Church. We have divergent opinions on a variety of topics, but yet we fall under the same umbrella of supporting the Church’s teachings. The longer you submit to the will of God, the more you realize the wisdom of the 2,000 year old Catholic Church. It really does make you a more content indiviudal, free from the whims of the modern world. Take care!

  • It is a shame that the likes of Beck, Coulter and Limbaugh would let their libertarian views get the best of them when it comes to SSM. Divorcing that from their preaching for conservative values is not the charitable thing to do when the eternal salvation of those who engage in homosexual acts is at stake. Frankly, by doing so, they are committing the grievous sin of omission. A priest in Texas recently made that point clear when he said that Catholics have a moral duty to oppose abortion and SSM.

  • By the way, one of my favorite journalists, WorldNetDaily’s founder Joseph Farah, hits the nail on the head of this issue in offering his take on why some conservatives are “capitulating” to the gay agenda pushers: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=192761

  • Hi Dave,

    A person that bases his or her judgement of an organization on the perceived reputation of a founder/leader/mentor in that organization commits the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority”. Now, Fr. Groschel is an upstanding authority. I respect him as a religious leader even if I do not agree with many of his points. Even so, the absolute metric for any organization is its ideology/methodology. Perhaps you’ve provided a rigorous defense of reparative therapy elsewhere on your website. If so, point me there. Otherwise, an appeal to authority without prior analysis of an institution’s ideology or methodology is rather insubstantial.

    Appeals to authority or subjective statements such as “X is trying to impart the Church’s teachings […]” sometimes hide insufficient research. Also, “orthodoxy” (i.e. strict adherence to a religion’s dogma/doctrine) does not guarantee the success or failure of a particular therapy.

  • Hi SortaCatholic, I hope your day is going well. I must say that I find these sorts of exchanges very interesting. I don’t believe my “Appeal to Authority,” is some sort of man made or earthly authority. You see I have worked for the Church in a number of capacities. I have seen the good, bad and the ugly. There is some great people who work for the Church and some really inept ones. I have always felt with all of these inept folks, the Church would have to be who she says she is to have survived 2,000 years!

    Perhaps someone at Courage might come across this and answer some of your questions. I do know that God does help us and prayer does work, but rarely in the sort of miraculous way in which we would like it to happen. God sorts and sifts us. We all have our own sets of problems, blessings, gifts, talents and struggles. I have always found Christ’s words of seek and you shall find, knock and you will be heard to be very true (Matthew 7:7-11.) In addition, I have always found this Scripture reading from Hebrews about God showing us the way through trial and struggle very revealing in my own life (Hebrews 12:5-12.) Take care!

Res et Explicatio for AD 2-3-2010

Wednesday, February 3, AD 2010

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are my Top Picks in the Internet from the world of the Catholic Church and secular culture:

1. On ABC’s “This Week” this past Sunday Arianna Huffington, of the Huffington Post accused Glenn Beck of “inciting the American people” to commit violence against Obama by talking about “people being slaughtered.”

Here is Glenn Beck’s response from last night:

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7 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 2-3-2010

  • Safari and Chrome are superior to Firefox in page loading speed and web standards compliance. Firefox uses the least memory but the #1 reason I stick with it is because of the extensions. All this competition is producing rapidly improving browsers.

  • “Here is a neat story of how a kitty cat at a nursing home in Rhode Island curls up to patients just before they are about to die.”

    Oscar, The Cat of Doom!

  • RR,

    I agree. Competition makes everyone better. And if they don’t get better they wither and die!

  • I have found Google Chrome to be the superior browser, at least on my home computer. I don’t do much except browse the internet, and it is super fast. I have two problems with it, though they might be unique to my circumstance. For one, last I checked it still wasn’t syncing with PayPal to enable me to print out shipping labels (I have some ebay business), and for whatever reason whenever I attempt to write out blog posts all but the first paragraph disappears when I attempt to publish.

    I do like Safari as well, and Firefox works great on my work computer but for some reason is slow as heck at home.

  • Thanks for the post about Glenn Beck and for your pro-life stand.

  • Paul,

    Some of the online and evening classes I’m taking requires that I use Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox to access my assignments.

    Ironically they never configured their secure sites for Google Chrome, but Chrome works infinitely better than IE and Firefox!

    Go figure.

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On Glenn Beck & Other Crazy People

Monday, September 28, AD 2009

I am allergic to political cable tv shows, talk radio, and nightly news. I cannot watch or listen to these programs for longer than fifteen minutes without subjecting anyone within earshot to a lengthy rant. And so I won’t pretend to be deeply familiar with Glenn Beck’s work. Instead, I’ll rely on Joe Carter at First Things:

There isn’t much I could add to the criticisms—from the left, right, and center—that have been made against him in the last few weeks. His recent comments have shown that he’s a naked opportunist who will say anything to get attention: If he’s on his television show on Fox he’ll pander to the audience by saying that President Obama is a racist who is ushering in an age of socialism, if not the apocalypse; then, when he is in front of Katie Couric and CBS News, he says that John McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama (which begs the question, “What exactly is worse than the socialist/communist/fascist apocalypse?”).

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100 Responses to On Glenn Beck & Other Crazy People

  • If anything, we need to keep in mind the media is not in this for us or for the ‘good.’ The media is in the drama business and will promote any sort of mass hysteria.

    You are absolutely right, Eric. When all is said and done, the raison d’etre for these programs is to sell dishwasher detergent. Perhaps Joe will have some comments about the degradations of capitalism to insert here (and they would have merit).What I find frustrating is that some Catholic conservatives either look the other way, or, worse, defend this type of cynical ratings ploy. And, of course, it goes without saying that the same is true of many Catholic liberals.

  • Apologies, Eric. It looks like I quoted part of a comment you decided to delete. If it’s ok with you, I’ll leave that quote in my comment (if not, feel free to delete the comment).

  • It’s fine John Henry. I was deleting my comment about Republicans and ended up deleting the whole thing and was too lazy to move ‘back’ so the changes would not go into effect. I just let everything be deleted. 🙂

  • Glenn Beck is trying to get the people of this country to wake up! he is doing a far better job of
    telling the truth and mobilizing folks to educate themselves on the Constitution than are many in the media. He is the parent of a child with severe cerebral palsy. Who the hell are you to judge him?
    Why don’t you get the lumber out of your own eye first before removing the speck in your neighbor’s???

  • I don’t much appreciate sensationalism from Glenn Beck, any more than sensationalism in attacking him as has been done above and on First Things. I think, John Henry if you consider a few of the sources of your post, aside from First Things you’d find that you’re actually pulling data from the loonies on the left, to attack who you’re calling a loon on the right.

    That said, I won’t defend Beck, though many of the complaints are based on out of context quotes.

    I will say, as one who sympathizes with his notion of restoring a government actually based on the founding documents, I do have some concerns about the 9/12 movement, and Glenn Beck, as well as the “5000 year leap”. I’ve just started reading it and so will perhaps have more to say another time.

  • For those interested, ‘Kate Sullivan’ is a new commenter who has never commented on any other thread. I think it’s likely that she is either a Democratic astro-turfer (who else would suggest the medical condition of one of Beck’s children places him beyond criticism?), or an overly enthusiastic Beck supporter using Google Alerts (a la the kind Joe Carter described above). All of which is a long way of saying, respond at your own risk.

  • KateSullivan: Now that is a heroic statement, honestly, we need to know what is going on. That is for certain.

    I don’t think mentioning someone has a child is saying they are beyond criticism. It’s saying, hey, he’s probably a good guy. No, I wouldn’t go marking anyone, especially with a Catholic name like “Sullivan” as saying they have found this through some questionable means. It doesn’t change the fact, that her remarks are right on the mark.

    Fox showed this morning how some public school around San Francisco showed some sort of gay oriented cartoon to kids. This is a very random example, however, I do believe it points to the fact, that we do need people out there telling us what is going on.

    I’m not into Glenn Beck, I like Hannity a lot. I don’t really get into Beck’s show that much but I’ve heard good things from him. This James Trafficant was on Hannity’s radio show today and I understand was going to be on tv. Something about Trafficant being a former congressman who got sent to prison. I have heard of him but don’t know his story.

  • Beck goes on it seems about some things, once being an alcoholic, etc. But I’ve heard him speaking about the existence of God! Spot on! It was about the first time I ever heard him as they were playing his show during the evening hours and he did indeed testify. So, although, some odd quotes seem to be taken out on him and I haven’t read his book, I’d like to see these quotes about his faith quoted. I think I’ve heard he’s a Mormon but again, he really hasn’t caught my interest that much but I don’t find fault with him. I do admit he may say somethings that sound like kneejerk reactions and seem to be made too rashly.

  • John, I tend to agree with you on political cable TV shows and talk radio, although I’ve found a singular exception to the talk radio phenomenon, a conservative who is principled and not simply in it to “sell soap”: Dennis Prager. He’s an observant Jew and a neo-con to some degree (mugged by reality as a young adult, etc.), but his show focuses only about 50% of the time on politics. The rest is society, religion, ethics, and the most random topics that tickle his fancy. For example, his producer and best friend, Allen, has the hobby of collecting honey from around the world, so once a week or so he’ll have a “honey update.” He also has an excellent segment for an hour every Friday called the “Happiness Hour,” which completely eschews political topics and focuses on the human condition.

    As a Catholic I find his views on some sexual issues too libertine (e.g., he thinks men looking at girlie magazines is normal and should be encouraged by wives to keep their husbands from straying), but otherwise he is an honest and very wise man who really enjoys digging deeply into issues and debating/discussing them with callers and guests representing a wide variety of viewpoints. Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity can’t hold a candle to him intellectually, or I would even say as hosts.

