Monday, August 23, 2010

Beck ups the ante on his anti-evolutionary stupidity

Following up on last Thursday's idiotic assertion that Charles Darwin was the "father of modern racism," Friday morning on his radio show Beck upgraded the defamation of Darwin by calling him the "father of the Holocaust."

You can click through the links at this Media Matters article to listen - if you can bear it - to Beck smugly claiming that The Descent of Man reads as some sort of virulent racist text, inspiring both eugenics and the Holocaust. Beck has, of course, recycled the same tired, lame smears of Darwin that are common to Creationist websites and Ben Stein anti-science propaganda films.

Darwin was "not a tolerant guy" and a "horrible racist" according to Beck.

Yes, Glenn Beck, a man who can read a racist book written by a racist American fascist sympathist who advocated for the Nazis and endorse the books substance, finds one of the seminal scientific texts of human history - a book that helped dispel and debunk predominant rationalizations for racism, written by a man who by any kind of reasonable assessment was a kind, caring, and humane individual with compassion for all - as a 19th century Mein Kampf.

Here are a few highlights from the "dispel and debunk" link

In contrast to the existing views on race, Darwin showed that:

People cannot be classified as different species
All races are related and have a common ancestry
All people come from "savage" origins
The different races have much more in common than was widely believed
The mental capabilities of all races are virtually the same and there is greater variation within races than between races
Different races of people can interbreed and there is no concern for ill effects
Culture, not biology, accounted for the greatest differences between the races
Races are not distinct, but rather they blend together
That same comprehensive link (that I recommend reading as an antiseptic for anyone who had the misfortune of listening to the Beck audio clip) provides this passage

As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races. If, indeed, such men are separated from him by great differences in appearance or habits, experience unfortunately shews us how long it is, before we look at them as our fellow-creatures. Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is, humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions. It is apparently unfelt by savages, except towards their pets. How little the old Romans knew of it is shewn by their abhorrent gladiatorial exhibitions. The very idea of humanity, as far as I could observe, was new to most of the Gauchos of the Pampas. This virtue, one of the noblest with which man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings. As soon as this virtue is honoured and practised by some few men, it spreads through instruction and example to the young, and eventually becomes incorporated in public opinion.

The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts, and "not even in inmost thought to think again the sins that made the past so pleasant to us." Whatever makes any bad action familiar to the mind, renders its performance by so much the easier. As Marcus Aurelius long ago said, "Such as are thy habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of thy mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts."
- Charles Darwin; The Descent of Man, 1871
This is the man that Beck wants to blame for the Holocaust.

Work that was a culmination of a lifetime hatred of the evils of slavery is, to Beck, the work of a racist responsible for the Holocaust. That would be the same Beck who considers Henry Ford a hero for fighting the fascism of FDR.

Of course, Henry Ford, unlike Darwin, actually was a virulent racist whose The International Jew did help inspire the Holocaust; and FDR, unlike Ford who was a fan of the Nazi regime and whose Ford factories in Europe helped build its war machine, actually led US efforts to defeat fascism.

What a remarkable record of inverting history Beck has. In Beck's Bizarro World, Darwin, who was on the right side of history in opposing slavery, is a villian. Yet Cleon Skousen and Ezra Taft Benson, two racists who opposed the civil rights movement that Beck is now claiming to be fulfilling, are heroes.

Had Beck been a public figure at the time of King's famous speech, there is little doubt on "which side of history" he would have stood: the same side as every other far-rightwing Mormon. Had they been contemporaries, Beck would have condemned King as a "progressive cockroach" surrounded by communists, or as an outright communist himself. We know this not only because he has imported such tactics into the present. We know this because his Mormon heroes were viciously anti-civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s.

Beck has repeatedly, respectfully, and recently played audio of men like Ezra Taft Benson, a Mormon apostle who thought the civil rights movement was a dastardly communist plot. Benson also wrote the foreward to a book of race hate whose cover illustration featured the severed, bloody head of an African American. Beck's favorite author and biggest influence, meanwhile, is W. Cleon Skousen. The author of four of the ten books on Beck's 9.12 Project required-reading list, Skousen embodied the Birchite view captured in the title of a September 1965 cover story in the John Birch Society Bulletin, "Fully Expose the 'Civil Rights' Fraud, and You Will Break the Back of the Communist Conspiracy!"

The Benson/Skousen axis of the 1960s, to which Beck would have been an energetic party, was a multi-generational affair. In 1965, Salt Lake City was plunged into hysteria when Reed Benson (son of Ezra) and Mark Skousen (nephew of Cleon) spread rumors that the NAACP was sending two thousand Black Muslims to attack the Tabernacle. When general panic ensued, the Utah National Guard was placed on alert and began practicing riot maneuvers in anticipation of the invasion. After calm was restored, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP both condemned the Bircher-fomented race-war fearmongering in Utah. (Both groups have also condemned Beck.) The next month, the Bulletin published articles describing blacks as "savages" and civil rights leaders as "animals."


malcontent said...

Everything you need to know about Henry Ford as he matured from American Hero to fascist facilitator can be found here:

Hitler actually kept a life sized poster of Henry next to his desk for crying out loud.

Sheldon said...

The dispel and disbunk link should also point out that under the influence of Darwinian biology, the vast majority of physical/biological anthropologists don't even think "race" is a valid category for understanding human variation. Basically, there are no human "races", only breeding populations, and phenotypic traits usually considered markers of race are clinally distributed over geographic and climatic space.