Saturday, February 27, 2010

David Sirota on Why we Should Thank Glenn Beck for his CPAC Speech

Glenn Beck's rousing keynote address at CPAC last week was filled with his views on American values, American history and how the Conservative movement must move forward.

One of the most interesting and provocative comments that Beck made during his speech was his belief that the progressive movement is a "cancer" to America. Beck also called for its "eradication". Watch:

This tactic is an interesting strategy that moves forward a certain kind of "elminationist rhetoric" as has been described over at Crooks and Liars. This rhetoric doesn't call for a countering of ideas and debate, it labels a movement as a deadly disease that must be fought and wiped out to ensure the survival of the country. Serious stuff.

Author, journalist and radio-host David Sirota says that we should all thank Glenn Beck...seriously:

We owe this talk-show-host-turned-political-leader gratitude for using his televised keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference to so frankly outline what the conservative movement has become — and why it repulses so many Americans.


The lesson was eminently clear, coming in no less than the keynote address to one of America's most important political conventions. Beck taught us that a once-principled conservative movement of reasoned activists has turned into a mob — one that does not engage in civilized battles of ideas. Instead, these torch-carriers, gun-brandishers and tea partiers follow an anti-government terrorist attack by cheering a demagogue's demand for the physical annihilation of those with whom he disagrees — namely anyone, but particularly progressives, who value "community."

No doubt, some conservatives will parse, insisting Beck was only endorsing the "eradication" of progressivism but not of progressives.
These same willful ignoramuses will also likely say that the Nazis' beef was with Judaism but not Jews, and that white supremacists dislike African-American culture but have no problem with black people.

Other conservatives will surely depict Beck's "eradication" line as just the jest of a self-described "rodeo clown" — merely the "fusion of entertainment and enlightenment," as his radio motto intones. But if Beck is half as smart as he incessantly tells listeners he is, then he knows it's no joke.


Really, the threat isn't even veiled. To understand it, just ponder comparisons. For instance, ask yourself: What is the difference between Beck's decree and that of Rwanda's genocidal leaders in the 1990s? The former broadcasted a call to "eradicate" the "cancer"-like progressives; the latter a call to "exterminate the cockroaches." Likewise, what separates Beck's screed from a bin Laden fatwa? They may employ different ideologies and languages, but both endorse the wholesale elimination of large groups of Americans.

Sirota does bring up an interesting point in questioning just how one is to separate the calls for the eradication of a movement from the eradication of the members of that same movement. Beck is a massive figure in the tea-party and conservative movement and when he continues to rant and rave about progressivism being a disease and that it must be eliminated, it only throws red meat to the base.

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