February 9, 2019
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
The Coming American “Civil War,” Glenn Beck and the Kumbaya Moment
Usually I pick one day during the week, if possible, to drive into Raleigh to handle errands and take care of multiple medical appointments (that older men like me are forced to endure). And I’ll normally tune into the local conservative talk radio station en route.
During the week that station features Glenn Beck from 9 a.m. until noon. Let me confess upfront: I normally don’t listen to Beck. I consider him something of a myopic nut case, whose ravings are uninformed and lacking in rational understanding, who spins out off-the-wall theorization that cannot survive close examination or careful questioning. He likes to manipulate history, history as he interprets it.
Back in 2016 Glenn Beck was a virulent Never, or better said, a vicious, Anti-Trumper. For him, Trump was a “racist bigot,” an “ultra-nationalist,” someone who had failed to condemn Duke David; Trump was threatening the “international democratic order” and potentially was a “new Hitler, who would undermine ‘our democracy’.” Trump was—is—“no conservative,” at least, as Beck understands that term.
Let me suggest that my cocker spaniels have a better understanding than he of what “conservatism” is or what it once meant.
Back in 2010 scholar and historian Dr. Paul Gottfried demolished Beck’s claim to be an historian and to being a “conservative,” and, in particular, his cavalier attempt to pigeon-hole those of whatever stripe who disagree with the standard Neoconservative narrative which it shares with the “farther Left.” (See, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/glenn-becks-myths/ ). According to Beck anyone who does not believe in universal equality and democracy and refuses to oppose “racism” and “sexism,” is bound to be dealing in “fascism,” or in danger of falling for Nazism.
As well, modern liberals, following National Review scribbler Jonah Goldberg, are “liberal fascists,” as Beck labels them.
But since the rise of Donald Trump he has saved most of his fire for those populist and nationalist conservatives who reject his brand of egalitarianism and who dare refuse to join him in denouncing “racism.” For Beck and writers like Kevin Williamson, David French and National Review editor Rich Lowry:
Tears glaze their eyes when they talk about 1960s civil rights laws, which placed entire regions of the country that once discriminated against black voters under what is now perpetual federal surveillance. Beck rages against the late Sen. Robert Byrd for voting against the Civil Rights Act. Byrd believed this legislation would interfere excessively in commercial relations and plunge the country into endless suits and investigations over racial and gender discrimination…. Although this indignation may be Beck’s attempt to woo minorities, it makes one wonder how serious he is about scaling back public administration.
Beck’s views of President Trump’s policies since the election have, so it seems, moderated just a bit. While still expressing a disdain and condescension for the president, he does admit to agreeing with some things Trump has done (e.g. Justice Gorsuch, the budget deal, etc.). But he continues to believe that the president’s “populist nationalism” is a threat to “the cause of global democracy,” and that he has stirred up “hatred” and “racial bigotry,” for example regarding Charlottesville, where President Trump "failed" to forthrightly condemn “those Nazis and Klansmen.” That failure, the fact that the president condemned both sides for the violence and actually said that some of those demonstrating in favor of the Lee statue were decent and good folks, was, said Beck (as did his stand-in host a few weeks ago, rattle-gums, turd-con Ben Shapiro), “a dog-whistle to racists.”
So, with trepidation on the way into Raleigh, I tuned in to Beck’s program, and, voila! There he was this time constructing a giant web of conspiracy and global skullduggery, connecting Russian nationalist philosopher, Alexander Dugin, to a worldwide plot—a “world nationalist conservative union”—whose tentacles were spreading surreptitiously into Europe with the rise of anti-immigrant, nationalist and populist conservative political movements (e.g. Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, Alternativ fur Deutschland in Germany, Viktor Orban in Hungary, the Northern League in Italy, and so on), and here in the United States, a spinning web that encompasses everything from the so-called Alt-Right, the Klan, Jared Taylor (who writes scholarly articles about race), Breitbart News (!), Roy Moore in Alabama, and some of those “nefarious nationalist policy advisors (e.g., Stephen Miller) who are around Trump.” And each time that he named an additional manifestation of this international rightwing “conspiracy,” his voice became darker and slowed down with emphasis—“we are back in the 1920s again,” he solemnly intoned, “and we are facing the rise of a new Hitler in our midst!” And I shuddered, almost expecting to see some club-wielding Brownshirts blocking US 64 as I sped into town. Lord, save us from the Fascists!
This wasn’t the first time that Beck had fingered the Russian professor of philosophy, Dugin, as the master mind of a global radical right conspiracy. About a year ago, he had done the same thing on his television program, replete with charts and connecting lines to indicate where power and authority flowed from and where it flowed to. Yet, his “history” was replete with errors, faulty assumptions, and downright falsehood. The implication is that Alexander Dugin is the court-philosopher for President Vladimir Putin, providing the road map for Putin’s attempt to dominate the world and “restore the Soviet Union.”
