Glenn Beck is a Dangerous Nut-Job

There’s a guy in my neighborhood who was always known as being the sort who went all in on things. If it was worth doing it was worth overdoing. Hobbies became obsessions to the point of distraction. When he discovered alcohol it was the same pattern. Drinking quickly went from social to a lifestyle. Then came drugs and the party life was an all consuming thing for him. The gonzo party guy was the over the top drug and alcohol guy to the point where his life was at risk.

Just like with all of his obsessions, he suddenly stopped drinking and using drugs. He quit the lifestyle and quit drinking entirely. Unlike most people who struggle with quitting, sobriety became his obsession. He was not going to be just another former addict. He was going to be the ultimate former addict. In short order he went from gonzo party guy to gonzo sobriety guy, lecturing everyone about the ills of drugs and alcohol, preaching the good news of sobriety to everyone.

Like a lot of former drunks, he drifted into religion. Maybe its the obsessive compulsive behavior or something else, but former addicts often find Jesus. It could simply be that many therapy meetings are held in churches. This guy got into religion and soon became the most devout person possible. He talked about maybe becoming minister. Instead of preaching the good news of his sobriety, he was now preaching the Good News.

Since religion always bumps up against politics, his religion led him into various causes that brought him into contact with politics. The familiar pattern started all over again. He threw himself into the topic, reading and studying everything he could about history and ideology. Being a religious guy, he naturally gravitated to causes and politics that were anti-Progressive. The gonzo party guy was now the gonzo political guy. His life was now politics and everything that came along with it.

By now you can probably figure out that I’m not talking about a guy in the neighborhood. I’m describing Glenn Beck, the deranged radio and TV host. I describe him as deranged because he has always existed on the edge between over the top political commentary and Jim Jones People’s Temple madness. It was never said explicitly, but the reason he left Fox was that the people in charge were a bit worried that he was descending into madness. Despite his ratings, they were glad to see him go.

Beck, of course, has done a lot to prove that Ailes was right. Beck has gone off and created a little media empire of his own out in Texas. From time to time he has claimed to have talked with God and claimed to have been struck down with a debilitating disease. Half a dozen years ago the Lord was taking his sight. A few years later he was claiming some sort of vocal chord issue. These maladies are highly dramatized and then disappear.

Those familiar with radio preachers recognize this act. Back in the old days, radio and TV preachers would claim God was going to take them if the audience did not raise money for the new school or the new Mercedes or whatever the preacher wanted. In Beck’s case, it’s possibly just attention seeking, but there’s a strong case to be made that he is as nutty as a fruitcake. He never attaches a money making effort to his mystery diseases so it appears he really thinks he is Job.

In this election, Beck has eliminated any doubt about his mental fitness. He was telling audiences that Ted Cruz, of all people, was the Lord’s messenger sent to save humanity. Even more absurdly, he claims Donald Trump is the Anti-Christ. Presumably the Ted Cruz – Donald Trump campaign in the primary was some sort of post-modern version of the final battle between good and evil. The final battle would happen in a TV studio rather than a hilltop in Israel.

Beck has now been suspended from his radio show for teaming up with another howling lunatic to encourage the assassination of Trump. I’m unfamiliar with Brad Thor, but my guess is he is a dickhead. I’ve yet to meet anyone named Brad who was not an asshole. I’m told he is a popular pulp fiction writer, but I don’t read thrillers so I cannot comment on his work. He stalked me on twitter for a few days for some reason, but I don’t use twitter enough to care.

One of the problems that fringe movements always suffer is that they attract a lot of nuts. The reason is the nuts are free to join a cause that will have them. The mass movement that is just getting started needs people so it welcomes all comers. The result is a fat naked guy doing the boogie at your big convention. It’s why all successful mass movements enter a period where they deal with their loons. This is either a purge or a marginalization. Take note alt-right.