  • Beck is an entertainer above all and not to my taste. However, his popularity in the ratings is I think more attributable to the fact that he covers stories that the mainstream media simply ignores. For example he led the charge against Van Jones in the Obama administration. The first story in the New York Times about the Van Jones affair was published on the day when he resigned.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Why-did-the-press-ignore-the-Van-Jones-scandal_-8210602-57658222.html

    When clowns are reporting the news because journalists are too biased to do so, people are going to be tuning in to the clowns.

  • , is there even any political benefit to defending this type of lunacy?

    I don’t really like Beck, but I don’t think the criticisms of him are completely fair. So while I will continue to not watch his television show, I don’t think jumping on anti-Beck bandwagons are completely worthwhile, not when there are much more important things to worry about. Then again, I don’t begin every day wondering how I can suck up to people who disagree with me.

  • So I express disagreement with you, Paul….and your response is to accuse me of sucking up to people I disagree with? Was I too polite? If you want me to go further, I could say something like “you’re lame and noncommittal attempts to defend Beck because he happens to be a Republican are an embarrassment, and the ‘let’s talk about something else’ routine with an ad hominem and an et tu quoque tossed in on the side reminds me of a certain Minion.

    I suppose we could trade insults and I could try and exonerate myself from the charge of being a suck up. But that’s not a very interesting subject. I’d rather just reiterate the questions I asked in the post: why do you think people like Beck are successful? Do you think there is a political benefit from this nonsense, and, even if there is, should Catholics be defending him?

  • Awww, John, did I touch a nerve? Frankly, I don’t really care about this topic, and I’m not going to delve further into this stupidity. But I’ll leave you free to criticize Beck and Limbaugh – that’s a really important priority. I mean it’s not like there are people out there defending human cloning or other things which actually may affect our lives.

    So fight the good fight, you crazy culture warrior you.

    BTW, Beck’s not even a Republican, but why waste some good sanctimony.

  • I don’t think I’ve watched Glenn Beck more than two or three times. I have explained in the past why I cannot stand even to listen to Rush Limbaugh for more than a few minutes at a time so I’m probably not missing anything by not watching Glenn Beck.

    Years ago I was chatting with a DRE in the parish I was attending at the time. He mentioned that he had once aspired to be a writer of political satire but eventually gave it up because, and I quote, “it kills your soul eventually.” And this was before the internet and blogging really took off.

    One only has to look at the effect the “take no prisoners” approach to political discourse has at times even on people like us, who are for the most part conscientious Catholics, to see what he meant. ;-(

  • The “gasoline” incident, which I just watched for the first time, would have played much better as an SNL sketch. When you can’t tell the difference between a real show and an SNL parody version, something’s wrong!

  • Paul,

    It’s true of almost every post in the history of the blogosphere that it could be devoted to something more important. If you’re not interested in a subject, just don’t comment….

  • When clowns are reporting the news because journalists are too biased to do so, people are going to be tuning in to the clowns.

    It’s a good point. The Times coverage, or, rather, lack thereof, of the Van Jones and Acorn scandals has been inexcusable. To rephrase what you said slightly, if all journalists are clowns, the ones with the most outlandish outfits will capture the viewers.

  • Never heard Beck, myself. Those who find talk radio obnoxious might try listening to William Bennett’s show occasionally. It’s generally civil and smarter than your average bear.

  • What I’m curious about is why people find this type of nonsense appealing. After all, it’s fairly obvious that elections are determined by independents and swing voters.

    People do not play those angles when they elect what to listen to on the radio. Crude radio programming is a function of declining standards of taste. The question which has been unanswered for upwards of forty years is where the bottom is.

  • Watched Beck a few times a couple of years ago. Have listened a few times on radio. Listened a few more times since the left has erected him as the new boogie man (no more Bushitler and railroading Limbaugh hasn’t worked.) Stopped listening again after a couple of shows. Too conspiritorial and over the top. Not as bad as an Olberman or Maddow. Actually more sane than them. But who will critcize the latter two?
    Has his good points. Very pro-family. And then there’s this about Obama’s asinine commment on “a baby as punishment”:

    “This is the amazing thing. This is what you can — this is what you need to take away from Barack Obama on this. What you learned from Barack Obama in, you know, I don’t want them punished with a baby is this: That he sees children as a punishment, not for everybody but for some children are a punishment. Others, children is a blessing. A child is a blessing because you are trying. You are trying to avoid it. So it’s a punishment. The point is the baby becomes an “It.” The baby is just it. So he doesn’t see the sanctity of life is something that can punish you or bless you. I’m sorry but that’s an abomination in the eyes of God as I would see it. I can’t imagine how a baby could punish you. A baby is a gift at all times. A baby is the closest to perfection that we get at all times. We should be striving to be more like that innocent child than trying to just say, I don’t want them to be punished by a baby.”

    So on this point he is a lot more sane than our President.

  • As far as Glen Beck and the value or spectacle of his cable TV show ranting, one needs only to acknowledge some of the very obvious results he has produced, some would say almost single handedly but it is safe to say that he had assistance from Hannity and Limbaugh.

    Washington DC was recently deluged with throngs of “common folks” who came from all over American to protest the sudden new intrusion of big government into their lives and openly express their objections to the policies of the current administration as well as the desire to protect the nation they love from the onslaught of a socialist agenda. Limbaugh had been educating the public and Hannity had called for the freedom express across the country but Don’t even attempt to deny that, especially if you admit you didn’t bother to watch it unfold.

    The president’s beloved and highly praised favorite community organization which he worked for and ignited his political career, ACORN, was involved in voter fraud and voter intimidation charges during the recent election. The MSM had little or nothing to say while several states had lawsuits pending against them. Many Americans who were paying attention to the issues had every right to believe ACORN had more in its agenda than “voter registration”. So who do we thank for exposing the deception and outright corruption we now know was part of Obama’s beloved before but suddenly now not that much aware of what was going on at ACORN? No one more so than the GB show!

    The agenda set for the very inexperienced Barack Obama was obviously too big for him to handle, community organizing was child’s play next to being president, so he needed lots of help if it was to “fundamentally change” America and establish his personal goal of redistribution overnight as intended. Enter the far left’s most radical group of elitists and Marxist leaning liberals along with the usual batch of Washington insiders. The anointed one, possibly at the urging of the many “catholic” cronies flocking to help the most pro-abortion president in history, quickly assembled and incorporated “Czar City” for “The One”. These Bishops of Bureaucracy were given lots of money and the power to spend it anywhere to further the Marxist inspired presidents “social justice” initiatives. Oops! The Audacity of Arrogance, scum rose to the surface. Van Jones the race baiting self proclaimed Communists somehow had taken a seat beside the president as the MSM continues to ignore their job. So how will the American people be privileged to the truth?
    Enter Glen Beck! You can’t deny he has been accused of personally exposing this heavy handed Obamination.

    Now as far as Beck sounding crazy and causing a ruckus, well a while back I seem to remember the liberals in their inevitable way of trying to persuade the hearts of Christians to their point of view to compare them to Jesus the “radical” as a “community organizer”.
    Now children , back to reality on the count of three 1 2 3
    Mmm Mmm Mmm Barack Hussein Obama Mmm Mmm Mmm

  • For the record I really don’t like any of the talking heads on TV or radio, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin, O’Reilly, Meadows, etc.. How anybody can listen to an a**-**** like Levin for more than 30 seconds is beyond me. There use to be a time in the early ’90’s when I found Limbaough to be extremely entertaining, but then he began to believe his own press and merely became the drug and vice addicted shill of the Republican party.

    However, I find it extremely interesting that Beck was never criticized by fellow “conservatives” as long as he was defending the Bush war and torture atrocities and Bush’s building an ofincreasingly bigger and intrusive Federal government and called crazy those on the right those who criticised Bush, e.g. Ron Paul, crazy.

    It is only now that Beck is increasing in his criticism of the Republican party that he is being increasingly criticised by his fellow “conservatives”. He has had the audacity to point out that big givernment is not the fault of Democrats alone. Would McCain have been worse than Obama – yes, because he would have advanced basically the same programs – perhaps at a slower pace and under different names – but he would not have faced resistance from the Republicans and conservatives because he was one of them. Just as Nixon was able to flush Taiwan down the toilet because he was an “anti-communist” and Bush was able to push Socialist corporate bail -outs through with minimal Republican opposition. Government continues to grow no matter who is in power. Presidents continue to accumulate executive powers no matter what party they belong to. They just use different rataionalizations and move at different speeds.

  • John Henry,


    When clowns are reporting the news because journalists are too biased to do so, people are going to be tuning in to the clowns.

    It’s a good point. The Times coverage, or, rather, lack thereof, of the Van Jones and Acorn scandals has been inexcusable. To rephrase what you said slightly, if all journalists are clowns, the ones with the most outlandish outfits will capture the viewers.

    You didn’t rephrase what he said, you changed it. Regardless of a degree of ‘clownishness’, people listen to Beck because of the news that the MSM does not present.

  • All right, let me try this with a little bit less snark. Here’s where I’m coming from – I am not a particular fan of Beck. I used to listen to his radio show from time to time when he was on in DC, and he wasn’t quite as, well, crazy as he is now. He hasn’t been on in this market for probably about a year, and the Fox show is on at a time when I am almost never home. This was the first time I had seen much of it, and I am not really impressed. I think he is hyperbolic, and frankly his idol seems to be William Shatner at least when it comes to over-acting.

