Two Suggestions for a Better World (Don’t Hold Your Breath)

First, the NFL. (I hate football, by the way, and have never been a consumer of the NFL’s product.) Certain conscientious players will don black armbands prior to the raising of the flag. The anthem completed, they will remove the signs of mourning and go on about their business. When a svelte female sticks a microphone in their face after the game (funny how women seem so eager to assert their presence in the most brutal of all our sports), they will explain that they wish to honor their nation–but also to grieve publicly the loss of well over a million defenseless babies annually to abortion. (“They are fetuses,” snarks Answers.com if you use the “b” word.)

Then let’s see how the NFL reacts. Care to place a bet?

Now for health care. The abortionist’s comeback is always, “Well, you don’t care what happens to the fetus after it becomes a child…” which is correct, in a way–because it’s Mom and Dad who are supposed to care about the “fetus” both before and after it “becomes a child”, and too often neither cares at either time. Implicit in the comeback, you see, is the assumption that Mom will give her new baby one hell of a life. She already has six or eight other babies, and she hasn’t bothered to care for any of them. (Needless to say, Dad–or the dads–is/are nowhere in sight.) We, on the other hand, are supposed to care–meaning that we’re expected to keep ponying up tax dollars to buy every new child food, clothing, health care, and education. Mom doesn’t even trouble herself to look for a job: her job is to have babies and collect monthly checks for them. If one of the dads should decide to marry Mom, and if he should have a job other than sharing in the baby-bonanza, he chooses to keep the kids on Medicaid rather than buy into the group policy offered at work. So we continue paying…

If my wife and I had been able to keep more of our own money over the years, we could have adopted one or more children. We wanted to… but the process is costly and lengthy. Women are either aborting their unwanted babies (excuse me: fetuses) or else consigning them to Grandma and collecting Uncle Sam’s check. So… yeah, maybe some of us begin not to care much for this situation.

Here’s my suggestion: how about a box on the income tax return that you could check and then designate X dollars for the health care of babies born to parents illegally resident in the US, legally resident but unmarried and unwilling to practice birth control, or married and gainfully employed but unwilling to take the insurance offered at work? If “caring” in such circumstances appeals to you, then you can donate however many thousands you wish. Nancy Pellosi could easily manage six figures a year out of the millions she has garnered from marginally legal but patently unethical insider trading.

As I say… don’t hold your breath.

Finally, a stray thought: why is it that evidence of brilliance in our far-distant ancestors can only be explained by hypothesizing visits from extraterrestrials, yet the current generation is styled the most brilliant ever because its young use smartphones–the assumption being that all of them could assemble the circuitry or write the code for the software? Can any of them even average his grades without using the Math Ap or logging onto Blackboard? But, hey… we don’t build campfires, and we have nice teeth!

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The Top-Secret Vision of the Dark Elite (Part Two)

The quasi-political spin that concludes Steven Greer’s documentary Unacknowledged bothers me. I’ve seen this movie too often, where imperialist generals and mad scientists coalesce behind Dick Cheney to take over the world. Oh, I can believe—all too easily—that our government is behind the creepy livestock mutilations performed with laser technology that have filled back pages of local newspapers for decades now. The objective, supposedly, is to insinuate into the popular imagination the image of a pitiless extraterrestrial surgeon pulling critters apart as an entomologist might dismember a butterfly, thus bringing to a simmer the brew of a panic in preparation for a later boil-over. Abductions of humans by this weird race of dissectionists (claims one of Greer’s interviewees) have likewise been funded by some insolubly intricate disbursement of our tax dollars. I confess that I can visualize only too readily our unchecked civil servants acting like sociopathic adolescents in the chem lab. It’s what they do. I never did think that such activities fit the profile of an ET, who would surely have mastered the rudiments of anatomy before traveling across the galaxy and would also have developed less intrusive ways of analyzing a new world’s fauna.

