I didn’t think Glenn Beck gave a bad speech closing this year’s CPAC 2010 convention last night. At one hour, maybe a bit long though.
His tone, and what he talked about, was different than I expected.
Surprised that he took the Republican Party to such harsh task for its “spend and no tax” working philosophy which helped raise unprecedented deficit in the last decade. The binge is over, and now we can no longer avoid a morning of vomiting and headaches – his imagery.
He did give most of his vitriol – his words and his delivery steadier and less shrill than I had expected, actually – for the evil he labeled “Progressivism”. As he says, represented by Theodore Roosevelt.
Forget that progressivism doesn’t describe a tribe or a thing or a singular book, but one edge of the political continuum. A continuum that is forever moveable, sometimes even transient. Remember, it is progressivism that freed the slaves, that fought to give women the vote, and set in place the safety regulations that say a gas pedal really shouldn’t stick and if it does it is Toyota’s responsibilibty to fix it.
And forget that Theodore Roosevelt was establishing laws and regulations to rein in the power and nation-threatening concentrated wealth of the monopolies, those child employing, industrial behemoths that had grown giant and influential in the unregulated late 1800s. Roosevelt also created the National Park system as a bulwark again unguarded industrial mining and deforestation.
A lot of Mr. Beck’s speech was about his own personal story – analogizing his own alcoholism and redemption with what America must do to become a muscular and healthy society once more. His was a by-your-own-bootstraps self-redemption.
I’m going to stand on my own two feet and figure it out. And because of that failure, I can stand here today!
As he was getting his life back in order, going through the daily routine of his radio show, “homework” for the next day’s show, picking up his children from school and looking after them, he taught himself.
How? By taking advantage of the public library – “Books are free!”
And I went and I read. I educated myself. I went to the library – books are free! I went to the bookstore… I educated myself. My education was free, and I’m proud of that! When did it become something of shame or ridicule to be a self-made man in America?!
The public library is one of the great pillars of America, that the Founding Fathers maintained was as an ideal for every community. The public library as we know it was conceptualized and established by Benjamin Franklin, who also understood we needed a commonweal controlled, reliable national communication system: the United States Postal Service.
Libraries have traditionally been created and supported with tax dollars, supplemented somewhat by benefactor donations (well, and overdue fines).
Glenn Beck, who a few minutes earlier said “What we don’t have a right to is health care, housing, or handouts,” thinks he has a right to free book. At least books that are free to him (he also mentioned spending time in bookstores, but not actually buying the books). Those library books are paid for mostly by tax dollars, the librarians are government employees, the lights that allowed him to read there are replaced and lit with money from taxpayers who were not given the choice not to.
(Yes, I spent my Sunday afternoon researching this)
That point in his life that Mr. Beck describes occurred when he lived in Washington, DC. The Washington, DC, public library system was
created by Congress in 1896 “to furnish books and other printed matter and information service convenient to the homes and offices of all residents of the District.” That was after a long campaign by Theodore W. Noyes, editor of The Evening Star. Among Mr. Noyes other concerns? Getting the streets cleaned regularly, and fighting for the government to build an incineration plant so the city would stop dumping all its garbage in the Potomac.
For his time, Mr. Noyes was a “progressive”.
And when the Central Library building was completed in 1903 who did the dedication? Mr. Beck’s despised president Theodore Roosevelt.
Sorry, Mr. Beck, if it weren’t for progressives you wouldn’t be the man you are today – you admit it.
And next time you run into Sarah Palin, ask her how that free socialized government health care her grandson Tripp is getting is working out, will you?