promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

What Glenn Beck stole from Ron Paul

In liberty and rights on October 12, 2009 at 9:31 pm
Ron Pauls Rally for the Republic Sept. 2, 2008

Ron Paul's "Rally for the Republic" Sept. 2, 2008

Glenn Becks 9-12 Project Sept. 12, 2009

Glenn Beck's "9-12 Project" Sept. 12, 2009

Somehow, it’s become trendy among the right to call yourself a libertarian. Glenn Beck has boasted himself a libertarian as well as Mark Levin. The new addition to the conservative, wanna-be libertarians is none other than the war trumpeter, Sean Hannity.

On his radio show on Wednesday, Hannity jumped on the bandwagon, declaring himself a libertarian. Perhaps Hannity does not understand the libertarian perspective on privacy, foreign policy and immigration. If he did, he would realize calling himself a libertarian is like calling Castro a capitalist.

The recent conservative trend toward libertarianism makes sense. Libertarianism is enjoying a new-found popularity, due in a large part to the efforts of former presidential candidate, Ron Paul. But most importantly, the trend makes dollar sense as proved by the ratings of Fox News’ Glenn Beck show.

But to understand why libertarianism is so popular, it’s important to understand the rise of what is called the liberty movement.

The liberty movement was birthed during the anti-civil liberties and pro-war years of the Bush regime. The movement’s first joiners were disillusioned conservatives and former Republicans. The PATRIOT Act, ‘war on terror,’ bailout of Wall Street and numerous other actions by the Republican administration caused many former right-wingers to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

However, the liberty movement didn’t stop with the right. The anti-war and civil liberty aspects also appealed to many on the left. And when Ron Paul began his grassroots bid for the presidency, peoples of all leanings began to join.

Sadly, the momentum continued up until the election of President Barack Obama. Assuming “change” had arrived, many of the loudest anti-war advocates on the left disappeared. Liberal media voices that previously served as civil-liberty watchdogs under the Bush administration lost interest in such matters. However, what is happening on the right is of much more concern.

Former Bush-supporting, PATRIOT Act-loving warmongers are suddenly “converting” to libertarianism. The first was self-described conservative Glenn Beck. Since Beck’s transition to Fox news, his rating have soared. His show is quickly dominating the 5 p.m. timeslot.

Beck, perhaps in a stroke of genius, has tapped into the liberty movement. With his claim of libertarianism and promotion of events such as the “9-12 Project,” Beck is attempting to become the poster boy for the disenfranchised, former Ron Paul supporters.

Conservative talk show host and author of best-seller, Liberty and Tyranny, Mark Levin, is also channeling the liberty movement. In a recent interview with Pajama TV, Levin declared:

“I’m not a party guys down the line. I’m a conservative guy when it comes to economic matters. Frankly, I’m more libertarian.”

However, Levin went on to reveal his true conservative colors saying liberal newspapers in America are “working overtime” to get Democrats elected.

“We’re facing a force in this country that requires us to take back, from my perspective, the Republican party as Reagan did,” he said.

In the same interview, Levin talked about President Barack Obama’s weakness in dealing with, what he described as, “Nut job, genocidal regimes.” He labeled President Obama the “quintessential appeaser” saying “He talks and talks, that’s what he does.”

Levin also referred to the glory days when America was considered the “greatest force on the face of the earth.” Speaking of Presidents Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy and Franklyn D. Roosevelt he said:

“When these guys would talk about America, they talked about America in the most glowing terms. They did think it was a special country. They were really were honored to be president of the greatest force on the face of the earth.”

Such rhetoric could not be further from the libertarian mindset.

Like Levin, the newest addition to the “libertarians,” Sean Hannity, is a poorly-hidden wolf in sheep’s clothing. Not only is libertarianism at odds with these men over issues such as the ‘war on terror’ and civil liberties, it has little, save economics, in common with them.

Take, for example, this excerpt from the Libertarian party’s Web site on the issue of immigration:

“Yet our system offers no legal channel for anywhere near a sufficient number of peaceful, hardworking immigrants to legally enter the United States even temporarily to fill this growing gap. The predictable result is illegal immigration.”

Such a common sense, humanistic view of immigration would undoubtedly be labeled liberal propaganda by Beck, Hannity and Levin.

While it’s doubtful staunch Ron Paul supporters will be swayed by these men’s deceitful attempts, many pro-liberty conservatives that “saw the light” during the Bush administration are already buying in to them. Glenn Beck’s ratings are proof.

  1. Hannity does not know the difference between hammer and nail.

    However, I am curious as to how a real libertarian defines free-market. Specifically, what type of economic system would a devotee of Paul construct. Serious economists (from both left and right-of-center)have gone on record detailing the disasters inherent in abolishing the Fed. Considering the circus atmosphere swirling about Congress, does Paul really believe the legislative of government would be better stewards of national finance?

