Monday, July 5, 2010

Shut-up Stupid Sunday (a day late): Glenn Beck and Thomas Paine

Last year the Teabaggers tried to use Guy Fawkes as a historical hero for their cause, because nothing says freedom from large government like someone who tried to have the Catholic Church restored to power over England. Everyone knows the Catholic Church is so against centralized power and authority.

For some reason these Guy Fawkers didn’t get their point across.

Now these Teabaggers and Guy Fawkers like Glenn Beck are trying to use Thomas Paine as their historical hero. If you think about it this makes a little sense as Thomas Paine was considered the most radical of the founding fathers, and Beck is considered the most insane of Fox News Blabbermouths. And like every thing Beck says if you don’t think about it, it makes even more sense.

So on the day after Independence Day I’ll look at how Paine and Beck’s philosophies compare to each other.

Beck: (912 Project) I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

Paine: “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistant that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, t renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as ameans of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.”

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

We can safely say that Paine and Beck are on opposite sides here.

Beck (912) The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

Paine: "For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preference to all others for ever"

Not quite the same.

Beck (912 Project) If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

Paine: "An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

Not quite the same.

Beck (912 Project) I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

Paine: "Pay as a remission of taxes to every poor family, out of the surplus taxes, and in room of poor-rates, four pounds a year for every child under fourteen years of age."

"It is painful to see old age working itself to death, in what are called civilised countries, for daily bread... pay to every such person of the age of fifty years ... the sum of six pounds per annum out of the surplus taxes, and ten pounds per annum during life after the age of sixty... This support, as already remarked, is not of the nature of a charity but of a right."

There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it."

"Create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property."

I can’t see how the two can be farther apart.

So to Glenn Beck and all the Guy Fawkers and Teabaggers that follow him that are trying to use Thomas Paine as an historical idol for your desire for inequality and power of inherited wealth, I say, “Shut-up Stupid, Paine believed in the opposite.”

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Invasive Thoughts


Stephanie Barr said...

Tidily done. And, though I'm not an advocate for comparing sound bites out of context, I can't protest when such tactic is the subject in question's bread and butter.

In fact, it feels like justice.

Project Savior said...

Beck has grabbed quotes way, way out of context from some of the other founding fathers and it is merely absurd. But when he started a project to rewrite Paine who was basically a lefty radical who wanted to get rid of all inheritance to achieve equality and thought food, shelter, and water were every persons right. The extreme difference needs to be picked on.
It would be like calling myself the new George W. Bush (Why I would want to I don't know) if I did that I would deserve to picked on.

Don E. Chute said...

God Bless You!