In the mass media age, a similar problem infects the media outlets. There is the gaping maw demanding to be filled with content. There is a finite amount of sensible writers, speakers, performs and so forth. The demand quickly outstrips the supply so that means weirdos and lunatics are invited into fill the space. Technology now makes it easy for every nut-job in America to reach a broad audience. An obsessive nut-job can mange to get quite good at it.

Glenn Beck should not have easy access to a large audience. He should be broadcasting over short wave or handing out hand written flyers on street corners. But, satellite radio needs content. Media investors want a vehicle to exploit the audience a Beck attracts. Cable shows need a reason for people to watch so inviting an unhinged loon is a quick way to create content that creates interest. Unlike the political movement, there’s been no way to purge the dangerous loonies from mass media.

I mentioned the other day that intolerance is wildly underrated. Much of what ails the West is due to the people in charge failing in their basic duties. Instead of enforcing the codes and customs that keep society on an even keel, they have found excuses to tolerate all sorts of bad behavior. It’s how we ended up with hip-hop music and talking hemorrhoids like Al Sharpton celebrated in popular culture. That may seem harmless, but it’s also how you end up with nutters like Beck and Thor encouraging people to shoot Donald Trump.

This will not end well.

44 thoughts on “Glenn Beck is a Dangerous Nut-Job

  1. Long-time Beck listener – from his start in the Tampa market —-
    All I can say is “lost it”
    If some one is anti-trump – I can listen. What I can’t listen to is the non-stop
    Beck said he is not a member of the nevertrump movement.
    Beck says Roger Ailes is calling the shots.
    Beck says Christians can’t vote for Trump.
    (Strange Beck as the divine ability to ascertain what is “Christian.” Many Christians put Mormonism in the cult category).
    Beck frequently compares Nazi’s to Trump: “I’m not saying Trump is Hitler, but . . . ”
    (Based on airtime) Beck’s main concern is to destroy Trump.
    Beck seems to have no concern from the supreme court.
    No concern for the corruption in the current administration.
    Pat and Stu (his Mormon cohorts) trip over themselves in their anti-Trump excitement
    Trump says “Our children will take care of this mess”
    Really Beck?
    Doesn’t Beck consider Soros “The Puppetmaster” – why is he doing his bidding?

    Is it a coincidence Mit Romney came out of hiding to bash Trump? Is there some LDS connection? Hillary is going after the Mormon vote (google it). I have been listening to Beck for over a decade. Something is really wrong here.

  2. For years, I listened to Glenn Beck occasionally: maybe for 15-20 minutes a day, 3 or 4 days a week, when I was in the car. His har-de-har-de-har-har-har routines kept me from listening more. This is what I mean: he and his cohorts would get into some satire or parody shtick about someone or something in the news, which would have worked very well for 20 or 30 seconds, but they kept it going on for 2 or 3 minutes.

    I stopped listening to him completely, though, about a month or six weeks ago. I heard him say something like, “the post-presidency nowadays is more powerful than the presidency”. I doubted he actually meant what he said: that would mean, for instance, that Bill Clinton right now is more powerful than Barack Obama is right now. And that is manifestly absurd. But Beck repeated his claim in almost the same words. I turned him off immediately, and I won’t be listening to him again. Anybody who can say something that stupid has demonstrated what a waste of my time he is. So, now I listen to music when I would otherwise have turned on his show.

  3. I soured on Ted Cruz when I watched him going along with Beck’s lunacy. Either he saw it and understood it and wanted to capture that demographic, or he was oblivious to the problem.

  4. Obviously you didnt listen to the Thor interview and you dont listen to Beck, and like the lefty media you included just enough truth to have credibility but lied (or are ignorant to the truth) just enough to make your point.

    I think that makes you exactly what you rail against……and also dishonest.

    Wait, are you a Donald lover? That is exactly his and his worshippers MO…..

    Beck isnt dangerous and you know that, but hey you got a slot on a big website because of your sensational blog title. I guess thats all that matters these days.

    You might as well be a radical left wing Hillary supporter, you sure could pass for one on integrity and principle….

