Glenn Beck's "Independence City," Here Waco Again


The wonderful thing about history is that it never fails to repeat itself, or rather we refuse to ever take a lessons from past mistakes. Whatever clear moral or social realizations resonating in our consciousness during the twilight of our worst errors are so quickly obscured by ideology or lost by revisionism.

In the United States of 'Merica, the tug of war between national identity/political idealism and, well, REALITY, has paved the way for strong political convictions that are maintained against logic and historical examples. The definition of insanity is repeating the same action while expecting a different result each time, for example in Greece in the 21st century, they have a Nazi Party winning parliamentary seats, despite the fact that humanity gave fascism a jolly good try for a couple decades and proved it doesn't work.

Straight outta the Dream Labs which brought you silly putty and edible panties.

So one is left to shake one's head in both astonishment and despair that a cable news pundit would take it upon himself to propose building Independence City, an insulated, isolated, self-supporting community of like-minded political/religious extremists out in the wilderness of the Southern United States. And yet, Glenn Beck, who made a name for himself by proselytizing to Sarah Palin, waging war on the Theory of Evolution, and making sure people with the same genitals never marry, now has a new accolade to add to his impressive resume: madman.

Beck calls himself a Libertarian and asserts that his vision is merely a throwback to the Jeffersonian ideals of individual freedom, a place of small government, free from the shackles of collectivism. In the days since he announced his Disneyland of the dammed, comparisons have been aptly drawn to the fictional, Libertarian utopia in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, and Beck seems comfortable with the analogy.

If you want a real pill, choke down this simple-

minded rehash. Nice Lady though, I'm sure.

Except what he is proposing doesn't resemble a Libertarian point of view at all. We have to back up a tad here, and start by defining what a Libertarian is/believes. At the core, it is a political position that advocates for small government with limited reach. In an ideal Libertarian world, the government is responsible for national defense, resolving domestic and provincial disputes through the courts and police, and that's essentially all. The remaining details are left to the invisible hand of the free-market a la laissez-faire capitalism. Some folks debate the extent to which a social safety net should be implemented, but generally there's a priority on individual responsibility.

Famous proponents of this point of view include economist Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand of course, US congressman Ron Paul, and magician/comedian Penn Jillette. It's a position from which the constitution of the United States, kinda, sorta was drafted in the first place, predicated on the writings of Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson.

But Glenn Beck's paranoia and religious fundamentalism are at extreme odds with this point of view. Beck shares more in common with Alex Jones or Donald Trump than any founding father, convinced that a Socialist Muslim road his way into the White House on a forged birth certificate with the sole purpose of stealing every gun from American hands, rendering them helpless against the redistribution of wealth and gay people burning down their churches and turning your children and pets into sodomites.

What Glenn Beck is actually proposing through his asinine Independence, USA is just a tiny anarchist commune in the vein of old school Yiddish societies of the late 19th century. (Here's a bit of Noam Chomsky on anarchism, it's less Sex Pistols and more farming communities).

Now, getting back to an earlier remark about the folly of repeating the same stupid mistakes by dressing them up in different clothes (it'll totally work THIS time, guys) Beck need only look to examples within the same US state he's been prospecting for his fantasy island. The last time, some extremist got his pals together holed up in a paradise of their own construction, well, it didn't end too good for anybody involved in Waco, Texas:

In 1993, the ATF and FBI made international news when they knocked on the door of the Branch Davidians, an isolated commune led by self-proclaimed profit, and weapons hoarder David Koresh. When the chaos was over, 70 people in the insulated cult, a third of whom children, were dead.

Go on...it's purple-flavoured!

And then in the 1970's there was the famous Jonestown Massacre, in which Jim Jones, another demagogue convinced his followers in his "church" to drink poison in a mass ceremonial suicide. If you didn't drink, that was fine, armed guards put bullets in those who weren't thirsty. The delivery method of the poison was the normally refreshing beverage touted by a jolly glass pitcher and lead to the commonly used euphemism for conformity, drinking the Kool-Aid.

I'm sure Beck is half-joking and using his crazy sprawl metaphor to drive home the values of the American Constitution, but then, all you have to do is listen to him speak for five minutes on ANY given topic to know he is bat-shit insane. In either case, sincerity and enthusiasm are poor substitutes for reason and sanity.

And on a facetious, even fascistic note, when I first watched Glenn Beck waxing dewy-eyed about his magic kingdom, with its symbolic architecture and romantic street names, I couldn't help recalling the scene from Downfall in which a strung out Hitler, facing defeat, escapes into a fantasy about his dream city of tomorrow:

You'll have to excuse my snickering, and low-brow comparison to the Nazis, but I did allude to it earlierwith the remark about the state of politics in Greece!

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