    My only point is that I think there is an over-reaction against him as well. I really don’t see him as being any kind of particular threat to the well-being of the republic, nor am I much concerned that he’s doing the conservative cause any significant harm. In the grand scheme of things, he probably attracts as many people as he repels, and perhaps actually gains more, but I can’t prove that one way or the other. When there are so many worse pundits out there – people who are advocating things like cloning and genetic engineering and all sorts of horrible things, why waste this much ink on people like Beck. I recognize that not all blogging has to be about one thing – you can certainly castigate me for putting up posts about the red zone channel rather than the situation in Honduras. But when I see these kinds of posts again and again, it gets wearying.

    One last thing. I found your reaction a little funny because when I cross-posted my thoughts on Back on Southern Appeal, his defenders acted as though I had blasphemed. And now your reaction is to say that I am (tepidly) defending him. It’s all a matter of perspective I guess.

  • JH,

    If you’re not interested in a subject, just don’t comment….

    It’s you’re thread man, but a comment to the extent that too much concern is placed in an area to the distraction of others is a completely legitimate opinion that deserves to be heard.

  • Awakaman: I was not aware that the Congressionally Approved Iraq War is exclusively Bush’s War. Furthermore, we do see the Washington Post has in fact, defended the use of enhanced torture techniques versus the unpatriotic Americans who would not mind seeing our citizens blown to smithereens.

  • TomNSDAPSVDP:

    I agree TomNSDAPSVDP the Democrats have just as much blood on their hands as the Republicans do for these unjust and bloody wars. War=bigger and stronger federal government and that is something to which both parties can agree.

    So, TomNSDAPSVDP, the Washington post is now your Magisterium? How special! Who are these unpatriotic Americans you’d like to have enhanced torture techniques used on? I’m sure that your list would differ from that of the Obama administration. Please give specific instances where American lives have been saved through the use of torture.

  • John Henry said: “If you’re not interested in a subject, just don’t comment.”

    One could hardly blame Paul for commenting when it was YOU who linked to his post and, unfairly in my view, accused him of offering “tepid support” for someone of whom he had been somewhat critical.

    Paul said: “It’s all a matter of perspective I guess”

    Paul,
    It’s a matter of triangulation. If Tony A looks bad, and you, on the other end of the political spectrum, get compared to him (i.e. you also look bad), then guess who comes out smelling like a rose by comparison?

    There are a lot of Douthat/Dreher/Brooks/Frum copycats popping up these days. They see the mileage that those guys have gotten from triangulating to make themselves look “reasonable” by comparison.

    John Henry and I have discussed this before, and we’ve both made our positions on the matter clear. I certainly wish him no ill will, and we probably agree on far more than we disagree, but I disagree with him on how he chooses to handle these particular situations.

    For the record, I didn’t even know what Beck looked like until I saw a photo of him on the internet a few weeks back. I don’t watch Fox News (or any TV news programming for that matter). And I don’t listen to (nor do I particularly care for) Rush Limbaugh. So, on that basis, I hope it is clear that I am not offering “tepid support” for any of them.

    I agree with you, Paul, that this triangulation BS wherein a few self-appointed “reasonable” conservatives feel they must denounce “those people” in order to maintain some semblance of credibility (with whoever they’re trying to remain credible) is beyond wearying.

    I have absolutely no connection to the afore-mentioned media personalities or organizations because they are not even on my radar screen. I don’t care for them, but neither do I feel particularly compelled to denounce them either. And those who act as though I have some such obligation are playing with a sick form of guilt by association. I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, primarily, because I don’t dance to their drummer in the first place (so why should I feel so compelled since they’re no reflection upon me to begin with?) And I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, secondarily, because neither do I dance to the drummer of their detractors.

    I’m not playing that game.

  • Jay Anderson,

    You (and Donald) articulated my feelings exactly.

    I’d like to throw in there Mark Shea who seems to get a lot of traction attacking traditional Catholics and conservatives on the most minuscule of issues.

  • Awakaman can not argue, NSDAP stands for Nazi. I will not address you! But when you fly lies which is the reason for this person’s sordid and sorry personal attacks I will address it.

    Anti-War Nuts say torture: Well, it would be torture to even go to a minimum security prison. I am sorry that you can not make any kind of argument without resorting to the most vile personal attacks.

    And by the way, you take issue with my using the word “Unpatriotic Americans”, well you started it by saying “Bush’s War” when European Intelligence showed Saddam was trying to get everything to make Weapons of Mass Destruction. Likewise, is labelling torture the same kind of technique.

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/morality-and-enhanced-interrogation-techniques-15125

    The Washington Post indeed does represent a liberal view in this nation. If they see Enhanced Interogation as having thwarted terrorists attacks, it shows you really are digging to start hurling personal attacks at someone. Better to keep your closed and narrow mind to yourself.

  • Awakaman: My heritage is Polish. There is no country that felt the wrath of the Nazis more and murdered many of on par with their other victims, Jews, Gypsies etc.

    SVDP get it through your mind means St. Vincent De Paul of Charity.

    You have no shame and you have no integrity.

  • John Henry,

    I agree with you on this topic in full.

    Glen Beck is an embarrassment. I dislike him for the same reason I dislike Sarah Palin: his appeal is to the mob, to the lower and baser instincts in man.

    Appeals to man’s lower nature are almost always more profitable than any attempt to elevate or enlighten. Like Sarah Palin, Glen Beck doesn’t challenge you. If you agree with him, you’ll love him. If you don’t, you’ll hate him. But one thing you’ll probably never do with either of those two is say, “hmm, I never thought of it that way before”, or “hmm, now there’s an idea that, even though I am of the opposite political persuasion, I think I can accept”.

    This I understand, for all movements need such types. The troops must be rallied. But as in all things, there is a hierarchy of priorities. When rallying the troops becomes of far greater importance than trying to build a broader tent, priorities are out of order.

    Neither the Republican Party nor conservatism – in spite of whatever anger at Obama might be unleashed in 2010 (backlash is always out there) – will not survive in the long run if its public face is Palin/Beck. It will rightfully be regarded as a shrinking sect of angry, aging, white reactionaries who won’t surrender even an inch of ground for the sake of political progress.

    Obama’s appeals to common ground might sound hollow to some, and he may not even take them that seriously himself, but they still need to be made. Political polarization is NOT something we want. As Catholics we cannot compromise on life issues – on everything else, we really must reject party lines and forge new solutions.

  • Tom:

    My grandparents came from Poland also. My grandfather fought in the anti-bolshevik wars after WWI. I agree that Poland suffered greatly under Nazism due to torture and war. But the lesson I learned from that was not to engage in such tactics with others no matter what the supposed justification.

    Invoking the name of St. Vincent DePaul of Charity to advance war and torture? How can you seriously ask who lacks shame and intgrity here? May SVDP pray for you.

    Well, I’ve sidetracked these comments enough. Back to work.

  • Joe,

    t will rightfully be regarded as a shrinking sect of angry, aging, white reactionaries who won’t surrender even an inch of ground for the sake of political progress.

    tell it to the million or so people who marched on the Capitol a couple weeks ago.

    You’re a thoughtful guy Joe, look beyond the emotion, and see what the underlying principles he’s putting out there are.

    9 Principles, 12 Values

    9 Principles, 12 Values

    The 9 Principles
    1. America Is Good.

    2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
    God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.

    3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
    Honesty “I hope that I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider to be the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” George Washington

    4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
    Marriage/Family “It is in the love of one’s family only that heartfelt happiness is known. By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.” Thomas Jefferson

    5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
    Justice “I deem one of the essential principles of our government… equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political.” Thomas Jefferson

    6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
    Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness “Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.” Thomas Jefferson

    7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
    Charity “It is not everyone who asketh that deserveth charity; all however, are worth of the inquiry or the deserving may suffer.” George Washington

    8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
    On your right to disagree “In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.” George Washington

    9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
    Who works for whom? “I consider the people who constitute a society or a nation as the source of all authority in that nation.” Thomas Jefferson

    The 12 Values
    * Honesty
    * Reverence
    * Hope
    * Thrift
    * Humility
    * Charity
    * Sincerity
    * Moderation
    * Hard Work
    * Courage
    * Personal Responsibility
    * Gratitude

    I’m not sure if you agree with all of them, but they’re worth discussing. It would be much better to look at this rationally then to just jump on the bandwagon of visceral reaction.

    I started reading “The 5000 Year Leap”, while I am cautious about it, so far it’s very good, I’ll have more to say about that later.

    For the record: I listen to Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, and Hugh Hewitt mostly, along with Praeger sometimes. I take each one with varying grains of salt. I don’t watch or listen to Beck’s show, nor Hannity very often. My interest is mainly about principles, not particular policies.

  • Ok, lets look at these nine principles.

    1. It depends. To take that as axiomatic is simply impossible. America has done evil things – one can say that slavery wasn’t unique to America but what I think was unique was the Constitutional reduction of black people to something less than human, something no classical slave society ever did so formally. Then there is the treatment of Native Americans. And there are a few other issues. Point is – America is not built on goodness alone, and NO country is.

    2. As far as I am concerned, it is idolatrous to have this as number 2 behind “America is good”. God is good – America is made up of human beings with free will who can and often have chosen evil, like all other peoples in all other countries.

    3. Ok.

    4. Ok – but society (meaning neighbors and extended family, if not the state as well) has a right to intervene in cases of manifest abuse and neglect.

    5. Ok, provided only that the punishment is proportionate to the crime. Justice can be blind but it must also be, to what extent it can, merciful.

    6. Of course. No one really wants equal results. Even Marxists don’t want equal results. What I want is an established minimum and maximum within which there can be variation.

    7. Everyone has a moral obligation to contribute to the common good, including, but not limited to, the payment of taxes. That is in the Catechism and cannot be thrown aside.

    Catholic social teaching has established that the state has a role to play in promoting the common good. Government cannot force you to be charitable in your heart, but it can morally compel you to contribute to the common good. HOW the money is spent, we can debate, yes – but NOT whether or not it is moral to collect and distribute it at all.