I’d really, really like to know just what schemes are being nourished with my money by psychos in white coats. I’d like to know, too, just what slaughterhouse our rulers are leading us into; for it’s fairly obvious that we are being primed to take to the streets in race riots or food riots or panic over a nuclear attack or an EMP, since the engineers of the Phoenix Lights could indeed avert any of these threats if they wanted to rather than hastening them all along, as they’re doing now.

I should parse the previous sentence: here’s what I mean. Let’s assume that government activity such as whatever’s happening in Area 51 has indeed created technology capable of maneuvers that no professor of Physics at any public university would consider currently possible. We may even bypass the supporting claim that this technology has been parasitized from visiting aliens: let’s say that the “black budget” has financed anti-gravity vehicles by assembling a new generation of Werner von Brauns. We know that these vehicles exist, because hundreds of residents in Phoenix (just to name one locale) saw them on March 13, 1997. A nation that can author such futuristic physics cannot possibly have left its power grid unsecured out of mere oversight: one might as easily imagine a nuclear sub sinking because the last guy off the conning tower forgot to close the hatch. Likewise, whatever energy permits large craft to defy gravity and zoom away suddenly like a lightning bolt should more than suffice to crush ISIS and free up our grain for the dinner table rather than the gas tank. Yet our interests—yours and mine—are obviously not a high priority in the grand vision.

That being the case, I should like to know exactly what the vision is. Do they—our government, our Dark Elite—simply not care if we live or die, or is Step 8 of the Plan to remove most of us, deliberately and permanently?

This is a life-and-death question, both for us as individual American citizens and for what remains of our democratic republic. How does Dr. Greer advance our understanding at the climactic moment, however? What is he alleging of the Dark Elite, based on his vast experience of it? That Dick Cheney is really Darth Vader? That Hillary Clinton or Jimmy Kimmel could be the Theseus who guides us out of this lethal labyrinth? Does he think that alien captives were being held in the Twin Towers and had to be vaporized—or was 9/11 all about starting a war of diversion because Congress was about to undertake an investigation into UFO’s? And, Dr. Greer… am I reading you loud and clear on this one? You believe that China is an innocent bystander drawn into confrontation with us to lure our eye off the ball, and that the threat posed by Kim Jong Un is the latest act in a harmless sideshow?

There’s a lot in Greer’s presentation that needs to be seriously considered; but the hit-and-run montages of faces and events without any narrative comment, just when one hopes for a deeper explanation, is both confusing and disingenuous. You don’t fight disinformation with more disinformation. We desperately need undramatized, factual testimony in these matters. Dribbling subliminal, politicized messages into the brief will only make fair-minded people run the other way in the uncomfortable feeling that they are being played, yet again.

Honestly, aliens don’t worry me at all. It’s my government that keeps me awake at night. If we could crack that nut first, then maybe we could learn how to send telepathic poetry to M82 later on.

The Top-Secret Vision of the Dark Elite (Part One)

Dr. Steven Greer has made at least one documentary previous to Unacknowledged that I’ve viewed on Netflix. That’s how I knew that the man had suffered greatly—and suspiciously—for his probes into the UFO controversy. Having been warned off with varying degrees of subtlety for some time, he and his initial group of investigators were beset by a curious outbreak of cancer as contagious, apparently, as the flu, and a lot more deadly. (One recalls Aleksandr Litvinenko’s radioactive cup of tea administered by a couple of Putin’s goons.) Greer survived; his wife and many of his colleagues did not.

James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, had on one occasion in his chief-of-spies capacity manifested such an interest in tracking down the actors and the script behind America’s massive, off-budget, quasi-military R&D operations that he privately summoned Greer to brief him on the issues—privately and bizarrely, since Greer is a medical doctor who has immersed himself in “ufology” only as a concerned citizen. Woolsey was obviously convinced that more accredited sources were not giving him the true low-down. Later on, Greer was apparently told by a Clintonista of very high rank that Wild Bill would not risk prying into the Roswell/Area 51 files because his personal security—Secret Service and all—wouldn’t suffice to keep him alive beyond the first few weeks of snooping.