      • I heard Beck tell a story years and years ago about taking his daughter to the opera (MET). It was the funniest ten or fifteen of my life. I told my son about it and he warned me, having heard Beck from his local days, that Beck was capable of anything–and not in a good way. So he was never a secret crazy to anyone paying close attention. I wasn’t, but preachy turns me right off.
        Cruz was preachy. Is.

        • When Beck was on Fox, I’d tune in when I got home to catch the end of his program. The only reason for that was he was getting popular so I was curious, but I usually got home too late to more than a few minutes. One day I got home early and watched a full show. I decided that he was headed to People’s Temple territory. I mentioned it to a friend and he said, “Oh yeah. Beck is a crazy.”

  5. When I first heard Beck on the radio a decade or so ago, I remember thinking that he had the unhinged zeal of the recently converted. That zeal has never abated. That dude is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

  6. Great post. I’m curious about this, though: “It’s why all successful mass movements enter a period where they deal with their loons. This is either a purge or a marginalization.” That sure sounds right, but…. when did the Left ever do this? Specifically, the Mao + Marcuse “New Left” that went all-in on identity politics after Vietnam. Your average Democrat voter believes things now that would be totally faaaar out, man, in the Bay Area in 1968. Are the reasonable Democrats — and there were some, even into the 90s — the loons in this scenario? I’m missing something here.

    • If you read David Horowitz, he has described how the “new left” purged itself of the old communists from the previous era. The Left used to keep the hard core nuts under wraps, but then the Cold War ended and they have descended into madness. As I wrote, “successful” mass movements have to police their ranks. American Liberalism has stopped doing than and we see the results.

      • That’s a good point. I keep thinking of liberals as the successful ones, since they win every fight they pick, but they’ve been dying for a long time — they “win” only because their opponents are even more moribund. God that’s depressing.

  7. Beck is a Mormon, and comes from a very particular branch of that church that sees the constitution as divinely inspired (the entire religion expects the Heavenly Kingdom to come down in the U.S. not Israel), and the republic as the equivalent of the Davidic kingdom. If Beck comes across like Jeremiah or Ezekiel that is because that is exactly what he thinks he is. He is trying to save God’s chosen people from rejecting his law and abandoning his revealed government. ALWAYS keep in mind Mormonism when talking about Glenn Beck and his motivations.

  8. I have an acquaintance who knows Brad Thor and gave me an autographed book by the same.

    I looked up formula fiction and saw a picture of Brad Thor next to it. Criminy, there are books in the Hardy Boys series that are better written. Just about everything ever written in Sir! Magazine was better written. Heck, even the truss ads in the back were better written.

  9. I used to watch/listen to him on the radio and followed him onto GBTV which became The Blaze TV until the last couple of months I dumped em’. I couldn’t take the handing out of soccer balls and teddy bears at the border. He discussed the ongoing collapse of Greece, Benghazi, and what has led to today’s ME chaos. He opened my eyes in how complicit our gov’t is in the removing of Qaddafi, Mubarak, and almost Assad. He connected the dots when others wouldn’t. Somewhat conspiratorial at times but other times spot on. He has an obsession with George Soros and wherever his tentacles reach. He’s discussed infiltration of our government by the Muslim-Brotherhood. He poo-poo’d politics that it wouldn’t save this country, but then pushed for Romney and Cruz. I think he’s cracking because he doesn’t know what to make of the global chaos. I couldn’t help but think he was always looking for validation from his peers that he should be taken serious. But he always remained on the fringe.

  10. Beck’s “maladies” are classic psychosomatic reactions to stress and are a way to engender sympathy. He’s a big baby…

  11. You are wrong about one thing, Z. The country does not need some committee of great minds to protect it from Beck (who watches the watchers?). Much better to let him go on his way and be the laughing stock. And Beck’s insanity never did harm, unlike many others who are quite sane. Extra bonus points: with his meltdown his fans will have the opportunity to reassess their own judgement.