    If you wish to have it out on this particular topic, my recommendation is that we do it on a new post that I will make upon your request.

    8. Of course.

    9. That sounds nice, but I don’t make any plan of action on that premise.

  • For me, it’s not about party. I’m a member of no political party. I denounce plenty of so-called “conservative” postitions on the issues when I disagree with them (which is a lot, by the way – see, e.g., immigration, waterboarding, war, etc.). But I denounce them on my own terms, not as part of someone else’s feeding frenzy.

    I’m just not into playing the game, which, at its core, is a sort of guilt by association: you MUST denounce this person or else have the face of your entire movement tarnished (i.e. you don’t want to be one of the “other crazy people” alongside Beck/Limbaugh/Palin/etc., do you?). It’s Alinsky 101 (actually, it’s Alinky’s Rule 12):

    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)”

    Demonization. Sorry, not going there, whether it’s President Obama being demonized or Governor Palin being demonized. Or whether it’s Fox, Beck, and Limbaugh or MSNBC, Olbermann, and Maddow.

    I don’t see the need to continue to denounce and demonize and disassociate. And I’m not going to do it. Or at least not on someone else’s terms and as part of someone else’s agenda because they think I need to speak up lest I be “tarnished” by association.

  • “But I denounce them on my own terms, not as part of someone else’s feeding frenzy.”

    I respect that fully. For my part I don’t demand denunciations of a person in order to befriend them or work with them. I don’t like Sarah Palin but there are plenty of people who like her that I do like.

    So I’m with you on this 🙂

  • Beck certainly was not responsible for calling Obama a racist just for the remark of calling Police stupid, however, when you combine that with Obama making “Special Olympics” jokes on that one late night show, I definitely consider that a bigotted statement against challenged individuals. Likewise, sometimes bigotry is okay as the course, crude remarks Letterman made about Sarah Palin who to her credit, after Obama’s attack on handicapped children, Palin said how special her child was who was inflicted. Liberals tend to dislike someone who did not opt for their sacrament of abortion. She challenges their secular beliefs. Making jokes about mentally or physically challenged people just appeals to the lowest and most crude instincts of mob mentality.

    Gerald Ford never was a stumbler in any way, yet, Saturday Night Live had no problem doing all of those skits and Chevy Chase himself said that was to help elect a new president. With the Mainstream Media so biased, Glenn Beck and his like offer a valid alternative. This is what the left does not like, counter opinions.

  • What Jay said.

  • One could hardly blame Paul for commenting when it was YOU who linked to his post and, unfairly in my view, accused him of offering “tepid support” for someone of whom he had been somewhat critical.

    Ok…did you miss the part where Paul left three comments and wrote a post for two different blogs about a subject, then insulted me for talking about it? I wasn’t criticizing him for commenting, but rather for commenting multiple times about how irrelevant it was, having posted on the subject himself. If it’s that irrelevant and not worth talking about…then why is he talking about it so much?

    It’s a matter of triangulation. If Tony A looks bad, and you, on the other end of the political spectrum, get compared to him (i.e. you also look bad), then guess who comes out smelling like a rose by comparison?

    This is just b.s. I criticized Paul’s method of disputation – an ad hominem and a ‘let’s talk about something else’. Sure I pointed out that it is the exact same thing Tony A does, but it wasn’t to make myself look good. It was because Paul’s argument was erroneous in the same way Tony A’s are. I’m not trying to curry favor with anyone (unlike, for example, Conor Friedersdorf, who’s trying to make a career out of this).

    There are a lot of Douthat/Dreher/Brooks/Frum copycats popping up these days. They see the mileage that those guys have gotten from triangulating to make themselves look “reasonable” by comparison.

    Again, this is b.s. I’m not writing to get paid or to make a name for myself or to get mileage, any more than you’re writing to improve you’re street cred. Blogs are completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I get no benefit from this, I’m just expressing my opinion.

    For the record, I didn’t even know what Beck looked like until I saw a photo of him on the internet a few weeks back. I don’t watch Fox News (or any TV news programming for that matter). And I don’t listen to (nor do I particularly care for) Rush Limbaugh. So, on that basis, I hope it is clear that I am not offering “tepid support” for any of them.

    For someone trying not to support them, you sure are intent on attacking anyone who criticizes them.

    I agree with you, Paul, that this triangulation BS wherein a few self-appointed “reasonable” conservatives feel they must denounce “those people” in order to maintain some semblance of credibility (with whoever they’re trying to remain credible) is beyond wearying.

    Again, my on-line credibility is not the issue; the issue is that I find people like Beck repulsive. Listening and watching that stuff is like taking a long, hot bath in a large tub of stupid. Some people can’t tell the difference, but imo the people who can should point out that these types of shows are pernicious.

    I have absolutely no connection to the afore-mentioned media personalities or organizations because they are not even on my radar screen. I don’t care for them, but neither do I feel particularly compelled to denounce them either. And those who act as though I have some such obligation are playing with a sick form of guilt by association. I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, primarily, because I don’t dance to their drummer in the first place (so why should I feel so compelled since they’re no reflection upon me to begin with?) And I won’t denounce Fox or Beck or Limbaugh, secondarily, because neither do I dance to the drummer of their detractors. I’m not playing that game.

    Yeah, but you are playing the game, Jay. You’re just as involved as anyone else. You just wrote several hundred words and two comments attacking me for criticizing them. I didn’t bring you up in the post or link to you; you just decided to comment. I didn’t implicate you. If you want to criticize people including me for criticizing Beck, be my guest. But don’t claim that I’m trying to force you to comment, then say you won’t comment, then comment, and then criticize me for forcing you to comment when I never addressed you in the first place.

  • John Henry:

    I actually took the time to read *all* of the combox entries before I responded to your post, to ensure that I wasn’t merely parroting someone else’s much more sage rendition.

    I have a problem with, not just you, but *anyone* criticizing a public figure like Beck or Limbaugh with no background for doing so. It’s as bad as the mischaracterization of the Church that goes on every day by folks who don’t know what we teach and believe (only what they’ve been told or *assume* we teach or believe).

    I think it’s a good idea to listen to someone for a time before lambasting them as “crazy”. Does Beck have some “interesting” ways of presenting info? Sure. Does he employ theatrical devices to make his point(s)? Sure. But is he the political right’s equivalent of a 9-11 truther? I don’t think so.

    Beck’s criticism of Vann Jones was, by all appearances, spot-on. His analysis of things that are going on in the Obama administration? At least plausible (I found this morning’s exposition of the relationship between the President and the head of the development organization responsible for Chicago’s Olympic bid interesting, to say the least).

    Glenn Beck is a radio personality. He is not a mouthpiece for the Republican party, in my estimation, mainly because he criticizes them too much. But all of that falls into the realm of Personal Opinion, and is not germaine to the discussion.

    What *is* germaine is this: how can we, as followers of Christ, publicly lambast even a *public* figure only on the basis of third-party testimony? I’m not sure, but it seems like that would be scandalous, at minimum.

    Here’s my challenge: Listen to him for a week or two. Actually spend the time separating the things that are said for their comedic value, and things that are put forward seriously. The man’s show tag-line is “The fusion of information…and entertainment>” It is up to *us*, as listeners/viewers, to discern the line between the two. N’est-ce pas?

  • Btw, let me be clear that Jay and I probably agree on 80%-90% of matters related to public policy. We’re basically having a meta-level disagreement about how debate plays out in the public sphere; I don’t think it’s completely unimportant (obviously), but it’s pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it would be better discussed over a large Shiner’s than in a com-box.

  • Ok…did you miss the part where Paul left three comments and wrote a post for two different blogs about a subject, then insulted me for talking about it?

    I wrote one post, then simply put it on another blog. That’s not writing two posts. And I’m not insulting you for talking about it, I am criticizing you for harping on the evils of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh when there are other more important issues to tackle.

    This is just b.s. I criticized Paul’s method of disputation – an ad hominem and a ‘let’s talk about something else’.

    For someone trying not to support them, you sure are intent on attacking anyone who criticizes them.

    You see, this is your problem, John. You express all this sanctimony about civility in discourse, and then you basically excoriate anyone who doesn’t feel exactly as passionately about the issue as you. Jay, myself, Donald and others have all said the same thing – we don’t much care for Beck, but we don’t think that he merits the derision thrown his way. And for that we’re labeled as defenders of Beck because we simply don’t hate him and think him as dangerous as you do. This is like all of the BDS-afflicted leftists who made it sound like anyone who didn’t hate Bush with as much passion as they did was a Bush sycophant.

    the issue is that I find people like Beck repulsive.

    That’s your prerogative. Where you go off the rails, again, is getting all huffy when we don’t exactly share your sentiment.

  • Well, I have read about Beck, but I have never watched his show. Too busy at the office when his show is being broadcast. This thread has awakened my curiosity. I guess if we are going to debate the man it might be a good idea to have a sample of his show. Here he is on Obama’s science czar.

  • I wrote one post, then simply put it on another blog.

    In other words, you wrote “a post for two different blogs,” right? What am I missing there?

    I am criticizing you for harping on the evils of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh when there are other more important issues to tackle.

    Again, Paul. There are nearly always more important issues to tackle. The same could be said of nearly every post in the history of this or any other blog. As I said, I don’t find this criticism particularly helpful.

    you basically excoriate anyone who doesn’t feel exactly as passionately about the issue as you.

    Uh, no. I didn’t excoriate anyone. I said I thought Beck deserved more criticism than you provided. And I objected to you taking personal shots at me rather than addressing the subject matter of the post.

    And for that we’re labeled as defenders of Beck because we simply don’t hate him and think him as dangerous as you do.

