My Old Kentucky Homesite

Beck’s Third Principle: Not for Newspaper Editors?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/13/2010

Very early in my blogging career, I decided that I wasn’t going to act as a clearing-house for stories covered by national newspapers. The only kinds of readers I was interested in attracting were people who didn’t need me to tell them about the day’s events. I’m not a goddamned anchorman.

And so I won’t bother to comment on the The New York Times’s story that David Berkowitz (the “Son of Sam”) has apparently been “born again.” I’ll only ask: Is that good news for everybody who didn’t get shot during his first life? Anyway, he’s now apparently having conversations with the voice of a god instead of a dog. Does he speak to it backwards?

However, I will tell you about a story covered locally here in Jesus-yucky. I don’t really object to the story being run; it’s a national first, so maybe it is news. What pisses me off is the headline: Liberty School teaches country’s beginnings. That’s a blatant falsehood, and the editors responsible should be fired immediately.

Vacation Liberty School is a money-raising, power-grabbing scheme by Glenn Beck. Naturally, its debut incarnation appeared miraculously here in the BlewGas state. Under the guise of “teaching” about the early days of America, Beck and his minions are stressing nine principles.

  1. America is good.
  2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
  8. It is not un-American to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

I happen to agree heartily with a few of those points, particularly numbers 6 and 8. I have no philosophical problem with number 5 — although it should definitely apply to big corporations, too — or number 7 (except for its grammar), even though it’s merely a pose aimed at avoiding societal responsibility. (It should apply when taxpayers fund faith-based initiatives, but, of course, its proponents won’t, or can’t, make that connection.) Number 9 sounds nice, but the government doesn’t actually work for any one person; it works for the collective public. To do so effectively, it might actually have to work against certain specific individuals, like murderers, child molesters, and would-be theocrats.

Number 3 is silly, but not bad, even though it assumes that there are gradations of honesty (there aren’t). The attendees of Liberty School wouldn’t need such a principle unless they’d started off on the lying end of the spectrum, so it doesn’t hurt to ask them to try to be more truthful. Of course, the text is ironic, because Glenn Beck has made a name for himself by misrepresenting everything he discusses. He ought to be forced to read that sentence aloud every waking minute of his day, and it should be piped into his head when he’s sleeping.

The other numbers are pure bullshit. For example: The belief that one’s country is good merely because it’s one’s country is a recipe for disaster. And it contradicts number 8. Of course, the people likely to go to Vacation Liberty School don’t understand self-contradicting principles, or they wouldn’t be so gung-ho about the appropriately ordered “number 2.” The third item is non-historical; except in the case of John Adams, I don’t think there’s any indication that the rest of the Founding Fathers gave a rat’s ass what their spouses thought. (Of course, it is possible that Madison kowtowed to his wife when he had a hankering for ice cream.)

In case you’re wondering, Georgetown’s Vacation Liberty School was held at a – oh, you’ll never guess! – a Baptist church. Surprised?


11 Responses to “Beck’s Third Principle: Not for Newspaper Editors?”

  1. Is Liberty School a precursor for Beck University?

    Does Ann Coulter know about #8, since she claimed opposition to W’s plans, like invading Iraq, was treason?

    “Charitable” would have to be defined in #7, but I do have to agree with them that we shouldn’t be forced to charitably support churches by allowing them tax exemption.

  2. Philly:
    I, too, wondered if Beck’s Vacation Liberty School was a prep for his university. Obviously, no one will be attending the higher-level institution without the proper credentials: a long-time commitment to untruths and idiocy. So perhaps a diploma from the BVLS is a pre-requisite for continuing one’s Beckucation.

    I’d highly approve of revoking tax exemptions for all religious organizations. I think the government should start by targeting those churches (and their governing organizations) in which religious leaders have been convicted of a crime, like fraud, embezzlement, child molestation, or rape. That measure would probably prevent half the churches in America from receiving governmental goodies.

  3. the chaplain said

    Obviously, no one will be attending the higher-level institution without the proper credentials: a long-time commitment to untruths and idiocy.

    If you’re able to pay the $10 per month tuition, Beck University will waive those pesky credentials.

  4. Postman said

    4.The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
    5.If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

    These jumped out at me immediately. How can I be the ultimate authority and at the same time follow the government’s laws? Does 5 apply only to everyone else? Is the law decided by me and my wife? is 5 true only when it doesn’t contradict 4? I’m so confused now.

  5. BrentH said

    When do the VLS grads get the multi-volume set of footnotes that explains the unseen asterisks in the nine principles? Beck University? Or maybe the Beck Graduate School for Advanced Teabaggery?

    Principle 2 definitely has an invisible asterisk that explains “God” is Jesus. The word “family” in #4 must have a lengthy footnote that restricts the meaning of that term. Principle 8 must only apply when a Democrat (i.e. Socialist) is in the White House and “opinion” must only refer to a strict orginalist interpretation of the Constitution.

  6. Chappy:
    Beck University will waive those pesky credentials.
    I’m pretty sure that, in this case, you should have used “wave.” Glenn Beck’s followers are proud of their ignorance.

    Worst of all about #4, my wife and I can’t decide what we should do about traffic. She’s for making the lights go green automatically whenever her car approaches one. I’m for getting rid of all traffic lights and just putting up a Yield sign with my picture on it. This governing shit is hard.

    And number 9 needs to be explained more fully.

    By “me,” we mean any person who is of the Republican persuasion, as long as he or she can provide evidence of legal citizenship and a love for country music. By “them,” we mean godless Yankee commie homo-supporting baby-killing bastards, as well as anyone else educated in a non-Beck school.

  7. As a libertarian, I object to the use of the word “liberty” by this group. In fact, too many organizations throw the term liberty around and reformulate a definition that fits their propaganda. Liberty means free from authority or control, to do as one pleases. How does God fit into that definition?

  8. Joel Wheeler said

    I still suffer from a knee-jerk impulse to get “upset” when I see this garbage. Your (and your readers’) treatment of it brings me right back down to earth. LOVE it.

  9. Catch:
    Obviously, you didn’t get the full story: one or more of the gods invented liberty. Of course, he/she/it/they only made that liberty apply to his/her/its/their chosen people. So individuals are free as long as they conform. But that’s fair, right?

    I can tell you — from a long personal history of off-pissedness — that getting “upset” doesn’t do a goddamn bit of good. Finding humor in the superstititons of the idiots is much healthier, and may even be more helpful in the long run. As Mark Twain said, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

  10. Ralph said

    A patriot demands the liberty to think for him/herself and the freedom to express those thoughts. A patriot questions every action of his/her government. The new conservatives
    have no concept of what us old conservatives mean by liberty and freedom.

  11. Ralph:
    We old farts are out of step. I remember the days when libertarians were actually in favor of liberty.

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