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David Sirota
David Sirota
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It Is Happening Here


Let's pause and give thanks to Glenn Beck.

No, seriously — because that's what he's due.

We owe this talk-show-host-turned-political-leader gratitude for using his televised keynote address to the Conservative Political Action Conference to so frankly outline what the conservative movement has become — and why it repulses so many Americans.

Coming days after an anti-tax terrorist kamikaze-attacked a government facility in Texas, and following Republicans like Sen. Scott Brown and Rep. Steve King expressing sympathy for that terrorist's grievances, Beck's homily stands as the moment's most forthright manifesto on the right's authoritarian objectives.

Beck began his speech posing as a libertarian against "big government." Notice that most Republican icons are now saying this, though not all resemble Beck — not all of them previously pushed the big-government Patriot Act or the even-bigger-government bank bailout.

From there, Beck worked up a drenching sweat, criticizing Theodore Roosevelt's notion that we should make sure the accumulation of wealth is "honorably obtained" and "represents benefit to the community."

His porcine complexion verging on crimson, Beck called that concept of "community" a "cancer" that "is not our founders' idea of America" — somehow forgetting the notions of community and solidarity inherent in the founders' "Join or Die" motto.

But ignorance, no matter how embarrassing, doesn't get in Beck's way. To wild applause, he labeled this alleged tumor of "community" the supposedly evil "progressivism" — and he told disciples to "eradicate it" from the nation.

The lesson was eminently clear, coming in no less than the keynote address to one of America's most important political conventions. Beck taught us that a once-principled conservative movement of reasoned activists has turned into a mob — one that does not engage in civilized battles of ideas. Instead, these torch-carriers, gun-brandishers and tea partiers follow an anti-government terrorist attack by cheering a demagogue's demand for the physical annihilation of those with whom he disagrees — namely anyone, but particularly progressives, who value "community."

No doubt, some conservatives will parse, insisting Beck was only endorsing the "eradication" of progressivism but not of progressives.

These same willful ignoramuses will also likely say that the Nazis' beef was with Judaism but not Jews, and that white supremacists dislike African-American culture but have no problem with black people.

Other conservatives will surely depict Beck's "eradication" line as just the jest of a self-described "rodeo clown" — merely the "fusion of entertainment and enlightenment," as his radio motto intones. But if Beck is half as smart as he incessantly tells listeners he is, then he knows it's no joke.

In a melting-pot nation of slave descendants and immigrant refugees haunted by ancestral memories of despotic violence, Beck is deliberately employing coded and menacing language, warning his opponents not to believe Sinclair Lewis' refrain that such horror "can't happen here." Beck wants adversaries to know that it can and it will — to them, and at his movement's hands.

Really, the threat isn't even veiled. To understand it, just ponder comparisons. For instance, ask yourself: What is the difference between Beck's decree and that of Rwanda's genocidal leaders in the 1990s? The former broadcasted a call to "eradicate" the "cancer"-like progressives; the latter a call to "exterminate the cockroaches." Likewise, what separates Beck's screed from a bin Laden fatwa? They may employ different ideologies and languages, but both endorse the wholesale elimination of large groups of Americans.

And so we finally see tyranny's hideous image within our midst: It's not a tightly cropped mustache in a beige uniform; it's a clean-shaven baby face in a suit — a rodeo clown with a chalkboard who unfortunately speaks for modern-day conservatism.

We should thank him, at least, for admitting what his movement truly wants.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.