    That’s a complete distortion, Paul. First of all, I didn’t say anything about Don, much less label him a defender of Beck. I agreed with and quoted his comment above approvingly. I didn’t call Jay a defender of Beck, although I may have implied above after he he accused me of being an opportunistic triangulator for having the temerity to criticize Beck. With regard to you, I said that your post amounted to a tepid defense of Beck. Feel free to dispute that characterization. But don’t accuse me of saying things I didn’t say about people I didn’t say them about.

    This is like all of the BDS-afflicted leftists who made it sound like anyone who didn’t hate Bush with as much passion as they did was a Bush sycophant.

    Well, it might be like that if I said the things you accuse me of saying. But I didn’t.

  • Chip,

    I appreciate your comments, and that you took the time to read through the thread. As I said, I am not deeply familiar with Beck, but I have seen several clips of him, and I’ve read quite a bit about him. I was careful in the post to link to several people who are more familiar with his work. I will try as you suggest to catch his show once or twice in the next two weeks – I’m on travel for work, so it should be manageable. I probably won’t post on this again, though. I find the weird dynamic of people attacking me for criticizing Beck, even though they don’t want to be called defenders of Beck a little wearying.

  • But don’t accuse me of saying things I didn’t say about people I didn’t say them about.

    Whatever John. You malign my motives, accuse me of not providing quite a Catholic enough critique of Beck, and generally distort what I have written, but far be it from me to accuse you of saying things you haven’t said. It’s getting cold here in the north, and I can use the warm glow of your sanctimony to keep me comfortable.

  • Joe Hargrave Tuesday, September 29, 2009 A.D. at 11:01 am
    “John Henry,
    “Glen Beck is an embarrassment. I dislike him for the same reason I dislike Sarah Palin: his appeal is to the mob, to the lower and baser instincts in man”.

    Interesting. GKC remarked that it the mob – with its low and basic instincts – [lege human instincts] – which is the basis of democracy.

  • Paul,

    I appreciate you rescuing me from having a monopoly on sanctimony. You did accuse me of saying things I didn’t say; and I invited you to correct my interpretation of your remarks. Why the attitude?

  • Joe,

    I think I would have preferred that Gov. Palin and her daughter ignore requests for interviews from People magazine. That aside, just what is ‘low’ and ‘base’ about her?

  • Joe Hargrave writes Tuesday, September 29, 2009 A.D.
    “I don’t like Sarah Palin but there are plenty of people who like her that I do like”.

    If I may respectfully suggest, all this talk about liking someone or not liking them is more fit for a television psychology afternoon show. [I name no names].

    What has “like” or “dislike” to do with the discussion? Do you dislike Mrs. Palin because of her hairdo? her glasses?

    Come, come. Get off the personal reaction and discuss the issues.

  • Why the attitude?

    Gee, can’t think of any reasons.

    And, even if there are political benefits, shouldn’t we see more Catholics denouncing people like Beck, rather than offering tepid defenses?

    attempts to defend Beck because he happens to be a Republican

    So you impugn my Catholic credentials because I refuse to condemn Beck (I hardly defended him – if what I said is a defense I’d hate to see how you’d react to this post), but that’s neither here nor there. You then falsely accuse me of coming to Beck’s defense because he’s a Republican, which is ridiculous especially if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time. I have absolutely no qualms about attacking Republicans, and for about a six month stretch this year I think I put up more posts attacking the GOP than the President, which I now kind of regret.

    Finally, I am somewhat, I don’t know, bemused that you spend so much time attacking Beck for his over-the-top rhetoric, yet in this very thread you have one commenter calling another a Nazi, and that you pass over in silence.

  • “I find the weird dynamic of people attacking me for criticizing Beck, even though they don’t want to be called defenders of Beck, a little wearying.”

    It’s not the criticism of Beck. At least not for me.

    For me, it’s the notion that people are feeling compelled to “denounce” people like Beck or else be seen as offering “tepid defenses” or, worse, being cast as part of a “crazy fringe”. For example, I saw a clip the other day where Joe Scarborough said that every time he had a prominent Republican or conservative on his show he was going to put them on the spot and get them on the record either denouncing Beck or else being seen as expressing support for him. (Never mind that it’s my understanding that Beck isn’t even a Republican or a conservative.) That’s just a form of guilt by association. Next, I suppose Scarborough will ask them when they stopped beating their wives.

    And it’s not that I don’t want to be called a defender of Beck, it’s that I wouldn’t even know what I was defending if I were defending him (I’ve never watched him … I didn’t even watch Don’s video posted above). It’s not that I don’t want to be called a defender of Beck; it’s that I’m not actually defending him.

    My whole point is that the denunciation game is getting wearying. I’m tired of watching what can only be called a “movement” on the right to cast out the “wrong kind” of conservatives. Whether it’s calling Palin “a cancer” (by Brooks) or Bob Novak being called unpatriotic (by Frum, not to mention any number of recent Frum attacks on those whose “conservative” credentials are far more impeccable than anything Frum has to offer).

    Ideas and policies, I’m all up for discussing and even denouncing. Personalities? Not so much.

  • Thanks Jay, for putting it a little more eloquently than I did.

  • Thanks, Don, for posting the video. My mother absolutely adores Beck and has been admonishing me to watch him all year. Now I can finally say that I have! And he did a pretty nice job taking down Holdren and Erlich.

    Beck may be a first class jerk and opportunist, heck if I know. But let me ask you this, John Henry. Why not spend some time taking down Holdren rather than going after putative crazy people. The truth is Beck isn’t a danger to anyone, really, but Holdren is.

  • As a person who sometimes listens to Beck and Limbaugh, and finds them entertaining and informative, I admit I get a kick out of their outrageousness . Not being Republican, (or even American) I perhaps miss what the benefit of going after these guys might be. Is there one?

    Personally I appreciate that I have someone to listen to that has some of the same concerns I do about the culture of death and the repression of personal freedom… and they give me the occasional belly laugh as well.

    I have to say, as a Canadian, I don’t much care for the ‘David Frum’ approach. Seems to me there should be lots of room for free expression without unnecessary chastisement by ‘intellectual’ elites. Also, as a (non-aligned small-c) conservative Canadian I perhaps enjoy the vicarious employment of free expression a bit more than Beck’s detractors do.

    pax

  • Is Glenn Beck the problem with conservatism today?

    I don’t think so. Popular pundits play toward popular opinion – they always have and they always will. You have to consider them for what they are. They’re not austere scholars; they’re part entertainers, part opinion-makers.

    Anyone who takes them more seriously than this, I think, is mistaken.

  • Don’t mind Awakaman’s remarks. I should not have said unpatriotic Americans but on the other hand, it was way off topic. Dennis Miller is probably correct in saying something like “who cares about these Terrorists”… that’s fine, we heard last week, Abortion was legal per the Constitution just the way, Slavery was legal per the constitution, a Slave was 2/3rds of a human being. This is what the Democrats stood for. Are we making progress??

  • I don’t have cable. I have only seen YouTube clips of Beck and since those are taken out of context I am not going to express an opinion until I actually see his show. I don’t feel qualified to say much about Limbaugh either, since I’ve only spent about 5 minutes of my life listening to him. Contrary to what many liberals seem to think, all conservatives are not spoon-fed opinions by Beck and Limbaugh.

    However, Beck performed a great service by reporting on the Van Jones story and ACORN. What’s the greater evil here – that Beck may sometimes say extreme things or that certain ACORN workers did not appear to have much of a problem with 13 year old prostitutes? Who else was reporting on those stories? Not the “respectable” NY Times.

  • I am not trying to change the subject, but what I am really finding disturbing today is how many in Hollywood are defending admitted rapist Roman Polanski on the grounds that he is a great artist who has suffered tragedies in his life, etc.

    Whoopi Goldberg saying that the drugging and forcible sodomizing of a 13 year old was not “rape rape” is many degrees more disturbing than anything Beck has said.

    HuffPo has quite a few articles up defending Polanski. The heartening thing is that HuffPo’s own liberal readers disagree and are (mostly) agreed that Polanski should face the music.

    The dividing line on this one does not appear to be left/right but the artistic/media elite vs. everyone else. Don’t any of those people have daughters?

  • TomSVDP,
    It looks to me like awakaman Godwin’s Law’ed himself out of relevance early on, actually. Such overreaction to a little criticism betokens a mighty thin skin.

  • Off-topic or not, Donna–Amen! And a very intriguing observation about the divide.

  • Glenn Beck, by his own admission is NOT a journalist. He is an entertaining commentator. The frightening things is that he is a better journalist than most who claim to be.

    If anyone expects to agree with everything he says then they are going to be sorely dissappointed – that just isn’t possible.

    For most of us on this site it is ABSOLUTELY impossible. He is a Mormon convert. Nevertheless, he is an America loving patriot and he is right about many issues. Republicans suck. Democrats suck. And the rest of us DO SURROUND THEM.

    Do I like his 912 project? Not really, but then again I am more informed than most people. I also happen to be a news junkie. Not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s OK. What Beck has been able to do is amazing. People that had no interest in politics. People who don’t know the difference between Iran and Iraq, those who haven’t read the Constitution, etc. are NOW paying attention and getting active. That is great becuase we are duty-bound to participate in our own governance.

    If you defend him rabidly all the time you are probably nuts, if you attack him rabidly all the time you are definitely nuts. If you can respect his influence and that it is mostly positive and beneficial then you have seen his show, read his books and/or listened to him on the radio.

    If you haven’t then you are buying into the packaged spin and sound bites about him. The fact that everyone is attacking him, tells me he’s on to something and the twisted, lost, confused leftist anti-God establishment in this country is scared.

    Good.