Unacknowledged is packed with declassified documents that support Greer’s outlandish (or should I say “otherworldly”?) claims in surprisingly graphic detail. A few insiders with high security clearances also share enough of their experiences on camera that a coherent picture emerges… or perhaps two-thirds coherent. The assertion is resonant and sustained that extraterrestrial visitors to Planet Earth are a reality, and also that some imponderably covert branch of our government has been reverse-engineering alien technology for its own undisclosed ends. One would like to suppose that these ends would be defensive, and that the extreme secrecy enveloping them would also be related to our nation’s preservation… but here’s where the picture grows hazy. The documentary floated several motives for the obsessive, sometimes ruthless suppression of information about UFO’s by “men in black”. One is that an elite band of corporatist megalomaniacs wants to deprive the world of unlimited, virtually free energy resources so that fossil fuels may still be marketed at whopping costs. Another applies the same kind of conspiratorial thinking to the arms industry. Yet another would have these neo-illuminati planning to stage an alien invasion with reverse-engineered craft so that the planet might be persuaded to create a single vast alliance—with the U.S. its leader, and the insiders leading the leaders.

Where there are too many motives, there’s no motive at all—and it’s desperately important that we figure out precisely who in our employ is lying to us, and why. I’ll explain next time.

9/11: The Wrinkle That Just Won’t Smooth

I’m going to write a word or two about 9/11. I wish to do so not only because, a few days back, I mentioned lingering doubts I have about the official version of events, but also because I will raise the subject a few days from now in another context.

Imagine an enormous missile flying broadside into an enormous building. You see all of the missile virtually disappear into one side of the gargantuan high rise: on the far side, the missile’s nose scarcely pricks the surface. The remaining two sides, angled at ninety degrees to the affected areas, do not bear any visible sign of having been fractured by the impact.

What does common sense tell you so far? That Surface 1 was severely damaged on impact, both latitudinally and longitudinally: a big gap must have been created, vast in both width and height. Since the building has floors, let’s just take a wild guess that the supporting framework must have been dangerously compromised on about half a dozen of these floors.

Surface 2, on the building’s far side, has also suffered damage in its supporting columns—but not nearly as much: perhaps two floors’ worth. Sides 3 and 4, running parallel to the missile’s line of entry, are completely intact as far as their supporting skeleton goes. Naturally, a lot of scaffolding in the building’s interior has been weakened or wiped out. Here, too, however, the severest damage must belong to internal areas adjacent to where the initial impact took place.

The missile happens to have been filled with tons of highly flammable fuel. This does not spread evenly throughout a certain floor of the building, because the created gap in some places spans several floors, whereas in others it covers only one or two. We cannot have a scenario similar to a swimming pool in which a depth of five feet is maintained from end to end, since liquids run to the lowest level.

The burning and heating that ensue from the fuel’s being emptied into the interior is thus very much more intense around Side 1 than Side 2, and probably not very intense at all in the corners of 2/3 and 2/4. After about an hour, nevertheless, the whole structure comes toppling down as evenly as a contracting accordion, all the way to the ground.

What explains the accordion effect? Not the rupture of supports along external walls: some of these have been obliterated, while some have been left intact. Maybe the fiery fuel heated up all the steel columns and beams on Floor 83 (or whatever the true floor number: I don’t recall) until they gave way at the same instant, having reached the critical temperature of fatigue and failure simultaneously because of uniform heating… but, no, that’s impossible, because some areas would have been deluged in fuel, while others wouldn’t have taken on a drop.

I know very little about physics or engineering. You probably know scarcely more than I do. Officialdom has taken advantage of our layman’s ignorance concerning such matters to assure us that both towers—yes, both of them, and also WTT 7–neatly telescoped because their supporting skeletons were compromised to precisely the same degree at precisely the same rate. Our being “engineering ignoramuses” has been assumed, and our yielding to the verdict handed down by “academic experts” after “rigorous testing” has also been assumed. Our intellectual vanity, in other words, will sense its glorious reputation in jeopardy, go into defensive mode, and snap us to the side of the “experts” lest we expose ourselves as know-nothing, risible idiots. “Hah-hah-hah! Don’t you know that buildings always collapse straight down? The MIT study proved that it couldn’t have happened any other way. I thought everyone knew that!” Hah-hah-hah.