16 Comments | Post Comment
Seems like we should still be able to reach some agreement with other citizens, regardless their political persuation. But the right always moves the goal posts when consensus is near. It appears to be a planed obstruction of the peoples business for future political propaganda, and to a lesser extent refusal to admit they are in the minority currently, and accept the voters choices.
The only way foward now is "go it alone", as the elected republicans have so often done in the past, and will undoubtedly do in the future when they again have majority in office.
I think this is good for the public. There should be defined differences between political positions taken by the parties, and the unfolding conflict exposes these.
As the right is more and more exposed as the representatives of wealth and not people, hopefully the public will gain knowledge, regardless the media advantage enjoyed by the conservatives.
Comment: #1
Posted by: reggiewhitefish
Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:16 AM
Beck isn't just a right wing lunatic. He's a dangerous demagogue, who mouths libertarian talking points, while promoting a neo-feudal agenda whose sole beneficiaries will be the ultra-wealthy. He loves guns and revolutionary rhetoric, but primly tries to distance himself from potential violence. He poses as a populist, but hates unions and supports policies favoring corporations and the very rich over workers and the middle class. He babbles about the the "Founders", but in reality wants to destroy the constitutional government that they created. Anyone who thinks that Glenn Beck is on his (her) side is playing the fool. Beck is on Beck's side and no one else's.
Comment: #2
Posted by: AJ Hill
Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:45 AM
Ever wonder what the PMU (psychological make-up) is of the "cons" (right wing conservatives)? Can you begin to understand someone like a lieutenant governor running for governor on the con's slate who recently “likened government assistance to the poor to feeding stray animals” and causing them to breed more?
I searched the literature looking for an answer. I found it in a big study of many smaller studies spanning 50 years. While there are always caveats about most research findings, a 50-year trail that doesn't detour would seem to lead straight to a durable conclusion; namely, cons are people who by and large (there are always individual exceptions) and wherever they are (cons from 12 different countries were studied) resist change, are fearful, are aggressive, are tolerant of inequality to the extent of even endorsing it, are dogmatic, are intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, are hostile to outsiders, and are more comfortable with simplicity than with complexity.
That is some composite portrait of a seemingly hateful, uncaring bunch of Americans. They didn't start out that way. Their biological makeup as infants like the rest of us made them caring creatures until their PMU and their circumstances and conditions took over. If only we could put the bunch back in their crib and start them over.
Comment: #3
Posted by: gary b. brumback
Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:28 PM
The pulpit for this madness has been supplied by FOX who have become synonymous with the disaster that must entail when civilization allows a few (5) multinational corporations to control the media and to regulate the information available to the general population. Although the selection of lies, frivolous nonsense, and moral nihilism that the mainstream media presents as news is the curriculum prescribed by wealthy self appointed social engineers Fox's presentation methods appear to be out of control unless of course they are intended to provoke a civil war. FOX has succeeded in bringing the Howard Beale character in the movie Network to life in the form of a whimpering gelatinous mass that presides over organized mobs, euphemistically called Tea Parties, which threaten civil insurrection at the behest of their corporate puppeteers. Glen Beck is now the official spokesperson to the very same people that the corporate profiteers who own FOX have robbed of everything they hold dear. In a surreal circus FOX has created an army of animated mannequins that clamor for Obama's head, a made for T.V. messiah who plays the role of President while the scanty remains of a ounce proud country are picked over by the vultures that make their nests high atop the gleaming towers of New York City. Certain that their righteous indignation has been ordained by God they are arming themselves and making ready for the coming holy war within their trailer park fortress's all across Americas heartland. They have become hard through the suffering inflicted upon them by soulless human devils, gone are their farmlands, gone are their jobs, gone are their social traditions which once bound them together as a coherent culture. Their beautiful daughters that once smiled lovingly upon them are now painted whores that shun them as they engage in all manners of biblical decadence after all “girls just want to have fun”. Their sons once proud and strong in their youth have pulled their pants down around their knees as they shuffle about bank appropriated corn fields playing “Gangsta”. These Beckians are as fearsome as any barbarian horde that ever threatened the gates of Rome because they have been made just as savage by their wrath. Who will stand against these avenging hordes when they come for their misdirected justice? Will it be America's army of dubious loyalties, a professional fighting force consisting of mercenaries, cretins, foreigners, and refuges from spinsterhood? Ask the Romans how they fared with similar armies. Perhaps the corporate appointed “liberals” will drive them back with pseudo intellectual ideas. An endless barrage of movies extolling gun control and the virtues of socialism issued through Hollywood by Michael Moore yet another corporate sponsored quivering clump of jelly. Chris Mathews who is really Bill O'Rielly with a lisp will engage the gelatinous mass in a debate and give him a verbal pummeling as Keith Oberman quips smugly from the teleprompter
Comment: #4
Posted by: Jack Heart
Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:06 PM
I'm glad someone sees just how dangerous that raving lunatic, Glenn Beck, really is. Just let one of his lunatic followers come after this 2nd Amendment supporting progressive, and they will be in for both barrels of a smokin' 12 gauge special surprise.....

In my opinion, Beck and his idiot followers are nothing more than seditionists, terrorists, and treasonous traitors. They are actively trying to overthrow the United States Government, our government. How they continue to get away with spreading their vile hate and propaganda under the protection of the 1st Amendment, is beyond me. I don't think the 1st Amendment was ever designed to protect the likes of them, and nor should it. Please keep exposing them Mr. Sirota.
Comment: #5
Posted by: T. Bass
Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:37 PM
This has been done many times before. They work to create policies that will have a bad outcome, or give advice that will have a bad outcome, and then blame the bad outcome on a chosen enemy, or enemies. By this means they create dependence as well as hatred, and distrust of anyone who could actually improve the situation, or open a path away from the cult, and further claim any effort the "enemies" make to do so as proof of their bad intentions.

As the propaganda gets further and further from reality more and more emotion is needed to block out the cognitive dissonance. In the end as everyone would see the facts that would entail such a catastrophic loss of face and power the leader will launch their Armageddon and destroy everything rather than be personally humiliated. Jonestown, WW2, Rwanda,.... there are many possibilities, but none are pleasant or pretty.
Comment: #6
Posted by: FreeDem
Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:25 PM
Why do libs have to show off to each other by using the "big boy" words. just leave a simple comment. It probably took most of you and hour to type your post from looking through a thesaurus and dictionary.