  2. ‘Not only is libertinism at odds with…’

    I think you mean ‘libertarianism’ although I suppose libertarians would be fine with people acting in a libertine fashion…

  3. As for John’s comment, I’m not sure you understand Dr. Paul’s position on the fed. He has repeatedly stated that the majority of government officials are Keynesian, while he is generally Austrian. Of course the Keynesians will say that the Fed needs to remain in place, as that is a core tenant of their beliefs.

    So ‘does Paul really believe the legislative of government would be better stewards of national finance?’ is an easy question to answer. Of course not, as he espouses allowing the market to manage value of a dollar itself, without government acting as a steward.

  4. Jessica,

    You criticize “war mongering Republicans” migrating to your cherised libertarian party. Are there any “peace loving Democrats” doing a similar migration from the opposite direction. I don’t know of any of sature.

    No political party is going to be a safe haven for all political persuasions. I provide for example my views on a variety of current issues:

    1. Stop spending money unless it is already in the “bank”. Want new programs. Fine. Save up the money then have at it. Cut old programs to bring in the new.

    2. How do we combat “terrorism”. In my view the threat is real.

    3. I am pro gun control, particularly for hand guns. I oppose people residing in this country illegally. I support keeping abortion legal. I support freedom to practice whatever religion one chooses to practice as long as it harms no one else.

    4. I absolutely support freedom of speech no matter how terrible, stupid, dangerous, etc. the speech may sound.

    I could go on but you get my ghist I hope.

    Now please tell me what party to align myself with. I don’t “fit” in any of the three choices of Dem, Rep or Libertarian exclusively nor do I believe many Americans do either.

    My point is no political party is going to represent me entirely. I have to do my own hard work to first sort out where I stand then find the best fit amongst the various candidates. I can also write and talk from any perspective I may choose. If that sounds Libertarian, so be it. If it sounds crazy or confused, so be it as well. As for Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh and other “war mongers” I don’t reject out of hand (any more than I do Duane Graham) anything they say. I evaluate and react on specifics accordingly. Party representation be damned.


    • I seem to have some strong disagreement with each of the parties mentioned. I don’t really fit in with the Republicans because I hate Jesus and love abortion. Don’t fit in with the Dems because I’m for small government and love guns… ok, I don’t LOVE ’em but I don’t support gun control. I think the Libertarian platform is pretty appealing but not very practical. Though not directly related, I see similar problems arising from Libertarianism that arise from communism. If it weren’t for people’s egos, they’d work out great!

  5. Please don’t make the all too common mistake of confusing “libertarian” with “Libertarian”. One is an ideology, the other a party with the typical center to center-left party platform. When discussing the two, the capital “L” makes a huge difference. One can easily be libertarian and not be “Libertarian”. Most people are, I’d dare say, including those who aren’t even aware of the term and still call themselves conservative for lack of understanding there is a more accurate descriptor. For example, if one believes in the individual over the state, the right of individuals to enjoy their freedom without government intervention, yet also believes a strong defense is necessary in order to preserve those very same freedoms and that simply withdrawing troops from around the globe and letting the world run amok is a sure-fire ticket to catastrophe which will ultimately engulf us, then one is a libertarian, but wouldn’t be accepted as a Libertarian (seeing as how that would make them “warmongers”). Ron Paul is a big “L” Libertarian. For all his sensible libertarian leanings, he also falls prey to the unattainable romance of the rose-colored glasses Libertarian platform. Just bear in mind that Libertarians do not have a patent on either the term nor the ideology of libertarianism. They don’t get to decide who can and cannot call themselves libertarian just because they have banners and name tags. In fact, I’d dare say that many Libertarians are only middle-of-the-roaders in disguise, wanting to yell about their freedoms without being willing to take the necessary and unfortunate steps needed to defend them, and not at all actual libertarians.

  6. To All,

    Good discussion. Now how do we find a consensus that most Americans will stick to for the long haul (defined as greater than at least two presidential election cycles)?


    • Anson, that’s tougher, as the money buys the votes, and the money is wrapped up in either a (D) or an (R) and surprisingly, mostly in the (D) range. Doubly surprising when one considers that the majority in this country have libertarian leanings. (Note to Jessica: That’s not “Libertarian” leanings). There’s a reason the Gallup poll showed a vast plurality (as in 2 to 1) listing themselves as “conservative” when most of them have no idea what that means. They just know they’re not liberal. Most of them are, in fact, libertarian (note to Jessica: that’s not “Libertarian”). How do we get them to see that? I have no idea, but I’m betting it starts with doing a better job of A) defining what libertarianism means, and B) pointing out that libertarianism has little to nothing to do with the Libertarian party and their wacky foreign policy. From there, your guess is as good as mine.

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