Yet, as Putin, himself, has made abundantly clear in interviews (See, , New York, 2000), speeches (See, for instance, several speeches at the Valdai International Forum, http://valdaiclub.com/politics/62880.html and http://valdaiclub.com/opinion/highlights/vladimir-putin-meets-with-members-of-the-valdai-discussion-club-transcript-of-the-final-plenary-sess/ and his annual broadcasts, “State of the Nation,” including December 12, 2013, in The Daily Telegraph; and various commentaries, including by Paul Craig Roberts in 2014, http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/10/paul-craig-roberts/why-is-putin-hated/), and more concretely, in his actions, the Russian president’s preferred guides historically and philosophically are figures like Nikolai Berdyaev, Vladimir Solovyev, and Ivan Ilyin, not to mention the great Alexander Solzhenitsyn (See, The Washington Post, August 5, 2008, “Towards the End, Solzhenitsyn Embraced Putin’s Russia”)—not a Nazi among them! Indeed, these thinkers, whom Putin cites frequently, partake of a deeply Christian and Orthodox spirituality and a profound love for Russian tradition.
If Beck had delved into the abundant literature on the topic, not only Putin’s numerous speeches and commentaries, but scholarly studies by Professors Allen Lynch (Vladimir Putin and Russian Statecraft), Michael Stuermer (Putin and the Rise of Russia), John Garrard (Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent), and others, he might have comprehended this.
But that would not have served his purpose. Instead, he has resurfaced the fashionable Leftist trope about the evil “anti-democratic” Putin and the Russians, but this time coming from a supposed “conservative” talk radio host: it’s the “reductio ad Hitlerum”—Everything reduced to Hitler! The explanation for opposition to Beck's views is that the opposition is and represents the rise of a “new Hitler.” Connect the dots, he says. “Racism” + “populism” + “nationalism” + “belief in national identity” + “hatred of immigrants” + “refusal to recognize the ‘good’ and the ‘humanity’ in our enemies,” and there you have it, a new Nazism! And that is the tar brush he used to libel each and every one of these targeted groups and individuals.
How, pray tell, does this narrative differ from that of the most vociferous and vile Marxist minions on the far Left who would like to unseat and impeach Donald Trump, the Maxine Waters types who also accuse the president and his supporters of “racism” and of being “Nazis”?
But, wait, there’s more: a little later in the program Beck brought in a guest—I did not catch his full name (I think his last name was “Lu” or “Liu”), but apparently he has created a national group which, he stated, has as its purpose to “re-humanize” Americans, to bring together Marxists and Leftists to sit down with “conservatives” like Beck (but NOT the “extremist Right”) for “dialogue,” to re-discover our commonalities and what unites us, in what I would call “kumbaya moments.” Beck’s guest related how those radical Marxists and brain-dead Leftie soccer moms and brain-empty Millenials would gather together with those brain-less “conservatives” and “hug each other, and shed tears of understanding, probing to find and establish bonds of unity.” Together they would sing those old civil rights songs, and Mr. Lu (Liu) would preach, although he made it clear that his preaching was not in any way Christian. No; his object, he repeated, was to “begin the process of ‘re-humanizing’ Americans, bringing us all back together as one, dedicated to democracy and equality.”
Well, I felt so much better after hearing that!! In fact, I think the meaning was that I was to go out and find some brain-washed soccer mom, or perhaps some brain-washer college professor, and give them a big hug, shed some tears, sing “We Shall Overcome!” and—repeat what Rodney King said a number of years ago during the Watts riots—“can’t we all just get along?” And then everything would be alright….
But that’s not the situation in American today, as Pat Buchanan has recently written. What we need is a kind of “street fighter” (like maybe Donald Trump), not a fossilized and bought-off-by-the-Deep State conservatism. As Buchanan quotes Frank Cannon, we need leadership that is "at war with the progressives who have co-opted American civil society …. [and is] willing to go further than any other previous conservative to defeat them." [http://buchanan.org/blog/trump-middle-american-radical-128704]
Despite all the touchy-feely emotionalism and intellectual defecation of a Glenn Beck, we are in the midst of a brutal and vicious cultural war—a war that threatens to erupt in much more than pundits and politicians screaming threats and imprecations at us on CNN and NBC, or Deep State attempts to reverse the verdict of the 2016 election, but in real and palpable violence, pitting the West and East coasts against the middle and south of this nation, of the university towns and cities like Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle against the rest of America.
I don’t know about you, but if things continue to worsen, I’m glad of one thing: most of those cultural Marxists and Leftist-types are gun control fanatics who don’t believe in possessing weapons. Fine. Most of my “deplorable” friends out here in rural Carolina do….