    • I don’t know. I’m OK with the music studio execs saying, “We don’t want to live in a world where hip-hop is popular so we will not produce it.” I’m Ok with TV and radio execs saying, “we don’t put wackos on air just to goose the ratings.”

      It’s not perfect, but it’s fixable if there is a mistake.

      • I didn’t mean to say that Fox should not have rid themselves of Beck once they understood he was crazy. There is no committee of great minds at Fox in any event. The committee which concerns me has no corporate headquarters but keeps a branch in every democratic mind. As fast as I can peel it off two of my children they have added more. Both what is allowed, and what is not, is controlled in ways that lesser people like myself would not have thought possible. What hard work it must be, but gratifying, or they would not do it.

        • I agree. I’m a big fan of extreme social pressure to maintaining order. I’m not a fan of government maintaining order.

          • When government co-opts the “social pressure” as they have done successfully with the AGW topic, with smoking, with [insert carcinogen of the day here], or just with the very word, “racist” and have now joined tentacles with the technocrats in order to impose social pressure into a legal proceeding, I sleep with one eye open.

  12. The other day I realized one thing that Beck has had going for him. A good speaking voice. (Until he goes rabid chihuahua). I started to listen to him without realizing who he was. And then I heard “Glenn”. Oops.

    Went searching for Thor. Brad didn’t bother me. Know some good Brads. But Thor seemed a bit much, theatrical. Would he turn out to be a Wiggins or something? Nope. He’s Jr. Says name is Scandinavian. Father is a real estate developer who wanted him to be the same. Now wouldn’t a shrink have fun with that vis a vis his hatred of Donald Trump?

    Brad has managed to concoct an aura about himself that is almost as nutty as Beck’s. Paranoia and all. Here’s Brad, “the Salmon Rushdie of thriller writers”: http://www.heymiller.com/2012/08/brad-thor/

  13. Beck is a convert to Mormonism after being raised a Catholic, which is plenty peculiar in itself.

    His mother appears to have died in a suicide pact when he was a boy, so one might reason that mental illness runs in the family.

  14. During his tenure in FOX, Beck was despised by many conservative bloggers. He would use their scoops and findings without ever crediting them for work done.

  15. When I was in the Bay Area, I followed an interesting local talk show host out of San Francisco named Michael Savage. He seemed very knowledgeable about many subjects and was interesting and entertaining to listen to while sitting in traffic. But when the calls died off during his show, I noticed he would spark things up with some off the wall comment clearly intended to get people’s attention. He would even contradiction his own previous positions, obviously as bait to the listeners.

    I’ve never followed Glen Beck so I can’t speak about him. But having said that, and with respect to ‘Infidels’ comments about his historical knowledge, he may have simply worn thin with his audience and is just trying to recapture them by saying things he know will get him the attention. I would go so far as to say generally speaking, people like Glen Beck or Bill Whittle are really nothing more than entertainers even if what they have to say is on the level. Somehow though, they seem just a step above the ‘crazies’ we used to see on the streets with signs claiming the “end is near”. Now they have the internet and cable TV. Point is, they are not historians or scholarly academics like Goethe, Burke, or Hamilton. They’re not even on the level of Victor David Hanson.

    • Herr Horst, first let me say that I disagree with your assessment that Bill Whittle falls into the same category at the Beck of late. Bill Whittle is in a class of his own. A patriot, a scholar, and a gentleman. I encourage you to watch his videos, listen to his facts, logic and the point of view that he speaks. Certainly he cannot present all aspects in such a short time but he is but one of a handful of “effective” speakers for conservatives and patriotic Americans who want to raise the awareness and consciousness of people who are fed the crap the MSM spews daily. Others may be entertainers, ala Michael Savage. But even people like him, a highly educated and well traveled person can have insights that are worth listening to. For example, he wrote a book, many years ahead of it’s time titled “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder” and that was not simply an entertainment trick.

