Glenn Beck’s A Historian Like Hannibal Lecter’s A Vegetarian

Glenn Beck began his program yesterday asking his audience to…

“Join me on another one of my ‘designed just to get TV ratings’ history lessons?”

The only the wrong with that statement is everything in it. First of all, nobody is joining Beck as he embarks on his solo venture across the blackboard seas of his dementia. The best you say is that his disciples can watch glassy-eyed from afar. Secondly, everything Beck does is designed to get TV ratings, despite his snarky allusions to the contrary. And lastly, his idea of history lessons leaves out a major component of the curriculum: the history.

Pope Glenn BeckIn yesterday’s lecture, Beck sought to explain the concept of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” wherein nations in conflict proposed deterrence of aggression by threatening overwhelming retaliatory response that would effectively destroy both nations. Beck began by falsely asserting that scientists had first proposed a version of MAD that involved a “Doomsday Device,” wherein the whole planet would be obliterated. In fact, that was only proposed by analysts at an Ayn Rand think tank and Stanley Kubrick in “Dr. Strangelove.” It was not real science, policy, or history.

Then Beck reveals to his disciples the source of his historical doctrine. It’s a book called “Tragedy and Hope” written by Mormon historian Carrol Quigley. Beck describes Quigley’s thesis as MAD via a network of interconnected and reliant economies. Then he asserts that this plan has already been implemented and offers as evidence this question:

“[C]an you think of a war since [the 60’s] where there has been a clear winner and loser since then? Vietnam? The Gulf wars? Afghanistan? The War on Terror?”

Well, yes. I’d start with Vietnam and the Gulf wars. Clearly the North Vietnamese took over the whole of the peninsula after American troops pulled out. And does anyone think that Kuwait is still under the grip of Saddam Hussein, or that Hussein wasn’t toppled from power in Iraq? And there is a reason the former Yugoslavia is called the “former” Yugoslavia. And don’t forget the great battle for sovereignty in the Falklands.

This makes Beck’s accusations that “Progressives don’t want you to read real history,” particularly amusing. Clearly it’s Beck who is reading and recommending fictional accounts of history. One of his favorites is “The 5,000 Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen, another Mormon historian Beck fancies. Beck beseeched his disciples to heed Skousen as a prophet:

“I beg you to read this book filled with words of wisdom which I can only describe as divinely inspired.”

Skousen also read Quigley’s “Tragedy and Hope,” and found it compelling to say the least. In a superb essay about Beck’s roots and influences, Alexander Zaitchik noted the relationship between Beck, Quigley, and Skousen:

In 1969, a 1,300-page book started appearing in faculty mailboxes at Brigham Young, where Skousen was back teaching part-time. The book, written by a Georgetown University historian named Carroll Quigley, was called “Tragedy and Hope.” Inside each copy, Skousen inserted handwritten notes urging his colleagues to read the book and embrace its truth. “Tragedy and Hope,” Skousen believed, exposed the details of what would come to be known as the New World Order (NWO). Quigley’s book so moved Skousen that in 1970 he self-published a breathless 144-page review essay called “The Naked Capitalist.” Nearly 40 years later, it remains a foundational document of America’s NWO conspiracy and survivalist scene.

[T]he editors of Dialogue: The Journal of Mormon Thought invited “Tragedy and Hope” author Carroll Quigley to comment on Skousen’s interpretation of his work. They also asked a highly respected BYU history professor named Louis C. Midgley to review Skousen’s latest pamphlet. Their judgment was not kind. In the Autumn/Winter 1971 issue of Dialogue, the two men accused Skousen of “inventing fantastic ideas and making inferences that go far beyond the bounds of honest commentary.” Skousen not only saw things that weren’t in Quigley’s book, they declared, he also missed what actually was there — namely, a critique of ultra-far-right conspiracists like Willard Cleon Skousen.

“Skousen’s personal position,” wrote a dismayed Quigley, “seems to me perilously close to the ‘exclusive uniformity’ which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan.”

So Beck is now promoting Quigley’s book which he plainly fails to understand. Skousen, the authority Beck regards as divinely inspired, was castigated by Quigley as reminiscent of Nazism. Now there’s a shocker – Beck reveres a discredited, Nazi-esque academic. But it’s Beck’s viewers who are the ultimate losers as they are subjected to a plethora of disinformation. Beck’s sermons are as representative of “history” as “Alice in Wonderland.” Anyone who believes Beck’s version of the past may just as well munch down a sack of magic mushrooms in their search for reality.


8 thoughts on “Glenn Beck’s A Historian Like Hannibal Lecter’s A Vegetarian

  1. This was one of the most dishonest articles Ive ever read. I do watch the Glenn Beck program, & after each show I research the information that was given on that day’s program. Ive done this for approx the past 4 months, & to date — Ive never found any historical statement he’s said to be untrue. This article is very disingenuous, the author should be ashamed & should attempt to look up the facts. You can not run from the truth, & the sooner you realize that, the better off you will be.

    • How typical of a Beck viewer. You assert that this article is dishonest but fail to cite a single point that is untrue. Perhaps that’s because all of it is true.