Well, I’m not quite that big of an idiot, that I will embrace an idiotic conclusion to avoid being called an idiot by an “expert”. I known that we have been played by the “authorities”, and it immensely annoys me. Why have we been played? What is it that needs concealment? I am eager to accept that 9/11 was the work of evil terrorists… but if you proceed to make your case against these jackals by feeding me a plateful of patent, absurd lies, then I’ll spit them back in your face. Why would you need to lie to me about such a thing? If you didn’t have some horrible secret to conceal, why would you abuse a well-disposed audience in this manner?

Who are you, O Government of mine? Who are you?

 

Sayonara, Glenn Beck (Part Two)

I will think of a dozen utterances from the mike of Glenn Beck that really irritated me after I have posted these pieces; and, too, I will probably feel guilty about having given the man so little credit for his principled positions, such as his daring to resist the Trump Train on behalf of Ted Cruz. But the people you once thought trustworthy are the ones you least trust after a rupture, for the old habit of trust lurks a while and must be broken.

My point of no return arrived when Confederate monuments started being defaced. Beck has never so much put me in mind of the old saw, “With friends like you… who needs enemies?” We must keep those monuments, he argued, because they remind us of the Nazi stormtroopers in our own history—and Confederates, to Beck, were all hood-wearing, torch-waving KKK members. They allowed his uncle of some remove to starve in one of their concentration camps, so let no one suppose that he hates the South any less than the next man. (This might have been a great-great uncle, or more probably a great-great-great uncle: someone, in short, that even Beck’s grandfather likely wouldn’t remember had the man survived; and the cause behind the starvation, O Mighty Historian of the Fruited Plain, was that Union ships had blockaded all Southern ports and laid waste to the South’s most fertile farmland… yet the Beckster very nearly teared up when remembering hungry old, old uncle-to-the-third-power Chester or Phineas.)

I had noticed Beck’s tone to grow very short on earlier occasions when he would angrily chew some comment about viewers who write in to disparage Abraham Lincoln. Our Black Belt in American History wants nothing to do with the observation that Lincoln didn’t bother to emancipate slaves in Northern states where he might instantly have done so, or that Lincoln had printing presses destroyed and publishers imprisoned if his war effort were openly criticized, or that Lincoln had plans to pack the freedmen off to Panama lest they interbreed with American white folk. No counter-evidence, no reasoned and patient rebuttal: just a highly “pissed off” look (to use one of our luminary’s favorite descriptors) and a hasty transition to the next subject. Thank you for explaining your position, O Wise Mediator and Uniter of the Masses!

The “pissy” attitude was even more noticeable last week (my absolutely terminal moment of viewing) when Beck erupted in a by-the-way remark that became the shout, “Slavery was the cause of the Civil War [the italics a defiant nod at recalcitrant Tweeters and texters]—if you have any doubt, just read the Confederate Constitution!” Okay… so I read the Confederate Constitution. What leaps off the page is the authors’ effort to underscore at numerous points the states’ jurisdiction over matters not explicitly delegated to the central government. The emphasis—understandably—borders on fixation. As for slavery… the Confederate version of our founding document appears to eradicate instances in the original that were worded with sufficient vagueness to include indentured servants. The slaves referred to are definitely of the African variety. And… that’s about it. Did I miss something? Is this perhaps a bowdlerized version, Glenn, that Confederate apologists smuggled into the archive through the nefarious machinations of the KKK KGB?

