Thoughts on Glenn Beck's “Common Sense”
By Tim Wingate
This is a well documented booklet. However, it is difficult to substantiate his seeming anecdotal claims with his sizable “Sources” list as he does not use any footnotes or chapter designations. To his credit his listings contain substantive references including an informal bibliography, web links and periodical sources.
His writing style is much like his spoken style. He incites and provokes, needles and cajoles the reader with emotionally laden terminology and appeals to an emotional response; while claiming it to be a reasoned rational reaction. It is actually a short “book” as the line leading (the vertical spacing between sentences) is for a larger font size than the one used, putting fewer words on each page and therefore using more pages. Also, one third of the book is a reprint of Thomas Paine's original pamphlet Common Sense. Thus giving it a deceptively larger appearance.
In its essence it is just another compendium of what is wrong with America from his newly nonpartisan position. Many other compendiums have been circulating from more astute authors for sometime now. (Lysander Spooner, Albert Jay Nock, Herbert Spencer, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Leonard Read, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Carl Watner, James Bovard, , Dr. Edwin Vieira Jr., Dr. Robert Altemeyer, Dr. Ron Paul, to just name a few from a much larger list spanning two hundred years.) However, due to Mr. Beck's public podium his message may reach and strike a responsive chord with more of America's dumbed down masses than a more erudite treatise.
The glaring problem with this “book” is on the first page. He writes, “In 1776, Thomas Paine's words sparked a revolution. Today, a new revolution of thought begins right now, with you.... You might find yourself wondering what can be done to change our nation's course. I lay out several options, but I want to be clear that none of them include violence. Thomas Paine and his fellow revolutionaries shed their blood so that future generations would have access to weapons immeasurably stronger than muskets or bayonets: the weapons of democracy...”
Through out his book he uses the language of revolution. However, he wants to pacify it and turn it into a fist-shaking, foot-stomping plebiscite tantrum. Herein is the fault. You cannot compare a potentially future American revolution to the former American War for Independence without the possible use of violence. Several thoughts on this follow.
First, to ascribe the appellation “revolution” to the American War for Independence is to take the “British” point of view of the legitimacy of British rule rather than the legitimacy of independence. Second, I am sure by their subsequent writings that "Thomas Paine and his fellow revolutionaries" did not consider their blood shedding to be some kind of secular propitiation or substitutionary atonement for any future use of physical force to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from an infringing government. Furthermore, there is always violence used by one or all factions in a regime change. Third, the use of “democracy” as a weapon implies the use of force, in reality or by threat, by the majority against the minority. The only difference is that the minority, by “democracy,” agreed to their suppression in perpetuity via an implied social contract thus legitimizing the use of force against them and renaming it “police action” or “anti-terrorism.”
On page 106 he states, “...do the things you feel...”
Really Mr. Beck? Just demonstrate populist discord and the “rulers” will change their tune?
On page 107 he quotes Mr. Paine's conclusion, “...until an independence is declared, the Continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows that it must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.”
It seems to me that the founders heeded Mr. Paine's warning and made such a declaration resulting in the conflagration wherein most of the signers were held to their pledge of “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Furthermore, he goes on to claim that his words like Paine's “find their roots” in Common Sense.
Really Mr. Beck? If this is true and he wanted to follow and imitate the example of the founding fathers than why has he not joined the We the People Congress
If we take Mr. Beck at his word and accept his implications as literal then he is saying the American people should treat the Federal Government as old England was treated by the 18th century Continental Congresses. Mr. Paine's work sparked a Declaration of Independence which sparked a violent war for control over land, resources and people. You cannot mince, parse or mollify the words of revolution by comparing a philosophical, or as he wrote, “a new revolution of thought,” to a violent one.
Therefore, in conclusion let us address this “elephonkey” or “donkyphant” in the room. Is America ready for a “revolution"? Have the lines of philosophical differences been so well articulated that people can make an informed decision whether to chose between an uncertain future of an insurgent guerrilla war for independence against the FedGov or for the limitless limitation of freedom and “on-growing” burden of the Federal corporatist police-state leviathan?
