The Antilogical Reasoning Of Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck has already solidified his position as the Evangelist of the Coming Obama-Pocalypse. Now he is pioneering a revolutionary new model for polemics that introduces a level of absurdity heretofore unimagined in the world of rational thought. It is a breakthrough that rattles the foundations of conventional discourse. In recognition of this achievement, Beck will forever be remembered as the Stephen Hawking of what I shall dub “Antilogical Reasoning” – or reasoning that contradicts its own premise. Perhaps the best example of antilogics is Beck’s recent comments as to whether President Obama is a racist:

“This President has, I think, exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don’t know what it is […] I’m not saying he doesn’t like white people, I’m saying he has a problem. He has a…This guy is, I believe, a racist.”

Beck also employs antilogical concepts when he beseeches his audience not to engage in violence against their opponents, then describes those opponents as an imminent threat to everything you hold dear – your family, your country, your faith, your freedom. And just yesterday Beck antilogically asserted that eugenics was not coming to America, except for the fact that the forces that led to eugenics in Nazi Germany are all taking shape here with the obvious and inevitable conclusion that eugenics is coming to America. Textbook antilogica.

In making his case against eugenics, courageously confronting this nation’s powerful pro-eugenics lobby, Beck proffered a distinctly personal argument that moved him to tears, again. This time it was the thought of his cerebral palsy-stricken daughter who would not have been permitted to live under the vile Nazi regime. [Note: The first time Beck cried on his Fox News program was on the debut episode. Like now, he was thinking of his daughter whom he was reminded of while interviewing his first guest, Sarah Palin, who also has a special needs child] Beck then extended his argument to accuse Obama’s health care policy adviser, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, of holding positions sympathetic to eugenics.

The allegations Beck made against Emmanuel were typical of his fact-free, hate-filled diatribes. Beck selectively cites passages from Emmanuel’s writings and deposits them about as far from any honest context as he can get. For instance, he alleges that Emmanuel supports rationing of scarce heath care resources based on age or the patient’s projected productivity or some other unspecified cost/benefit analysis. The truth is, Emmanuel’s writings referred specifically to critical situations that required the most difficult decision making. He was writing about cases where there might be a single kidney available, but three terminal patients in need of a transplant. Circumstances like that require a decision because the kidney cannot be allowed to go to waste. But it has nothing to do with government bureaucrats (or death panels) allocating care and pinching pennies as Beck implied. It’s a decision that requires an informed and sensitive bio-ethicist – exactly what Dr. Emmanuel is.

But Beck using his daughter with cerebral palsy as a prop to attack Emmanuel has an additional irony attached to it. You see, Emmanuel’s own sister has cerebral palsy. So it turns out that Beck is attacking a doctor who is uniquely aware of the hardships faced by those with special needs and their families. And if that’s not enough, Emmanuel is also Jewish, in fact an Israeli-American. This is the man that Beck is slandering with associations to Nazis.

Unfortunately, this sort of backlashing attack is not a unique occurrence amongst conservative fear mongers. An article in Investor’s Business Daily sought to denigrate the British National Health Service by asserting that someone with serious health problems would be discriminated against when being assessed for benefits. Remember Stephen Hawking?

“People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.”

However, the IBD missed a little factoid that may be relevant. Prof. Hawking happens to be British and has been cared for by their medical system for 45 years. In the wake of the IDB article, Hawking said

“I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS. I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived.”

Realizing their mistake, IDB edited their article placing a note at the top that says…

“Editor’s Note: This version corrects the original editorial which implied that physicist Stephen Hawking, a professor at the University of Cambridge, did not live in the UK.”

That correction needs a correction. The problem with the original article was not that they implied that Hawking didn’t live in the UK. It was that they falsely claimed that Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance” due to his living in the UK. What’s more, IBD claims to have corrected the article’s mistake, but in fact they merely deleted the whole paragraph referencing Hawking (here is the Google-cached original). According to IBD, pretending that something you wrote never existed constitutes a correction.

So Obama isn’t a racist, he just hates white people. And you shouldn’t resort to violence, but you must fight back against the demons that are surrounding you. And eugenics isn’t coming to America, except that it is. And Glenn Beck isn’t a crazy, lying, paranoid, megalomaniac, he just plays one on TV.

On a side note, congratulations to Prof. Stephen Hawking who today received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony with the President and 15 other recipients.


5 thoughts on “The Antilogical Reasoning Of Glenn Beck

  1. Stupid, crazy, pure charlatan, as Olbermann believes, comparing him to Lonesome Rhodes, all of it, none of it, some combination? As Olbermann also noted, advertisers are fleeing, though as he wryly added, no doubt to be replaced by more compatible companies such as GunsRUs, if such an outfit existed. I tend to go with charlatan, at least as the major ingredient, Beck’s formula being to join the Coulter/O’Reilly/Limbaugh niche, then exceed even them in the nonsense, incendiary behavior, adding emotional displays for uniqueness, and finally, as you explained, topping it off with anti-logic. Voila: he’s created his own market, and the dupes flock to be…duped.

  2. “…and the dupes flock to be…duped.”

    Ah yes, because all of us who watch or listen to Beck are just robots, too stupid to think for ourselves. Thank God Glenn Beck, Rush, and Sean are there to show us the way. Idiot.

    “Emmanuel’s writings referred specifically to critical situations that required the most difficult decision making.”

    And if you actually listened to Glenn (I know, he is a bit out there sometimes), you would realize that he understands this. That is why he he has mentioned catastrophes (either physical or economic) that would allow the government to make a power grab, just as the neocons did after September 11. Like Rahm said, “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste”.

    I would offer this up, though:

    “Accepting the complete lives system for health care as a whole would be premature.”

    That is from “Principles for allocation of scarce medical interventions”, the paper co-authored by Dr. Emanuel that Beck was quoting from. Have you read it? I have. He says accepting the complete lives system for the entire system would be “premature”. He does not say it would be “impossible” or “impractical”, he says “premature”.

    • So Emmanuel says the CLS would be “premature.” That means he is opposed to it, contrary to Beck’s implication that he supported it. Beyond that you are just nitpicking. When speaking in hypotheticals, academics like Emmanuel refrain from absolutes because new elements can change the whole discussion.

      And your characterization of Beck’s “catastrophe” comment is inaccurate. He was plainly implying that an economic condition could trigger the difficult decisions to which Emmanuel was referring. But that is false.

    • I stand by my original remarks. You amplify them and demonstrate my point. “Useful idiots” would be more precise than “dupes.” I held back then. I do not do so now.

  3. I just can’t believe he pretended to cry while talking about his daughter with cerebral palsy. The wrongness was sickening. Goodness knows how she must feel about it. So, so wrong.

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