    Also, do not confuse the messenger and the message. Beck has an odd sense of humor and some honest quircks that belong on a radio morning show and not prime time TV. I get it — I enjoy it. Some won’t. Don’t let that make you miss what he says. Sometimes, he’s off his rocker. Most of the time, he makes a great deal of sense.

  • Donna V.

    The Holy Father tells us to watch out for the dictatorship of relativism. That dictatorship already owns Hollyweird.

    Polanski didn’t rape the 13 year-old girl. She wanted it. As the adult he obviously knew that before he proceeded to violate her. We Americans are so prude. What’s wrong with a little underage sex?

    If you think the above is sick then you haven’t seen a Hollywierd movie in the last two decades. This is exactly what they promote. How can they see anything wrong with what he did since that is what their craft is all about these days.

    That’s like asking the toilet to be offended because there is fecal matter in it.

  • Um, no more comments about Polanski here. Jay did a good post on it earlier today; I’d refer you there if you want to talk about it. Here’s the link:

    http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/

  • Here are my final thoughts on the post.

    1) I appreciate everyone’s comments.

    2) I intended the post to prompt a non-partisan discussion about a) what people find appealing about people like Beck; b) whether such personalities help or hurt their cause; c) how Catholics should view such theatrical political commentary (I think it’s pernicious). The discussion kind of touched on those topics at points, but for the most part it failed, and I’ll take primary responsibility for that. At the same time, many of the comments were quite thought-provoking, so I think the post was at least an interesting failure.

    3) I apologize to Paul if I misrepresented his post (we disagree about that, but I may just be too stubborn to see that I was wrong…if I was wrong 😉 )

    4) Have a good night all.

  • Art,

    Palin uses crude gimmicks to enhance her appeal to “Joe six-pack”, to use the phrase she used. She challenges no one’s beliefs, does not demonstrate that she has even a rudimentary grasp of the positions and philosophy of her opponents, does not clearly articulate her reasons for taking the positions that she does, takes her own positions for granted and thus does not develop convincing rhetoric to promote them among the electorate, and was appallingly unprepared for the rigors of a political campaign.

    Instead she trades on slogans, on physical gestures such as winking, on folksy turns of phrase, and other mindless gimmicks to make an appeal to a culture that is hostile to anyone who “sounds too smart”. Her ignorance and lack of erudition were actually celebrated by many of her fans as evidence of her “authenticity”, and her whole candidacy lent legitimacy to the completely erroneous notion that our leaders ought to be “just like us”.

    It is sad and unfortunate that so many educated people in this country are so hostile to traditional values, but I am quite positive that we can do better than Sarah Palin. I don’t want a leader who is just like “Joe six-pack” or who primarily appeals to “Joe six-pack”. I don’t want “Joe six-pack” in charge of the country. “Joe six-pack” needs to be challenged and elevated, not placated and coddled.

    Gabriel Austin,

    Please stop the needless nitpicking and hair-splitting with words. Expressing like or dislike is not logically connected to emotion or subjectivity. It does not logically imply something petty or vain.

    It is a simple way of expressing the fact that I do not believe that Mrs. Palin ought to be the or even a leader or spokesperson for traditional moral values, that there are many who are more experienced, more articulate, and more intelligent than her that are suited for the task, that her presence on a conservative platform diminishes its potential effectiveness.

    Rather than state all of that each time to satisfy the petty nitpicking of people who automatically ascribe inferior or demeaning motives to anyone who dares criticize one of their beloved political icons, in a sentence that actually has nothing to do with my opinions of Mrs. Palin but rather with the fact that I actually don’t reject a person as an intelligent or decent human being because they actually do like her because I think reasonable people can disagree on this topic, I choose, for the purposes of expediency only, to say that “I don’t like her”.

    But way to completely misread the sentence, invent motives for me I don’t hold, imply feelings for me that I don’t have, in a petty and ultimately unnecessary attempt to defend the honor of Mrs. Palin. You have a lot to be proud of.

  • Actually Joe Palin challenges the beliefs of those who currently consider themselves the cultural elite of our society. Consider their reaction to Trig and her decision to bring a Downs Syndrome baby into this world. Their beliefs need challenging much more than those of the people who do most of the work in our society, as demonstrated most repulsively by the defense of some elites of the child rapist Polanski.

    Since resigning as governor she has helped derail ObamaCare, given an impressive address in Hong Kong, begun emerging as a leader in the Republican campaign to retake Congress in 2010 and is now poised to have a best-selling memoir Going Rogue. With the epic fail of the Obama Administration, and at this point I think that is a given, I believe she will be a formidable candidate for the White House in 2012, if she wishes it. I view her as the politician with the greatest potential I have seen since the first time I saw Reagan give a speech in 1968.

  • Don,

    I don’t reject the possibility that Palin can polish herself and become the sort of candidate I could accept.

    But I absolutely detest gimmicks and pandering, I loathe all celebrations of ignorance, I am not at all convinced that Palin is capable of making the sort of appeal that is absolutely necessary to independents, moderates, and conservative leaning Democrats, and I wouldn’t count the Obama administration totally defeated within its first year. Bill Clinton was thwarted on healthcare and the Democrats were swept out of power during his first term, but was still reelected. That could play itself out again.

    I don’t care what anyone says – love or hate Obama on the issues, he presented his positions skillfully and respectfully during the campaign. He brought an element to political discourse during the campaign that I appreciated very much, in spite of disagreeing with him so vehemently on life issues. I give credit where it is manifestly due, and criticism likewise.

    Now if comments like that are going to earn me insults and petty, vicious attacks, (I know they won’t from you, Don) I think that’s really sad. I know they’re coming, I know that writing article after article in defense of life and Church teaching will mean nothing next to one kind word for Obama and one criticism of Palin, but, that’s the way it is.

    So here I am, ready to catch your refuse. Fling it boldly!

  • As always Joe I respect your opinion. In regard to Obama I have always regarded him as a glib empty suit and that is still my opinion. His policies are the same liberal bromides that have been staples of the left of the Democrat party for decades. Note how he simply repeats the same message about health care ad nauseum. The man is unable to adapt to the fact that his health campaign is flailing and he needs to try different tactics. The same thing could be said about the stimulus package that manifestly did not stimulate the economy. He appears to have great difficulty in knowing what to do next if his initial plans fail. His overall inability to get his policies through a Congress dominated by his party illustrates both his lack of experience and his unwillingness or inability to develop an effective legislative stragegy. A turn in the economy could save him in 2012, but with his current policies I expect mini-recoveries followed by rapid recessions. There is nothing in the current business environment to encourage long lasting recovery and the government is doing everything possible to make that environment worse. I also, and I pray I am mistaken, expect serious foreign disasters and domestic terrorist attacks, and I think Obama is ill-equipped to deal with either.

    As for Palin her next test will come in 2010 as she hits the campaign trail for Republicans. Reagan honed his oratorical skills stumping for Goldwater in 64 and I expect Palin to do the same next year, assuming she still wishes to be a force in politics, and I suspect she does. I disagree that Palin celebrates ignorance. What she recognizes however is that elite opinion and that of most Americans radically diverge on almost every issue of substance confronting the nation. This divide I think is one of the salient facts in our current national life, and I believe Palin understands that. I will be curious to read her memoir and see how she addresses this point.

  • I know it’s a little late in the debate, but I want to offer an apology to John Henry for accusing him of “triangulation”. In my zeal to defend Paul – whose post on Beck I still maintain was unfairly described – I crossed the line and impugned John Henry’s motives.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there is a certain sort of “conservative” pundit who makes their living engaging in such “triangulation” to make themselves more palatable to their more liberal readers. I refer, of course to the aforementioned Douthat/Dreher/Brooks/Frum/etc. In fact, on occasion, some if not all, have admitted to such a strategy. Douthat, for example, has written:

    “There is unquestionably a sense in which center-right scriveners who work for institutions more liberal than they (or merely exist in a climate more liberal than they) have both personal and professional incentives to criticize their own side as often as they do the other one, and to advance arguments and strike attitudes that drive more committed partisans up the wall. I’m flattered that Julian Sanchez’s list of conservative writers in this position includes David Brooks and, well, me, but I think it’s pretty easy to come up with a longer tally – it would include everyone from Rod Dreher (one of the very few explicitly-conservative writers at Beliefnet and the Dallas Morning News, I believe) to Christopher Buckley (Forbes FYI editor, New Yorker contributor, and now Daily Beast blogger) to various other (Peggy Noonan, Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, etc.) with one foot in the right-wing intelligentsia and one foot in the MSM… And while I’m sure that these writers and talkers are striving for objectivity in all things and at all times, I’m also acutely aware, from my own experience, of the way that peer effects – the desire to be perceived as the “reasonable conservative” by friends and peers, the positive reinforcement from liberal readers, etc. – can subtly influence the topics one chooses to write about and the tone one chooses to take.”

    That is “triangulation” any way you look at it. John Henry, on the other hand, I know to be genuinely interested in raising the tone of dialogue and maintaining civility in discourse. I have no doubts that his principle concern in writing this post is that he is worried that people like Beck are poisoning the political well.

    It was wrong of me, therefore, to insinuate that he had ulterior motives such as “triangulating” to make himself appear more reasonable than the rest of the herd. For that, I apologize.

  • Is it time to close the comments on this? 🙂

  • I apologize to Paul if I misrepresented his post (we disagree about that, but I may just be too stubborn to see that I was wrong…if I was wrong 😉 )

    No worries John. I replied immediately with snark rather than engage your post. As I said, I actually found it funny more than anything considering the feedback I received on Southern Appeal. So I apologize to you for derailing the conversation.

  • John Henry,

    I thought the discussion was pretty fruitful and engaging.

    Awesome job in keeping us all on our toes!

  • love or hate Obama on the issues, he presented his positions skillfully and respectfully during the campaign.