    • Concerned Citizen – a good comment.

  2. Mark darlin’, Bless your little heart, but it’s quite obvious that your level of education is, shall we say, a product of the public classrooms of the 1970s to current, where facts were tranposed with fiction, or ignored altogether. And objective history was abandoned for opinion history.

    Your entire article is mostly fabrication and propaganda. I would like you to back up your facts with credible sources rather than a thought over a latte.

    For example, you wrote: “Beck began by falsely asserting that scientists had first proposed a version of MAD that involved a “Doomsday Device,” wherein the whole planet would be obliterated. In fact, that was only proposed by analysts at an Ayn Rand think tank and Stanley Kubrick in “Dr. Strangelove.” It was not real science, policy, or history.”

    You are Incorrect. More so, you manifest a very dangerous mode of denial.

    Beck is correct. In the 1950s, a Doomsday machine was developed – In the 1950s, a Doomsday machine was developed – the hydrogen bomb (a bit different than the A-bomb), then came the neutron bomb, etc…controlled by artificial intelligence – the good ol’ computer.

    The US government directed the Rand Corp and IBM to concentrate on SAC, Stratetic Air Command, later TAC (tactical air command), developing the science of the “thinking” machine – the computer, more specifically, UNIX. Combined with technology, our defensive weapons environment went from 3-4th generation to one can speculate today as double digit generation.

    Mark darlin, you forgot your history, at least the theory of hegemon, which western culture is grounded upon, unless of course, you are a socialist, or a western culture hater like many of the socialists. Are you?

    Yet,to continue, like Pitt the Younger once yelled in Parliament to the King George Party, regarding the Colonial Revolutionary War, “We don’t want to war on them, we can give them their independence and still trade with them”. Two economists developed modeling in the 1960s that led to the second phase of the Doomsday Machine – don’t destroy your enemy, become partners and trade with them. I believe that was the impact of Levin and the theory of the Peace Dividend.

    Goodness – shouldn’t you bring up the above in your piece, rather than being dismissive simply due to the fact that you slept through your history class? Bless your little heart, you read too much off the game video package “MAD”, than real, grown up material.

    Over the progression of years, the US Government has continued its research into technology with regard to MAD, until its current technological edge in defense as well as the byproducts within American society – something you type on every day – the personal computer, or watch (TV/Dish/Cable), or how your finances are electronically moveable, etc.

    In short, your piece is fiction. Beck, I would argue, has brought facts combined with Carroll Quigly’s theory of trading partners don’t kill each other (Brigham Young U) Maybe its time for you to hit the library, Mark ol’ man. Start with the “Melian Dialogue”, then the “Republic” and end with Keenan’s Containment theory, add a little Hobbs (hegemon), some Locke, Rousseau – then maybe, just maybe – you can begin to compare and contrast to determine what is simply propaganda or ill-formed opinionn and what is real. Try a course on Immanuel Kant/Hegel.

    For your readers, I would go to these sites for further reading. Mind you – they aren’t blogs.

    “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy”
    Herman Kahn’s Doomsday Machine
    Robert McNamara’s “Mutual Deterrence” speech from 1967
    Getting MAD: Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction
    Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction

    I invite your readers to peruse the following websites, all are credible, and with actual documents from our esteemed government.

    • I’d like to thank you for the link you provided. Because it proves my point. It was not a government agency proposing a doomsday device, but a private group of think-tankers with an idea that nobody put into action. It was exactly what I said it was – a Randian cabal with no authority to execute their lame plans (thank God).

      Sadly, your tone is so condescending that it’s hard to take you seriously. That might be excusable if you had the substance to back it up, but instead you backed me up. And you failed to show that anything I said was untrue.

      • Right on. The happily and sadly proudly ignorant people like Susan are an embarrassment to America. Notice they can’t answer your last reply. So proud they are to deny facts and science and how happily they revel in their ignorance as though it’s worthy of applause. People like her make me feel very seriously violently ill. These are the morons with the gall to presume they know more about science than scientists themselves and more about economics than economists themselves. An embarrassment to America.

        • Economists? They are the embarassment.The only thing that kept profitable traing with what could have been a hostile enemy i.e. Russia was policies such as MAD wheather real or percieved and who is the moron when you refer to someone Knowing more than science? As if science was an exact science. Economics is not an exact science!Some writers fantastic theoriers do come to fruition Orwells 1984; di you ever think you would see cameras on street corners in NY and London? Jules Verne Boat that went 20,000 leagues under the sea?you don’ think Rand’s fiction can become reality? I think it is on it’s way with little hope of improving with the administration who just changed the head of his Economic staff today again.

  3. I should say, not THIS MAD (the one in Inspector Gadget, M.A.D., headed by the evil Dr. Claw).

    In a bit of a joke, Glenn Beck would say that Dr. Claw and his M.A.D. agents are carrying out a SOCIALIST and COMMUNIST plot to destroy America, and Beck must be the ever bumbling Inspector Gadget. In fact, in the show, it is Penny who solves everything.

Comments are closed.