as for glenn beck, this guy is just another jealous lib wanting a piece of his spotlight. you dumbasses wouldnt know what america is really like if it came around the corner and punched you in the balls.
Comment: #7
Posted by: corey
Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:27 PM
and what media advantage enjoyed by conservatives? fox? thats it! one damn channel. the left has cbs, nbc, cnn, msnbc. of course the best thing in your minds is for conservatives to shut up. screw freedom of speech, the right should never talk. and what is wrong with being wealthy? having wealth to you guys is a crime, unless your a liberal with wealth, they take advantage of every tax break they possibly can while screaming their wealthy conservative neighbor isnt paying enough. libs are just odd. high and mighty! better than me!
Comment: #8
Posted by: corey
Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:35 PM
With the lengthening history that Fox and friends are building of aiding and abetting terrorists and traitors against the United States; the willingness with which other networks (CNN et al) imitate them, placing "ratings" above all else; and the utter failure to date of anything approaching a visible-to-the-man-in-the-street has to ask, Can this nation be saved from itself?
I am an American who has lived overseas for nearly ten years, and traveled widely before then. For years now, I've been asked by many people, "why are Americans allowing this to go on?" Most of the rest of the world clings to a vision of America and Americans as "the good guys," who believe in just, honorable action and put that belief into practice. That vision has been sorely tested over the last 35 years, and strained to the breaking point for the last decade or so.
Yes, corporations that profit from treason are in control of the airwaves. But there's more to communication than TV, and more to TV than Fox. When are we going to see some non-fascist meme-spreading, outside the echo chambers of the various "progressive" blogs and Websites? The more we allow liberty, intelligence and compassion to be corralled and ghettoized, the easier we make it for the Glenn Becks of the world — and for their puppet-masters. Because nobody can look at people like Beck, Palin and O'Reilly and seriously entertain the idea that they themselves are the tip of the iceberg.
The ship of state HAS run against that iceberg; we now have the choice of either enlisting the help needed to repair the ship before it sinks completely or continuing this large, ineffectual circle-jerk of "yes, it's terrible how nasty those people are" while the ship takes on more and more water, more and more rapidly. Those people ARE nasty; their masters know PRECISELY how to push their buttons... but those masters are organized, with purpose, means and determination. We in the opposition should have long ago realized that the time for complacency, for merely caricaturing the extremists, is long past. The forces which created, nurture and promote proto-fascists like the Teabaggers ARE a clear and present danger to the Republic, and it's about time the Republic woke up, got its finger out of its posterior orifice and did something effective about it.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Jeff Dickey
Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:17 PM
He also forgot "E pluribus unum."
Comment: #10
Posted by: Non Compassionate Liberal
Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:04 AM
Re: Glen Beck

Ooooh, a tad jealous are we? Let's see, if I were to walk down a busy street in any one of the many small and large cities would I be more likely to find someone who has heard of Glen Beck or would it be you, Mr. Sirota? Gee whiz, was this a stupid question or what? Good luck with your very well read column. Thank God we have the likes of Thomas Sowell and Glen Beck.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Kim Estrada
Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:33 AM
Wow, I just discovered that I am NUMBER 11 on the very well read column of Dave Sirota? This day just keep getting better and better.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Kim Estrada
Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:38 AM
I think that's the point of his article, Beck is not just a whacko, but a whacko with a big megaphone. Think for yourself and forward this truth-ringing essay to everyone you know; get it out there among all your friends on that busy street who haven't heard of Dave Sirota. They all know all they need to know about Beck, Palin, Hannity and Limbaugh (hope he doesn't mind I put him after Hannity), those geniuses of the Constutution and the Bible
Comment: #13
Posted by: Scott Thomas
Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:11 PM
Thank God someone has woken up to the dangers represented by the likes Glenn Beck. Let's not kid ourselves: these people want to put all liberals in concentration camps and then gas them!

Yes, extermination is on the way! The only solution: move to Canada. Please.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Doug1943
Mon Mar 1, 2010 5:55 AM
Far lefties..excuse me "Progressives" will never understand what motivates the TEA party movement. It's people who do not want the government in our lives from cradle to the grave..we truly understand the consequences for our country with the out of control spending..that goes for Republicans too. We didn't buy into the hope and change and lowering the sea levels blah blah. Your ideas are so radical they will be beaten so badly in November, it will take several election cycles to even think about peddling them again. So yes I want progressives to just go away.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Simon
Mon Mar 1, 2010 7:09 AM
Ha ha ha!!! I love how the cancer causes Progressive/Lefties to S-T-R-E-T-C-H so far as to reach for how us Conservatives want to exterminate them. That is so laughable that I actually pity you people. I want to "eradicate" illegal aliens from the US. Does that mean I want to kill them? No. I just want to remove them from our country, because they are a cancer on our country fiscally. Progressive "thinking" is a cancer that causes us to run to a nanny state that ultimately controls more and more of our lives. Progressive thinking ultimately leads to Socialism/Marxism, and yes, we do want to eradicate that from the U.S. We want to eradicate it by voting people who think that way out of office, NOT by killing them. BUT, if you feel better spinning the word eradicate into killing, then have fun with that. It only proves that you don't know what the hell you're talking about, OR that you don't want Beck on a regular basis...OR that the cancer has truly moved into your thinking. Progressives would have us say, "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for YOU" . Progressives make JFK look like a fantastic Republican!
Comment: #16
Posted by: David
Fri Mar 5, 2010 6:40 PM
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