The Zen of Beck

It makes more sense when you get to the end of the article.

February 24, 2010

Education is one of the pillars in my life, both personally and professionally. When the Texas educational system failed me, I looked on my own. I was lucky enough to find teachers and mentors willing to share their knowledge and experience with me. They helped me grow. Eventually, I went to college and met some of the most influential people in my life. I asked questions of people who had traveled the world, studied with great men and women, and challenged me to question not only my own beliefs, but their own teachings. I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, but the things I learned, both about writing and life, will stay with me until the day I die.

Apparently, you can have the equivalent kind of experience by going to a bookstore. Combine that with the belief that a little blip on the radar MUST be an incoming attack from your enemies and not a flock of seagulls or balloons, and you get Glenn Beck. The man has never had a formal education in… well, anything, and he’s not only proud of it, but he thinks it makes him some kind of superhero.

I swear the entire conference was a massive call to war. “This is it, boys,” I could hear them thinking. “This is war!”

If you skipped the video, Glenn “Master of His Own Domain” Beck goes on about how we have the right to the pursuit of happiness. It’s the one things conservatives hold to be most true. Okay, so far so good. The pursuit of happiness is a good summary, I think, of the rights of speech and religion. However, Becky-Boy goes off the deep end. And he didn’t see the pool wasn’t filled with water.

We are not entitled to anything else, he claims. We are not guaranteed “health care, housing, or handouts.” If we let the government help others with our tax money, we will ruin our children’s futures.

Everyone say it with me: Who will think of the children?!


children by ~csillagharcos on deviantART

Beck then goes into education. He proudly exclaims that he went to college for all of one semester and took a single class because that was all he could afford. He is not bitter about it, though, because he never thought he was owed an education. He was thirty and continued on his own. Glenn Beck got his education in a library “where books are free.” “When did it become a matter of ridicule to be a self-made man?” he passionately asks his audience. The man practically oozes dignity as he exclaims he didn’t pay a cent to learn.

And boy does it show…

Oh, where to begin? I’ve had to grade ESL papers written by first-generation immigrants with a low understanding of the English language who went through the Texas public school system and made more sense than this clown.

Beck seems to forget that this precious right to the pursuit of happiness is accompanied by two others: Life and Liberty. All are capitalized in the Declaration of Independence. The full phrase is:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I had a whole article prepared on health care, the right to live and not die, and other tasty rants… but his statements on education, I think, are much more dangerous than any of these.

As an educator, I can tell where some of his “pride” comes from. He’s not bitter, he says. I think he is. He proclaims he is proud his education cost nothing. Nothing wrong with educating yourself, but to claim that it is the same caliber as a formal education really misses the point. Did he learn? He learned things, but without others to question, people to debate with, or people who knew what they were talking about pointing him towards reputable sources, all he learned was the masturbatory texts of whatever books he managed to pick up and fueled his preconceptions. It’s even more daunting to say that he questioned anything he read. He wasn’t asked to read anything he didn’t want to read. I’m actually glad that I had to read some of the things I did when I was in college. I would never have read Indian novels on my own. I probably would have skipped right past Freud, and I was lucky enough to be around people who could ask questions, answer them, and lead to intellectual growth. What did Beck have? The library and the bookstore.

That boy got his learning at B. Dalton. Good for him.

Still, one thing about this entitlement to education and story about how he learned everything by himself without a government handout is blatantly false, or it should be to anyone taking notes.

He got his education at a library, a government-sponsored institution. It cost the tax-payers. It’s not free. Just like the education his kids get if they go to public school.


Education by ~CJTheRainbow on deviantART

We are not entitled to an education, which is why, I’m sure, Glenn Beck would agree that we should shut down the Texas A&M system, other state-sponsored universities like the University of California, and should stop funding public schools with public money. After all, our kids aren’t promised an education in the Declaration of Independence, and Beck seems to be doing fine without the ability to spell “oligarchy,” so why should our kids have to go?

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We’re also not entitled to fire departments, police, Medicare, paved roads, trash collection, recycling centers, libraries, a space program, nature parks, and FDIC. Hey, if you chose the wrong bank, it’s your fault all your money went under. Personally, I’m sick and tired of people thinking they can have someone else pick up their garbage for them. It’s your crap! YOU pick it up!


trash by ~jseanXD on deviantART

If we hold the text of the Declaration of Independence to be the foundation for all future laws and regulations in this country, we should at least look at the full text. It implies there are other rights not mentioned. We’ve said that the government has a duty to provide for its citizens, but some see that help stretching too far and shout “Communism!” It’s indicative of people, Beck included, who not only don’t understand the concepts of governments and economic systems, but fail to appreciate what actual education can teach you. Spending years living and working with people, some of whom share your beliefs and many who don’t, is not a bad thing. I learn art from new experiences. I learn to write by reading things that have nothing to do with my genre. Progressing is not a bad thing, and some people can’t afford to go to college, so if government grants, loans, and schools are what they can afford, great! Let’s use what we have!

I’m not trying to mock people who didn’t go to college, so don’t misunderstand me. My grandfather earned his GED around 1994, long after it should have been a concern for someone who was retired. He wanted to better himself and prove that if he, at his age, could do it, there was no excuse for his grandchildren to ever slack off in their studies. I respect him for that one act more than I can write here, but he’s traveled, worked an assortment of jobs, and talks with people.

Glenn beck is convinced of his own superiority while proclaiming he is Everyman, superhero for the masses. Because, you know, Batman’s a trust-fund baby elitist, Superman’s an immigrant, and Wonder Woman’s a Sapphic feminist with a bondage fetish. So remember, kids, Uncle Glenn says you shouldn’t go to school, use those commie parks, and you can only get that degree to become a doctor if you already have the money. Oh, and the Aggies can’t play because, well, their school is socialist.

Beck’s entire rant, entire career, is built on the premise that you are under siege and must stand on your own two feet while subscribing to someone else’s ideology. Panic bells. It’s red alert. There’s something here from somewhere else. The conservatives, they spring to life, open up one eager eye. Focusing it on the sky, where-

Okay, I knew Beck’s paranoia sounded familiar.

Or, if you prefer a more mellow version (click on the lower right to get rid of the green window):

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