Saturday, April 11, 2009

We all owe Douglas Feith an apology

'Whatever [Douglas] Feith may achieve during the remainder of his life and whatever epitaph he chooses for inscription on his gravestone, history will remember him as "the stupidest fucking guy on the planet."' - Andrew Bacevitch, The Limits of Power

After watching Friday's episode of the Glenn Beck program, I have to conclude that history is being unfair to Feith. Glenn Beck is the stupidest fucking guy on the planet. Because during the show, Beck said that Henry Ford was one of the American heroes who stood up against the liberal progressive happy face fascism of F.D.R.

Ok, let's walk through this. F.D.R. headed up the war efforts against the Nazis during World War II. Henry Ford did everything he possibly could to prevent the United States from fighting the Nazis because he was a fan of the Nazi regime. Henry Ford was awarded and accepted the highest medal that Germany bestowed upon foreigners in 1938. The Ford factories in Europe helped build the Nazi war machine. The rabidly anti-Semitic paper that Ford published helped inspire the Holocaust and popularized the notorious Protocols of Zion.

But in Beck's warped, alternate universe, Henry Ford is anti-fascist because he didn't like the New Deal - see here for Dave Neiwert's debunking of Beck's previous invocation of Ford as anti-fascist champion - while the guy who actually headed up the government while it fought and defeated the fascists is a fascist. Here's a clue for the eternally clueless Beck: we actually had fascists in America during the New Deal - and some of them were opposed to it precisely because they were fascists.

I'll have more to say on this program tomorrow.

Update: I was too tired to mention this last night, but the worst part of that show was watching Beck turn Thomas Paine into a prop to promote his anti-tax "Tea Bag" extremism. It's sickening to watch the segment because Paine actually held views that Beck has demonized idiotically as being "liberal fascism." For example, Paine was a scientific rationalist, while in that anti-intellectual show both global warming and evolution were characterized as being ideological adjuncts of fascism. But even more pertinent is the fact that Thomas Paine was one of the early proponents of the "liberal fascist" welfare state, something anyone remotely familiar with Paine's work would be aware of; as opposed to some hack who is just interested in using the iconography of Paine to promote the notion of overturning the results of a democratic election in the name of "democracy."

Paine's proposal can be found in the second half of The Rights of Man, his defense of the French Revolution. Paine did not advocate for financial support for the poor and elderly as a matter "of a charity but of a right."

So let's reiterate this: Beck is using "Thomas Paine" to sell a revolution to abolish the welfare state (and overthrow the government?) The actual Thomas Paine advocated revolution to establish a welfare state.

Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.


A revolution in the state of civilization is the necessary companion of revolutions in the system of government. If a revolution in any country be from bad to good, or from good to bad, the state of what is called civilization in that country, must be made conformable thereto, to giveth at revolution effect.

Despotic government supports itself by abject civilization, in which debasement of the human mind, and wretchedness in the mass of the people, are the chief criterions. Such governments consider man merely as an animal; that the exercise of intellectual faculty is not his privilege; that he has nothing to do with the laws but to obey them; and they politically depend more upon breaking the spirit of the people by poverty, than they fear enraging it by desperation.

It is a revolution in the state of civilization that will give perfection to Revolution of France. Already the conviction that government by representation is the true system of government is spreading itself fast in the world. The reasonableness of it can be seen by all. The justness of it makes itself felt even by its opposers. But when a system of civilization, (growing out of that system of government) shall be so organized that not a man or woman born in the Republic but shall inherit some means of beginning the world, and see before them the certainty of escaping the miseries that under other governments accompany old age, the Revolution of France will have an advocate and an ally in the heart of all nations.

1 comment:

Danko Ramone said...

I would be amazed by the things Beck says, but I'm too busy being amazed there actually are idiots who beleive him. I wondered where this moronic tripe about mercury dimes and FDR being a fascist came from, after hearing it become a regular topic amongst the rednecks and white trash that populate my town. I should've guessed it was Beck.