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A few thoughts on Glenn Beck

I know it’s fashionable among some of my co-ideologists to deride Glenn Beck as a clown who damages the libertarian brand, but just when I think I’m completely fed up with the guy, he does a great service to the cause of freedom. Right now he’s on Fox News promoting F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, along with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. He’s also interviewing Thomas Woods from the Ludwig von Mises Institute on the tendency of governments to point to their own failings as reason for more state intervention in the economy, and chatting with Yuri Maltsev (another Austrian economist) about the realities of socialism he experienced in the old Soviet Union.

Does anybody else bring so much advocacy of freedom to such a wide audience? The only other person I can think of is John Stossel — and yes, Stossel is more consistent, serious and intellectual, but he doesn’t have the same following.

Beck may be a clown, but sometimes, it takes a clown.

Note: One day later, The Road to Serfdom has jumped to #1 on Amazon.

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  • I just don’t trust Beck at all; he lost my respect a long time ago. I consider him an opportunist with a seriously inflated ego (much like Rush Limbaugh.) That said, he regains a point with me if he is promoting Hayek and interviewing people like Dr. Woods.

  • The cynic in me says that Beck, like his ideological twin Neal Boortz, is working to sabotage the libertarian cause. Given the utter shallowness, vapidity, and lack of morale consistency that is “reich-wing radio,” Beck’s neocon adherents (the majority of his audience), already predisposed toward hostility to libertarianism, are only too eager to lap up his every word as gospel. Thus, having tossed forth certain libertarian ideas that gain traction among these followers, he can revert at any time to his raving, belligerent, “kill’em-all-and-let-God-sort’em-out/der-Staat-ueber-Alles” persona and then claim that this is perfectly consistent with libertarian values. After all, most of his audience wouldn’t know any better and wouldn’t even think of seeking the truth on their own or questioning his assertions.

    While committed libertarians see right through Beck and aren’t fooled for a nanosecond by his act, the less informed and astute will only be misled, and that’s exactly what Beck (and his Faux News employer, for that matter) wants. For any major media outlet to give serious attention to his attempts to co-opt libertarianism and mislead the illiterate does all of us a disservice.

  • Even a blind squirrel…

  • I suspect liberranter has not watched Beck much. Neocons would hate Beck. While I find him a bit over the top from time to time, he brings more research to his opinions than anyone else I have heard. His comic approach does bother me because the topics are serious. But if you can get past that, he says a lot worth thinking about.

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