A Libertarian’s Response to Glenn Beck

On Friday, Glenn Beck addressed the conflicts and possible collaborations in the offing between himself and Libertarians.  I would like to take Mr. Beck up on his request for an open-minded dialogue to explore common ground.  I do have some reservations about him, though.

Glenn-beck

Dear Glenn,

On Friday’s program you apologized for coming around so slowly on some critical liberty issues, and begged Libertarians to open their minds and give cooperation with you a chance.  Of course, you stopped several times to mock us, sarcastically call us perfect, yell at us for being hypocrites, and call us Nazis and fascists during the course of apologizing and asking for a chance, but I am looking passed the insults and condescension and responding to the genuine request you were making.  I am open to the possibility of coming together on key issues to build a coalition that has more winning power than the Libertarians alone but that champions liberty and freedom more than the current Republican Party.  Keeping in mind that my goal is a civil discussion to explore the possibility of coming together, I still have criticisms of you I intend to voice.

It took me more than two days to get through the seventeen minute video from Friday’s show (http://www.video.theblaze.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=25608397&topic_id=&tcid=vpp_copy_25608397&v=3).

I kept feeling my frustration and blood-pressure rise, and would pause it to return to later.  More than once, I found myself flipping my middle finger at the monitor when I paused.  But, like a side of undercooked vegetables, I forced it all down and eventually cleaned my plate, reaching the end of the video.

I have never been an avid follower, but I have been following you to an extent for years now.  I occasionally watched your program on Headline News.  I occasionally watched your program on Fox News.  I occasionally listen to your radio program.  I see your occasional appearances on O’Reilly.  So the opinion I have of you is formed from my own experiences watching and listening to you, and I am not speaking for anyone other than myself.  I am not echoing criticisms I have read elsewhere.

While I have often agreed with you on various issues, I have been turned off by your delivery.  More than anything else, I find you terribly condescending and insulting.  Perhaps it is because I am a student of history, and consider myself well informed on new and politics, both current and past.  You would often promote or begin one of your TV shows with the promise of teaching your audience something new about our country or one of the Founding Fathers.  “Tonight, you’re going to learn something you never learned in school or knew before.  I’m going to show you (insert historical figure) in an entirely new light.  I am going to teach you something you could not possibly know or be aware of if not for me.”  I would watch your show and realize that I already knew everything you were “revealing”.  I got very tired of constantly being told I was going to have my tiny mind blown by your charitable wisdom.  If you would speak to your audience like intellectual equals instead of lost souls you are shepherding into the light, I would probably watch and listen to you more than occasionally.  But this is a personality conflict between us, and it doesn’t necessarily need to stand in the way of political cooperation.

My politics and ideology have evolved over the years from conservative Republican to fully Libertarian.  It was not an overnight change, but a slow process that took years as I became better educated about our nation and the principles it was founded upon.  I probably turned the corner to Libertarianism about seven years ago, but 2012 was the first time I did not vote for the Republican candidate for President; I voted for Gary Johnson.  During the Republican primaries, I caucused for Ron Paul in my state.  I listened to your radio program during the Republican primaries as well.

I supported Ron Paul because he most closely represented my beliefs, plain and simple.  I respected his consistency and his deference to the Constitution when questioned during the debates.  I think Ron Paul did incredible things for the liberty movement, and has brought many young people into the fold.  I supported and still support Ron Paul, but I do not commit idolatry and worship him.  During the Republican primary season I listened to your radio program, and you did much more than disagree with Ron Paul.  You went out of your way to mock, deride, marginalize and insult him.  You extended your insults to “idiots” like me who supported him.  You included Ron Paul’s name in the list of contenders only as a punchline to a joke, followed by the sobering assertion that Ron Paul’s beliefs were dangerous for the country (mainly his foreign policy).  If you had simply disagreed respectfully with Ron Paul, that would be one thing, but you laughed with cruelty and ridicule and tried to paint him as a buffoon who should not be taken seriously, except as a threat.  That left a very sour taste in my mouth, but it is not the greatest reservation I have about you.

As the Republican primaries began to approach a finish, you put your support behind Rick Santorum.  You said that you believed Rick Santorum was the best candidate of those who available, and the one you thought would be best for the party and the country to run for President.  Rick Santorum was the one person in the GOP primaries who called for the Republican Party to “purge” itself of its Libertarian influences.  You supported the one candidate who wanted the Libertarians “purged” from the coalition, and now you complain that we Libertarians are intolerant towards you and are acting like members of the Spanish Inquisition.  This is the greatest reservation I have about you.

If we are to collaborate and work together, you must accept that some Libertarians could be dubious of you for reasons other than our own ignorance, arrogance and short-sightedness.  I have no problem with you sharing much of my political philosophy, considering yourself a Libertarian and voting for Libertarians in elections.  That does not mean I have to embrace you as my spokesman or poster-boy.  Many Libertarians are secularists and are uncomfortable with the prospect of having their party redefined as overtly Christian.  The “religious right” is a label that has been successfully turned into a pejorative, used to paint the Republican Party as intolerant and archaic.  There is a party out there which combines a respect for our founding principles with a heavy Christian influence, and that is the Constitution Party, not the Libertarian Party.  I am willing to accept you into the Libertarian Party, Glenn Beck, but I am not willing to accept you as a leader of the party or the person who represents me to the rest of the nation.  I think you need to be willing to accept that as well if anything will come of this collaboration.

Right now, you remind me of a wealthy boy who has moved to a new city, and has found a local sandlot where other boys from the neighborhood play baseball.  You claim that you merely wish to join our game and play with us.  At the same time, you say that you were the best player in your old town, that you own a fancy new glove and bat, and your dad owns a clothing store and can give us all new uniforms, so we should be thanking our lucky stars for the privilege of having you even walk over to look at our crappy field.  Not only should we be thanking you for wanting to play with us, but we should make you team captain and remind ourselves that we would be laughingstock losers forever if you weren’t willing to be our savior.

Just take your place on the bench, wait for your turn to bat, and play a couple of games with us before demanding we change the team name to the Fighting Becks and put your face on our caps and shirts.  Or continue to insult and mock us while professing a common cause, and drag out this conflict indefinitely.  We have common ground, and I think if you can stay on this message you ended your segment with about the Bill of Rights without calling Libertarians too many nasty names along the way, a winning strategy might even be found.

-Legatus Libertatis

 

P.S. (2/27/13)

Beck laments the Libertarians turning off conservatives with their desire to legalize drugs, but he turns off secular and progressive people with his heavy Christian themes, like End-of-Days rallies in the Holy Land, or re-writing American history to portray George Washington as a latter day Moses who only defeated the British because of divine intervention earned by his pious prayers and fasting.

The Blaze should just be what it is without declaring itself a Libertarian vessel.  There’s nothing wrong with bringing the liberty message to his audience along with the rest of his programing.

But labeling a network as a Libertarian messenger, and then delivering Faith-based programming as well, will turn off more of the greater electorate by creating the false impression that Libertarians would legislate morality – the same stigma that is crippling the Republican Party.

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One Response to “A Libertarian’s Response to Glenn Beck”

  1. Despite my generally conservative views, I feel that rather than purging the libertarian influences, the Republican party needs to abandon the Religious Right. Thanks to the libertarians, the Republican party has won some moderate supporters, but from what I’ve seen, people such as Santorum and Beck do nothing but alienate Americans. I actually feel that the Libertarian influence has the greatest potential for furthering the Republican party.

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