I try not to pay attention to Glenn Beck, but even when I have, I never really paid attention to him. But when an old friend, someone I genuinely respect, forwarded me a link to Beck’s archive and dared me to refute his logic, I decided it might be time to try.
As someone who’s studied linguistics and taught journalism, I know that spoken language differs significantly from written and resist judging speakers for not speaking in complete sentences or organizing their thoughts into coherent paragraphs. That said, it should still possess some underlying logic, which is why this transcript from his November 19th program requires an airing out. It begins by preying on lunatic fears of a One World Government:
I have a little bug inside of me, too, and it wants to stop control-hungry progressives from running our lives and pushing us into a giant global system of government. You know, the kind of global government that [Jay Rockefeller's] dad liked so much. [David Rockefeller] was a globalist and had a wonderful vision of the future of our world.
Then, just in case his audience was insufficiently terrified:
I feel a little uncomfortable. We’ll talk about preparing for—let’s just leave it at that, being prepared.
Note how, in a classic bit of demagoguery, he stops himself just short the moment of revelation. People fear what they don’t know, especially when they’re being told, in ominous tones, that the unknown requires preparation and is connected, somehow, to the “shadowy” or “spooky” forces of the One World Government. Those adjectives don’t appear in that particular quotation, but they appear later, and frequently, especially with regards to:
George Soros, [whose] daddy was a globalist as well. He believed in something called Esperanto. Esperanto is a made up language. It was designed for a one world government. It started in the 1890s, 1880s. And he was fluent in it. I mean, he wrote a book in Esperanto for one world government. Later, George Soros started his Open Society Institute. The main goal of the Open Society Institute was really that of his father’s: to create a world free of nationalities—one world government.
I knew, in the vague way that everyone who follows politics knows, that Beck believes that lines on a chalkboard have the force of logic. I did not, however, appreciate that he was trafficking in full-throated conspiracy theories about the imminent invasion of the forces of the One World Government. Put differently, I expected to find moments, like the following, in which Beck discovered in the world connections that only exist in his head:
Soros explains the anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist tactics he uses to fundamentally transform countries. They are the dreams of his father—which is weird because that’s almost the title of Barack Obama’s book, The Dreams From My Father. His daddy, by all accounts was a communist, at least an anti-colonialist, as was his grandfather. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I’m sure his audience didn’t realize that the connective tissue of his argument is that Soros and Obama both had fathers with dreams. You know who else had a dream? An episode of Dexter, which is about a serial killer, which means that Obama is in grave danger:
George Soros thinks he’s on the verge of [establishing the One World Government]. He has collapsed economies and entire currencies. They see it as possibly—possibly—falling apart. I told you that I believed this show may have accelerated their timetable because we’ve exposed them. But what if—what if they really do believe that Barack Obama is not the guy to get it done?
These guys, this is a violent, revolutionary. This guy is a labor union with millions of dollars and, also, a globalist. This guy—spooky dude.
This is why I told you one of my longest-standing worries about President Obama was not about the country, not about corruption. It was about his safety and not because of the Tea Party people, but because the minute these radicals, if they actually decide that Barack Obama is not who he says he is, political danger is not his only concern.
I ask you again to pray for our Secret Service. Make sure our Secret Service are watching inside and out. Pray for our president. As I see it, there are a million things that could happen. That’s just one of them. There’s a million things that can make the entire world fly apart.
What, and then the Chinese will invade?
China’s leaders know this.
Seriously? Let me recount Beck’s argument for you:
1. Jay Rockefeller’s father supported a One World Government, which makes
2. Glenn Beck afraid, and as you should be, because
3. George Soros’s father wanted everyone to speak Esperanto,
4. And had a dream, which is something Obama’s father also had, meaning
5. If Soros is unable to fulfill his father’s dream
6. Obama will be assassinated and
7. China will invade.
Minus a bit about some lady finding a coat Beck’s father owned in a Seattle pawn shop, this is the argument Beck proffered on November 19, 2010 and it is premium-grade insane. I’m not talking “your stated reasons for supporting tax cuts for the wealthy are disingenuous” insane. I’m talking “you couldn’t tell a premise from a conclusion if one were labeled ‘premise’ and the other ‘conclusion’” insane. His disconnect from the world is either so cynical as to be sociopathic or so fundamental as to be dissociative.
Needless to say, after reading all that and writing all this, I have one less friend on Facebook.