In any case, the entire gesture in the direction of the Confederate Constitution is so patently irrelevant to the context in which Beck cites it that the maneuver suggests mental derangement. The farmboys who slipped on a gray uniform and grabbed a rifle neither read that document nor had any influence upon its drafting. The immense majority of them—over 95 percent—owned no slaves personally; and to defend the institution of slavery would, in their case, have been to extend the life of a system that deprived them of employment opportunities and created for them a gross disadvantage in the marketplace. Now, did their fighting on behalf of a Southern doctrine that included the preservation of slavery favor the institution’s survival? Obviously. That was the tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of young men lost arms, legs, eyesight, or life itself—good, long decades of life—to defend the principle of self-determination while it sat, contradictorily, on the rotten foundation of enforced servitude.

None of that even comes close to justifying the assertion that the war was fought on behalf of slavery, or that those who fought for the Southern side were proto-Nazis.

I don’t like Glenn Beck’s characterization of my ancestors. I’ve had to try to explain their position, as I heard it from my grandmother (and not from the ghost of Great-Great-Great Uncle Jebediah), throughout my adulthood to a society that increasingly considers my race, sex, and lineage sufficient reason to run me down on the streets. I have in fact been told in confidence on one occasion that I was eliminated from the applicants for a position because of my demographic profile. I’m not a laureated historian, or a multi-millionaire who has been able to buy up rare artifacts for “The Vault”; but I’ve read enough first-hand accounts of boys who wore the gray, like Tom Watkins’ Co. Aytch, that I know their motives from their own testimony. They were lauded as patriots as they went marching to what they presumed would be a month of hiking and camping… and then they were thrown into a fiery furnace—whipped, branded, or shot if they attempted to slip away after the year for which they had enlisted. And not a word about slaves ever appears in most of these testimonials, unless in a protest against the release from active duty of anyone who happened to own twenty or more slaves.

Yet beyond my extreme dislike of Beck’s riding roughshod over historical fact in order to indulge his ill-tempered impatience is a genuine astonishment at the ill temper. There appears to be something profoundly out of alignment in the psyche of Glenn Beck. His vitriolic hatred of certain groups that he has designated as free and clear of any restraint required by Christian scruples is a constant wonder to me. As if so much advertised and highly promoted reconciliation and sympathy had taxed his nature to the breaking point, he unleashes his rancor in specified “safe zones” the way he and his Blaze crew boast of burning hundreds of rounds on the target range. Apparently, if you invest something exceeding a critical mass of effort in publicly loving humanity far and wide, you have to compensate by keeping a bright red bull’s eye hidden away into which you can pump shotgun shells.

My ancestors are that bull’s eye for Glenn Beck. I wish him joy at his sniping. If I had a bronze of Stonewall Jackson, I’d send it to him for duty on an indoor, underground firing range. After all, I owe him something for years of occasionally informative programming.

Thoughts on the Las Vegas Gundown

I had planned to post my second half of a Glenn Beck ideological autopsy today, but the occasion demands a change of plans. I don’t have much time to waste… so here goes.

Could the primed-and-scented boneheads of the broadcast media please stop referring to these incidents as tragedies? The word for which you grope, Talking Heads, is “atrocity”. A tragedy occurs when a basically good person is hoist on his own petard through some ill-advised act of excess. An atrocity occurs when some animal in a human hide savages his fellow beings like a tiger in a goat pen.

As I wrote eons ago after the 9/11 atrocity, these events are in part due to the high-tech lifestyle. Huge aircraft sometimes come down in the wrong way—with huge consequences. Speeding bullet-trains sometimes jump the track. If the electricity upon which we depend for food, water, transportation, communication, and even defense should suddenly cease to work (as after an electro-magnetic pulse), our society would number about one-tenth its present size within a year, and the survivors would be living in the Stone Age. The catastrophic “ignition events” to these nightmare scenarios could be either manmade, as by terrorist act, or they could occur naturally. We’re simply living at too fast a pace, and without seat-belts. As we climb higher and higher up the ladder, an innocent slip of the foot or a wicked push from a partner will send us plunging from heights that are ever more certain to prove fatal.

