Glenn Beck off track.
The Glenn Beck show on the FOX News Channel (cancelled on June 30, 2011) that did reporting on subversive communist groups in America and internationally, most of it was not new since communists have been actively trying to overthrow capitalism since around 1920 but have only managed
marginal progress in their efforts. Glenn mostly showed video clips of them, then made some comments about them. He also cried sometimes with what was going on.
Since I am a person who likes to have a variety of opinions so that I can make up my own mind about issues, Glenn Beck was on my list of programs to see, along with MSNBC, The New York Times, Bill O’Reilly, the ED show and the Tampa Tribune (not all in the same day). I do this because I find hearing different points of view liberating and interesting; hearing the same biased point of view all the time is just plain dull. Considering different points of view is what democracy is all about.
Glenn Beck was interesting because of the almost trial-like lawyer style he used in presenting evidence and so it was different from other programs in that the other programs exclude some information that doesn’t fit their point of view.
This was all well and good until Glenn Beck equated Communism with Direct Democracy; I couldn’t believe that he would do such a thing, but he repeated that statement on some of his other programs. Glenn Beck is totally wrong in making this comparison.
To begin with; Communists often talk about their system of government being a system where the workers govern a nation through a system of worker consuls. But the reality of communist governments is that these consuls are promised, but never used the way a consul should be. They were used in the Soviet Union to get people to disclose their anti-communist ideas and then they were arrested, sent to prison, to work camps or simply shot. The same happened in Communist China, Cuba, North Korea and other countries that established communism. It’s really a con-game where liberty and freedom from oppression are promised, but a vicious dictatorship is established instead. This communist con game has absolutely no similarity with a system of Direct Democracy.
For a comparison, The ancient city state of Greek Athens of about 2,000 years ago is a good example of a Direct Democracy. In Athens many advancements were made in science, mathematics, architecture, medicine, the arts and many other areas that are still valid today. Many people wondered why these advancements happened in Athens. I say that their system of Direct Democracy gave them a sense that they were the masters of their own fate, they were not treated like children who had to have decisions made for them by others who were most likely corrupt. History shows, they certainly made their own decisions, from if to go to war or not, to financing, building and all other affairs of state. Their presidents had no real decision making powers, they were only ceremonial figure heads used at festivals. So this system caused an explosion in creativity that is still admired today.
Glenn Beck stated his dislike of Direct Democracy because he believes it is mob rule that can only abuse minority groups. But if you look at some recent history, especially the Southern Parts of America around the year 1950, there was a system of government there that was called the Jim Crow Laws that denied African Americans their Constitutional rights. It will be noted that this was done under a Republic form of government. This went on for many long years until about the time of the Viet Nam War when the majority of Americans found out about Jim Crow. There was outrage throughout America. Demonstrations, marches, civil disobedience were erupting everywhere; until legislation was passed in Washington outlawing the Jim Crow Laws. It was a clear case of the Majority defending the rights of the Minority. So, abuse of minorities is not dependent on a type of government; it’s more of a cultural causation. So, Glenn is wrong on this issue, Direct Democracy does not cause abuse of minorities.
The founding fathers of America knew this very well. Thomas Paine, who during the American Revolution, wrote that as far as government goes, we really do not need one. He said that the people living in towns and villages can meet in any convenient place, under a tree or any tavern to discuss the towns business and decide matters. But he also realized that since America had a population of three or four million people spread out over thousands of miles and primitive transportation means (horses, sailing ships and walking) some sort of central representative form of government was needed. But it had to have strict controls over it by the people and political power divided over several states and so the Constitution was written to bring all Americans together into one country
The tenth amendment states:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
So, as a last resort, the people have a responsibility to keep the government honest. But apathy has set in with the people of America and we find ourselves deep in debt, at war, and we have a government that is constantly looking for ways to control every aspect of our lives. It is the responsibility of the people to keep the federal government honest. If the people fail, America fails.
What are those first words on the Constitution:
“We The People”
So while a Direct Democracy has a potential of setting free the human creative potential, communism has a history of destroying the natural creativity people have because it destroys incentive. But yet America now has a government that is pursing socialist policies. The stupidity of this is unbelievable. The reason for this may be that politics in America has become a personality contest with the prettiest smile winning the presidency. When America is gone, its epitaph may be that it didn’t survive the invention of its mass communication culture where personality and charisma became the decisive factor in political elections, instead of good judgement, experience, and leadership qualities.
Also, many people may finally come to realize that with a representative form of government, a politician has to make friends to win re-election. How they make friends is simple– they give them money, (not their own personal money) tax payer’s money to fund projects that they want– like parks, theaters, tax breaks, roads, bridges etc. Then the people receiving these benefits vote for the politicians who support these programs (remember the famous bridge to nowhere). It’s well known that people on welfare vote mostly for Democrats because Democrats support welfare programs. This system has worked so well for the politicians that even though America is going deep in debt to pay for it and may soon reach the point where America can not afford to pay even the interest on this huge debt. The politicians are borrowing money everywhere they can to keep it going even though many Americans are calling for a stop to all this spending. This is clearly a basic flaw in representative government.
What’s more, with a current government that constantly spends more than it takes in with revenues, a tighter check on government that is more compresentive than elections is very badly needed. A Direct Democracy can certainly fill the need of being a firmer control on government spending and other irresponsible acts commited by government. And, keep government more in line with the principles established in the Constitution while giving the people a firmer place in government as the Constitution calls for.
So, Glenn Beck is wrong in comparing Communism with a Direct Democracy that will have some benefits for America if implemented.