    The trouble, Joe, is that ‘presenting his positions’ is what he does. You will in vain look at his career in law and teaching for the achievement of any professional benchmarks. He never founded a law practice, never was granted a partnership in any extant practice, never was granted tenure or hired for aught but an adjunct position in the academy, and has only one very brief scholarly publication to his credit (penned when he was a student). Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, and Jimmy Carter had superintended state governments with tens of thousands on the payroll; B.O. has run voter registration campaigns. As legislators, Bill Bradley was notable for persistent promotion of tax simplification and Albert Gore for a running critique of the prevailing wisdom in the Democratic Party on foreign policy and the use of force; B.O. was notable for absences and voting ‘present’.

    Palin uses crude gimmicks to enhance her appeal to “Joe six-pack”, to use the phrase she used.

    Which?

    She challenges no one’s beliefs,

    Joe, the neuralgic reaction to this woman is an indication that her public remarks are a challenge to a certain subculture.

    does not demonstrate that she has even a rudimentary grasp of the positions and philosophy of her opponents, does not clearly articulate her reasons for taking the positions that she does, takes her own positions for granted and thus does not develop convincing rhetoric to promote them among the electorate,

    I draw a blank, Joe. Not in my lifetime have campaign speeches ever been occasions for discourses in political theory. That aside, Gov. Palin’s entry into political life was in the realm of municipal administration, where explicit references to architectonic principles is fairly unusual.

    and was appallingly unprepared for the rigors of a political campaign.

    ?

    Instead she trades on slogans, on physical gestures such as winking, on folksy turns of phrase, and other mindless gimmicks to make an appeal to a culture that is hostile to anyone who “sounds too smart”.

    Some years ago the psychologist Margaret Singer was asked to provide some expert testimony at the trial of Patricia Hearst, most particularly to examine various communications from the Symbionese Liberation Army to ascertain who among them was the author of each. She said her own longitudinal research indicated that people’s verbal styles were fixed fairly early in life, by age 17, in fact. I will wager she has been using the same turns of phrase for 25 years or more.

  • Art,

    So then you agree – Obama presents his positions well. That’s all I contend.

    As for Palin, you are being easy on her to the point of what I think is, and please pardon my saying so, absurdity.

    All one has to do is contrast her response to questions about abortion to a candidate like Mike Huckabee. Your trying to let her off the hook by arguing that campaign speeches are not occasions for political theory is simply unbelievable. If all she is suited for is administration, then she should stick to administration and stop pretending that she can lead. A leader MUST have a grasp of “architectonic principles”, must be able to articulate clearly why what they advocate is objectively good – at least in order to win my respect and support.

    I don’t want a mayor who can talk folksy with the commoners. I want a person who understands and can articulate clearly what he is fighting for and why he is fighting for it. Palin does not provide that.

    Aphorisms and sound bites repeated ad nauseum about “big government”, “high taxes”, and “cutting spending” are as appealing to me as a bucket of puke.

    As for the final paragraph, do you really, honestly expect me to swallow any of that? All of Palin’s appeals to “Joe six-pack” are politically calculated down to the last muscle movement.

    I don’t know why you and others seek to stretch your own credibility to the breaking point in defending this woman, but I refuse to play along. If and when she shows some refinement, class, and genuine passion beyond the same old stupid red-meat slogans, I will give her another chance. Until then, make mine Huckabee.

  • Thanks to Paul, Jay, and Tito for their comments above. I was in meetings this morning, so I couldn’t respond sooner. In the future, I’ll try and provide a more focused discussion (and I’ll try not to lose my temper and impugn motives so easily).

    I would close comments now…but actually, I’m not sure how – and if Joe and Art Deco want to continue their discussion, Joe’s a contributor and can monitor that going forward.

  • More, more.

    I like the banter about Obama as ‘articulate’ and ‘effective’ – whatever that means — I think he stammers and hmms and uhs a great deal and cannot articulate an idea that isn’t some begnign sounding socialist slogan. He doesn’t even give credit to Chavez (Julio not Hugo) for, ‘si se pueda’.

    Palin may not be the ideal ‘conservative’ candidate but I think she is effective and genuine. The future is yet to be written but I think that an honest and genuine leader is exactly what this government needs if it is to be true to its Constitutionally mandated mission.

    Remember that if the Executive were to act as the Constitution dictates their power is severly curtailed – for that matter so is Congress’. Without the heady appeal of increasing power bordering on absolutism we’d have more leadership like Cincinatus than Ceasar.

    Palin is cast in the Cincinatus mold. Obama is cast in the Manchurian candidate mold.

  • Regardless of what conservative elites say about Palin, she has “it” and the American people respond to her.

    Peggy Noonan can eat her crabcakes and crumpets until the cows come home for all I care.

  • Joe Hargrave writes Tuesday 29 Sept.
    “Gabriel Austin,
    Please stop the needless nitpicking and hair-splitting with words. Expressing like or dislike is not logically connected to emotion or subjectivity.

    The word is expressive of emotion.

    “It does not logically imply something petty or vain”.

    Never said it did, but you seem to “feel” that it does.

    “[It is a simple way of expressing the fact that] I do not believe that Mrs. Palin ought to be the or even a leader or spokesperson for traditional moral values, that there are many who are more experienced, more articulate, and more intelligent than her that are suited for the task, that her presence on a conservative platform diminishes its potential effectiveness”.

    Now all you had to do is delete the first part and begin with “I do not believe…”. And then you can give reasons. [As against the unnamed others, it my opinion that her defense of her Down baby is a major experience. It seems to have raised the hackles of the non-maternal female talking-heads: “How dare she keep a Down’s baby”?].

    I had thought that I was doing you a favor by pointing out a lapse from logic into emotion. And that you are viscerally reacting against Joe Sixpack. All things told I believe that the instincts of Joe Sixpack are sounder than those of poorly educated college students. And much of that depends on making clear distinctions {“nitpicking]. It was the genius of GKC that he spent his life nitpicking. Must be where I picked up the habit.

  • Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was dealing with the next GK.

    “The word is expressive of emotion.”

    Really? I wasn’t informed that preferences were the equivalent of emotions now.

    “Never said it did, but you seem to “feel” that it does.”

    So you didn’t mean to imply that by suggesting that my comment reminded you of, I think, Dr. Phil? Oh I see, that was a compliment. How silly of me to have mistaken your charitable compliment with an implication of pettiness.

    “it my opinion that her defense of her Down baby is a major experience”

    That is not a qualification for office or leadership of a political movement, no matter how admirable a thing it may be.

    “I had thought that I was doing you a favor by pointing out a lapse from logic into emotion”

    Right!

    “All things told I believe that the instincts of Joe Sixpack are sounder than those of poorly educated college students.”

    I’d say they suffer from different problems, and that we are fortunate that there are more options than these.

    “And much of that depends on making clear distinctions”

    That had nothing to do with your post. No one is more on top of making clear distinctions than I. In fact, I’ll make one right now – a clear distinction between making a clear distinction, and nitpicking for the sake of scoring cheap points in a round of comboxing.

  • Noonan is a classic neo-con. Don’t be fooled by the word conservative in neo-con — they aren’t conservative. They are the same ilk that is on the left they are simply employing a pincer move to flank us on both sides.

    Fair-minded people will run from the ‘extremist’ neo-cons o the right and we will fall hard into the hands of their ‘opponents’ on the left.

    It is far better for us to stay away from extremists like Palin and Beck as well as extremists like Van Jones and Valerie Jarrett. We should just stay right in the middle where it is safe and we aren’t too hot or too cold.

    Oh, wait, I remember Someone telling me that He hates lukewarm more than hot and cold. He promised to spit me out of His mouth for being lukewarm, middle-of-the-road. . .mediocre. Hmm. Makes you think.

    Neo-cons and lefty-loony liberals are on the same side and this false Left/Right dichotomy, created during the Reign of Terror!!!! is not real.

    Assuming you want to use a right-left model. Then the right is anarchy and the left is absolutism. Both stink. What we need is a balanced approach, um, sort-a, kind-a like the one some wise, old, dead, white guys came up with.

    Defending it extremely isn’t a vice. The Constitution has no tolerance for neo-cons, like Noonan, or liberal/progessive/socialist/fascist/communists.

    The discussion about Palin and Obama seems to center around which one of them is better at articulating this point. Are we in America today, Constitutionalists, or are we anti-Constitutionalists?

  • Hey now, don’t put Noonan on us neo-cons. Someone who’s been reflecting on the golden past since end the end of the Reagan administration is hardly “neo”.

    Nor am I clear how you see neo-cons as being the same as liberals. If you were to go for a rough definition, neo-cons are conservatives who are not isolationist (and in some cases are actively interventionalist) in regards to foreign policy. One might also specify that they’re free market in economic orientation — to the extent that some paleo or traditional conservatives are protectionists. That’s about all the “neo” generally can be taken to predict in regards to distinguishing “neo-cons” from conservatives as a whole.

  • All these labels are confusing. You’d think that was the point. Oh, wait a minute it is the point.

    I like simple things.

    As far as the visible political spectrum is concerned I see it flanked by no authority and supreme authority. I don’t like either option and frankly each pole has a heavy gravitational pull. Commies, et al suck you toward the black hole of absolutism. There is no such thing as a little communism unless it is a tactic to get you more communism.

    No authority is absolute chaos, look at the lefties protesting the G20 meetings and all the violence and problems they created. Now if it wasn’t for their anarcho-communism, they may actually have gotten the nice “joe six-pack” tea party folks to join them. Becuae the G20 disaster is just another supernational organization seeking to take us to absolutism.

    Either way the devil wins – at least for a little while.

    So what are we to do? We need to look beyond the visibile political spectrum and look at the invisible.

