June 26, 2008

Glenn Beck defines "Conservative"

On CNN today, Glenn Beck has defined what he thinks a "Conservative" is.

Some of his definitions I expected; others floored me with their pure ignorance. Here's the list and my responses. I considered trying to put together a definition for "Liberal", but decided to forgo that because: a) It's hard and time consuming; and b) I doubt everyone could agree on one unifying definition. So in the meantime, share your own insights on this list:

A conservative believes that our inalienable rights do not include housing, healthcare or Hummers.
Yes my friends, that is Glenn Beck equating Hummers with "housing" and "healthcare." Apparently all you people who are homeless and suffering from treatable diseases due to lack of money should suck it up; not all of us can own Hummers.

A conservative believes that our inalienable rights DO include the pursuit of happiness. That means it is guaranteed to no one.
I don't think this is an "inalienable" right so much as a simple fact of human existence. People generally try to do things that make them happy. The fact that happiness it is not "guaranteed" though suggests that he is really just saying: "Nobody has a right to be happy. You can all just exist though."

A conservative believes that those who pursue happiness and find it have a right to not be penalized for that success.
Who exactly is "penalizing" people who are happy? Who is going around telling happy people to be sad? Maybe pundits; but I'm not sure who else. Thoughts?

A conservative believes that there are no protections against the hardship and heartache of failure. We believe that the right to fail is just as important as the chance to succeed and that those who do fail learn essential lessons that will help them the next time around.
Apparently we should do nothing to help people who are threatened by "hardship" or "failure" and should instead use that as a learning experience for next time. So the next time that somebody loses their job, cannot afford their rent, is kicked out on the street, and cannot get a new job or home due to their lack of housing/eviction on the record, they should be happy because that was an "essential lesson" that will help them the next time around. I'm not sure when the "next time around" is, but Glenn Beck says you've learned something. Congratulations.

A conservative believes in personal responsibility and accepts the consequences for his or her words and actions.
I believe in personal responsibility too. Except not everything is about "personal responsibility." When teenagers are getting pregnant because they aren't getting adequate sex ed programs, and because condoms are not available to them, etc., that isn't just about "personal responsibility" but rather about how society raises and takes care of their youth. It is a systematic failure, and poor Glenn Beck would rather just blame everybody else rather than himself.

A conservative believes that real compassion can't be found in any government program.
I'm not sure what this means. Government programs cannot be "compassionate"? Firstly, I'll agree that government programs don't have feelings. But if a group of Catholics can get together and start a charity to help poor people, so can a group of average people form a government program to help poor people. Either way, it's fairly compassionate. I'm just not buying this other than: "I hate government."

A conservative believes that each of us has a duty to take care of our neighbors. It was private individuals, companies and congregations that sent water, blankets and supplies to New Orleans far before the government ever set foot there.
Wow. Yes, we should all be kind enough to take care of our neighbors. But sometimes that also comes in the form of helping them through our government. More importantly, this is putting the carriage before the horse. The reason private individuals, companies, and congregations sent supplies to New Orleans before the government ever set foot there was because of our Conservative President! If you hadn't noticed, by shrinking the government and failing to make it accountable, it failed. So he criticizes the government for being big, then here he criticizes it for being small. Hello?

A conservative believes that family is the cornerstone of our society and that people have a right to manage their family any way they see fit, so long as it's not criminal. We are far more attuned to our family's needs than some faceless, soulless government program.
Did anybody else just read this and say: "You're right; I want to manage my family the way I see fit. With two male parents/two female parents/two transgender parents/etc."? I think Glenn Beck favors gay marriage!

A conservative believes that people have a right to worship the God of their understanding. We also believe that people do not have the right to jam their version of God (or no God) down anybody else's throat.
YES! Wow, something I agree with him about. Too bad Conservatives are doing much more shoving God down our throats than vice versa. And, for the record, I'm a flaming liberal who believes in God; but I would never force anyone to see the world my way. Sorry hon; conservatives don't own this one.

A conservative believes that people go to the movies to be entertained and to church to be preached to, not the other way around.
Translation: The First Amendment is wrong. I know how speech should be: Movies should be comedies and Churches should be boring and critical. Any other way is a violation of Glenn Beck's "Order of the Universe."

A conservative believes that debt creates unhealthy relationships. Everyone, from the government on down, should live within their means and strive for financial independence.
Therefore, Conservatives believe that people should not have mortgages, borrow money to attend college, etc. Rather, everyone should be homeless or rent; people should not go to college (or college should be free); etc. Too bad he also believes that the government should not provide housing or education. Ooops; hypocrisy again?

A conservative believes that a child's education is the responsibility of the parents, not the government.
Another one of those odd moments for a conservative. The next one says every human being has a right to life, as if all humans should have equal opportunity to live. Unfortunately, he is saying here that all humans should suffer from socioeconomic position of their parents. Research has PROVEN that people who start in poverty often stay there; those that start in luxury stay there too. Social mobility is more fiction than fact. So if your parents can afford education and already value it; good for you! You'll get your education. If not; too bad you lost the "birth lottery" and ended up with poor parents.

A conservative believes that every human being has a right to life, from conception to death.
A conservative also believes that the government should do nothing for you during that life; should force you into unwanted homes; and has the right to kill you if they see fit (see Capital Punishment). Also, Glenn Beck should consider reading Freakonomics, which has shown that one of the biggest things to reduce crime in the 90's was ABORTION. Yep; fascinating stuff, and highlights a lot about the unfortunate reality of unwanted pregnancy.

A conservative believes in the smallest government you can get without anarchy. We know our history: The larger a government gets, the harder it will fall.
I'm sorry; I must be reading different history books than you. The fact of the matter, and this is hard for conservatives to hear, is that no government lasts forever. And no government sits on top of the world forever. But shrinking a government to near nothingness doesn't save it from falling; it stops it from existing altogether!

Unsurprisingly, the tag line at the end of the article reads:
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

True. So true.


icarus said...

Wow, that list is kind of ridiculous. Great comebacks, though! ;-)

emily2 said...

Glenn Beck also said the following: "Our country isn't a reality show where we simply elect whoever's left after all the backstabbing and lying is finished."

Uh... YEAH it is! :P

libhom said...

Beck is a great source for unintentional humor.

Anonymous said...

A conservative believes that those who pursue happiness and find it have a right to not be penalized for that success.
Who exactly is "penalizing" people who are happy? Who is going around telling happy people to be sad? Maybe pundits; but I'm not sure who else. Thoughts?

He's referring to taxes on the rich, I'm pretty sure. Because being rich is equal to personal happiness; the poor aren't capable of such a thing, and are certainly suffering from deep inner conflicts that disqualify them from living to their potential.