      The point I think many here and abroad miss is that there is, to paraphrase ‘ol Canckles, “a great left wing conspiracy” to bring down anyone who is effective on the front for liberty, freedom, conservatism and America. The Left, in all it’s glorious communist lies, cannot stand opposition, freedom of speech and much of what they have done in our country for the last few decades has been to bring down our brand of civilization.

      If they wanted their own socialist utopia, why don’t they go to another failing state and make hay there? Because America is the prize for them. Has been, always will be, for these ass-hats are of the ilk that think they know better than everyone else.

      So while it is fun to make fun of those who stand on the right side of liberty and freedom, even with all their idiosyncrasies, keep things in perspective. Who else is standing for America in the public arena? Congress? The President? Big Business? The EU? The UN? Bill Kristol and National Review? Germany? Japan? Half of America is standing on the side of tyranny and cheering for America to fail. They may not know it. But they are.

      • @ Infidel – As I mentioned below, I’m trying to establish where the line is drawn between conservative commentator and entertainer. Just to be clear, I am very pro-America and also a conservative which is not so common among my fellow Germans. I find it interesting that many on this site have jumped to the conclusion that because I am German and disagree with a point, it somehow makes me a socialist, bordering on communist because I favor things like free university education to students who have earned it, or a health care systems which provides for all citizens. To the point, In my eyes, there is a fine line between a commentator who champions an issue for it’s social-political value and entertainers who only say things that sound like they’re concerned, in order to keep up their ratings.

    • Oops, Karl, you go too far in your dislike of Mr Whittle. If you keep this up you leave me no choice but vote to leave the EU… oh, wait, I was going to do that anyway. So, I will vote leave with renewed vigour. Or vigor, if you must…

    • You’re very uninformed about Bill Whittle. Very.

      Same too about Dr Savage who has remained after all of these years, the only talk host I can listen to.

    • Bill Whittle and Beck have nothing in common. That would be Victor Davis Hansen. Karl you ought to look homeward. The Muslims are eating your lunch and raping your daughters

      • “Davis”…sorry, typo. Thanks for the correction. Then the question is how does one differentiate between a commentator and entertainer – the line seems rather thin. From this blog, it seems Mr. Beck changed from one to the other. Victor Davis Hanson is clearly a well educated, historian and academic. While I don’t necessarily disagree with Mr. Whittle or Mr. Savage’s points, I would not consider them on the same level as Mr. Hansen. VDH is by no means an entertainer.

  16. I used to watch beck’s tee vee show for one reason: I wanted to see him go full Howard Beale and see if beck’s producers would deal with him the same way Beal’s handled him once he went off message and his ratings tanked. It could still happen.

    I’m surpised more people haven’t seen the 1977 movie “Network.” Anyone who has can see the part beck is playing.

  17. Somewhere along the line, Beck did go off the rails for sure. But in his early days on Fox, he was a wealth of relevant information on American History and led, I believe a sort of revival in that area. He was also a fount of knowledge on Alinsky, Cloward-Piven and associations with leftists and communists were instrumental in forming the mind of this guy in the Oval Office. A lot of people picked up on that and started to “counter” the MSM and the constant negativity of our country. The kind of negativity just demonstrated by our Clown-in-Chief Obozo during his visit to Japan. Hence the growth of “conservative” websites.

    Just what happened to him, I do not know but I can say that I too lost “that loving feeling” about the time he left FOX. It would be interesting to know just what happened behind the scenes and a “tell all” book is probably in the works. I’m sure. As with all people suffering from mental issues, I hope he gets the help he needs, not just scorn, because he put himself out there on the firing line against a lot of enemies when no one else was doing a damn thing. And that has to take a toll on anyone.

    • Precisely, Infidel… A little armchair psychology… I wonder if we are observing a variant of Munchausen’s Syndrome,expressed as serial mono manias, as in z-man’s examples above. The occasional bouts of medical illnesses that manifest and are resolved (miraculously) would be consistent with this diagnosis. I also think that his condition may be worsening, and is pitiful to watch..

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