    First order is to obey God and His law. For us that is the Magesterium, Tradition and Scripture. For others – it is a ‘personal’ relationship with Christ (I don’t know how much more personal you can get than eating Him). Either way, we know that He is the King and the only true sovreign. So how do we square that with the temporal order. Promote FREEDOM. Freedom to choose Him, or not. That can only exist in a Christian culture.

    So first order of business is respect the Christian basis for our Republic no matter what religious, or non-religious beliefs people have. Next, set up a temporal sovreign authority that is checked and limited by RULES and SEPERATION of powers. Then defend it — becuase it will be attacked – perpetually.

    If these two things, which we already have, are respected then the shades of political discourse eb and flow along a narrow spectrum becuase they have to be within the limits of the Constitution and God’s Law.

    That excludes all forms of communism (socialism, fascism, etc.). So the difference betweent he so-called left and right would be rather thin, as it is now, the difference is both parties would be much farther to the right, with their eye above.

    Our politics is inherently CONSERVATIVE and LIBERAL. It is conservative in that we wish to conserve that which has been handed to us. Adam gave away our freedom and Christ returned it – that is conservative. We are liberal becuase we are conserving freedom, which is liberty, which is liberal.

    Essentially, we have a broad range of freedom but it has limits. In that simple range, we are as liberal as we want to be so long as we remain within the conservarive boundries that we’ve been given.

    All this other stuff, is window dressing. We are arguing about whether government should give us a tax break or a tax hike. If they should give us a little more or a little less socialist security. We argue about if we should go to war in the Balkans or in Iraq. It is a fool’s game.

    Neo-cons, paleo-cons, liberals, progressive, blue dogs, blah, blah, blah. Come on. I’m not buying it.

    God or no God.

    Abortion or Life.

    Private Property or Communism.

    It is all about extremes, the shades in the middle are put there by someone who wants us lost and confused becuase he is mired in darkness.

    I opt out.

  • Oh, and Noonan is a neo-con. So there.

  • It seems the White House watches Glenn Beck. Also is concerned with “Fox News Lies.”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Reality-Check-Turning-a-Point-of-Pride-into-a-Moment-of-Shame/

  • I don’t care if Noonan is a neo-con – her column on Palin’s departure from the political scene was one of the most agreeable things I have ever read.

  • I tend to agree with some of American Knight’s sentiments.

    Neocons are not conservative in any way; they are not merely interventionist and free-marketers (as how DarwinCatholic has defined them, which by themselves, aren’t really bad qualities) but, more importantly –and worse, are for BIG GOVERNMENT!

    Moreover, they are far more dangerous than anything on theh Left.

    Because neocons tend to disguise themselves as being seemingly conservative, they are the ones actually responsible for moving conservatism farther & farther towards the Left, just how the many policies of Bush Jr. did!

    Hence, the sad and sorry state of genuine Conservatism today!

  • I don’t care if Noonan is a neo-con – her column on Palin’s departure from the political scene was one of the most agreeable things I have ever read.

    Hmmm. I found it bitter, catty and vile — and that even as someone who doesn’t think that Sarah Palin has a political future (or necessarily should) at this point.

    But I suppose that starts to get rather far off the topic.

  • “I found it bitter, catty and vile”

    I think that pretty well sums up the pretentious Peggy Noonan. For those who think Darwin exaggerates here is the Noonan rant.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124716984620819351.html

    “What she is, is a seemingly very nice middle-class girl with ambition, appetite and no sense of personal limits.” In other words, how could this Alaskan multiple mom with a degree from a no name school accomplish more than the superbly accomplished Peggy Noonan who has four honorary doctorates, and who, next month, will sell more copies of her book than Noonan could if she lived for a thousand years. I expect another Noonan anti-Palin column about that time.

  • Stuart Schwartz has a mediation on Noonan’s obsession with Palin.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/peggy_noonan_sarah_palin_jealo.html

  • If you take the major issues of the day they are boiled down to two simple things.

    Is more government the answer, or, is even more government the answer?

    I don’t like either option. Government is not the answer. Government is simply the handing over of our individual, God-given sovreignty to keep our appetites in check. Note that is a very, very limited definition of checking appetites.

    They do NOT get to decide what I eat unless it is another human being, or some such horror. If I want trans-fat I can choose to eat trans-fat. If that kills me, that is my choice and I’ll be called to judgement on it. If I choose to eat another human being, then first I have to kill them or steal their body. That is not a dietary problem, that is murder or theft and we have laws agains those because God forbids them in His Law.

    That is pretty simple. Anyone can wrap their brain around that. The problem is the Left wants to tell me what I can and can’t eat and the ‘free-traders’ on the Right want 1000 page treaties to determine where I can get foreign food from and destroy domestic production in the process. Neither activity is legitimately allowed by our Constitution.

    This is what Glenn Beck has hit on, and although I am a fan becuase I think he is well intentioned and entertaining, I am not foolish enough to think that he is some kind of hero or leader. He’s a guy with a TV and radio show. Often he makes sense. Usually he entertains me.

    His appeal is that we need to return God to His rightful place as the true sovreign of our country (it is a whole other discussion to address the fact that he is a Mormon, essentially a poly-thiestic, false religion – but he might not know that). He also does his best to encourage others to adhere to the Constitution. People are responding, either positively becuase in their gut they know that is right, or negatively becuase they are so mired in darkness that they actually hate the USA and probably God too.

    If we simply follow the rules of order, both eternal (God’s Law) and temporal (the Constitution) our life together will be better, or at least not as bad. The attacks, both foreign and domestic, will NEVER stop. Which is where most libertarians lose it becuase their God is the market. God made the market, but the market is not God. Neo-cons lose it becuase they want more government (as e. pointed out above) but they want it to use for ‘good’ as they define, or rather don’t define it. Right, trust me, let me have all the power, I will be a ‘good’ dictator not like that other guy. Come on, who buys that? Liberals lose it because they want government to be God.

    True conservatism is about adhering as closely to the Constitution and the Commandments as possible and being prepared for a vigorous defense of both. Defense is first religious, then cultural, then intellectual and finally sanctioned force. Not adventurism, not isolationism and not necessarily non-agression. It is certainly situational and the closest adherance we can maintain to just war doctorine will be best and mistakes will be made becuase we’re idiots. But at least we would know what we are fighting for – to perserve our Constitution and the freedom to worship God.

    Beck’s popularity is stemming from the fact that he articulates that and he does it in a way that appeals to a wide, relatively unintellectual, yet, intelligent audience. An audience that would be far more intelligent if they were not educated in the government schools of the leftists and the neo-cons. Derida sucks and so does Straus.

  • What was so wrong with Noonan’s so-called “rant”?

    Besides, what she said at the beginning:

    It is an opportunity they should take. They mean to rebuild a great party. They need to do it on solid ground.

    …is precisely what the Republican Party needs to do: rebuild the base by reclaiming its Conservatism, indeed, its very identity.

  • the ‘free-traders’ on the Right want 1000 page treaties to determine where I can get foreign food from and destroy domestic production in the process.

    Actually, the free traders on the right want simple, open trade with no tariffs or restrictions except for a few banned substances perhaps (weapons, fissionable materials, etc.) What results from them trying to work this out with established interests is a 1000 page “free trade” document. But if you look at actual free traders (say, Milton Freedman) they don’t seek 1000 page free trade deals, they seek free trade.

    But I will give you that Beck is populist. It’s just that that is exactly why I don’t like him or consider him a real conservative.

  • No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

    No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

    Article 1, Section 9

    That is all it takes to create a free-trade zone. Congress also has the power to charge a fee to all economic entities outside of the “US free trade zone”. As long as they are uniform across all actors and industries then that is a far preferable way to raise government revenue than taxing us.

    Now I agree that has become a ‘conservative’ principle, but the Republicans, as a party only pander to this. McCain kept talking about being a free-trader during the campaign, in the words of Joe Wilson, “He lies”. So although it is technically correct that free traders are on the right, the Republicans who tell us they are on the right, don’t qualify as authentic free-traders, they are managed-traders just like the Demoncrats on the left, except that they pick and chose different criteria and granted, for the most part, they can be better trusted to protect national security. I say for the most part becuase so-called Republicans like, Ike, gave away so much that we may as well have raised the hammer and sickle above the White House.

    As far as Beck goes, yes, he is somewhat of a populist, a neo-populaist if you will. He is relatively conservative, but that is a slippery label for him. He is most certainly an entertainer. He is not going away, his popularity will increase and so will his influence and that has dangerous consequences, not becuase he is dangerous, but becuase it means that people are playing follow the leader again and not thinking for themselves and not reading and following the rules.

    This Republic was made for a moral and (Christian) religious people who are educated enough to know what the Constitution actually states.

    Immoral, irreligious and dumb mobs will lose their freedom for a charismatic and powerful figure-head who will be managed by the trans-national banking elite. Oh, wait, I think that is already happening.

  • American Knight:

    This Republic was made for a moral and (Christian) religious people who are educated enough to know what the Constitution actually states.

    You might want to re-educate yourself on American History as well as the Constitution; in particular, Article 1, Section 9, among other things.

  • e.,

    Huh?

    Since I quoted Article 1, Section 9 in the previous post the only thing I can think is that you disagree with my interpretation of it, yet, you quote another section of my post that has nothing to do with that section.

    The part you quoted was in reference to John Adams and I think he may have known a thing or two about the Constitution and its context.

    Please clarify.

  • …Peggy Noonan…

    I’ve already was suspicious of her hallow Catholicism, and when she went after Governor Palin the ruse was over.

    She is out of touch with mainstream America, or at least the underclass and unrepresentative. Her many guffaws (I thought the mic was off excuse) pretty much nailed it for me that she talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

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