Friday, January 21, 2011

Beck on Frances Fox Piven

For a while now, Glenn Beck has been tracing a paranoid history of an extraordinarily effective left wing's covert plan to subvert American freedom, linking implausible co-conspirators to the progressive movement at the 19-20th century turn, and Woodrow Wilson, right through Obama. One of his frequent targets is what he calls the 'Cloward-Piven conspiracy', whose origin is this article from the Nation in 1966.

The authors suggest here that if everyone eligible for local and state aid actually applied for it, the systems would be overwhelmed, and that politics might then shift to make a federal role in such things more acceptable. You should read it, to understand just how crazy Beck is. If you Google 'Cloward-Piven conspiracy' you get 150,000 hits, mostly rightie nonsense echoing Beck.

For a while, Prof. Piven was more bemused than anything else at the idea that a lefty sociology professor could be imagined by anybody to be that sinister and powerful, that an article in the Nation, a small lefty weekly in Murdoch's world, could usher in totalitarian socialism. After Tucson, harder to remain puzzled without being alarmed, especially as Beck's rhetoric has become even more strident:

Beginning in September of 2010, Glenn Beck started branding Piven, a distinguished professor of Political Science and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as an “enemy of the Constitution.” Piven, well known for advocating for the organizational rights of the poor and encouraging voter registration, has since received threatening phone calls and letters, and has become the subject of many death threats left open to the public on Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze"...

The Center for Constitutional rights details a backlash through some of the many violent quotes on Beck’s website. Examples include, “Maybe they should burst through the front door of this arrogant elitist and slit the hateful cow’s throat,” “We should blow up Piven’s office and home,” and “I am all for violence and change Frances: Where do your loved ones live?” (thanks to Thers on for the cite)

---Beck really, really isn't at this point, nor has he ever been, merely an entertainer, or a commentator coming from a legitimate, though extreme, position on the political spectrum. He's outright, completely, crazy. And nothing he says, no matter how crazy, seems to give his enablers and supporters pause. This isn't Goldwater saying, 'Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.' This is a guy who needs more Stelazine than he's taking. And he made $35 million last year, and, after attacking George Soros using nakedly anti-Semitic language and source material, was unequivocally supported by Rupert Murdoch.

It'd be precious were an occasional person to the left of Attila the Hun note the fact that Beck isn't just wrong, but crazy, and that Murdoch's defense of his craziness might, just might, not be in service of elevating the American political conversation.


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ProfWombat said...

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