Staging an enormous gathering under a high-rise of any sort is a very bad idea. If the building itself doesn’t fall, then an inexpert psychopath could use its height to pump hundreds of lethal shells down upon the massed crowd. High-velocity bullets that enter the body from above and travel downward are likely to rip apart many more arteries than shots that enter laterally; and in a panicking horde, a severed artery is guaranteed to mean that you bleed out before help arrives. The location of the Country-Western concert, though a local tradition, had become a very bad idea.

Now, this atrocity is scarcely twenty-four hours old, and what I’m about to write is almost pure speculation at the moment… but the specific circumstances surrounding this shooter remind me very much of James Hodgkinson’s profile—you know: the psycho who gunned down Steve Scalise during a softball practice. Both men were white males of middle to late-middle age who were furious at the election of Donald Trump. Both had money to spend and time to kill. Neither was particularly proficient with or enamored of firearms, but both apparently fantasized about the utility of deadly weapons for cleaning society of its inhibitive “scum”. Their outlook on life—and here I’m speculating on the merest of hunches, but I smell the old rat—was jaundiced by a meaninglessness reinforced by atheism, a nexus of shallow personal relationships, and a growing sense of embittered victimhood. Children of my generation, they had been told since their youth that progress was real, would come at an accelerated pace, and would satisfy all their selfish wants. Now they were seeing only stall and delay—all because of right-wing “fascism”.

Hayley Geftman-Gold, described as “a VP and senior counsel in strategic transactions” for CBS, was fired yesterday for tweeting taunts at the shooting’s victims because they were Country-Western fans, and… well, we know that most of those voted for Trump. The side that loves to fling “hater” across the aisle and insists that all of us fascist bourgeois nullities need to be disarmed manifests—if you haven’t noticed—a very real affinity for murderous hatred and for gunning people down. Those Ché tee-shirts they so affect are no accident: they think the Orkin approach to political opposition is entirely acceptable, and even commendable.

Could it be that this is why we’re seeing so many more indiscriminate gundowns of innocent people assembling for innocent fun—is the ideology that finds no innocence in Middle America not the real percussion cap in the atrocity?

 

Sayonara, Glenn Beck (Part One)

A few people are just plain wicked. Even fewer are genuine saints. The rest of us live in the vast middle space. It’s not permitted to such a one as I to judge the spiritual worth of other human beings, nor is it what I intend to play at in these paragraphs. But there comes a time when you have to make adjustments in the people whose essential skills you trust to make fair, stable, wide-angled estimates of worldly affairs. Glenn Beck is no longer on my list of such people.

I’ve tuned into Beck off and on for years. I liked many of his guests. Where else do you get to hear commentators as keen as Michelle Malkin and Ben Shapiro, or men as honest as Louie Gohmert and Burgess Owens? Yet I vividly recall being shaken by the treatment Debra Medina received on Beck’s radio show when she was challenging Rick Perry for governor of Texas. The year escapes me—perhaps 2008; but the interview ended when either Beck or his point man, Pat Gray, blindsided Medina with a question about one of her staffers being a “truther”. Like Medina, I had never heard a definition of this ragged, patched-up word. Struggling after clarity as her final seconds ticked away, Debra offered an entirely reasonable generalization to the effect that everything our government does at any level should be subject to public scrutiny. Her line of communication once severed, Beck and Co. went on the attack. They immediately began an indignant, derisive, and contemptuous assault upon all such people as dare to believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney would have planned the slaughter of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Medina was now one of these… and her candidacy tanked irretrievably.

Personally, I have no doubt that we haven’t been told the full truth about the collapse of the World Trade Towers (and particularly about the accordion-plunge of the squat WTT 7). That doesn’t amount to my accusing the Bush Administration of mass murder—a supposition grotesque to the point of clinical paranoia. It means I want the full truth. Why do people like Debra Medina and me deserve to be designated “truthers” the way a playground bully might designate a child with asthma a “gasper”? Especially when Beck devotes so much of his airtime to ferreting out forgotten or suppressed historical details and constructs his professional persona so meticulously around honoring neglected artifacts, dancing around the new girl with his buddies at recess and chanting “truther” doesn’t suit the dignity of the desired image.

