Monday, March 7, 2011

Beck and Fall

Most readers are at least aware, in passing, of Glenn Beck and his programs and books.  He has a radio show, a number of books published, and a weekday program on Fox news.  Having gone from a self-described alcoholic and drug user, to being one of the country's leading political pundits, is quite an accomplishment, regardless of what anyone thinks of his opinions and views.  Much of his show consists of talking about conspiracies between various groups of people, strategies to intentionally collapse the nation so warmed-over 60s-style Frankfurt school radicalism can take over (although most of the disciples of that viewpoint have moved on to enjoying their own slice of the pie -- being a revolutionary seems to be like being a professional lottery player...not worth the effort unless you win the whole enchilada).  Now and then, he takes a token shot at the Right and George Bush, before putting more pictures on a blackboard and drawing lines between them.

Over the last few days, there's been a trial bubble floated about Mr. Beck leaving Fox, based on a number of factors, including declining ratings and a veering away from the "mainstream conservative" politics that Fox generally represents, and leaning toward more of a populist form of conservatism.  If anything, it means he'll probably abandon a medium which really hasn't been as friendly to political commentators as one might've expected (see the experiences of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on TV), and will return to radio and print, which is where the "alternative" news media got started and where people like him seem to thrive best. 

Why the meteoric rise and the almost-as-meteroric fall?  The real problem, I suspect, is not with the man, the means of the medium, but the message.  People would like to be able to scapegoat one group or another for the problems of the nation -- unions, Christians, patriots, liberals, Muslims, pick something -- but the problems we face are ones we've all had a hand in creating.  Support massive defense spending for "security?"  Well, guess what, a large share of the national debt is yours.  Support massive social spending for "compassion?"  Ditto.  A conspiracy's not a conspiracy any longer if it's out in the open and everyone knows about it.  Even the banksters have to feel a little uncomfortable in those quiet evening hours, when they wonder if they're diversified enough to survive the fall of the dollar or if a mob with torches and weedwackers will show up outside their Hampton mansions. 

On a deep level, I think that everyone knows that we're in serious trouble now and that there's no easy way out of it, if any way is possible at all.  Talking about conspiracies now is like talking about it being cloudy out when there's a hurricane raging overhead.  It's not as much fun to engage in "what if" games when the problem is right in your face and you're wondering if you can get out of the way of the falling pieces or if you'll be caught up in the debris as well. 

At least Mr. Beck has probably gotten some people to reevaluate their lives and start thinking about a post-collapse future, so his time on the air has probably not been for nothing.  Sadly, the rest of his time -- looking for hidden groups of people to blame for what's coming our way -- has been nothing but a distraction and an escape from the reality of why we're really where we're at. 


  1. Very true that most people are finally starting to wake from their distracted stupor and notice that we are in trouble.
    Helping them help themselves is the next step.

    Wandering Sage

  2. I stopped by and looked over some of your postings -- nice blog. I've studied Zen some in the past, though I'm more familiar with Taoism as a philosophy/worldview.

    Part of what we need to realize is that if we are losing our "wealth," we're losing transient things which ultimately have no intrinsic value to them anyway. Even gold, which is the magical standard of wealth, doesn't mean much to someone who's on a desert island and dying of hunger and thirst. Like our bodies, our things will rust and rot away to nothing, given enough time. The things we have that are of real value in our lives are the ideas which we use to interact with the world (I won't get into epistemology here :) ). Of course, ideas are going to be some of the first things to go as people transition to daily survival, which means that trying to help preserve them is all the more important.


  3. Perhaps we have all had a hand in the debt - perhaps not. I personally believe that the media has manufactured consent, against the best interests of the nation, in service of a higher power. In many ways this absolves the filthy masses of blame in the collapse and shifts that blame squarely on the shoulders of the "higher power".

    But who could this higher power be? What threads connect the financial sector with the media conglomerates as well as penetrate deeply into our Federal government?

    Clearly there are men working in the background, who can it be now?

  4. I dunno. Help me out -- who's responsible? Jews, Catholics, blacks, whites, Gentiles, Democrats, Republicans, Bush, Obama, Clinton, Grover Cleveland, Elvis, the Martians...?

    I'm tired of the blame game. The left and right blame each other for the spending, but, let's face it, neither side will cut spending for their own constituency. People are happy to slop at the public trough, as long as there's a trough to slop at, and none of them have ever paid much attention to the future. I don't even see why anyone would bother with a conspiracy -- just give people what they want and let the votes roll in until it's too late. Simplest strategy of all.

    The gate's been open for a while now and the cows have wandered far, far off.


  5. Sorry, off topic here but is that Leibowitz Society as in my favorite - 'A Canticle for Leibowitz?

  6. Jim,

    Yes, absolutely -- I chose the name of the Society as both a homage to the novel, as well as a source of inspiration for people who are in a state of despair over the current (and future) direction of the world and want to do at least something to "light a torch against the night."


  7. Hi John,

    Glad to see you back. As always, you approach the topic of Glenn Beck with class and balance.
    I'm usually not so fair with him. If a person has had a history of poor judgment, I tend to respect less his observations.

    That said, I think it is an excellent time to think hard about the world around us. Particularly, what we value and maybe more importantly what values us. The full circle.

    It seems the world holds an incomplete thought pattern. No matter what we do there exists the law of cause and effect.

    It applies to Glenn Beck. It applies to you and I.

  8. Thanks for the kind words.

    I tend to try to look at most people as being a whole of their parts, not as their individual components, especially when it comes to people who've made bad life decisions. Not too many people can claim to have a flawless track record in life (and those that do probably haven't made enough mistakes to learn anything).

    The world is complex, of course. We've had the luxury to this point of being able to live in relative isolation, both in terms of how we look at the larger world, as well as knowing that we have a cushion between us and the greater world. Unfortunately, the "web of life" has begun to shrink lately and we're finding ourselves affected by events and people around us that we didn't expect to be, before. If you really get down to it, what may trigger the second dip in our recession was the self-immolation of a Tunisian fruit seller who'd seen that his future was in shambles and didn't even have the means any longer of providing for himself. All that, of course, was on a stage of failing expectations.

    There is hope, but people need to realign themselves to the idea of living "fully" and being their own person again. Even if they experience hard times, people who are in touch with who they are and what the world really is, can still thrive, which is one reason I like JHK's novels -- yes, they're set in bleak times, but they're still about people who know who they are.