Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why don't I like Glenn Beck?

Several friends of mine are avid listeners of Glenn Beck, but I can't bring myself to become one myself. I've listened to a little bit, and while I find him at times amusing and at times correct, I still can't warm to him. Ron Radosh over at Pajamas Media comes close encapsulating my viewpoint, I think, by encapsulating David Horowitz:
And let me give the last word to David Horowitz, who reasonably accepts part of what David Frum has said, when he makes the following point. Beck, he says in one of his blogs, has done good things and must be given credit for this and not be read out of the conservative movement. Yet, he agrees that Beck must be “reined in” and corrected when he goes too far. If those in the conservative ranks who support Beck do just that, Beck’s excesses can be tempered, and those who do not like him will listen to him more carefully when he is right.

I admit some of my dislike of Glenn Beck is a gut reaction. My father was an early and avid "Ditto-head" when Rush Limbaugh first impacted on the scene. The more avid he became the more I avoided Rush. Beck reminds me of Rush, and so triggers my habitual wariness.

Yet, on the recommendation of some persons whose opinions I respect, I read Beck's "Common Sense" recently and found it convincing. If that was the Beck who showed up on the radio every day I might be more inclined to listen, had I the time. But therein, too, lies the problem. I'm not willing to give very many people a full hour of my time. If they can't make their point in a few minutes it's time I was moving on.

But ultimately I think my main reason for disliking Glenn Beck is because of his incite-ful style. He is a merchant of anger, and I find that distasteful and counterproductive. Anger doesn't get the job done, not when the job is something that requires long-term focus and commitment. And Anger is too easily subverted for other purposes.

There's a popular bumper sticker that says "If you're not outraged, then you're not paying attention." The trouble is, the opposite is also true: If you're outraged you're not paying attention to anything else. I can't live a life of continual outrage. I don't need to be outraged to act, and I fear those who do. Outrage far too often leaves one unable to think clearly, and therefore prone to having others do their thinking for them.

I'll take a platoon of calm, cool, rationally concerned people motivated to action over an army of the outraged any day.

Granted, that can be hard to come by.

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