The “dignity deficit” has been a recurrent problem with me. Talk-show hosts, to be sure, enjoy a license to engage in buffoonery… but not so much a host who lays special claim to being a devout Christian and the one reliable adult in the room. Inappropriate are the endless permutations of the word “butt”, the eighth-grade flights of sarcasm, and the occasional too-intimate details of the host’s personal life. Even the musical overture (lately discarded) to the televised version of Beck’s show on The Blaze morphed from a tasteful collage of real-life sequences to a very odd comic strip featuring heads of major historical figures yapping out the lyrics like PAC Man eating up dots. Was the subliminal message here that Beck considers himself history’s puppeteer, able to pair any two politicians (and there were some bizarre pairings) and make them mouth his little ditty of togetherness?

Ah, yes… the “togetherness” thing. Beck the Preacher will alternately grow choked up in his appeals for unity and resonant in a prophetic lather as he scolds, “Wake up, America!” For a week or two, he wants to greet illegally entering children with teddy bears and soccer balls along our border; then it’s back to warning gullible stiffs like me that the economy can’t make it to Christmas. (I’m grateful for the warning, and I believe the economy may very well “accordion” like the Trade Towers: but you can’t stay on high alert for a decade running.) If we are at rest, we should snap to attention: if we have our finger on the trigger, we should chill out. We are to stop fighting with each other over such meaningless trivia as the propriety of the gay lifestyle and rising for the Anthem at NFL games… but those of us who feel uncomfortable with the ostentation of public prayer must nonetheless sit through the itemization of the host’s prayer life and even through a benediction concluding his nightly newsroom discussion-group. I pray, too—in my closet, as Jesus recommends. Perhaps these televised prayers, with Beck himself the hub around which the wheel spins, are supposed to make us bond… and since such unifying endeavors require a stage and an audience, the Good Shepherd can’t afford to be bashful.

Does Glenn, in his defense (if this could be a mitigation rather than an exacerbation), honestly believe himself to be a prophet touched by the One True God? His audio and video archives brim with oft-retrieved pronouncements he has made about the new millennium. Ever quick to remind the world that his prediction of a caliphate-seeking uprising in the Middle East was scoffed at by mainstream news media, he seems convinced that nobody else anywhere was sounding the alarm. At the same time, a convenient amnesia appears to settle over such forecasts as the one about Putin’s imminent takeover of Poland (imminent in… 2014). Personally, I have never sought—in Beck or anyone else—a prophet or a speaker-in-tongues: I seek someone who will tell the whole truth about events in the news (you know… a “truther”!) and perhaps provide some mature moral context to frightening trends. In this latter regard, where is the prophet, I wonder, when Beck marvels over the nanobot-ridden “transhuman” extolled by his friend Ray Kurzweil, then anguishes out loud over possible unfortunate consequences of the new robot-man? My own inner Jeremiah is lapping Beck’s every day on this track!

It’s almost as though that which we traditionalists have identified as clearly right or wrong needs to be reconsidered, in Beck’s eyes, as dividing the nation—and that which most of us would as soon allow to lapse into the background scenery needs to be center-staged. Why does a man who insists on praying over a panel discussing the day’s news express little interest in defending traditional marriage? Why were the details of Barack Obama’s thoroughly misty past not worth exploring, yet the world must stand up and take notice that a twenty-year-old line from the mouth or the pen of Newt Gingrich proves him to be a General Franco in waiting?

At these moments, Beck reminds me of the eponymous character in Gide’s Immoraliste (and our lion of historical research, I’ve no doubt, would mock me mercilessly for citing a Frenchman). Surrounded by wealthy, stuffy landowners who see poaching as a threat to the survival of civilization, the new arrival in their aristocratic midst blunders upon some malefactors one night and… and discovers that skulking around with them is one of life’s great pleasures. Glenn Beck seems to like to slip over to the other side just when you think he’s holding down your flank; and before you know it, he’s giving you a sermon on the evils of choosing sides. Tricky, that.