Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What crazy people believe.

There's a guy on Fox News named Glenn Beck that has become a rising star after struggling on CNN Headline News. He is garnering the highest ratings on cable news right now. Before you are impressed by this, realize the biggest star on cable news is something akin to tallest midget in Texas.

Beck has started his 9/12 project, which is aimed at bringing us back to the way we felt on September 12, 2001. Personally, that day I was worried that very little good was going to come of this, and history has proven me right.

9/12 also stands for 9 principles and 12 values. The second of his prinicples, right after America Is Good, reads as follows.

I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

Beck is a devout Mormon. That is his perfect right. The thing is, he has decided to put some dead people forward as his heroes who wouldn't want anything to do with him.

One of his heroes is Thomas Paine. Paine would have hated Glenn Beck and everything he stands for, but the right wing suddenly thinks Tom Paine is their hero. He was a firebrand and iconoclast and believed strongly in taxing the socks off the rich to give chances to the poor.

More than that, here are a few quotes from Paine on the topic of religion.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.


Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true.


Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.

Paine would be writing 24/7 against the right wing, but he's dead and Americans are bad at history, so these pinheads think he is on their side.

Beck is also big into Ayn Rand. At least Rand would agree with Beck on taxes. She hated government. But she grew up in Soviet Russia, so what does anyone expect?

On the other hand, she also hated religion. Paine has at least a few quotes that take a balanced view of religion, but Rand wasn't big on balance. What she loved, she loved and what she hated, she hated. And she hated religion.

Here are a few of her quotes on the subject.

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket - by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.


And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word: I.

That's right, Ayn Rand believed god was the self. No other higher authority existed. While Beck claims to be a devout Mormon, the way he makes stuff up, he might have more in common than he realizes with the self-loving and faith-hating Rand.


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You gave me a whole new respect for Tom Paine.

Anonymous said...

Beck works for a network who is sponsoring a teabag party without any sense of irony in the phrase.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
"And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word: I."

That's right, Ayn Rand believed god was the self. No other higher authority existed.
This is just silly beyond words. The quote you attribute to Ayn Rand was made by her _fictional_ hero in Anthem and was of course not meant to reflect her own technical views in philosophy. The hero in Anthem was struggeling to brake free from a total collectivist dystopia, trying to find himself in a world where the word I had literally been banned from the language; thus his lyrical elation of finally discovering himself, his self-aware and reflecting ego.

As for her belief in god, yes she was an atheist, but as she herself would have said: Atheism is just a negative, it does not say what you are for. What she was _for_ was reason in the sense that saw that faculty as man's primary means of survival, and since reason is an attribute of the individual human mind; her hero and highest authority was the thinking and reasonable mind; wherever that may be found. Her philosophy is not one of submissive God worship but one proud man-worship (that is, for the best in man). And her philosophy is a philosophy for happiness, not misery and forgiveness. So of course we all hate her. Who the hell wants to live by reason and in material abundance, for himself instead of in glorious self-prostation for the needy, and live a happy life too! No way jose! Free us from Ayn Rand and a happy life!

Kai Bugge

dguzman said...

Wow, crazy people commenting on crazy people. You're in the big-time now, Matty Boy.

Like Monkey, I now have even more respect for Paine. Thanks for that.

I think Beck is the perfect mormon; after all, the whole religion was based on made-up encounters with Jesus and a made-up book. So Beck's making stuff up is just like his prayer or something.

Matty Boy said...

Howdy, y'all! Like Dr. Monkey and dguzman, I have some respect for Thomas Paine, who was a lot more out there than folks like Washington or Jefferson or even Ben Franklin.

Mormonism is very odd. These are some of the most down to earth and sensible people believing absolutely wacked out nonsense when you ask them their true beliefs.

Only Scientologists match them for the wackiness factor. And maybe the followers of Ayn Rand, a deeply unhappy woman telling her followers the path to happiness.

If you doubt me, look at her best known acolyte, Alan Greenspan, who spent time in her inner circle when he was a wee deformed homunculus. Does he look like the guy to get the party started? Aw, hellz no, as we say in Oakland.

CDP said...

Beck is quite mad, I used to listen to him on the radio. It's no fun to listen to talk radio unless I profoundly disagree with the speakers (Tony Kornheiser's really the only exception).