Does his target audience (based upon his assertive description in the Introduction it appears to be middle class married men with children, struggling to make ends meet,) actually have the backbone and where-with-all to declare and defend an actual new declaration of independence? Does he? Or, as this writer suspects, is this just another opportunistic endeavor to stir up impotent resistance and controversy to sell books and garner viewers?
If you really want to know what is going on apart from the propagandist pablum spewed by the corporatist organs of the state then check out the sources below. Buckle up, bolt your socks to your shoes and get ready for Matrix like red pill revelations.
If you want the real philosophy of Liberty then look up the authors mentioned in paragraph three rather than his list on pages 110 and 111.
Furthermore, since he is wildly popular with the Repubicrats, copy this review and include it with copies of his book before you hand them out to friend and family, thereby giving them the means to a meal along with his appetizer.
Glen Beck started a “9.12 Project” referenced on page 109. He lists 9 Principles and 12 Values that one should share with others. See, http://www.the912project.com/the-912-2/mission-statement/.
On his web site he also says what the purpose is; “This is a non-political movement. The 9-12 Project is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001. The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created.”
Why 9.12? Why recreate a the wheel or as in this case replace the existing wheel with a downsized spare? Why not emphasize and encourage what the founders already established? Or would that be too revolutionary?
In 1776, fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence declaring that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
What truths were “these truths”?
The whole of the Declaration of Independence and the instituted governments of the United States of America rest upon only 5 Truths. The signers of the Declaration of Independence believed that those who supported these 5 Truths were good people and supporters of freedom.
However, those who opposed the 5 Truths were against liberty as agents of dictators, tyrants and despots. Which one are you? Do you believe in the 5 Truths?
Truth 1. All people are created equal.
Truth 2. All people created equal are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. (No commentary was given about the nature of, or, who this “Creator” was believed to be. However, the previous paragraph declares that people have “separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitles them.” Therefore, it can be inferred based on the common beliefs of the day that the implication was from a general “Christianized” worldview with an Enlightenment influence.)
Truth 3. Only by the consent of the created equal people with endowed certain unalienable rights, governments are formed to secure those endowed certain unalienable rights and derive their powers only from the consent of the equal people endowed with certain unalienable rights.
Truth 4. When any form of government becomes destructive of those endowed certain unalienable rights of the equal people, it is the “Right of the People” created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights to replace that government with one that will secure those, endowed certain unalienable rights of the equal people.
Truth 5. When it becomes evident that a form of government has a design to reduce the equal people with endowed certain unalienable rights under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such a government.
Make no mistake in thinking that this is a light matter. We as a nation are approaching a fork in the road together.
There are those among us who believe that “government” is the source of rights and liberty. They are the modern day Tories, the royalists, and believers in the divine rights of kings. Only today their “king” is the Government.
We have almost come full circle in our experiment in liberty from where we started.
an out of control constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government that reduced its loyal citizens to property of the State,
a constitutional representative government that distorts words and meanings in the Constitution thereby reducing the people to property of the State.
True American Patriots still believe in the 5Truths of Freedom
To embrace these truths by believing in them and living by them is to be an American patriot, honoring the men and women who fought and died for liberty.
To infringe or alienate these truths by action or accepting government’s actions is to dishonor the patriots who have lived and died for us.
On which side do you stand?
(a)The promise of tranquil security by intrusive government, mouthing words of liberty while taking away rights by regulation forcing you to give up your “fair share” of freedom for privileged benefits that rest upon you as chains of control?
(b)The 5Truths and the certain human rights endowed to an equal people that must not be infringed by your countrymen in your service in government leaving you to live the “animating contest of freedom” in liberty while pursuing the happiness of responsible self-ownership?
“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” - Samuel Adams