Glenn Beck at CPAC- Fact Check

2.24.10 by LucasWBSmith

Glenn Beck gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference. And I took the liberty of reading and fact checking.

First, Mr. Beck makes an important mistake in his speech; He refers to all progressives as communists. Guess what Glenn? When Republicans ended slavery it was considered progressive, so does that mean that the beloved Republican icon Abe Lincoln was a communist? I think not!

This assumption is a faulty one and because he likens all progressives to communists he flaunts his own shortcomings as a thinking human being.

Mr. Beck also claims that the sole difference between a revolution and an evolution is that “one requires a gun.” At face value Mr. Beck’s arguments seems valid. Generally revolutions are violent and do involve armaments of some kind, but this definition is simple. Revolutions are radical and sudden shifts in power and ideology of government. Evolution on the other hand is what democracy is supposed to do. The constitution was written to be a pliable document, something that will change as needed to serve each generation. If anything our Founding Father’s condoned progressivism and evolution in government.

Mr. Beck also uses a Roosevelt quote where Roosevelt argues that we should only tax or take property for the good of the community. What wrong with that? The Constitution says provide for the general welfare, defense, etc. Those things don’t come cheap. Beck also goes on to claim that it is anti-founding fathers. But remember that the Founding Fathers granted the right to tax because it is a necessity for a government to function.

Mr. Beck proceeds to trash the government for a spiraling debt and incredibly high taxes. Mr. Beck is right we should be addressing these problems. But we must first recover from this economic crisis. Secondly, we must be willing to be taxed; the answer to the deficit isn’t to cut all programs. It is to cut the bad ones, stop adding unnecessary ones, and tax to gain revenue. The problem is the current system needs reform. We need to be progressive in how we handle finances and government.

One of the greatest examples of Mr. Beck’s flawed logic is that he attributes his knowledge and success to reading books at the public library. First, libraries are not free they are paid for via taxes. Secondly, libraries are about sharing things collectively as a community, which is one of the most pure and central tenets of communist philosophy. Put simply all communism is kindergarten gone global.

Beck goes on to oversimplify the Constitution, where he claims that “the only job of the United States government is to save us from bad guys.” Sure provide for the common defense is there. But what about providing for the general welfare? Maybe Glenn skipped that line. Furthermore, The Constitution allows for the federal regulations of interstate commerce, that is tantamount to encouraging the government to do something. Also, the “small government” rhetoric that Mr. Beck uses has been tried; it was called the Articles of Confederation and it failed. The Founding Father’s tried to maintain a small federal government, but it was a disaster. The government could not raise money, inflation skyrocketed, and it created piecemeal state policies because the federal government did not have the authority to act uniformly. That is why the same Founding Fathers came together and drafted the current Constitution, which created stronger and larger federal government.

Mr. Beck then proceeds to dedicate a large portion of his speech to trashing Woodrow Wilson. He attacks him for the Fed, for the income tax, and for taking us into WW1. With the Fed, there are legitimate concerns as to its purpose and it warrants reforms, but Mr. Beck fails to provide any. The income tax is not bad, and I will get to that below. And WW1, we had to fight after the German’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare killed 159 Americans. Mr. Beck says that government should be responsive to the people, Wilson was simply doing what the American people demanded: War.

Mr. Beck then proceeds to attribute the Great Depression to Hoover’s reign of unchecked spending. But that is not true. Hoover was a classic fiscal conservative. He cut taxes but he cut them so much that we had a deficit because revenues were so low. Hoover then failed to act when the economy crashed, making it much worse.

But on top of Beck’s logical fallacies, the progressive movement brought about many important changes that are fundamentally important to America’s democracy.

1. Graduated Income Tax- Yeah I know taxes are “bad”, but it is because of this tax that government works. It also is the fairest tax imaginable, the rich have more money so they can spare the most. People who are poor can’t spare a lot, so the government takes as little as possible.

2. The Roosevelt Administration passed laws that placed minimum standards on the quality of the food we eat, specifically in the meat packing industry. If you want to know more I recommend Upton Sinclair’s”The Jungle”.

3. Roosevelt “busted” trusts to free up markets so that we would have actual free market competition.

4. Pendleton Act- Mandated that 10% of federal offices be given on merit not political connections, a major step forward

5. National Parks

6. Campaign Finance Reform- These laws were recently overturned by the Supreme Court, but were the first laws to attack political corruption

7. Under Wilson, who Beck claims to hate, we passed child labor laws. Who can say now that was a bad idea?

I recommend people go to the following websites: for the text of Glenn Beck’s speech. for info Hoover’s economic policies because you should probably at least peruse it.

I also recommend taking a US History class.

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